Paul M. Martin writes with exceptional clarity about spiritual matters. His depth and breadth of first-hand experience allows him to speak compellingly to people across a wide range of perspectives on religion and spirituality. At age twenty-three, Paul had a spontaneous experience of the kind that is often sought through meditation and prayer. It was immensely hopeful. It stood in complete defiance of his despairing world view. It was the primary source material for the rest of his life and the genesis of Original Faith. Within a year, Paul visited the Trappist monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts, where he learned meditation from the late Fr. Basil Pennington. Within two years, he went on to receive an M.A. in religious studies from the University of Chicago. In the coming years, he would also earn a M. Ed. in counseling as his public school career transitioned from English as a Second Language teacher to elementary school counselor. At age thirty-seven, with Original Faith perhaps two years from completion, Paul experienced the onset of a condition that would never be diagnosed. He was forced to set the manuscript aside for the better part of the next decade as he combined full-time work with extensive medical research and travel. By May 2002, Paul's disability had become too severe for continued work outside the home, and he resumed work on Original Faith. Between 2002 and 2006, he completed the book, along with two additional manuscripts, managing to convert his handwritten notes to Word documents before he lost the ability to walk and work with paper.
Find out more about Paul by visiting his website: www.originalfaith.com
Paul is also offering a FREE e-book, Original Faith: Hard Times Handbook, to those that sign up for his newsletter. You can sign-up and download the e-book here.
Original Faith: What Your Life is Trying To Tell You
By Paul Martin
Original Faith is no how-to manual. Movingly written, it evokes experiences and insights in readers that give transformative power to its many suggests for practice. Wherever we are along our paths, here is a new and contemporary approach to help clarify the perennial call to re-center our identities first from egoism to love; then from love to a larger reality.
You will find answers in your own experience to questions such as:
- What, exactly, is real love?
- What runs deeper than despair?
- What makes negativity worse than useless no matter how well justified?
- How can I realize that I'm already faithful--with or without beliefs?
- How can I discover that there is no "set-up" and begin creating meaning instead of searching for it?
- How can I find peace and strength far beyond what I've dreamt possible?
Paperback: 264 pages
Book Giveaway Comments Contest!
If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Paul's book, Original Faith: What Your Life is Trying To Tell You, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end.
We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!
Interview by Margo L. Dill
WOW: Paul, thank you for joining us at WOW! and for kicking off your blog tour. It took you twenty-five years to write Original Faith (25, correct?), and it addresses your spiritual life and struggles along the way. Why did it take so many years to write this book?
Paul: Yes, twenty-five, "25," or, as I like to think of it, "only a quarter of a century..."
But seriously... I should mention at the outset that Original Faith isn't a spiritual autobiography. It does make use of first-person material where this helps to move the book's message forward. Some readers have compared it to Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in this respect. As to my extended writing process...
For fourteen years, the writing developed on its own. At first, I didn't realize I was writing a book. It began with note taking and journaling for my personal use. Once I saw that a book was underway, it was a creative process that happened on its own time. My best ideas and language would come to me as unexpected surprises. I came to see my job as getting out of the way and making way--accepting that I couldn't control or anticipate where the process was going while setting aside regular time for writing.
After fourteen years, most of the creative work was complete. I had set my notes and working manuscript aside for what I thought would be a couple months while I recovered from a sudden onset of "Myofascial Pain Syndrome." It would turn out that I didn't have MPS, but something much rarer and much worse.
For about the next ten years, in declining health, I had to devote all my energies to continued full-time work, extensive medical research and travel, and health insurance problems. I was able to return to the manuscript only after I became disabled from my work.
WOW: We are very sorry to hear about your health problems, and thank you for sharing your story with us in spite of the difficulties you must face to do so. By returning to your work after 10 years, it shows that you are a very determined man with a message to give the world. That is very admirable! What is the basic premise of Original Faith?
Paul: That each of us is already faithful, that trust and hope in the One is a fact at the depths of being human, and that anyone can personally become aware of this. I leave it to readers whether to think of the One as God or as being, nature, or reality itself. My focus is the experiences that unite us, not the beliefs that can divide us.
Faith is one of those experiences. And to open up to our faith is to find ourselves opening up to another important unifying experience: love. Faith encourages love to be itself.
WOW: In the beginning of the book, you address love, faith, and the obstacles that keep us from living out faith-full love. What are those obstacles?
Paul: The main obstacle is egoism--the sense that each of us has of somehow mattering more than everyone else. For some of us, depression and despair are obstacles. Even this has an egoistic dimension.
WOW: It sounds so simple when you say it, but we all know how hard it is to fight against egoism, which seems to come naturally to most of us. Does Original Faith address how to replace those obstacles, mainly egoism, with love? Please give us a brief explanation of this process.
