Read Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong by John O'Donohue Online


There is a divine restlessness in the human heart, our eternal echo of longing that lives deep within us and never lets us settle for what we have or where we are.In this exquisitely crafted and inspirational book, John O'Donohue, author of the bestseller Anam Cara, explores the most basic of human desires - the desire to belong, a desire that constantly draws us toward neThere is a divine restlessness in the human heart, our eternal echo of longing that lives deep within us and never lets us settle for what we have or where we are.In this exquisitely crafted and inspirational book, John O'Donohue, author of the bestseller Anam Cara, explores the most basic of human desires - the desire to belong, a desire that constantly draws us toward new possibilities of self-discovery, friendship, and creativity....

Title : Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong
Author :
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ISBN : 9780060955588
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong Reviews

  • Julie Christine
    2019-02-05 08:06

    Some books simply find you. They enter your life at the right time, when you are most in need of and receptive to hearing their message. This book. My soul. The Universe recognized what I needed and offered up these words in response. I've been aware of John O'Donohue's work for some time: I have a collection of his poetry, gifted by a dear friend, that I dip into and feel embraced by; I've been to a writing residency at Anam Cara in southwest Ireland, named for one of his works of essays and reflections. But it wasn't until I read a quote in the amazing weekly newsletter of curated wisdom, Maria Popova's Brain Pickings (you must subscribe, you simply must) that I learned of Eternal Echoes and knew it was the book for me, at this time, in this place. There is a divine restlessness in the human heart. Though our bodies maintain an outer stability and consistency, the heart is an eternal nomad. No circle of belonging can ever contain all the longings of the human heart. As Shakespeare said, we have “immortal longings.” All human creativity issues from the urgency of longing. That quote has become the centerpiece of the talk I give at author readings, for it speaks not only to the central themes of my novel, but to the themes playing out in my life. Eternal Echoes is about coming to terms with the emptiness inherent to one's soul, an emptiness we seek to fill with religion or drugs, love or work, instead of accepting that it is the very space inside we need, in order to grow into our compassion, our true selves. There is something within you that no one or nothing else in the world is able to meet or satisfy. When you recognize that such unease is natural, it will free you from getting on the treadmill of chasing ever more temporary and partial satisfactions. This eternal longing will always insist on some door remaining open somewhere in all the shelters where you belong. When you befriend this longing, it will keep you awake and alert to why you are here on earth. For this reader, acknowledging and living with this longing has been a particularly painful and recent exploration. I am a problem-solver by nature and when something is off, when my soul is akilter, my instinct is to root out the source of the maladjustment and fix it. It's hard to accept that I need to sit with my discomfort and listen to what it is trying tell me. Most of the activity in society is subconsciously designed to quell the voice crying in the wilderness within you. The mystic Thomas à Kempis said that when you go out into the world, you return having lost some of yourself. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary.By necessity, I have been spending a lot of time "in society" lately, losing bits of myself along the way. And the more time I spend engaged in society, the more Fernando Pessoa's lament from The Book of Disquiet (yet another collection of wisdoms that has found its way to me at the right time): my “passions and emotions (are) lost among more visible kinds of achievement.” Eternal Echoes is informed by Celtic mysticism and a fluid Christian theology. Although I am not a Christian and actively avoid anything that smacks of faith-based advice, O'Donohue's approach is philosophical rather than theological. It is something akin to gnosticism, that compels the individual to be an active participant in her own journey to wholeness, not a blind believer in an all-powerful god. He writes of allowing in vulnerability, for vulnerability leads to wonder, and wonder leads to seeking, and seeking leads to growth, and growth makes room for everyone else. Dog-eared and underlined and highlighted and journaled, Eternal Echoes enters my library of go-to soulcatchers, along with the writings of Richard Hugo, Rilke and Pessoa, Woolf, Didion and Solnit: writers who understand what it means to allow in the darkness and sit tight while it slowly becomes light.

