Interview Original Faith Author
Paul Maurice Martin
Today, I interview Paul Maurice Martin, author of Original Faith: What Your Life Is Trying to Tell You. Paul holds an MA in religious studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School and an M.Ed. in counseling from the University of New Hampshire.
His twenty-three year public school career included special ed, teaching ESL, and counseling. Paul blogs at www.originalfaith.com, where you can learn more about book, author, and download his free eBook, Original Faith: Hard Times Handbook.
Paul's love, light and faith illuminate each page of Original Faith where he shares his compelling personal story and invites us to choose love over ego on our journey home.
First let's look at what others are saying about Original Faith:
"Paul Martin's profound and original book, which speaks from first hand experience, offers an experienced guide and insightful companion to any of us engaged on a spiritual journey."
Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion, Princeton University and author of the best-selling Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas
"Paul Martin brings us an 'original faith' — a new way to think about spiritual experiences. He offers persuasive evidence that we live best when we are present to the wonders of our lives as they unfold.
His story inspires us to do as he did: to turn from despair to hope and love." Rabbi Rebecca Alpert
Hello, Paul, it's so great to have you today with us on The Bold Life.
I'm wondering who has influenced you the most on how you live your life?
I’d have to say that the biggest influence on my adult life was more a matter of “what” than “who.” When I was twenty-three, I had a spontaneous experience of the kind that people often seek through meditation.
It changed my life overnight, setting me on a new course that soon led me to a Trappist monastery where I learned the centering prayer from the late Fr. Basil Pennington. Then it was on to divinity school. Prior to this I didn’t have a particularly religious upbringing and hadn’t studied religion or spirituality.
What books have made a great impact on you?
As a kid and into high school, I was a voracious reader. Getting back to the question of the person who had the biggest impact on me, this was definitely my mom’s doing. She had me reading – and enjoying it – from such a young age that it was never a struggle, just a joy.
I read all kinds of stuff, from classics in children’s literature to contemporary children’s paperbacks that I got from school. By the time I was in high school I was seriously into reading major Russian novelists – I actually read War and Peace for fun!
So more than any single book, I think the quantity and quality of reading that I did from an early age was a huge boost to my language proficiency and critical thinking skills. No one book that I read stands out as having had special influence because of its content.
Can you tell us about your approach to spirituality in your book Original Faith?
Original Faith approaches spiritual growth from the perspective of shared human experience, not belief. It isn't anti-belief; it just doesn't address that topic. There are already plenty of books out there fighting the war over belief in God. For me, it feels more constructive to try to help focus attention on things that unite us.
Original Faith looks at love, faith, work, and the realization of an identity beyond ego. It offers practical suggestions to help readers transform their lives in ways that fulfill the self while enhancing life’s possibilities for others.
Did you have a specific readership in mind as you were writing the book?
I've often heard how important it is to identify your niche and not try to write a book that's "for everybody." But the categories of people I have in mind are pretty broad: believers and nonbelievers!
Believers, because here's a book that can help enrich their lived experience of spirituality. Nonbelievers because Original Faith offers a fresh approach to spiritual truth that doesn't ask them to embrace any belief system that they may find unacceptable.
I understand that you suffer from a serious disability. Can you tell us a bit about how that has affected your life and writing?
I'm in my sixteenth year of a rare progressive illness. For nearly a decade I had to postpone work on the book due to full-time employment combined with extensive medical research, travel, and health insurance struggles.
I was only able to get back to the manuscript when I became too disabled to continue with my counseling career. Today I'm housebound and mostly bedridden.
My disability and intractable pain have taken away many of my life’s joys and opportunities. They’ve also taught me strength and resilience beyond anything that I would have imagined was possible for me.
Most of the creative work on OF was done when I was still healthy. However, the disease certainly deepened my understanding of suffering, and my healthcare battles provided me with first-hand experience of social injustice. I found that these threads wove themselves into Original Faith as I completed the manuscript.
Is there a main message that you hope readers will take away from Original Faith?
That change is possible — that anyone can become someone whose identity is founded on love instead of ego, and go on to develop a first-hand relationship with what some will want to call God and others life or being itself. Each of us can live, in our own ways, for the sake of the whole world.
More raving fans of Original Faith:
"Paul, your book arrived yesterday and I could not put it down. Not finished with it yet though. Your chapter on Love is beautifully written and really struck a chord in my heart."
"Original Faith communicates the essence of life itself in such a moving way that it makes you realize that what you've been missing has been there all the time. "
Original Faith makes an excellent gift for anyone on a spiritual journey.
Buy Your Copy Today
Original Faith is available online at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, BarnesAndNoble.com, and Target.com. From India: Infibeam and Flipkart. Also available by special order at your favorite bookstore (ISBN: 978-1-934611-00-5).