Oct 02

Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East, by Baird T. Spalding

Many many years ago, when we first encountered Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East, by Baird T. Spalding, we were entranced.

Imagine: it’s 1890. A team of scientists and researchers set off into the Himalayas. And they start meeting mysterious men who demonstrate extraordinary powers and eagerly impart ancient Oriental truths.

It’s a lovely story. There’s only one problem.

It’s probably not true.

Don’t freak out

If you know these books — Life and Teaching of the Masters is a six-volume set — you may wish to the depths of your heart that Spalding was recounting a literal truth. We certainly did. But today, it’s generally recognized that Spalding didn’t visit the Himalayas when he said he did — he didn’t travel there until much later. And if you read the text carefully, Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 04

You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero

Are you ready for a totally irrelevant tour around the metaphysical universe — written by a gal who once played guitar and sang for a punky girl band named (!) Crotch? We thought so! And so were we, as it turns now. We recently picked up a copy of You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero, and guess what. We liked it. We really liked it. Shall we count the ways?

1. Did we mention it’s irreverent?

If you’re offended by, er, salty language, be forewarned. This is not the book for you. But to our thinking, Sincero’s back-alley-grab-ass approach to dishing metaphysical advice is a refreshing change. No solemn piety weighs down this book’s pages — Sincero may have moved on from her days as an aspiring punk rocker, but her sensibilities remain true to her counter-culture roots.

2. The advice matches the style.

Sincero believes very much in the “doing” part of the metaphysical journey. Yes, she has a chapter on meditation — “if you make a habit of it,” she writes, “your entire life will change.” But she also recognizes how important it is for us to stand up after the meditation session and start taking actual steps toward our dreams. We have to take risks. Not just for the sake of seeing some progress, but because outward action facilitates inner growth.

Most answers reveal themselves through doing, not thinking.

3. It’s very, very readable.

This is a book you will never find ponderous or obtuse. Sincero has an engaging voice, and the chapters are short without (for the most part) feeling too light. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 03

Defy Gravity, by Caroline Myss

“This is not an ordinary book on healing.”

If you’re at all familiar with Caroline Myss, you won’t be surprised at this statement, which opens her latest book, Defy Gravity: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason.

Myss first entered the public eye over a decade ago as a medical intuitive — a person able to discern the emotional and spiritual factors contributing to sickness or other physical mishaps. She has since written a number of books that explore the relationship between energetic systems, archetypes, and health/illness.

Defy Gravity, published in 2011, is one of the more recent of Myss’ books; she wrote it when, during a tour to promote her previous book (Entering the Castle) members of the audience began experiencing spontaneous healings. As she reflected on these events, Myss realized that healing “is ultimately a mystical experience.” It requires more than the coordinated effort of the body and mind: to heal, one must also somehow invoke

that highly refined spiritual substance that I refer to as grace.

From that launching point, Myss erects a framework that Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 02

Dying to be Me, by Anita Moorjani

Published in 2012, Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani, is destined to be regarded as one of the most important examples of metaphysical books on Near Death Experiences (NDEs).


Because Moorjani didn’t just have an NDE: she had an NDE that precipitated a miraculous healing.

Moorjani had been battling cancer for four years, and she was losing the battle. She was admitted to a hospital because her body had finally shut down.

The official diagnosis was stage 4 lymphoma. (Stage 4, in cancer classification, means that the cancer has spread [metastasized] from its original location to other organs.)

Moorjani, in other words, was dying. She was unable to breathe on her own. Her body was riddled with tumors. She had enormous open sores on her skin. Her organs were shutting down.

She lapsed into a coma.

Then, detached from her physical body, Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 03

You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay

The biggest obstacle any metaphysical student faces is the self.

Why? Because one’s external reality world is a reflection of one’s internal reality: one’s thoughts and concepts, emotions, and beliefs.

This is such a simple idea — but it’s also easy to overlook. Which is why You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay, is an enormously important handbook for anyone interested in spiritual development.

A spiritual book that starts with you

So many metaphysical books encourage readers to do something to change their lives. Visualize; meditate; achieve a particular feeling state; set goals; create a vision board; learn how to use tools like crystals or rituals; learn how to communicate with angels or guides or the Higher Self.

But the fact remains: you can’t have more than you are.

You can’t have love until you learn how to be a loving person.

You can’t have prosperity until you have internalized the reality of prosperity and all it entails — deservingness, worthiness, the ability to both give and receive.

Transformation from the inside out

You Can Heal Your Life will help you incorporate this wisdom into your spiritual practice. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 29

The Biology of Belief, by Bruce H. Lipton

It’s one thing to assert that the reality we call “mind” is somehow more important or influential than physical reality.

Mystics have been making that claim for centuries, after all.

It’s quite another matter (ha ha ha) to describe the switches and levers by which mind controls matter — which is exactly what Bruce Lipton does in his 2005 book, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles.