Paul: The process of spiritual development is highly individual, but the general direction is clear: becoming more loving and less egoistic. Authentic insight and spiritual practice are the keys to finding and keeping to this path.
By authentic insight, I mean realizations that come to us through deep and heartfelt experience. Insights that Original Faith seeks to evoke in readers include understanding the nature of love, faith, and ego. Seeing love and ego for what they are, and with our love encouraged by our faith, we become profoundly motivated to take our love's way.
Without a foundation of insight, spiritual practices are likely to falter and fail--much like New Year's resolutions often do. But with this foundation, spiritual practices are invaluable to keeping us on track. Original Faith offers a wide variety of practices on the premise that people need to identify those that fit well with their individual lifestyles if they are to benefit from them in the long run, where they can be transformative.
WOW: That makes perfect sense to find ways to fit spiritual practice into your lifestyle and not to make unrealistic goals that will be impossible to meet. I think the comparison to New Year's resolutions makes your point perfectly clear! You also worked as a counselor for elementary students. Did this job affect your ideas and beliefs that you discuss in the book?
Paul: My long career working with young children, first as an English as a Second Language teacher and then school counselor, was a continual source of inspiration. It gave me a sense of the reality of the coming generations and helped expand the scope of my caring to the whole world and our long-term future here. And children don't cover up like adults do--the love and the ego are both out there and easy to see. Quite a lot of material in Original Faith was directly child-inspired.
WOW: We can learn so much from children, especially because they don't cover up like adults do. How did you manage writing a book and working a full-time job with the children?
Paul: By getting up in the early hours of the morning (around 2:00 a.m.) to write before going to work. I found that after work just wasn't a productive writing time for me.
And as long as I was getting up so early, I made sunrise my jogging time. A beautiful time to be outdoors and, like my work with children, another major and completely unexpected source of creativity. In my twenties, my fantasy had been a farmhouse in Vermont with nothing to do but write; I'm glad that didn't happen.
WOW: 2:00 a.m.!! Now, that is dedication! What remarkable accomplishments to have finished your book and touched the lives of children at the same time! You also suffer from a rare progressive illness. What challenges does that present for your writing and marketing of your book?
Paul: I completed the book just in time. When I'd set it aside in 1995, all my notes and papers were handwritten. When I returned to them about ten years later, the first thing I did was organize them and enter them into my computer, a project that I completed just two or three months before losing the ability to work with hard copy.
My ability to market the book is minimal. Since finishing it, the rate of disease progression has continued to accelerate. I'm too fragile now to leave the house by any means and mostly bedridden with few productive hours in a day.
What can you do? All you can. Original Faith is a labor of love, and I do my best by it. To do your love's best is to know that you’ve kept an agreement between you and God above or you and the stars above. However you think of it and whatever you call it, it's the same experience of personal right relationship with the infinitely greater. It brings the proverbial peace that passes understanding.
WOW: Paul, thank you for sharing your story of determination, faith, and love with us today. I'm sure there are many readers out there right now inspired by your interview, and many more that will be inspired by Original Faith.
Want to join Paul on his blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.
Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!
September 14, 2009 Monday
Paul will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Paul's book!
September 15, 2009 Tuesday
Stop by Holistic Future today to discuss the connection between spirituality and nature with Paul Martin, author of Original Faith.
September 16, 2009 Wednesday
Paul stops by SuperEnlightenMe, a blog for spirituality and self-help, for a surprise guest post! Find out more about Paul and Original Faith today.
September 18, 2009 Friday
Today Paul reveals how exercise can give do more than improve your physical health in Running as a Spiritual Exercise.
September 21, 2009 Monday
Paul stops by our friend Jan Lundy's blog, Awake is Good, for an inspirational interview! I can't wait to see what these two will chat about. Join in on the discussion today.
September 22, 2009 Tuesday
Stop by Diary of a Smart Chick today for a book review and interview with Paul Martin. Plus, enter to win a free copy of Original Faith!
September 25, 2009 Friday
Samantha Clark, of Day By Day Writer, talks to Paul Martin about the challenges he faced while writing Original Faith.
September 29, 2009 Tuesday
Paul stops by Mary Jo Campbell's blog, Writers Inspired, for an exclusive interview on the topic of "What Your Life is Trying to Tell You." Stop by today for the lively discussion and enter to win a copy of Original Faith!
October 8, 2009 Thursday
Stop by Jerri Ann Reason's blog, Mom-E-Centric, today for a guest post by Paul Martin, author of Original Faith.
We may have several more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.
We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.
If you have a blog or website and would like to participate in Paul Martin's blog tour, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: email@example.com
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Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Paul's book Original Faith: What Your Life is Trying To Tell You.