The process of finding your true-self runs like a leitmotif throughout the book.
Perhaps, you won’t be able to understand the powerful thrust of Sadhguru’s message, until you still your mind and quiet your urges.
Beleaguered or not, we all are entitled to delve into the real self and put secondary matters on the side.
Stay with us, as we reveal the key findings from this #1 New York Times bestselling book.
Who Should Read “Inner Engineering”? And Why?
The title itself denotes purity and inner alteration, which is something every person should consider doing. The central premise of this book revolves around the birth of a concept-free person.
Therefore, we firmly believe that “Inner Engineering” deserves a place on your bookshelf. Even if you don’t agree with Sadhguru’s methods, we recommend it because it will expand your horizons.
So, who is Jaggi Vasudev – Sadhguru? When I first laid eyes upon him in a YouTube Video, I thought that he is yet another spiritual teacher.
What I didn’t know is the fact that, he is also a successful businessman, acclaimed author, and a Yogi. Many people refer to him as a mystic, but as far as I can tell, Sadhguru is a complete person!
And this is the truth since he explains how you can free yourself of negativity, remain in the neutrality of the self, and continue your contribution to the society through education and business.
“Inner Engineering PDF Summary”
Sadhguru is no stranger to those who sought salvation and stumbled upon a Youtube video, or a written script, such as this one. According to many renowned journals, “Inner Engineering” is one of the most in-depth and life-altering books on spirituality ever written.
It stands to reason, why you should at least scan it through. Our main guy in India shared with me many cool facts about Indians, and I was stunned by their contrast, positively of course.
To be honest, Sadhguru is the embodiment of the picture portrayed by my good friend. An individual who has integrated both spiritual and professional agendas, and used this momentum to create a far-reaching scope of success.
Without further ado, let’s plunge into some actionable tips and practices contained in this astonishing book.
The first thing that will strike you while reading is that we are masters of our own lives, either consciously or unconsciously. So, passing the blame onto somebody else is not an endorsed approach.
So, if somebody were to ask you – Do you prefer being rich or happy?
Even those that went from rags to riches in a short amount of time, they did it because they hoped that happiness is on the receiving end. Sadhguru implies that we yearn to get our hands on this blissful experience while looking at the wrong place.
Does this mean that we should remain poor for the rest of our lives? Absolutely not, it merely indicates that whatever we do in the 24 Hour timeframe, the primary stimulus is reaching a state of contentment or pure joy.
It’s needless to say that the Yogi guide, is presented in a digestible manner, for you to tackle these delusions.
Sadhguru, on numerous occasions, expressed that happiness is not a decision, but a reality. Contentment is not a passing state of mind, but the eternal state of the real-self.
Generally speaking, people seeking adrenaline type of happiness, often find themselves drained and exhausted of the pursuit they’ve been urged to conduct. The simplest way to reach peace of mind is to cherish an effortless battle.
You don’t need to swim, but embrace the life-current and go with the flow. Although this seems like a simple tweak, not many people dare to exploit it. We want to pave our own way, and putting trust in some mystical energy is our second choice.
We’ll get to that, but first, let’s talk about a few things that are causing a lot of confusion.
To attain bliss, you must eradicate all the things that are giving you a headache. And that’s just the beginning. Next up, one must question its ideals, and stay peaceful while doing it.
The restless mind is like a car. It goes 150 Mph only because you filled up the fuel tank. Start wasting your symbolic “money” on something that will help you instead of harm you.
The Power of becoming a Yogi
Many ponder about the effects of Yoga. Sadguru asserts that the science of being perfect is reflected in nature, not in the person. What does that mean?
Reaching allignment or harmony with existence is impossible if you remain narrow-minded and stubborn. What yoga does is helping you maintain the highest level of enthusiasm and joy toward life. This can be later converted into full-scale enlightenment or understanding one’s core self.
According to the author, yoga is a mix of intellect, karma, energy, and devotion also known as “bhakti.” By combining these factors, you may get in line for becoming truly happy, while remaining active and persistent.
Indeed, not being aware of your inner reality has taken a toll on humanity. The previously mentioned scenarios are not reserved only for the privileged few, but they symbolize the never-fading truth that is embedded into the hearts and minds of every living soul.
At the outset, Sadhguru refers to the body and examines its functions on this endeavor. It’s the most basic form of identification, therefore, it’s advisable that we start from there.
Instead of wasting your time on trivial activities, find a quiet place and sit there for a few minutes each day. The question is Why? What is the goal behind this?
You see, that’s the trick! Throughout the course of history, society has always been prone to attach some end goal to everything. At this point, you must embrace detachment, and leave the body be! Just pay attention to the breath, going in, and out – focus on that for a while.
You don’t need to pressure yourself; a few minutes is more than enough to get the ball rolling. Once the effort required to remain aware reduces, you’ll start connecting with nature. You will become the axis around which all the rest spins.
In yoga, you’ll learn how to channel your body energy and a few postures that can accentuate your inner journey. Having said that, don’t take it as an objective, because it’s not. Sadhguru teaches you, to trust the body, follow its instincts and strive to purify your mind from meaningless concepts.
Eating Habits and Alignment with Nature
We are going to start here with a Latin saying: Mens sana in corpore sano or – A healthy mind in a healthy body.
In case you might be wondering, why so many spiritual gurus and truth seekers walked barefoot – it’s because of the connection between the person and the earth. It’s a special bond that helped them to absorb the universal energies.
Sitting next to a tree for a couple of minutes can put you into a state of deep rest. In this book, you’ll find a handful of practices that you can try and experiment with, in order to quiet your mind.
When it comes to the diet, you have to bear in mind that whatever you put in reflects the quality of your life. It’s safe to say that natural ingredients, and organic food determine the vitality of your system, and energize your body.
Once you realize that, you’ll subtly enter into the category of conscious eaters, who are not driven by animal urges. You have to bring benefit to your body, by maintaining its vigorousness and advocating for a healthy diet.