  • Avonlea Rose
    2019-02-03 01:03

    Does anyone else read a book, then can't decide whether they loved it or hated it? Sometimes I bounce between a 2-star and a 4-star rating and I wonder what other people must be thinking that I keep changing it. But I imagine I'm not the only who has that issue when reading a certain book. For me, this was one of those books that I can't quite make my mind up on. "Eternal Echoes" is a collection of poetical reflections on spirituality in the modern world and human desires for longing and belonging. It reads in a very stream-of-conscious style, which is part of its charm, but I also felt at times it may have been edited more thoroughly: O'Donohue might have reconsidered a turn of phrase or expressed something more succinctly. He rambles at length on a certain idea, then is brief with another. He employs certain words or phrases too frequently, and sometimes he introduces description of the Native landscape and mythos in Ireland in a way that is not totally seamless - repeating multiple times that this is in the West of Ireland, when it might have done enough if O'Donohue had only said once that this is where he hails from. But I was not at all put off by this. Rather, I felt I struggled with "Eternal Echoes," because I do not quite agree with all of the opinions expressed within it. While much of the book reflects genuine personal insight and some beautiful notions upon prayer and desire, some of this book could best be described as a type of Catholic pop-psychology, which is fascinating because O'Donohue also rebukes both fundamentalism and popular psychology in this book. Perhaps O'Donohue just could not quite get out of their grasp, in spite of perceiving their limitations. He still finds himself expressing on multiple occasions the idea that people can acquire not only spiritual healing, but a physical and material healing, if only they were dutiful to God and learned to see their suffering as a Divine lesson - something that has its reflection in the field of psychology, where people are made to believe they can achieve good health and wealth through simply thinking more positively. He pens that nobody would be lonesome if only they could be more generous, which itself seems austere and belies that generosity must be a shared activity. A particularly troubling element for me is that he also employs language which segregates - we should pity the poor, he writes, and children who have been abused and have lost their way; and we should pray for prostitutes. He does not seem to consider that such persons could, in fact, be reading his book. He keeps "them" at an arms length -to be pitied, but not included. Almost ironically, it was yet his ideas of the loss of a shared identity and whole community in the modern world that touched me; and this created a real conflict for me in reading this. It also felt at times that O'Donohue moved away from the really meaningful and personally-felt insights that make this book so endearing and illuminating, and resorted yet to his role as lecturer: becoming suddenly a preacher, he proffers advice on illness with a type of authority, although it seems clear he has no such experience of living with a life-long illness or disability. He often writes imperatively, as if we are not here just to listen to his reflections, but, rather, *must* listen to him.The above said, I will also say I really enjoyed the selection of quotations that O'Donohue included among the pages; and I also appreciated the Blessings he included at the end of each chapter. These added something special, I thought, to the work: a thoughtful touch that gave it finesse.So this book was not a complete loss, but I would also suggest approaching it with a certain level of caution - that not everything O'Donohue says is necessarily all that could be hoped for; and, while sometimes very striking and beautiful when he locates an authentic notion, and, while O'Donohue may have tried to transcend common limitations in religion and psychology, it seems to suffer still from a limited and biased perspective that does not quite make it completely past the grasps of fundamentalist and popular ideas.Notes:pg. 113, on "The Prison of Shame" - provides example of where O'Donohue mistakenly segregates where he tries to create tolerance. He writes, "Imagine the years of silent torment so many gay people have endured, unable to tell their secret." He continues, "Think of the victims of racism: lovely people who are humiliated and tagged for hostility." At the bottom of the page, he also chooses to describe victims of sexual violence similarly, failing to write towards but of them: "When a person is sexually abused or raped, she often feel great shame at what happened to her." pg. 161-162 on "When Sorrows Come, They Come Not Single Spies, but in Battalions" - This essay, and the one proceeding, show some of the insensitive language I refer to above. O'Donohue writes that, "Often the flame of pain can have a cleansing effect and burn away the dross that has accumulated around your life. It is difficult to accept that what you are losing is what is used, what you no longer need."pg. 233-234 on "Brittle Language Numbs Longing" - This essay, and the one following, is one of the areas of this book where O'Donohue begins to successfully nibble around the edges of popular psychology, speaking about how the field's jargon is so ill-suited to describe humanity: "When your experience is rich and diverse, it has a beautifully intricate inner weaving. You know that no analysis can hold a candle to the natural majesty and depth of even the most ordinary moment in the universe." He describes the language of psychology as "brittle" and "disembodied." "One such powerful term is 'process,'" he writes about how we talk of "processing" emotions. "In many cases, 'processing' has become a disease; it is now the way in which many people behave towards themselves. This term has no depth or sacredness. 'Processing' is a mechanical term: there are processed peas and beans. The tyranny of processing reveals a gaping absence of soul." He continues: "Such terminology is blasphemous; it belongs to the mechanical word."pg. 198 on "Wonder Invites Mystery to Come Closer" - is another area of the book where O'Donohue attacks the language of popular psychology. "This jargon has no colour and no resonance of any mystery, opaqueness, or possibility. Real wonder about your soul demands words which [...] would be imaginative and suggestive of the depths of the unknown within you. Unlike the fashionable graffiti of fast-food psychology, they hold the reverence to which mystery is entitled."

