Thursday, 1 December 2016

Journey into the Tao

Circle Network DVD Review: Going Nowhere - Journey into the Tao: A Beginners Guide to Eastern Spirituality - available £35.99 from Watkins Books:

By Dr Lorenzo Da Costa - website: Produced by Tim Lee 

It can be a great privilege to share vicariously in the spiritual journey of another, to hear their enthusiasms and to partake of some of the wisdom and practice which has guided them on the path. This DVD set consists of a series of lectures on Eastern spiritual practices and ideas. The lectures are clearly presented and accompanied by diagrams which clarify key points. This makes the set easy to follow for the beginner and sharpens Da Costa’s points for the more knowledgeable. The set is well referenced with pointers to a number of popular authors on the subject.

The first DVD (45 mins) offers a clear and systematic introduction to meditation. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of Eastern practices, Da Costa describes basic ideas of consciousness. He shows how different forms of meditation bring one into the present moment through a variety of channels – the body, the breath, contemplation of an object, and the observation of thoughts and feelings. The advice is practical and grounded in everyday examples. Da Costa also shows how Eastern practices are embedded in a non-judgmental paradigm. All things, including the mental process, becomes the subject of observation, and no longer identified with, but functioning in its own way – true non-judgmentalism.

The second DVD (55 mins) describes the mystical tradition of the East. In this DVD, Da Costa contrasts the Judeo-Christian tradition with Vedic traditions of the East. The perspective presented is very much rooted in the Indian philosophy, and gives pointers for those who wish to study further. It describes the different systems of thought in Indian philosophy, introducing key systems, such as the Vedic tradition, ideas on phenomenal and non-phenomenal existence, yoga, and the concept of karma. At times complex, this philosophical overview takes the reader into a range of areas which could bear greater exploration at a later date, providing a map and an overview which will be invaluable to that process.

The third DVD (40 mins) in the collection discusses the spiritual aspects of medicine. De Costa paints a negative picture of the relationship between conventional medicine and complementary healing in the UK. Interestingly, he sees this relationship as having deteriorated since 2005. The primary emphasis this section is, however, with the psychological rather than physical medicine and much of the DVD is spent reviewing different theorists from the field. Da Costa demonstrates a wide knowledge of different writers, which continues in the fourth DVD which is devoted to a review of literature which he has found helpful.

In the final DVD (30 mins) Da Costa talks about his personal journey.  Telling how his family returned from Africa to India during his childhood, he describes an early spiritual experience at the age of eighteen which set him on a path which was to occupy the major part of his life. The unfolding journey gives us a glimpse of the man behind the ideas and shows us how a life inspired by the quest for the religious can be guided through so many rich, productive avenues. His vigour and enthusiasm present us with a passionate encouragement to follow in his wake. 
Reviewer: Rev Caroline Brazier, author of six books on Buddhism and psychotherapy. She is course leader of the Tariki Training Programme in Other-Centred Approach. For more information about Caroline's work visit:

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