Official Review by Mallory Whitaker of: Finding Heaven in the Dark

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of: “Finding Heaven in the Dark” by William L. Ingram.]  Review by Mallory Whitaker

Have you ever felt like your mind is working against you? That you are too bogged down by negative thoughts about both you and the people around you? That you are your own worst enemy? In his spiritual memoir, Finding Heaven in the Dark, William L. Ingram explores the idea of the “enemy mind” and how he has conquered his through the lost art of Christian Meditation.

The book is divided into two parts. The narrative is nonlinear, but the author does it in such a way that it’s not difficult to know when and where things are taking place. Ingram’s natural storytelling abilities coupled with his casual tone makes the narrative flow effortlessly. Ingram is personable and relatable.

The reader first meets Ingram when he’s twenty-one years old and has turned himself into the U.S. Marine Corps after three years of being AWOL. This is also the first time he communicates with his family after three years of silence. It’s a modern version of the Prodigal Son. The book explores the psychological effects of events and relationships during his childhood and how these led him to join, and eventually leave, the Marines. The largest portion of the book focuses on the three years he spent at a skid-row mission in Los Angeles. Here he redefines his religion and makes leaps and bounds on the road to self-discovery and redemption.

The novel takes place during the tumultuous 1960’s; this provides the book with a colorful setting. Ingram is a young African-American male trying to find his way during a time when so many are trying to redefine not only themselves, but the American culture. He explores things like racism (which he faults both sides for), the hippie movement, a group I was unaware of called “Freaks for Jesus”, and the effects of the Vietnam War on the American psyche. All of this leads to Ingram being surrounded by very colorful characters who bring this rich history to life. It also illustrates that Ingram isn’t the only wayward spirit in a rush to identify himself without first learning who he is. This journey of self-discovery is a prominent theme in this book, especially in Part II.

In Part I, Ingram is shown as both the best and worst versions of himself. First, there’s the reformed Ingram turning himself in to face the music (and his family). Then there’s the immature Ingram who left the Marines, his family, and frequently succumbed his vice of choice. This juxtaposition effectively shows just how far he’s come during those three years. The flashbacks to his youth show the reader everything they need to know about how Ingram came to be the disillusioned, bitter and self-conscious person he was prior to his discovery of Christian Meditation.

The author’s knowledge, passion, and colorful life story make for a truly intriguing read.

I would recommend this book to readers who are exploring Christianity and/or meditation, enjoy reading stories reminiscent of the Prodigal Son, or are trying to find ways to cope with their own inner demons and seek an inner peace.

Official Review by Mallory Whitaker of: Finding Heaven in the Dark, A Memoir by William L. Ingram

Excerpt from THE HUNGRY I – Chapter 11 page 267

Finding Heaven In The Dark

Excerpt from THE HUNGRY I – Chapter 11 page 267

When the group wasn’t talking about sex, cars, or sports, the subject returned to race. Naturally, I endeavored to elevate the conversation. I believed that I had a lot to contribute, because I was an expert on the subject. After all, I grew up among all types of people and was an insider and outsider in both white and black groups. More importantly, though, I had an objective insight I loved to share.

The dispute erupted after three days of rain kept us inside. The chemistry among incarcerated youths is always fluid and can easily turn incendiary with the right provocation.

“Hey ya’ll,” Leon shouted during a quiet moment in the dorm. “No white boys on any teams, starting tomorrow!” he finished with an arrogant gesture. Most of us looked up from what we were doing and laughed nervously. Leon’s taunting statement was made to get a reaction, but we did not take it seriously.

“Nah, nah, nah, ya’ll, I’m not jokin’. If I see a white boy playin’ basketball when we’re on the court, I’m gonna kick his ass!” Leon threatened slowly, so there would be no misunderstanding. With Ted on my team, this was a direct shot at me. I decided to make it a teaching episode and be philosophical regarding the racial topic that we were repeatedly drawn to.

“Race is an illusion,” I said to get everyone’s attention. “Racial classifications, ethnic groups, even nationalities are all artificial barriers that men created to divide people.”

“That’s bullshit, man,” Leon shot back. “You’re talkin’ outta your ass!”