Lipton is a biologist whose first claim to fame was his skepticism about the hypothesis that genes control biology.

Understanding why he’s so skeptical is alone worth the price of the book. For example, have you ever felt anxious after reading a news article about the latest gene researchers have isolated? You know: the article that says if you’ve inherited the wrong gene, you’re at greater risk of some disease, or obesity, or depression, or some other horrible affliction . . .

Genes are not destiny . . .

If so, you need this book. The fact is that, with some rare exceptions, genes are not destiny. The environment is far more important, Lipton shows, because environmental factors cause certain genes to “wake up” and express the traits they’ve encoded.

Sound complicated? It’s not. Lipton uses clear, conversational English Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 23

Ultimate Journey, by Robert Monroe

A year before his death in 1995, Robert Monroe published Ultimate Journey, the last of his three books.

Ultimate Journey builds on the foundation Monroe established with his previous books (Journeys Out of the Body and Far Journeys); in fact, if you’re new to Monroe it’s advisable to read the books in order, as the earlier texts provide invaluable context for Ultimate Journey.

However, Ultimate Journey also digresses significantly from Monroe’s earlier writing. Whereas previously Monroe focused on understanding his Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), in Ultimate Journey he attempts to describe the metaphysical system from within which humans operate.

A common feature of all of his books is that Monroe attempts to use language that is relatively free of theological overtones. In Ultimate Journey, for example, he uses the name “I-There” to designate a super-entity that aggregates all of his experiences across multiple lifetimes — an entity which other mystics might describe as a god or soul.

Students of metaphysics, however, will notice many parallels between the material presented in this book to that of other metaphysical writers (Jane Roberts’ Seth material, for example):

  • The portion of reality we’re aware of when we are awake and focused on the hear-and-now is only a tiny fraction of the reality of which we are a part;
  • Each of us has reincarnated countless times;
  • Each of us is a single aspect of a larger conglomerate of selves, which include “past” selves as well as selves which have not (or not  yet) incarnated on Earth;
  • Earthly existence is a spiritual crucible intended to help us to grow;
  • Eventually, the cumulative experience of all of our selves reaches a point where a greater transformation takes place, after which we pass to a level of non-physical reality that is beyond our ability to express in physical language.

The challenge with the metaphysical architecture described in Ultimate Journey — as with all such architectures — is that Monroe’s experience was entirely subjective. It can be assumed, therefore, that at least some portion of what he reports was filtered through and colored by his personal biases and perhaps even limitations. But implicit in all of Monroe’s work — including this book — is the suggestion that each of us has the ability, if we wish, to verify the truth of this for ourselves . . .

Click here to purchase a copy of Ultimate Journey.

Nov 22

Far Journeys, by Robert Monroe

If Robert Monroe’s contribution to metaphysical literature had ended with his first book, Journeys Out of the Body, it would have been a considerable accomplishment. As described in a previous review here, in Journeys Out of the Body, Monroe recounts how his consciousness began to spontaneously separate from his physical body, and what he subsequently learned about Out-of-Body-Experiences (OBEs). Monroe’s stated aim, with the book, was to bring comfort and reassurance to other people who had similar experiences and who might otherwise think they were ill or crazy.

Monroe’s first book, however, was actually the first of three he would write in his lifetime.

Far Journeys is the second.

Far Journeys picks up where Journeys out of the Body leaves off. Monroe first describes how he founded The Monroe Institute, a not-for-profit research organization dedicated to studying human consciousness. In the first 50 pages or so of Far Journeys, Monroe describes some of the Institute’s early research and the experiences of the individuals who served as research subjects.

Monroe next returns to the subject of his own OBEs.  By then, he’d been experiencing the phenomenon regularly for 25 years, and, he writes, he’d begun to feel frustrated.

It is hard for some people to believe, I suppose, but such travels actually became boring. The early excitement had long passed . . . there didn’t seem to be anything exciting to do.

It was clear that Monroe needed to do something different, and that “something” was to turn his OBEs over to his “total self.” The results of that decision, he writes,

have been of a nature so far removed from anything my conscious mind could conceive of  . . .

That’s something of an understatement. Where Monroe was once primarily interested in OBEs as a scientifically significant  phenomenon, Far Journeys is a book about spiritual discovery and transformation, set in a world where the boundaries of space and time do not exist. Monroe meets advanced beings who share information about the spiritual origins and future of Earth and humanity. He meets a non-physical entity who he knew before he himself began incarnating.

Monroe continues to refrain, as much as he can, from language that suggests any sort of theology. For this reason, Far Journeys, in addition to serving as an account of his own OBEs, offers a roadmap for readers who wish to explore the phenomenon for themselves.

Click here to purchase a copy of Far Journeys.