Sadhguru is not merely covering the nutritional value, but place emphasis on life as a whole. For instance, consuming seeds can immensely improve your health condition and add to your overall endurance.
For a greater effect, and total eradication of toxic elements within the body, you must apply a new life strategy that consists of conscious digestion.
Don’t be surprised to hear that according to Sadhguru, eating food is not within the context of spirituality. Depending on your preferences and lifestyle, you should choose a diet, because one set of ingredients is not a good fit for everybody.
The key is – compatibility. Make sure that the diet assigned to your lifestyle fits your high-minded ambitions or introvert style of living.
So, is this it? – Well, not quite! Sadhguru prioritizes the digestive system and explains how each type of food should be eaten. You’ll also take a gander at the most digestible food additives and many other things.
You should also know that 55% of the digestions takes place in the mouth, and the rest of it is done in the digestive system itself.
How to behave? – When you feel immense hunger, give your body a few minutes to calm down. Don’t submit to the urges, but maintain control despite the situation that prompts you to behave somewhat beastly.
Also, bear in mind that staying physically active must also become part of your daily lifestyle. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer to take a morning jog or play some other sport.
Just get up, and focus on your overall well-being.
The Choice of Life
Love is an unexplainable phenomenon, which entails one’s mental, physical, and psychological cravings. Often we hear that true love is unconditional, but it mustn’t be solely linked to physical needs. There are as many interpretations as they are stars in the night sky.
Being enamored of someone is just one tiny fraction, not the whole package. The spiritual love, is the cornerstone for finding blissfulness, but it can also absorb a wide array of connotations. Evidently, associating love with other aspects can take an awful lot of time.
For instance, you can be very fond of some painting, or someone’s life philosophy. So, it’s vital to stick with the root and leave the branches aside, for the time being.
According to the author, the choices we make are an integral part of this love. Whatever you do, or plan to achieve, passion must be your primary incentive to carry something out inwardly.
Don’t take this the wrong way, since the intrinsic intelligence, Sadhguru is referring to is given to you in the form of existence. You are not either blessed nor cursed. You can utilize it in its entirety, without having to jump into conclusions.
Previously we stated that happiness is not a transient state that lies at the end of a treacherous journey. It’s your birthright, something that doesn’t come and go.
During the process, you’ll identify with temporary concepts, but as you become more aware, these sensations will turn into pointless attachments.
Key Lessons from “Inner Engineering”
1. Reconnect with nature 2.The perilous journey to freedom 3.Expand your horizons
Reconnect with nature
If this process seems a bit overwhelming, you can ask yourself – Why the westerners enjoy spending time in parks, and picnics in the countryside?
It’s the same process – our body urges us to get in touch with the source, which in this case represents the Earth.
The perilous journey to freedom
How long does it take before you finally have a tenacious grip on the slipping happiness? 20 years of meditation, 50?
The outward journey takes too long, and what’s worse, the end is nowhere near. The inner pull, however, is just staying wherever you are as an observer.
Expand your horizons
If you are merely interested in separating moral from immoral, or right and wrong, your mind will always be imprisoned in this circle.
Leaving the judgmental urges aside will help you establish control over your life, and show you the only route to spiritual enhancement.
Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.
Have you ever pondered about your real potential? Are we merely a wave tossed in the endless ocean, or the ocean itself?
In this book, you’ll come across many life-altering theories that will crash your inner world.
Who Should Read “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind”? And Why?
The society has done a “great” job when it comes to shrinking your ability and prowess. You are a prisoner, not aware of its captivity. Locked away in a self-created prison is an everyday reality for most people.
In all sincerity, we believe that this is one of those books written for the sake of the world. So, categorization of the audience will be an unnecessary action.
About Joseph Murphy
Joseph Murphy was a life-changer whose words contained in inspiring books helped millions. He spent a significant portion of his adulthood in India, learning the secrets of Eastern Philosophy.
He wrote dozens of books, all revolving around the mysterious nature of this existence.
“The Power of Your Subconscious Mind PDF Summary”
You don’t need us telling you that one mind is all we have. Nonetheless, this questionable and mysterious central element consists of:
The first part belongs to what can be best described as the “objective” one. It allows you to make choices, reach agreements, assess predicaments, etc. It’s also labeled as the “surface” mind. The second and somewhat mythical one is the subconscious mind.
It is engraved deep into your “core self” making it the “sleeping mind.” The subconscious entity is the stage, while the conscious body represents the actors on stage. This metaphorical expression should allow you to see the big picture and understand the role of both.
The fundamental elements of the mind
It’s needless to say that you can tip the balance in your favor by learning the ropes of how your mind works. So, the privilege of executing everyday tasks goes to the conscious element, while the subconscious one is in charge of evaluating the actions of it.
It’s like a deep ocean; you’ll never know what’s hiding at the bottom of it but that mustn’t stop you from going deeper and deeper. In addition, being happier is merely the end result of a broad understanding of how your mind operates and its core functions. The thinking, as we said, goes to the conscious, and that’s why if you send positive vibes to the universe, you’ll be on the receiving end of positive affirmations.
It’s like a boomerang throw, as simple as that.
Be obsessed with negative thoughts, and you’ll slowly start to plunge into a deep depression. The universal energies are not as complex as you might have imagined. According to the author, the subconscious mind is like an obedient soldier who follows orders given by the conscious entity.
In other words, your subconscious is open to receive commands and interpret them to your best interest.
These orders or norms arrive in the form of suggestions, which the subconscious mind is entitled to depict them as it feels. How your body reacts, what kind of thoughts do you nurture will all be transmitted into the invisible entity.
After all, you are accorded the privilege of organizing the chatter of various internal phenomena.
This process helps you understand how “negative suggestion” can impact your well-being, affect your temper, and instigate fear. Joseph states that “pessimistic autosuggestions” are insanely powerful and can quickly put you in a phase of jeopardy.