“It sounds far out, I know. We identify races, nationalities, and ethnic groups; yet, they develop from natural selection. Negro blood, Oriental blood, and Caucasian blood are all the same! Unless you note skin color or facial characteristics, there are no distinctions among us. We share the same fluids and organs! That means we’re all the same human beings in reality, in God’s sight,” I concluded my message, and arguments broke out around the room.

“Niggers been catchin’ hell from the white man for three-hundred years, and that shit ends now! Leon shouted. “No white dudes on the court!” he added and gestured. “It’s simple! You come on the court while the black brothers are playin’, and your white ass gets kicked,” he ended his rant; it was followed by a chorus of laughs from his stooges.

“That’s wrong,” I said, as all eyes looked my way.

“Well, you don’t have nothin’ to say about it. You’re just a part time brother anyway! You can’t hang with the whites and the blacks! You need to dig yourself, bro, ‘cause the revolution is comin!’” Leon said, as he walked toward me.

Community Reviews From Book Bub Readers

From Book Bub Readers

Community Reviews of:

Finding Heaven In The Dark

A Memoir

4 stars

I appreciated this man’s honest account of his life journey including thoughts on faith. He does not tow the traditional church line.

5 stars

Loved it! Wow, what a man, what a life. Read it.
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Inspirational
Romantic
Realistic
Tragic
Wonderful characters

5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book. It kept my attention and is very well written. No problem following along with author.
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Easy-to-read
Realistic

TRUE LOVE HEALS by William L. Ingram

TRUE LOVE HEALS

Is the love you take equal to the love you make? Are you keeping score? After a tragedy we’re prompted to hug those we love to show that we cherish them. The routine “goodbye” and “have a nice day” take on a sacred significance when we try to infuse them with our love.
What about the stranger or the unlovable? They need love just as much as those we care deeply for. Not the phony emotional or sentimental love we confuse with the real thing. No, strangers and hard to love people need a non-judgmental patience that is the closest we humans can come to Godly love.
If we are conscious of the Godly Love that has blessed our own lives we have only to learn to share it with those we contact. There is a price however and that is how we grow in grace and faith. We pay the price of patient love by allowing others to be what they are. We should correct them when required and guide them when requested, but we must be patient and honest enough for them to see God’s Love through us.
We can’t fix others and we shouldn’t condemn them! We are to be the mirror they need to see themselves. In Christianity it’s called loving the Christ in someone even before they are aware of such a presence. True healing love is the being of one human interacting with the being of another in that present moment.
If we shared with others the patience and forgiveness we have for ourselves the World would begin to heal immediately.

William L. Ingram/Author

WHY CAN’T WE GET ALONG? by William L. Ingram

WHY CAN’T WE GET ALONG?

 

Why can’t we get along? Well the short answer is, because we don’t know how to.

“I love humanity, it’s just people I can’t stand” is a famous comic strip quote. It’s humorous and insightful because it reveals the knot of the problem. We like to think of ourselves as loving and kind, unless we suffer an injustice or a thoughtless act. We like the idea of wanting world peace and loving our fellow-man, in the macrocosm, or big picture; but when it comes down to loving other people, it gets complicated. That’s the smaller picture, or microcosm of this dilemma.
We can’t get along because we don’t value the power of forgiveness to change ours or others lives! Far too many of us love the intoxicating emotions of judgement and condemnation of others. It feels so good to justify our anger by putting others down! It gives our ego a sense of aliveness and empowerment of purpose when we decide to put someone “in their place!”
When we feed our anger and outrage this way we are diminishing our true selves, our being. We are keeping alive and growing our dark , negative nature that looks for every opportunity to judge and find fault!The better way is to learn to deal perfectly with imperfect people every day.
To make that a desire of our lives changes our attitude towards life immediately. We still inflict and suffer thoughtless behavior and painful acts, but we see our secret love for anger and we let it go, like a hot ember.
The power of forgiveness let’s us start each day with a new attitude. This new beginning means we still have the memory of a trespass, but no longer feel the pain of guilt or wish for revenge.
William L. Ingram/Author

Why I don’t hate President Trump by William L. Ingram/Author

WHY I DON’T HATE PRESIDENT TRUMP!  by William L. Ingram

This is a reprint of a communication in 2018.
Below is a portion of a letter from a white co-worker and fan of my memoir FINDING HEAVEN IN THE DARK, a book about my early life as a troubled black youth.
Bill,

After reading your book I am at a loss to understand your support of a president who is a liar, a cheat, narcissist, misogynist, and racist, a mean-spirited, amoral human being who is damaging our democracy, the environment and eventually our safety.

