Reviewer Bani Sodermark. Bani has a Ph.D in mathematical physics and has been a teacher of physics and mathematics at the university level in both India and Sweden. For the last decade, her interests have been spirituality, healthy living and self-development. She has written a number of reviews on http://amazon.com. Bani is a mother to two children.
Author: Robert Atkinson
Publisher: Cosimo books
Quintessential questions: “Who am I? What is my purpose? Where am I going? Is there a God?” These questions have for long been the domain of religion/philosophy and the institutions/ policymakers that govern them. That stranglehold of control is fast losing its grip as more and more people are asking these existential questions, independent of a deity/religion and demanding forthright answers. This book attempts to answer some of these queries by proposing a framework that is independent of religious dogma, being based on the very personal experiences of :
remembering who we are,
2) revisioning our lives in a timeless pattern, and finally,
3) reclaiming our spiritual heritage.
When we speak of experiences, we usually see them in the light of duality, e.g.happy or sad, good or bad, and so on. In this book, the author proposes a different way of seeing an experience, it is seen as a special form of a story, which he calls a sacred story. By this, he means that one focuses attention on the wholeness behind the duality. Just as every story has a beginning, a middle and a resolution, a sacred story is defined as a situation that starts with an experience of separation from wholeness, a transformation as a result of the above into a more unified frame of mind, and finally an integration into a greater wholeness as a resolution of the duality experience. By seeing the experience as a resolution of duality, one intuits the passage of the soul through the shadowy world of material consciousness.
The cognition of an experience as a sacred story, according to the author, is based on the experience of consciousness at three different levels
1) the individual level,
where the human being concentrates his energies on furthering his
2) the group level,where the individual identifies with a group that is bigger than his inner circle. It could be, for instance, a community, an ethnic group or a national identity
3) the universal level, where the individual identifies with a transcendental consciousness, a state of consciousness when he connects with the heart of all of humanity.
The process of soul making according to this book, is the journey of the soul through progressively higher states of consciousness as it goes through the three pronged process of separation, transformation and integration. According to the author, we progress on our mystical journey
1) by looking back at our lives and remembering events in the light of separation- transformation- integration
2) by revisioning our lives in this timeless pattern where we encounter, amidst all change, a so called place of initiation, and finally,
3) by learning to live in this new plane of existence where we reclaim our spiritual heritage by helping others on their particular journey.
“When we clearly identify the movement from order to disorder and back to order in our lives, along with the resolution of our own conflict, we have found the universal in the unique and the sacred in the personal”- Robert Atkinson
To illustrate his point, the author uses quotes from the holy books of all the major religions, highlighting aspects which are common to all of them, and pointing out those that are relevant to our mystical journey. “It is the path where others have already trod, where joy and sorrow, light and shadow, meet, clash and merge”.
After each chapter, there are a number of questions and suggested exercises that are geared to advance the interested reader on his/her mystical path. These are strongly recommended to seekers of the mystical path, who have been put off by conventional ecumenical literature.
By the nature of its contents, this book is not an easy read. It is well worth the effort, however. This is an uplifting book, the ambience it creates, lingers, long after the book has been laid aside.
I recommend this book very strongly to all seekers of their own mystical path.