This paradoxical but also a convenient way of operating gives the subconscious mind a new feature – its obedience. It doesn’t question your demands and absorbs “syllogism”- which in layman’s terms indicates that whatever you endorse or consider to be true, your subconscious will do likewise.
In our opinion, the best description for this way of functioning is – You reap what you sow. Fill your head with meaningless concepts, and that’s what you’ll eventually end up with. Marinate on that for a minute.
Let’s get back to the drawing board and puzzle over what separates happy from miserable people? If you want a straightforward answer, you’re going to get one – the way they handle the subconscious entity. They understand its limitless, freedom and ability to get in touch with the infinite source of energy.
The harmonious state exists in the subconscious mind, but only if you allow it to be. If you just go with the flow and don’t fight the life current, you’ll automatically be in that position. Nonetheless, if try to pave your own way, with total disregard of your intrinsic urges, you’ll stimulate negative sensations.
The goal of this book is to teach you how you can blend the conscious and subconscious to the maximum extent. We also like to portray the subconsciousness as a mirror, which reflects your doings on the outside.
As with most things in life, you need to push harder to get to your wanted destination. When it comes to your subconscious mind, sometimes less is best. By believing in your cause, and getting rid of harmful tendencies, you’ll spontaneously reach your goals and satisfy your cravings.
The Myth and Reality of the Subconscious Mind
Aware or not, your subconscious plays a pivotal role in your life, in particular, your well-being. The way you handle everyday issues, emotional outbursts, and psychological setbacks speak about your attitude and understanding of the “hidden self.”
Some people prefer to call this energy God, others Infinity – it doesn’t quite matter how you name it, what does matter is your faith in it. You will be happy for sure, once you abandon the meaningless limitations imposed by the system.
Happiness is a choice, not a God-given gift. If you decide to take firm control of your destiny, happiness will follow. Sometimes we feel indebted to people who showed us the way, but mostly this is the path that your heart has already chosen on your behalf.
Living in the now is perhaps the best advice you’ll ever get. Don’t roam around in the unforeseeable future but remain consistent and allow your mind to cherish the present reality.
Once the pain and the urges for interpreting the past or wishing a better future are gone, you are good to go. A vast majority of the population seeks salvation from the outside. A word of caution – don’t become one of those people who are prepared to sacrifice their blissfulness in order to get attention.
When it comes to love, it’s of utmost importance to realize that in order to have a lovely marriage filled with understanding, and mutual trust, there must be a spiritual connection between the partners.
In a symbolic manner, it’s pretty accurate to say that you’ll attract a partner whose traits are complementary to your subconscious mind.
Furthermore, if you wish to find an intelligent, confident, and caring life-companion, you need to express that desire. Many individuals these days complain due to the lack of synergy between partners, but that’s only a sub-product of the messages conveyed through their subconscious.
Tackle these harmful inclinations by nurturing a positive mindset, through prayer and self-contemplation. In addition, try not to turn your marriage into a business! You don’t need to go after the perfect partner at any cost, but work on your self-expression and give the Universe a room to do its job.
Try not to take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back by following unclear directions. If you are not sure which road is the right one, stay calm and contemplate through meditation and prayer. The ignorant part of the mind will jump to give its conclusion and force you into negative thinking.
Beware of these tendencies by staying on full alert. A common mistake most people make is complaining about the partner to other people. They are just empowering the negative thoughts to take over and destroy the union.
A good technique you can use is to never, under no circumstances, transfer today’s problems over into the next days. Forgive one another daily, and pray at dinner or before you hit the rack. This doesn’t seem like much, but it is a huge morale boost for the couple.
Doing more things together, and forgiving rather than memorizing everything will definitely help you strengthen the bond. Convey harmony, love, and understanding. If you believe that constructive criticism is useful, then use it, but try not to be too harsh.
Be an advocate for compassion, not judgment.
The Healing Method
A throwback to ancient times and the medieval age, when people reported miracles in various forms. Even these days, this sort of occurrences leave a trace in the society. Mixed with cultural and religious paradigms, most people associate these “wonders” with God.
Upon finishing the healing procedures through God’s disciples on Earth, the person would’ve felt an instant change.
First and foremost, not all people believe in this kind of stories, and that’s okay, but the meaning behind it is that all is possible with the right mindset. The herbs given and rituals conducted by the priests had a placebo effect, which urged the person to believe in the healing.
Tackling the previous state of mind was made possible through the “auto-suggestion mode” which the subconscious interprets and gives its answer to it. By accepting the healing, the person rises and embraces its new reality.
The author emphasizes that this effect can merely take place, once you abandon your negative thoughts and keep them buried! For instance, don’t dream about the future, just incorporate the same vision into the present moment.
In the same fashion, you should direct your efforts toward the final destination. Remain focused during the process, and subdue your impulses to judge the situation. By staying positive through prayer and other methods, you’ll send positive affirmations to the Universe, and enable the spiritual healing to take place.
The same approach can be used when you aspire to achieve some goal. The author implies that with the help of visualization, your subconscious will understand your cravings and provide a response that manifests your deep urges in body and mind.
This will create a mental picture that takes you one step closer to your desired accomplishment.
Rinse and repeat until you master the “universal principles,” and how it affects your well-being. Although our perception of what it is to be sensibly well-off keeps altering, the bar keeps rising to unmeasurable scales.
Expressing gratitude can get the ball rolling, and help you conquer your own mind. Tackle the false reality, and set your agenda that fits your needs.
Sleep deprivation can also turn out to be a big issue. You need at least 6 hours a day to function properly, perhaps even more. Even when your body is in a state of deep relaxation, your subconscious mind remains active.
You should learn how to relax your body, and commit to sleep to have a tenacious grip on your life.