  • Writerful Books
    2019-02-11 01:46

    This is not a book you simply read from cover to cover. There is so much timeless wisdom contained in this book that you will often find yourself pausing to reflect on what has been said time and time again. Totally appealed to my Celtic soul. I can't praise this book enough.

  • Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya
    2019-01-21 03:06

    ~GREEN PASTURES OF BELONGING~I wrote down about 40 pages of quotes from this book during the month of reading it. If I read it with a yellow highlighter instead, there would be no page left unmarked. For all the brilliance of meaning and artful writing of separate sentences and passages, the whole landscape of the book stayed covered in thick fog for me. "Perhaps, I do not embrace my longing and deny my need of belonging, and thus cannot see clearly," I would joke, routinely, over the weeks of marinating in the atmosphere of soulful writing and deeper than my conscious comprehension messages of the philosopher. I was advised to switch off my logic and read with the heart, knowing that whatever my soul craves from this book, it will open up to. It helped; though I connected (read: understood) chapters on suffering and grief the most.The foundation of O'Donohue's book lays in ancient Celtic teachings and mysteries with added flavors of theosophy, spirituality and Hegel's influence. Thus the study of longing and belonging becomes larger than life and connects itself in a never-ending circle of the snake, biting its tail, to conclude that we are shuffling God out of our lives and until we bring Him back in, we'll never belong fully and never satisfy our immense longings in all the areas of life and beyond. The book dives into the meanings of presence (the flame of longing), suffering (the dark valley of broken belonging), prayer (a bridge between longing and belonging), and absence (where longing still lingers).This deep and beautiful book is full of many-layered wonders and gems. It lullabies the reader into its embrace. It does not give simple answers on what "belonging" is, but gives you enough material to create your own house of understanding.Especially, if you are willing to take time with the book and your own inner dialogue.Which I should do once again, on a re-read, in hope of connecting the dots and stepping out of the fog onto the green pastures of belonging to Self and the Universe of Spirit.Victoria Evangelina

  • Cliff
    2019-01-27 07:05

    Mr. O'Donohue, in his masterful book - Eternal Echoes, takes you on an exquisitely organized, vastly scenic, interpretive journey through the corridors of the human soul. His profound knowledge and sensitivities in the realm of the human condition are astounding; And the language with which he chooses to impart these insights to the reader, is equally fantastic. With lyric like imagery, he weaves words that touch the senses like beautiful music - pure literary excellence!"It takes a lifetime of slow work to find a rhythm of thinking which reflects and articulates the uniqueness of your soul" - John O'DonohueEternal Echoes will forever rattle around in the brain, helping you gain a better understanding of others and, more importantly, a better understanding of yourself! READ this book! It will move you, amaze you, and give you a new appreciation of what it means to be human!

  • Karunagrace
    2019-01-24 08:47

    I just love John O'Donohue's writing. His gently probing reflections, woven with rich Celtic and Catholic learning and a love of language, combine to form a deepening meditation that spirals inward and outward at the same time. You feel like you are participating in or witnessing his creative thought process, and that he enjoys the process, and the process itself brings new insights to light. Eternal Echoes is about the soul's deep thirst for belonging, or "Being and Longing, the longing of our Being and the being of our Longing." He reflects on the shapes this longing takes and the ways in which it can--and cannot--be satisfied in earthly life. "The heart is an eternal nomad," he says. When I read this book I wanted to quote big chunks of it on a myspace page I didn't have. If nothing else, read the beautiful introduction; the whole book is encapsulated there anyway.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-01 03:57

    Like Anam Cara the words in this book just washed over me soothingly, making me receptive to the ideas contained within. It gave me some insight into where that 'search to belong' comes from and what to expect from the world in terms of an answer.

