Sweet Love Anita Baker. Rainy Night in Georgia Brook Benton. Nite and Day Al B. My Love Margie Joseph. Sexual Healing Marvin Gaye. Here and Now Luther Vandross.
Kiss and Say Goodbye The Manhattans. Lean on Me Bill Withers. Always and Forever Heatwave. Oh Girl The Chi-Lites. Betcha by Golly, Wow The Stylistics. Baby Come to Me Regina Belle. Shining Star The Manhattans. Cowboys to Girls The Intruders. Shower Me with Your Love Surface. Best of My Love The Emotions. Shake You Down Gregory Abbott. Save the Best for Last Vanessa Williams.
Get Here Oleta Adams. Being with You Smokey Robinson. Sweet Thing Rufus featuring Chaka Khan.
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Just to Be Close to You Commodores. Distant Lover Marvin Gaye. Three Times a Lady Commodores. Stay in My Corner The Dells. The Bells The Originals. Ooo Baby Baby The Miracles. In the Rain The Dramatics. Float On The Floaters. Close the Door Teddy Pendergrass. Greatest Love of All Whitney Houston. Any Love Luther Vandross. Dream Merchant New Birth. Woman to Woman Shirley Brown. Touch Me in the Morning Diana Ross. Secret Lovers Atlantic Starr. Sukiyaki A Taste Of Honey. Misty Blue Dorothy Moore. Our Love Natalie Cole.
Come Go with Me Teddy Pendergrass. Lovely Day Bill Withers. The First Time Surface. Stop to Love Luther Vandross. Show Me the Way Regina Belle. Between the Sheets The Isley Brothers.
Closer Than Close Peabo Bryson. You Are Everything The Stylistics. Stairway to Heaven The O'Jays. John of the Cross is speaking of mysterious developments in the soul, which includes the psychological His goal is not health, but union with the divine. At the same time, however, the commentary flattens and devitalizes the poem.
A 16th Century Mystic's Meditation on His Sensual 'Songs of the Soul'
While the poem celebrates sensuality, the commentary argues against it. It attacks the urgency, the moment of the poem.
The poem and the commentary are like a war between the imaginary and the literal, the mystical and the dogmatic. So is mystical experience.
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We don't know where their inspiration comes from. To write a serious poem or to enter into prayer is to enter into darkness. Because they come from a place "outside the writer," poems, even those written years ago, have the capacity to speak to us, in the now. And mystics, including Julian of Norwich and the 13th century Sufi poet Rumi are presently speaking to large numbers of us.
Most mystics, from Mechthildof Magdeburg to John of the Cross, experience God as a creative, sensual, intimate lover. This version of God makes people, especially those in authority, very nervous: Many mystics, most of them women, who insisted on this God, so different from the remote Father in Heaven, were banned, imprisoned and even killed. Hildegard of Bingen, another early Christian mystic, said in one of her revelations that our sin is not that we are sensuous but that we are not sensuous enough: We do not allow the beauty of the world and the flesh to fully enchant us.
It is the poem, not the commentary, that brings us close to John's actual experience of God. Yet the poem and the commentary are linked forever.
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As a friend, a former Ursulan nun who studied John of the Cross at Notre Dame, said, "the commentary is like a provenance" to the poem, a place of origin, the place where a thing is made. John's commentary anchors the metaphysics of his poem in the struggle that led to its creation. It shows us the place where the poem was made, and this, finally, is what gives this work its greatness. This new translation by Mirabai Starr, a fiction writer and adjunct professor of philosophy, religious studies and Spanish at the University of New Mexico at Taos, is the first translation of John from someone "outside the church," as the publisher puts it, meaning the first translation by someone who is not Roman Catholic.
Her translation is somewhat like Coleman Barks' reading of Rumi: Starr's own spiritual "seeking'' has led her from Hinduism to Buddhism to Native American sweat lodges. By the time I reached my thirties, nothing remained but a quiet connection to emptiness.
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