Key Lessons from “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind”
1. Be open-minded 2.Tackle depression with a single step 3.Measure your actions
Control this emotional unrest by trying to talk some sense into your partner, and see who is adding fuel to the fire.
Don’t raise your tone when discussing these matters; try to get into the shoes of the other person to see things from his/her point of view.
Tackle depression with a single step
The best cure for depression is your determination to be happy, without necessarily turning over to the painful past or uncertain future.
The energy around us is giving you a hand to endure in this battle and make heads or tails of how the power of the subconscious works.
According to Scott G. Bruce – from his “Introduction” to the Penguin Book of Hell – “Hell, the afterlife of the Christian religion, is arguably the most powerful and persuasive construct of the human imagination in the Western tradition.”
Describing it as a “subterranean realm of eternal suffering, a prison for sinful souls governed by a fallen angel who surpassed all other creatures in wickedness,” Bruce points out the quite obvious fact that “Hell has inspired fear and thereby controlled the behavior of countless human beings for more than two thousand years.”
And that – and this is probably more important – “despite advances in scholarship that have called into question the authority of the Christian scriptures and scientific developments that have changed the way we think about the human race and our place in the cosmos, the idea of Hell has remained tenacious in Western thought.”
Such a sentence begs the most childish – and yet most potent – question of all: why?
Why more than half of the inhabitants of the United States today still believe that there indeed exists such a place “where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished”?
Why would a human being born in the XXI century be more inclined to accept as true the existence of an afterlife realm of punishment and torment for the bad, than, say, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s scientifically-backed opinion that “the universe is under no obligation to make sense to you”?
Or have we missed something? Could it be that we have been on the wrong track all along? Have scientists rushed a bit to the conclusion and are people like Jordan Peterson right to say that hell is real as much as you make it be?
In one way or another – is Hell real?
Table of Contents (Click a title below to go to the respective section)
Of course, if you asked a scientist, he would probably tell you that this is the Darvaza gas crater – still burning after it had been set on fire by geologists back in 1971 so that the spread of the poisonous methane gas be prevented.
However, the locals have a different understanding of the phenomenon, best illustrated by the name they chose for it: jähenneme açylan gapy.
Now, we don’t understand Turkmen, but based on how a human being would react if suddenly faced with a sight such as the one on the image, jähenneme açylan gapy must mean either “We repent, Good Gracious Lord, we repent for all our sins!” or “The Gates of Hell.”
Intuition tells us to go for the second meaning.
2. The Description of Hell in the Bible
And we bet that your intuition didn’t make you think of a gas crater the first time you saw the image above either.
If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out, wheretheir worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (Read a summary here.)
The sea gave up the dead that was in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that was in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
So, all in all, Hell is a fiery domain where the wicked and the vile suffer the eternal torment of their sins, nightmarishly depicted by the Gospel of Mark as a host of immortal worms which gnaw upon their souls for all eternity.
And this brings us to the main point of why there is such a thing as Hell in the first place: it is not merely an abode, but a punitive abode. In other words, just as its counterpart Heaven, it exists to balance the injustice of our world. So, something like a Giant Prison of the Afterlife.
Sure, you can be sinful on earth and pass unpunished – as much as you can be good and reap no rewards – but there is a higher law, an always just law, and once you die, there’s no escape from it!
Unlike the earthly and secular one, this higher law seems to be rather clear and straightforward:
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.(Galatians 5:19-21)
In case you can’t find all of the usual suspects, don’t worry: in two other epistles, the same guy who wrote the passage above (Saint Paul) further clears things up:
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:9-10)
No need for additional passages, I believe: more or less, everybody’s covered in these three. Of course, to a 21st-century reader, it may seem a bit odd why God decided to put such a strong emphasis on sex, and, moreover, why it is such “an abomination” (cf.Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13) to be a male homosexual.
Either way, this brief overview all but exhausts the way Hell is depicted in the Bible, both in terms of general appearance and its raisons d’être. And if you wonder where are all the torturing devices and mischievous devils, you better look around you, Ferdinand, because as far as the Bible is concerned, Hell is virtually empty!
3. The Evolution of Hell: A Brief History of the Concept
3.1 Hell Is Not Real: Hell in the Old Testament
Now, if you know your Bible well, the previous section may have already directed your attention towards something that isn’t pointed out as often as it should be: almost every biblical reference to the fiery Hell of our nightmares can be found in the “The New Testament.”
And for an excellent reason: no matter how much you try to bend the arguments, Hell appears nowhere in “The Old Testament.”
Indeed, it wouldhave been mightily strange if this wasn’t the case: though ambiguous – contrary to Christianity – most forms of Judaism have no doctrine which allows for a concept such as the immortality of the soul, which, by implication, means that you cannot be punished after your death.
Moreover, the only references to some form of life following death in “The Old Testament” come from late biblical sources, such as the Books of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Isaiah; and, as expected, most of them do not sync well with our vision of Hell.
For example, when, in a famous verse (12:2), Daniel states that “multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt,” if he means this literally, he merely builds upon a notion already much more familiar to Jewish eschatology – the World to Come (Olam Ha-Ba).
That is, the dead will awake and will be judgedone day which should mark the beginning of the Messianic Age (Heaven on Earth); but until that day, they sleep firmly in the dust.
Obviously, this means that neither the righteous nor the wicked dead should be “alive” in the meantime and that things such as Heaven and Hell (especially if conceived as realms) must be, to say the least, superfluous.
And, indeed, the earliest reference to a dichotomy of this kind saved for posterity is probably one made as late as the 1st century by Yochanan ben Zakkai: “There are two paths before me,” he writes, “one leading to Gan Eden and the other to Gehinnom” (Berakhot 28b)
Gan Eden here refers to the Garden of Eden and Gehinnom to Gehenna, a small valley near Jerusalem where children were supposedly sacrificed to the pagan god Moloch (cf.2 Chronicles 28:3 and 33:6). “For this reason,” states the Jewish Encyclopedia, “the valley was deemed to be accursed, and ‘Gehenna’ therefore soon became a figurative equivalent for ‘hell.’”