  • Amy
    2019-02-11 01:00

    This was a somewhat disappointing read but not without it's strong points. The main theme was the cohabitation of longing and belonging in the human experience. It explored the role of both feelings and the importance of a balance between them. I would not recommend this book for its theology as it seems to advance a nominally Christian, watery sort of spiritualism. However, some meditations and thoughts were insightful and worthwhile never the less. The strongest sections were the sections on longing and belonging and the first part of the section on absence. However, the book's greatest shortcoming is that it is much longer than it needs to be. In my opinion the best sections could be made into a book half it's size and even those sections have a tendency to ramble on long after they have exhausted their message. I did pick up a new favorite quote: "To be here is so much."

  • Victoria
    2019-02-12 08:58

    Some books are to be returned to again & again, and this is one of them. I picked this up in a charity shop and I had no idea what to expect from it. I quickly fell in love with John's reflections and deep insights, drawn from the Celtic way of life; his simple, honest and engaging writing style; and his ability to conjure up vivid imagery and analogies to transmit his wisdom in a way that is accessible to anyone. His humility, understanding and love of life come through on every page, as well as the solace and inspiration he found in the Irish landscape. There is so much in this, it is hard to capture it in a few words, but it is simply a source of impeccable wisdom from a beautiful soul.

  • Emily
    2019-02-06 07:43

    This is my fourth John O'Donohue book, and I'm continually amazed at the depth and breadth of wisdom his books encompass. Reading them is like reading a long, beautiful prayer. It is so sad to think he died so young. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to understand their place in the world.

  • Lcord
    2019-02-17 06:42

    One of those books I've read and reread. John O'donohue had such a beautiful soul. So sad that he died so young. He had much to teach and share

  •  Julie
    2019-02-01 06:58

    a wonderful meditation read

  • Laura Uplinger
    2019-02-15 05:51

    A soulful symphony of thought. An essential read for those who love flights of freedom in the realm of longing and belonging.

  • Angela Joyce
    2019-02-18 08:55

    This is an extraordinary work. The man possessed unusual insights and had such a way of expressing them. I'm sorry there won't be more books from him, but I intend to read all his existing work.

  • Myat Thura Aung
    2019-01-26 05:02

    These celtic spiritual reflections on Longing and Belonging are poetic, lyrical and at times mystical in a beautiful way … BUT ,of course , contains pseudo-profound mumbo jumbos and fallacious arguments based on emotion (not a surprising thing as the author holds the inner sense and emotions [inner wisdom] sacred and modern logical analysis rather mechanical and too shallow )

  • Lise Pomerleau
    2019-01-21 01:48

    My favourite O'Donohue yet. As I read, I kept thinking how sad it is that he died so young. Taken too soon. So much depth, power and beauty in this book. A treasure-trove of meaning and messages for the soul. I have post-its throughout. I will read it again and again, I am sure.

  • Rob & Liz
    2019-01-30 04:42

    This is a book that can not be rushed through. I read it almost like meditations. John O’Donoghue was so wise and understood spirituality.

  • Laura Luzzi
    2019-01-22 01:44

    This man hypnotizes me with his words. His deep knowledge of the human condition is stunning. I yearn to hear more. What a great lose that he is not here to teach us more.

  • Alison
    2019-01-20 05:47

    I love John O'Donohue, and it is hard not to love his work. But as with any love relationship, one must exercise virtues of patience with qualities not fitting of their idealized image of the love object. John's writing can be so richly textured and thick that it at times must be taken in small doses. The beginning of the book had me enthralled, and I wonder if this was due to starting it at a time when I was overtaken with longing; a significant time of transition in which I was in need of explanation for the aching in my heart and soul. For these deep questions O'Donohue is a master and wise counsel; a voice in the wilderness. But the poetical waxing and waning when one is not fully ready to engage in this matter can be a bit daunting and at times cumbersome. I meandered through the last two thirds of the book, finding inspiration once again towards the end. I consider his work to be like a meditation; an exercise in mindfulness and depth. I've actually started re-reading it and am already underlining new sentences; gleaning jewels that escaped me the first time around. As with any love relationship, when it is good, it doesn't get any better.