I am curious, what do you like about this president?

Sincerely,

                                 Marie-Anne

 

Here is my thoughtful response:

Why I don’t hate President Trump
Dear Marie Anne,

Thank you so much for the wonderful words of praise you shared about my book! I appreciate your enthusiasm and inspiring others to read it.

Now to your question:
You certainly put a lot of ugly baggage onto President Trump. I recognize your list because it is the same one almost everyone who hates this man recites as evidence that he is totally unqualified and unfit to be President of the United States. I appreciate your sincere desire to hear my point of view, along with that of nearly 50% of our country, about why we support this President.

In advance we must agree to respectfully disagree about this subject. Neither of us will probably change the others mind with our arguments. Since you and I have a friendly relationship beyond our cultural and political differences we have refused to allow those differences to poison our respect for each other.

First let me say that I honestly see the same man who you and others see. I see a man who is my age, who is egotistical, arrogant, pugnacious, and can be mean-spirited and vindictive! I also see a man who has uncommon sense, intuition, graciousness, and loyalty to those who he admires as hard-working, honest, tough-minded people like himself! Donald Trump talks from his “stream of consciousness”. He says almost everything and anything that flows into his active mind, and this often gets him into trouble, especially with his humorless critics. Does he exaggerate at times? YES, and he should be called out on it as should every other politician who twists the facts to impress.

Basically Donald J. Trump is America! He personifies the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY about this country. He also represents every facet of human nature that we ALL share! Those who can’t see this is true are blinded by their emotional anger and hatred of him. They don’t see him as just WRONG – they believe him to be EVIL, and as such he is worthy of HATE!

A short history recap:
Donald Trump has been a high-profile business man and public figure for 40 years. He inherited Millions and turned it into Billions of dollars. He survived and even thrived in the rough and tough Manhattan, New York real estate development market. He became the toast of the town. He also at times seemed like a clown with a big ego to match his bank account. He was a Playboy and a self-absorbed narcissist. He also had a keen mind and some very insightful opinions about America and the World if you’ve seen his early interviews with Oprah.

He was never called a Racist, (until he decided to run for President), although he had a racist business practice that he was justifiably sued over. Like most men, and especially powerful and wealthy men, he attracted women and he used them.That is a terrible flaw that many consenting adults engage in. By that standard President Kennedy and President Clinton would also be considered misogynistic.

Trump was a New York Liberal Democrat for many years, but he slowly became more conservative as America began losing the Culture War. I didn’t know if I could trust his decision to run for president as a Republican. I was always an Independent voter who didn’t vote in primaries until I watched as Trump demolished his opponents. I liked Ted Cruz and Ben Carson but thought Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio was a lock. I even liked Carly Fiorina for her business like approach. But Trump made them all seem small because they were not going to take on the ruling political class which is what many of us have waited for! He was ruthless and awkward, but also refreshingly honest and very insightful during the debates. He was also fearless! He reminded me of General George Patton during WWII. He was rude and crude but used logic, skill, and bold common sense to explain his views on problems. I and 60 million other Americans were impressed. He knew who he was and was unapologetic. He also was unapologetic about Americas history and role in the world!

HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE AND THE SHORT ANSWER:

America is in the midst of a CULTURE WAR. Over the last 4 decades our country has been torn between forces of elite Liberalism and political correctness; and the forces of Conservatism and Traditional American values. Without congressional term limits our country has become dominated and controlled by career politicians of both Democrat and Republican Parties! These politicians, academicians, and liberal intelligentsia have controlled the information and direction of news and views for years. In modern times all of our Presidents have come from THE ESTABLISHMENT-The Ruling Elite. Most have been lawyers, who often have the common sense educated out of them until they become talking heads afraid to make a decision without a consensus or a compromise! (Every Congressperson wants to become a Senator and all Senators think they could be President.) Some of us saw President Obama as a Trojan Horse, or even a Manchurian Candidate who was a change agent for the forces of chaos that are determined to weaken and undermine our institutions and rule of law. We believe he succeeded masterfully to achieve his goal over 8 years.