Of course, the idea of Sheol evolved over time; but it actually started differing substantially from its original vision (decompartmentalized, indiscriminate place for all the dead) once the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek in Ancient Alexandria, and the word “Hades” was used to translate the Hebrew She’ol.
Hades, of course, was the kingdom of the dead in Greek mythology and it was a contradictory concept in itself: as can be witnessed in Homer’s Odyssey, for example, it, too, started off as the ultimate location of all souls, “regardless of how exemplary or dishonorable their earthly lives might have been.”
That’s why Achilles, one of the greatest Greek heroes, is not at all happy to be there in The Odyssey: “I would rather be a paid servant in a poor man’s house and be above ground than king of kings among the dead,” he says in a famous verse later subverted by Milton in Lucifer’s famous outcry in Paradise Lost: “Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.”
However, elsewhere – such as in Hesiod’s Works and Days (170ff) – the heroes can be found “untouched by sorrow, in the islands of the blessed along the shore of deep swirling Ocean, happy heroes for whom the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit flourishing thrice a year, far from the deathless gods, and Cronos rules over them.”
No matter how long these visions may have coexisted, Aeneas’ descent into the Underworld reveals us that, by the time of Virgil’s Aeneid(some two decades before the birth of Christ), there were already some attempts to conflate them.
And Virgil’s epic marked the triumph of them all, harrowingly depicting the torments which await the incestuous and the traitors, the charlatans, and the murderers. “No ancient author,” states justly Scott Bruce, “was more influential in his depiction of the punitive afterlife than… Virgil.”
3.3 The Problem of Hell: Death Discriminates
Thus, even before the advent of Christianity, the Christians had already inherited a rich tradition which possessed all the right elements for the creation of the New Testament Hell.
“Wedding the pagan notion of a punitive afterlife for those who offended the divine with the imagery of the fire and the worm from the Hebrew scriptures, early Christian authors imagined a host of otherworldly punishments that inspired theologians, artists, and poets throughout the European Middle Ages and beyond,” notes Bruce.
Between Saint Augustine (354-430) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) – after triumphantly walking out of the much too real hell of the early persecutions against them – the Christian theologians managed to create “a distinctly Christian Hell,” which appended to the ancient models “their own understanding of original sin and God’s inscrutable mercy.”
However, these two were visibly incompatible: if Death discriminates between the just and the unjust, the One Who Rules Over It discriminates as well – in spite of His benevolence, mercy, and love.
Moreover, the ones who were deemed good and merciful in life are apparently disinterested in helping their fellow beings in death, even though the latter are eternally and viciously tormented in Hell.
And toward the end of Summa Theologica,Thomas Aquinas’ magnum-opus and “one of the most influential works of Western literature,” the Italian Dominican friar and Catholic priest proposed a strikingly unchristian solution.
Namely, he not only argued that the blessed must be happy about the eternal torment of the wicked seeing it as an example of divine justice, but he also claimed they rejoice in seeing perfectly clear the sufferings of the damned, “because when contraries are placed beside one another, they become more conspicuous.”
3.4 The Law of Contrapasso: Dante’s Inferno
At the end of the Middle Ages, Dante Alighieri wrote The Divine Comedy, the first part of which (Inferno) represents “the apogee of the punitive underworld in the medieval imagination” (Bruce).
The poetic vision of Dante seemed so vivid and compelling to his contemporaries, that, it is said, many people asked him whether he had seen some of their beloved ones in Hell or Heaven, fully believing that he had actually been there.
In fact, Dante’s vision of Hell – and its central structuring principle: the contrapasso, i.e. “suffer the opposite” – owes a lot to Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica (whose version of Hell was divided into four sections) and to his vast knowledge of comparable literary visions, starting with Homer and Aeneas and ending with Visio Tnugdali, “the most popular and elaborate text in the medieval genre of visionary infernal literature” and “without doubt the most graphic and horrifying tour of Hell composed before Dante’s Inferno.”
In Dante’s poem (the detailed structure of which you can become familiar with here),
Hell has the organization and efficiency of a bureaucratic state: every impious soul has its appropriate place and every place apportioned a particular punishment keyed to a specific sin. More so than any previous author, Dante had a clear and logical understanding of the geography of the afterlife. He depicted Hell as a deep funnel with circular tiers. He and Virgil descended tier by tier from the gates of Hell, past the limbo of the virtuous pagans, and down through each circle, where those guilty of lust, gluttony, greed, wrath, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery suffered for all eternity. At the bottom of Hell was Cocytus, a vast, frozen lake. Trapped in the ice of this lake was the gigantic, three-faced Satan, who beat his six massive, bat-like wings in vain to escape his imprisonment. Satan’s face was stained with tears and his chin dripped with the gore of history’s three worst traitors, whose souls he chewed endlessly and without pity in his monstrous mouths: Brutus and Cassius, who assassinated Julius Caesar in 44 BCE; and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ himself. (Scott G. Bruce)
3.5 Is Hell Real: The Protestant Reformation and Modernity
And then, just as Hell was finally concretized by the Catholics so precisely that it even had its own detailed maps, the Protestant Reformers reverted back to some more speculative concepts.
Sure, they agreed with the Catholics that Death discriminates and that Hell is the destination of the wicked, but, as Scott G. Bruce notes, “they were much more likely to couch the punitive afterlife in abstract terms of remorse and wounded conscience rather than in concrete terms of torment in Hell-fire familiar from the Catholic tradition.”
And this debate has raged ever since. So much so that modern Christian apologists are still incapable of giving a better solution to the ethical problem of Hell than Thomas Aquinas. If it is not real, what do all those references in the Scripture mean; however, if it is real, how do we harmonize it with the idea of a merciful and benevolent God?