  • Christopher Marcus
    2019-01-21 06:57

    This is not as good a book as Anam Cara, which was nearly perfection incarnate if you are looking for a combo of practical wisdom, philosophical reflection and poetic beauty. But it comes close. I bought this one when my father-in-law had died and I am reading it again now that my mother has cancer - again. John's words aren't particularly focused on death and illness, although these are topics he does not shy away from. But his words are just there - for all life situations - to reveal the inner light in all things, if I may put it so. He simply makes you feel beautiful and uplifted inside, when you read what he has to say about life, love, death, longing and all the other threads in the tapestry of our journey.

  • Anita Zinn
    2019-02-19 08:52

    10-31-12I was touched by this author's way of expressing our deeper thoughts.Martins 1.Somewhere, out at the edges, the nightIs turning and the waves of darknessBegin to brighten the shores of dawn.The heavy dark falls back to earthAnd the freed air goes wild to light,The heart fills with fresh, bright breathAnd thoughts stir to give birth to colour. 11I arise today..............Urgency of thought,Miracle of healthMay I live this dayCompassion of heart,Gentle in word,Gracious in awareness,Courageous in thought,Generous in love.

  • Gloria
    2019-02-13 00:48

    Lovely, philosophical exploration of spiritual and social though not necessarily religious issues. O'Donohue is an Irish poet, philosopher and Catholic scholar and while this is not overtly Irish or Catholic, these influences are present. He meanders through life and death, solitude and purpose, and other aspects of life. This is a book to return to for further insight. Can be read and put down, only to pick it up again later.

  • Chris
    2019-02-02 05:54

    Some very interesting ideas and perspectives with regard to self exploration and understanding but almost no reasoned thought or conclusions to them. There was very little to do with Celtic history, religion, and culture as well as a large number of contradictions and paradoxical statements within the text making it read more like a monotheistic fairy tail then something philosophical or scholarly. As such I have a hard time recommending this book, unless the above described is what your after.

  • Joyce
    2019-02-14 06:02

    Another wise and beautiful book ... here is a quote:Our hunger to belong is the longing to find a bridge across the distance from isolation to intimacy. Everyone longs for intimacy and dreams of a nest of belonging in which one is embraced, seen and loved. Something within each of us cries out for belonging. We can have all the world has to offer in terms of status, achievement, and possessions. yet without a sense of belonging it all seems empty and pointless.

  • Patricia
    2019-02-18 04:06

    I love John O'Donohue and wish I could sit across from him in front of a warm hearth as we discuss the fertile dynamism that exists between longing and belonging. Sadly, as that is not possible, I will have to settle for spending time with him through his books. This one is densely packed with wisdom and is probably best read in bits over a span of weeks or months so that his reflections can be processed and savored.

  • Laura
    2019-02-05 02:43

    I love this book so much- it is one I will keep by my bedside to read again and again. John O' Donohue was a modern day Sage and Wise Man. He died tragically young, but we are so blessed to be left with his beautiful encouraging words.

  • Jennie C-knight
    2019-02-16 03:08

    Excellent. Very deep and the sort of devotional book that you need to read in small parts and come back to frequently. Good to keep on your bedside table. Its a bit too rich to have all at once, like too much chocolate!Jennie CK

  • Simon
    2019-01-27 03:03

    Vintage O'Donohue. Paced and poetic, a delightful excursion in language and imagery, this book slowly works on the reader. It draws you into a slower more ponderous time where we look more carefully, listen more deeply and chew over the narrative to savour it.

  • Paul Fadoju
    2019-02-01 07:40

    This book is wholesome; finding that home is within yourself and how you perceive your friends, family and little things that comes into your life......John weaved a nice pattern for all men to follow to wholeness.

  • Andrine Morse
    2019-02-03 05:03

    Not to be missed. Beautifully lyrical ... filled with memory and longing.