Donald Trump was the Avenger many Americans wanted to finally stop our national slide towards European socialism and disrupt the rule by the Political Class! He may not have been the best person to do this, but we could only choose from those who offered themselves for service. This is why he is still popular among his supporters. He is doing the things he promised to do, unlike most politicians, and he is a fighter! He is hated by the Establishment Ruling Class because they are out of power for the time being. He is brash and vulgar and he fights like a Democrat. We may be ashamed or embarrassed by something he says, but it’s his deeds that we are judging him on, unlike his critics! He loves this country. He insults anyone regardless of race, creed, religion, ethnicity, or color! He has exposed the American Press as small-minded, thin-skinned lap dogs of the Democrat Party instead of being Watch Dogs for the American People!

President Donald Trump is a man, with the same passions and poisons that we all carry through this life. He is a sinner who needs forgiveness, and a leader who needs our prayers. This is an ugly world, with some of the worst people, of many countries, rising to the top to take power from the people. The forces of darkness want to weaken the United States by taking advantage of our culture war, and they may eventually succeed. At last we feel like we have someone who is fighting for common sense solutions to the problems our own government creates.

Donald John Trump is America, personified. He is the generous America and the ugly America. He is all the best qualities of our country, and some of our worst, embodied in one man who is not a political animal or a Washington Swamp Creature. That’s what I like. Someone who can bring order out of chaos without demanding that each American give up their constitutional rights. He could be a better President, and some of us are trying to help him with that, but he’s the only President we have now. May God Bless him and our country during these difficult days.

William L. Ingram/Author https://twitter.com/WLIngramAuthor

“Free thinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.

Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy (Russian Thinker)

View more on William L. Ingram’s website »

https://williamlingram.com/

 

Secrets of a Parallel Universe:Facing Our Deepest Problems………….

BOOKS TO READ!

Secrets of a Parallel Universe: Facing Our Deepest Problems is the Key to Ultimate Personal Success & Happiness

Preview
Secrets of a Parallel Universe: Facing Our Deepest Problems is the Key to Ultimate Personal Success & Happiness
by Roy Masters (Goodreads Author)

The notion of a parallel universe has intrigued the human mind for millennia. This book, however, is not about science fiction; it is about real life. Indeed, Jesus Christ himself, the most “real” human being that ever existed, spoke of the “Kingdom of Heaven” almost as though it were another dimension–a parallel universe.

21073151

William L. Ingram’s Review:

This entire volume is one of Roy’s best and most insightful books!

Happiness is an inside job that begins with honest self awareness. This excellent book reveals the purpose and practice of the Judeo-Christian “Be Still and Know” meditation practice that saved and enriched my life for over 50 years. The author guides the sincere searcher through the emotional mind tricks that keep us captives of self destructive behavior, and he reveals the way to observe our deepest problems and find emotional and spiritual sanity in a maddening world. A must read!
William L. Ingram/Author

GET A COPY
AmazonOnline Stores ▾Libraries
Kindle Edition, 190 pages
Published April 8th 2012

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007SPIUFC/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sin?

 

William Reviews: Christian Meditation by James Finley

Christian Meditation

Christian Meditation by James Finley

 Enter a Monastery Without Walls

Christian Meditation introduces an ancient practice to a contemporary audience. James Finley, a former monk and student of Thomas Merton, presents the fundamentals of both understanding and practicing Christian meditation. He provides simple, helpful instructions, as well as explaining the deeper connection with the divine that meditation can bring. Above all, he makes clear that the aim of meditation is to allow us to experience divine contemplation — the presence of God.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9630666-christian-meditation

Review by: William L. Ingram

Beautifully written and insightful images of Christian inspired meditation!

Inspired by the great spiritual master, Thomas Merton, the author truly immersed himself into the purpose and promise of the search for God through Christian meditation. Besides a fascinating journey into the life of a monastery we are blessed with the authors gift of deep spiritual insights captured in concepts that are beautifully presented. Thank you for inspiring so many towards the inward search for enlightenment.
@WLIngramAuthor

GOODREADS: ASKS THE AUTHOR

Ask the Author: William L. Ingram

“Ask me a question.”