No wonder that Narnia-writer and lay theologian C. S. Lewis – whose Screwtape Letters I’ve enjoyed over and over again – writing in “The Problem of Pain,” states that if it lay in his power, “there is no doctrine which [he] would more willingly remove from Christianity than” Hell.
“But” – he adds – “it has the full support of Scripture and, especially, of our Lord’s own words.” Lewis concludes with something that isn’t as obvious: Hell, according to him, not only “has always been held by Christendom” but it also “has the support of reason.”
Neither is actually true, but the latter critically not. If it had been, then there wouldn’t be a problem – or a millennia-long discussion on the topic.
3.6 Visions and Near-Death Experiences: Hell Is Real
However, we must not forget that there are some people whose reasons have actually witnessed – or at least who say that they have experienced – some vision of hell. These are usually either saints or near-death survivors. They certainly form an intruding topic for further analysis and discussion, but, for the sake of brevity, I will have to limit myself to merely mentioning them here. However, for those interested, I warmly welcome you to read here five “terrifying” visions of Hell as related by as many now-saints; and here an account of four “creepy” visions of hell by people who have lived through real near-death experiences.
4. Is Hell Real According to the People: What the Data Says
Bishop Berkeley was right to wonder if the fall of a tree produces any sound if nobody is around to hear it. Not because scientists discovered – mostly during the past century – that this may not be as unreasonable as it once sounded (consider, say, the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory), but because, for better or for worse, our perception of reality, more often than not, (re)defines that very same reality.
In other words, even if (to quote Neil deGrasse Tyson once again) the universe has no obligation to make sense to us, and even if this means that “thou shalt not kill” is an unnatural law we have invented at some point in history (which we most certainly did), does its “artificiality” matters now when we have created a shared structure of reality in which murdering someone is one of the most abominable deeds one can do?
By the same analogy, even if not many people have seen God (in the best-case scenario), does it matter if he actually exists if numerous have sacrificed their lives in his name, while numerous others have done the exact opposite premised on the same belief?
So, let’s see what the data says in relation to people’s belief in Hell. (In addition, World Religious News gives you updates on latest shifts and twists in the culturally-diversified religious community, and thus it can help you see some more of the big picture.)
4.1 The World
Interestingly enough, regardless of the advance of science, surveys and polls consistently show that abouthalf of the world population still believes in Heaven and/or Hell, Heaven being – without exception – the more popular option of the two; however, time and again, they also demonstrate a significant gap between the beliefs of the Western Europeans and the rest of the world.
For example, one of the most recent surveys of this kind – Ipsos’ “Perils of Perception” global survey, conducted in about 40 countries during the period of Sept. 28-Oct. 19, 2017 – revealed that, on average, 45% of the world population believes in either Heaven or Hell:
Or, in the form of a bar chart for better viewing:
Few interesting statistics almost immediately stand out:
On average, people tend to believe much more in Heaven (1 in 2) than in Hell (about 40%); the difference is especially evident in the case of Columbia and South Africa (countries of high percentage of believers), but, interestingly enough, the same can be said about many Western European countries (Germany, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Great Britain…)
The only two countries where there is no discrepancy between the belief in Heaven and Hell are two Muslim countries: Indonesia and Turkey; here, almost everyone believes in both.
Though there is a somewhat discernible inversely proportional correlation between economic/human development indices and belief in Hell across the globe (Western Europe, Far East Asia, Canada), the American continent (as a whole) seems to undermine this conclusion.
On average, only 17,6% of the people living in Far East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea) believe in Hell(21% believe in Heaven);
Just as well, only 17,2% of the people living in Western Europe (Italy, Great Britain, Spain, France, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark) believe in Hell (27,4% believe in Heaven);
However, 43,6% of the population of North America (United States, Canada, Mexico) believes in Hell (53,6% in Heaven);
And a whopping 61% of South Americans (Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Colombia) think that Hell exists (76,75% think likewise about Heaven)
Though it uses somewhat older data (from World Values Survey 2010-2014), the map below (via Reddit) illustrates this quite vividly:
4.2 The USA
So, all in all, the United States of America can be considered an exception: even though the most developed country in the world, more Americans believe in both Heaven and Hell than the worldwide averages. When compared to its northern neighbor, the divergence is even more striking: while only 28% of Canadians believe in Hell, twice as many Americans think that Hell is real!
However, when we break down the stats by state things get clearer: once again, we discover an apparent inverse correlation between how much a US state is developed and how many of its citizens believe in Hell.
The concurrence is almost uncanny when you compare the above image to a map (created by Alice Hunter for Wikimedia Commons) of the American Human Development Index (HDI) within the United States for 2016) (the lighter shade of blue the field, the lower the HDI for the respective state):
Based on the things stated above, it comes as no surprise at all that the state with the highest HDI (Massachusetts, 6.18) is also the state where the lowest percentage of people (38%) believe in Hell;on the other side of the spectrum, the state with the lowest HDI(Mississippi, 3.81) is also the state where the highest percentage of people (77%) think that Hell is real.
For those interested in some more statistics, here are two charts I made which show the correlation between Americans’ belief in Hell and their religious and political affiliations:
If I am allowed to work out a tentative conclusion based on the available data, I guess I should not be wrong to say that the most common American/believer in Hell is a Christian Republican living in a state with an average or below average human development index.
5. Is Hell Real: A Closing Statement
So, is hell real?
No. Of course not.
At least not any more than Olympus or Valhalla – or Westeros, for that matter.
Simply put – no matter what anybody says – it can’t be: it is a literary creation which we know for sure to have evolved over the centuries from a vision of a place which indiscriminately houses the dead to one part of a Heaven/Hell dichotomy which aims to balance in the Afterlife the abundant injustices on Earth.
This conclusion comes with several interesting topics for further consideration; interestingly enough, most of them are ironies.