Nov 20

Journeys Out of the Body, by Robert Monroe

When surveying the metaphysical literature produced in the last century, it is impossible to overstate the importance of Robert Monroe.

Monroe (1915 – 1995) was a radio broadcasting executive who, in the late 1950s, began to spontaneously experience a phenomenon now commonly referred to as an Out of Body Experience (OBE).

OBEs were not new at the time. Numerous accounts of OBEs (often described via the more archaic term “astral projection”) can be found in both ancient and pre-20th century esoteric literature. But Monroe brought something new to the experience: he made a genuine effort to observe and record his OBEs as objectively as possible.

Journeys Out of the Body is the first of three books Monroe wrote in his lifetime about his OBEs and the effect they had on his life.


The book, which is still in print over 40 years since its original 1971 publication, begins with a chronological account of Monroe’s first OBE experiences. They were not pleasant. Monroe had never heard of the phenomenon and had no spiritual or religious frame of reference by which to understand it. He thought at first he might be having psychotic episodes of some kind, or that the OBEs were symptoms of a physical ailment such as a brain tumor.

But when medical and psychiatric evaluations found him to be both sane and healthy, Monroe’s curiosity took over. He began exploring the OBE phenomenon with as much of a scientist’s eye as was possible (given the fact that by definition, an OBE is a highly subjective experience).

One of the first things he set out to do — understandably! — was to try to obtain evidence that he was, in fact, separating from his physical body.  Chapter 3, On The Evidence, describes several of these experiments: Monroe showed that he could “visit” living people during his OBE episodes, observe them, and then report what they were doing. In many cases, he was able to report information he could not known without being on the site at the time he made his observations.

The next several chapters of Journeys Out of the Body focus on the nature of the OBE itself: what the Second Body is like, and the things that happened to Monroe when he was out-of-body.

While some of Monroe’s journeys took place in what he identifies as our everyday, physical world, he came to believe that the Second Body’s “natural home” was elsewhere.

The Second Body is basically not of this physical world. To apply it to visits to George’s house or other physical destinations is like asking a diver to swim down to the ocean bed without scuba gear or pressure suit. He can do it, but not for long, and not too many times.

Instead, the Second Body’s natural home actually spans two environments, in the lexicon Monroe uses in this book: Locale II and Locale III. He defines Locale II as “a non-material environment with laws of motion and matter only remotely related to the physical world,” and describes it as vast beyond comprehension. Locale III is a “physical-matter world almost identical to our own.”

Much of the value of Journeys Out of the Body comes from reading Monroe’s accounts of  what — and who — he encountered during his visits to these Locales. These accounts are all the more valuable because Monroe strives always to be as objective as possible. Readers, in other words, get the unvarnished truth about OBEs. We learn that OBEs can be frightening and chaotic. We learn that OBEs call into question many conventional notions about life, death, and the afterlife.

But OBEs also suggest that consciousness is not “merely” a byproduct of the physical brain. In that respect, OBEs may point to a new spiritual path — a path that may even be compatible with modern man’s post-Enlightenment embrace of empiricism.

Monroe suggests as much in the book. Beginning in Chapter 16, he also describes techniques readers can use to try to induce their own OBEs.

Journeys Out of the Body is a must-have book if you’re at all curious about OBEs, or if you want your metaphysical library to include seminal works.

Click here to purchase a copy.

Nov 12

The Science of Making Things Happen, by Kim Marcille Romaner

We can use our minds to influence the physical world.

Most metaphysical books make that assertion, right?

But some metaphysical books go a step further: they claim “mind over matter” has a scientific basis.

The Science of Making Things Happen: Turn Any Possibility into Realityby Kim Marcille Romaner, is one of those books. Romaner begins by reviewing Twentieth Century physics, such as the Thomas Young “double slit” experience that proved that electrons sometimes behave as waves, and other times as particles. She then considers the role of the observer: that it is the act of observation that makes a wave collapse into a particle.

Yep, this is spooky-woo-woo quantum physics, presented in a way non-scientists can understand.

So far, so good. But Romaner’s ultimate goal isn’t theory: she quickly moves to how we can apply the lessons of quantum physics to our everyday lives.  Reality is, after all, a vast quantum field–a field of potential events–and the act of perception causes potential events to collapse out of that field and become material facts. So why not use observation (say, the act of measuring) to deliberately collapse the potential into the actual?

The book also includes worksheets to help you apply Romaner’s techniques to any number of typical life problems: prosperity, career, relationships, health, and connectedness to the community.

This blend of “why” and “how” is, of course, typical of the “quantum physics” category of metaphysical books. What makes The Science of Making Things Happen  different is Romaner’s original thinking on the subject. For that reason alone, the book deserves strong consideration by fans of metaphysical writing.

Click here to purchase your copy of The Science of Making Things Happen: Turn Any Possibility into Reality.

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