Spoiler Alert as William answers Norahs’ question:

Dear Norah,

To answer your questions in order:

I did eventually return to L.A. and tried to continue with my musical interest, but after 9 months I returned to CT. to be with a girl I had met. This answers questions 1 & 2.

I don’t attend a church, although I have gone when invited and for other reasons. I still have a strong resistance to “Churchianity”, but I don’t berate people about it. I actually believe that Church organizations still serve a useful purpose and are part of God’s plan.

Man’s Pride and confusion have created all the religions and denominations that exist. The modern church should be more like a spiritual hospital or a walk-in clinic where broken and wounded people can find others to help them find healing and point them in the right direction. Sadly they want to turn seekers into “club members” and clones!

Once you find the Light of Christ and God, your intuition and conscience will guide you if you are committed to self-honesty and repentance!

Thank you for your questions and for reading my book!

 

What mystery in your own life could be a plot for a book?

 In my memoir FINDING HEAVEN IN THE DARK I actually do wrestle with the mystery of my unwed birth. The aftermath of my birth in 1949 and the decision by my mother and Grandmother to allow me to grow up without that knowledge effected my troubled teen years profoundly. The web of deceit and evasion was never meant to be malicious, but my life view confusion was still the outcome. The happy ending never happens but I grow and learn to forgive all of us for being human.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

 As a recently published author everything about the experience has been wonderful for me. It’s been stressful, but in a good way that’s made me have to stretch and reach within myself to respond to family, friends and others when they learn about the book. I am very pleased with the finished product but also with the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing such an endeavor.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Anyone who reads my book will see that I had ideas of becoming a writer after falling in love with books by Jack London. Even though I was a troubled youth I attended good public schools and understood the value of learning proper English and sentence structure. Another thing I recount in the book was how I worked to strengthen my vocabulary at every opportunity. All life experience can be valuable to a future writer if they learn to be objective to all aspects of every situation.

What are you currently working on?

 I am currently learning to market my book in the 21st century. I have a lot of opinions and insights that I enjoy sharing so I am anxious to begin producing a BLOG that I hope will also expose readers to my memoir.

How do you get inspired to write?

I resisted writing my story because of the embarrassing elements that I had to reveal about myself. I had willingly shared my early difficulties with others one on one but exposing myself to the public at large seemed frightening. I always believed that my story had tremendous value for the right person so I did actually start putting pen to paper during the winter of 2006. Off and on over the next few winters I became more convinced that it was a worthwhile project to complete.

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

 From my own early life experience. Because my memoir is focused around my mid to late teens I had a lot of material to draw from and much of it was unflattering, however the eventual healing of my soul that occurred as a result of my personal odyssey has continued to bless me in countless ways.

Thank you for your questions,

William L. Ingram/Author

 

CAN PEOPLE CHANGE?

CAN PEOPLE CHANGE?

 “I don’t believe people can change,” said the character in a T V program I was watching, “but I have seen it happen,” he added.


People can change for the better, but so few do. You know the ones I’m talking about. I was one of them. Our poor choices and bad decisions grind us down into a dark existence that only experiences temporary relief through escapes. We become bitter instead of better.

Some people just become addicted to their misery! They whine and complain but won’t take any real positive action to change and mature. People can and do change in a positive way but it often comes after or during a life altering event.

My own story in Finding Heaven In The Dark pivots around my virtual collapse in spirit and health at the end of my rebellious odyssey. Conditions forced me to see myself stripped of all pretense. I was naked emotionally and empty spiritually. Being humbled with a contrite heart and a teachable mind was the catalyst for change I needed. Whether you call it rebirth or awakened consciousness a vital connection with Divine Reality ( GOD) has taken place and your life will never be the same. That’s change you can believe in!

The “Be Still and Know…” Meditation Exercise I learned to practice prayerfully taught me to find the calming center within myself that works like a neutral zone, where objectivity and patience helped me realize the true purpose of life and forgiveness.

The “Be Still and Know…” Meditation Exercise I learned over 50 years ago is still helping people today. Here’s a link to The Foundation of Human Understanding:

https://www.fhu.com/meditation/

 

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