5.1 Hell Is Not Sheol
First of all, the Hell we all know came to be when, sometime near the beginning of the first millennium, Roman ideas of the Underworld (Virgil’s Aeneid) were appended to the chilling – but neutral – Jewish vision of Sheol, the-family-tomb-turned-afterlife-world.
That way, “The Old Testament” began retroactively accommodating a Hell which couldn’t have existed for the majority of Jews before the advent of Christianity, since their eschatological notions most commonly included a Judgment Day, i.e., an event in the future which should mark the separation of the Just and the Vile; until then – death is indiscriminate, and everybody shares the same fate after his time on earth.
So, even though people think that Hell originated in the Bible, the ones who wrote the bulk of it don’t believe in Hell: as opposed to 70% of the American Christians who believe in Hell and 76% of American Muslims who share this belief – only 22% of American Jews think that Hell is real. Interestingly enough, that’s less than the number of atheists: 30%!
5.2 Jesus in the Underworld: The Harrowing of Hell
Christians found a great way to insert the doctrine of (continually existing) Heaven/Hell into “The Old Testament”: simply put,they replicated the Judgement Day. If for Jews the Judgement Day is one and it has still not come – for most of the Christians, Christ has both already come and will come again.
Christ’s Second Coming differs not one bit from the Jewish idea of a Day of Reckoning: it should mark God’s final and eternal judgment of the people from every nation of the world.
However, since Christ’s First Coming was an all too important event to have no eschatological weight in itself, it should surprise nobody that Christians had to infer that some aspect of this final judgment must have already happened.
And that’s how the doctrine of Christ’s descent into Hades was devised, gloriously named the Harrowing of Hell.
The logic goes thus: between Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection, he visited Hell/Hades and saved the souls of all the righteous people who had died ever since the beginning of the world. Though controversial, this idea fits nicely within the existing narrative: even if initially the Underworld was indiscriminate and it housed both the righteous and the vile, it isn’t so since the First Coming of the Christ.
Of course, this creates a complication as well: if the righteous are already in Heaven and the wicked in Hell – and if one’s death means an immediate one-way trip in one of these two directions – then what’s the point in Christ coming one more time?
Jacob van Swanenburgh – The Harrowing of Hell (source)
5.3 A Christian God and an Unchristian Hell
Because of complications much more profound than this – the most challenging being why should a benevolent God create a place for eternal torment for the people he himself created? – many theologians have pondered and discussed the idea of Hell ever since the Roman Empire.
Ironically, the vision we have inherited one can find neither in the Bible nor in the writings of most of these theologians; it is, as we said above, an inherently literary one, influenced immensely by the epics of Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton (who, naturally, influenced one another in that order).
However, the notion of divine retributive justice – upon which Hell is usually structured in the imagination of the modern man (via, say, Dante’s Inferno) – predates Christianity by millennia (say, the Code of Hammurabi)and is, in fact, at odds with its central idea of forgiveness.
– and fascinatingly – the very idea of Hell questions the Christianity of the Christian God. And it begs the question: should a Christian forgive a fellow who has done one some injustice, when his god obviously doesn’t?
5.4 The Ultimate Irony: From Real to Metaphysical and Back to Real Hell
However, in my humble opinion, this is not the ultimate irony; the ultimate irony is much more chilling than a theological conundrum or, for that matter, any vision of Hell. Because, at the end of the day, the very question “Is Hell real?” says much more about us than it says about anything else.
5.4.1 The Real Hell: Gehenna
First and foremost, it should be telling that the imagery associated with Hell in Abrahamic religions started emerging back at the time when there was no idea of a discriminate Afterlife.
Namely, even at the time when Sheol was supposed to be the final destination for both merciful King David (1 Kings 2:6) and merciless armor-clad warriors (Ezekiel 32:27), Gehenna was an accursed place on Earth unambiguously associated with the wicked; and even in the absence of a heavenly counterpart, it remained to be so.
It was when the imagery of Gehenna was interspersed with Hellenistic ideas of the Afterlife that Sheol metamorphosed into Hell. In Islam, in fact, Hell is called Jahannam, a word etymologically related to this Old Testament Gehenna.
It’s a striking irony when you start thinking about it: a small valley in Jerusalem where children were sacrificed by fire seemed such an abominable place to the eyes of the living that writers used the imagery (fire, false gods, punishments) to invent an Afterlife of eternal torment for the dead.
5.4.2 The Personalized Metaphysical Hell: Poetic Visions
In other words, the metaphysical actuality of Hell was shaped by the building blocks of physical reality. But this where it gets even more frightening: once that happened, Hell began an existence of its own. And while reality is bounding, imagination is limitless. So, writers started reimagining Hell over and over again – if only so that they can use it as a tool to further their own agendas.
Thus, Virgil used Aeneas’ trip to the Underground to advance the worldview of the Roman Empire: in the eternally green fields of Elysium (which is something like a Heaven inside Virgil’s Hell), Aeneas hears from his father a prophetic vision of the future destiny of Rome, which, among other things, celebrates the glory of the ruler which commissioned the writing of the Aeneid in the first place, Octavian Augustus, Rome’s first emperor.
Guided by Virgil, Dante went a step further and built a highly personalized version of Hell, in which many people suffer not because of their sins against humanity, but because of their sins against Dante himself.
And, ay, there’s the rub: every vision of Hell ever since (or before) is as personalized as Dante’s. And it is difficult to overemphasize the danger of this. The reason why the justice system is so complicated is due to the fact that almost nothing in real life is as simple as the distinction between black and white.
However, we sure would want it to be; and the Heaven/Hell dichotomy is the absolute metaphysical pinnacle of this (in terms of origin) primitive belief, which philosophers – and justly so – deem it an informal fallacy.
As it usually happens when someone uses fallacies to argue something which can have actual effects – potentially terrifying.
5.4.3 The Real Hell and Jordan Peterson
And this brings me back to Jordan Peterson whom I mentioned in the Introduction:
In the video above – and elsewhere – Jordan Peterson says quite explicitly that even though he suspects that there may be some kind of metaphysical reality beyond the metaphor of Hell, he can’t really know if it actually exists.
