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Tuesday, March 23, 2010: Review #3: "Suddenly Psychic: A Skeptic's Journey"

                The strongest negative reaction I had to the book Suddenly Psychic: A Skeptic’s Journey came when the author, Maureen Caudill, started having her God experiences. Part of me wishes every person could experience these mystical states of awareness, even if I think it vital the experience be kept in perspective. I’ve written about this subject earlier [click here].

                Somehow, Maureen’s experience kept hitting me as almost superficial and a misplaced step for anyone serious about expanding their awareness. I finally found the analogy that makes sense of my many reservations about her "mystic" experiences and perhaps the psychic ones as well.

                Let’s assume you have enough money to hire a helicopter that can carry you to the very top of Mount Everest. How thrilling would that be? What an incredible experience to be standing at the top of the world, knowing you are seeing a view most people will never get a chance to see. You feel your heart expanding in wonder as your brain floods with endorphins. Looking down from this height you have a new view of the earth, of yourself, and your place in the world.

               By the time the helicopter lifts you back off the mountain, you have changed your old mindset.  You carry back with you an expansion of wonder that makes the world around you seem more intense and precious, you no longer sweat the small stuff. You want to grab people who pass you by and share your new enthusiasm for life, your new appreciation for God’s creation.

                Well, I wouldn't get too excited.  You’ve missed the most important part of the experience when you bypassed the journey up the mountain. You’ve assumed the end is more important than how you get there. Herein lays a serious mistake.

             In the quest to reach the top of Mount Everest, climbers undergo a significant inner transformation in the preparation required to make it just to the base camp. Climbers getting past the base camp may still be forced to retreat before reaching the summit. I can guarantee those who make it to the top, who stand on that same peak where you were lowered by helicopter, are changed in ways you will never experience.

            The real transformation in self awareness comes during the journey up the mountain. It has little to do with the photos and flags at the top.  It comes from holding a dream in your heart, from changing your daily routine to make yourself worthy of the journey, from building strength and perseverance in anticipation of the obstacles. It comes from what you learn about yourself in the midst of struggles, from the casting aside of the old baggage you finally see as non-essential and a hindrance, from the realization of new strengths deep within yourself that never needed to be called up in everyday life. It comes from the interaction with your fellow climbers and guides, from learning to let loose of ego to accept help, from trusting others’ genuine concern for your survival, and from extending your hand, risking your own interests, to help others survive and move forward.

                Final analysis of this book: an interesting journey for beginners with money to burn who want someone to help them confirm that awareness can be altered to perceive other realities. For those more serious about inner development, I predict TMI "journey" will be like skipping a stone across the surface of water. For me, I'd rather save my money and learn to dive into the water.

Note: Also see previous articles by [clicking here] and [clicking here]

Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 07:41AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | CommentsPost a Comment

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