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Where on Earth Is Heaven?

November 2009
More details
  • Publisher
    Hawthorn Press
  • Published
    20th November 2009
  • ISBN 9781903458907
  • Language English
  • Pages 592 pp.
  • Images 138

“Why should I live; why wish for anything or do anything? In short, has life any meaning that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?” — Leo Tolstoy

“To read this book is like sitting by a fire on a long winter’s evening, listening with delight to a friend of many years who has thought deeply about life’s mysteries, and who is now looking back on his life’s journey to share, modestly and without pretension, its accumulated wisdom. This is a deeply humane book, by a deeply humane man. But it is also more than that.” — Richard Tarnas (the foreword)

Where on Earth Is Heaven? is a response to the author’s young son once asking exactly that. For Jonathan Stedall, what lies behind this question has motivated his long career as a distinguished documentary director. He has worked with some of the most original and thoughtful minds of our time. His films—on Tolstoy, Gandhi, Jung, as well as the cultural and spiritual initiatives inspired by Rudolf Steiner—have been milestones on his journey of exploration, as have insights of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Stedall explores challenging questions about living and dying, looking and seeing, Heaven and Earth, and our human potential. He draws on forty years film-making experience—mostly with the BBC—working with inspired artists, scientists, and writers such as John Betjeman, Laurens van der Post, Fritz Schumacher, Bernard Lovell, Malcolm Muggeridge, Alan Bennett, Fritjof Capra, Cecil Collins, Ben Okri, and Mark Tully.

Along the way, he has also pondered deeply on the notion of the human being as a microcosm of the macrocosm, the meaning of eternity as “the everlasting now,” the role of the holy fool, and the redemptive power of love. Above all, he has been increasingly absorbed not just by what is “seen,” but also by what is “unseen.”

The author’s quest—whether in the African bush, in the streets of San Francisco, among the hill temples of northern India, or in the lanes of Cornwall—has been enriched enormously by his encounters with so-called ordinary men and women who have struggled not only to cope with the trials and joys of life, but also to find meaning in life—meaning that transforms the dualism inherent in phrases such as “spirit and matter,” “life and death,” and “Heaven and Earth.”

“A deeply thoughtful book, the result of a lifetime of thinking, reading, and conversations with an amazing cast of people.” —Sir Mark Tully, BBC television series, The Lives of Jesus 

“A real quest, with outward work perfectly integrated with an inner search.” —Karen Armstrong, author of The Battle for God 

“A thoughtful book by a thoughtful man.” —Ben Okri, Nigerian poet and novelist

C O N T E N T S:

Foreword by Richard Tarnas

1. What I Do Is Me
2. Quest and Questions
3. Take One
4. Footprints
5. A Fork in the Road
6. Seen and Unseen
7. In Need of Special Care
8. Seeds for the Future
9. No Ordinary Light
10. Worms and Angels
11. Archeologist of the Soul
12. The Pattern of God
13. Tolstoy’s Russia
14. In Defense of the Stork
15. No Language but a Cry
16. Free to Love
17. Midstream
18. Alone in the Desert
19. Faith versus Reason
20. A Question of Balance
21. The Living Earth
22. Orthodox and Unorthodox
23. The Everlasting Now
24. Ancient and Modern
25. The True Wilderness
26. The Holy Fool
27. Seven Ages
28. Laughter and Tears
29. The Emperor’s Clothes
30. Light in the Darkness
31. Inner Journeys
32. In Search of Arcadia
33. Time to Learn
34. Our Ancestors Were Us
35. Dying and Becoming
36. Heaven and Earth


Jonathan Stedall

Jonathan Stedall has made documentary films for over fifty years, mainly at the BBC. There he worked with John Betjeman, Laurens van der Post, Cecil Collins, Malcolm Muggeridge, Alan Bennet, Ron Eyre, Bernard Lovell, Theodore Roszak, E.F. Schumacher, Mark Tully and Ben Okri. He has also directed major biographies on Tolstoy, Gandhi, C.G. Jung, and Rudolf Steiner. His film about a Camphill school in Scotland for children with special needs won a British Film Academy Award in 1968, and later work was nominated by BAFTA and the Broadcasting Press Guild.