And he also describes heaven-like experiences as pointers towards the way that things could be, saying that “it’s incumbent on people to work as hard as they can, not to fall into Hell and drag people there with them and to work as diligently as possible to bring Heaven onto Earth as rapidly as possible.”
Now, one of postmodernism’s main contributions to the history of thought – one which Jordan Peterson unjustly and discriminatorily distorts – has been its attempt to question the stability of language. And sentences such as this prove why such an endeavor makes sense – as much as they prove why no intellectual living in the XXI century should allow himself to be unambiguous in relation to religious questions which have straightforward scientific answers.
Simply put, because not everybody shares the same visions of God and Satan, of Heaven and Hell. “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator,” writes, after all, Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf (London: Houghton Mifflin, 1969; p. 60), “by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
Unfortunately, that is something many perpetrators of crimes against humanity also believe: that they are Godsend Messiahs whose objective is to bring Heaven on Earth and take people with them; of course, in doing that, they are actually bringing their own versionof Heavenon Earth; and this usually also means – by implication – someone else’s version of Hell.
Imagine that you’re Hitler and that you firmly believe that the Jews are devilish creatures that have brought upon the downfall of your world; now go back and read Jordan Peterson’s sentence once again.
That’s right: even though Peterson has no intention of saying that whatsoever (in fact, he’s saying the opposite), what you will actually hear is that it’s your obligation to proceed to the Final Solution.
5.4.4 “Hell is Other People”
Scott G. Bruce concludes his Introduction to The Penguin Book of Hell with this blood-curdling paragraph:
Despite the erosion of traditional religious beliefs in the modern era, Hell has survived and prospered. While the belief in Hell as an actual place has declined in recent centuries, the idea of Hell has endured as a dominant metaphor and, frighteningly, as an inspiration for how to treat other people. From the world wars and the Holocaust to the plight of prisoners and detainees, the political calamities of the modern world have increased the currency of the concept of Hell as a metaphor for torment and suffering. Although many modern people have turned their backs on a literal understanding of Hell as a place of future punishment, they nonetheless draw inspiration from imaginative traditions about the punitive afterlife to cause suffering to others in this present life, to ‘give them hell.’ The modern technologies and rational ways of thinking that supposedly mark our progress over earlier generations now allow us to commit mass murder and replicate infernal landscapes at the touch of a button; in an ironic reversal,we have become the very demons our ancestors trembled to meet when death foreclosed on their lives.
And this calls into mind a quote by Sartre from his play No Exit in which three deceased characters (Joseph Garcin, Estelle Rigault, and Inès Serrano) are punished for eternity by being locked into a room together. Near the end of the play, Joseph Garcin comes to a sudden realization:
All those eyes intent on me. Devouring me. What? Only two of you? I thought there were more; many more. So this is hell. I’d never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire, and brimstone, the ‘burning marl.’ Old wives’ tales! There’s no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is other people!
True, Sartre has something else on his mind – the existential dread of existing both as a subject and an object in someone else’s gaze – but, allow me to misuse him once again (after all, he has been misused numerous times before).
Because, dear Ferdinand, you’re right after all: hell is indeed empty, and all the devils are here. And in the eyes of other people – that includes us, as well.
Who Should Read “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”? And Why?
“The Hero with a Thousand Faces” combines Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of mythology with Jungian psychology in a way which makes both of them not just comprehensible, but also irresistibly alluring.
However, even more than people involved or attracted by either discipline, the book should interest novelists and screenwriters, since Campbell breaks down the universal myth of the hero in a way which makes his scheme usable as the background for almost any work of art.
Don’t believe us?
George Lucas used Campbell’s scheme to write “Star Wars.”
Born in New York City in 1904, he was educated at Columbia University in medieval literature, before continuing his studies in Europe, Paris, and Munich specifically.
Here, influenced by the work of Freud and Jung, the art of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, and the literary works of James Joyce and Thomas Mann, Campbell developed an interest to pursue the study of Sanskrit and Modern Art, something which his alma mater rejected.
Even though this meant that he would never obtain a Ph.D., in 1934, he became a Professor of Literature at Sarah Lawrence College, a position which he held for the next 38 years, until 1972.
He died fifteen years later, just a few months after completing the widely revered series of interviews with Bill Moyers, “The Power of Myth.”
“The Hero with a Thousand Faces PDF Summary”
The basic premise of “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” is remarkably simple: every important myth you can think of shares the same fundamental structure.
And the reason why this shouldn’t strike anybody as odd or fascinating is even simpler: myths are manifestations of humanity’s deepest (and, thus, usually unconscious) urges and needs, fears and desires.
And since humans everywhere share the same psychology, the myths of many cultures through many different times must be the same as well.
Of course, it’s easy to say such a thing and much more difficult to prove it.
Hence, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” which not only lays out the structure of the monomyth (in its first part) and the cosmogonic cycle (in its second part) but also offers hundreds of different examples from hundreds of different cultures as evidence to back the scheme.
Since the first part is the much more interesting and influential part of the book – borrowed from Joyce, “monomyth” is Campbell’s term for the underlying scheme of the hero’s adventure – we’ll leave the cosmogonic cycle out of our discussion for now, and, hopefully, extend our summary in the recent future.
Let’s begin with Campbell’s summary of the basic structure of the hero’s journey:
The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there is something lacking in the normal experience available or permitted to the members of society. The person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It’s usually a cycle, a coming and a returning.
These – the taking off, the adventures, and the returning – are the three main stages of the hero’s journey, and Campbell dedicates a chapter to each; each of these chapters is further divided into several sections outlining different phases of that respective stage.
Nicely illustrated, the hero’s cycle looks like this:
Of course, not all heroes pass through all stages (in fact, a hero rarely does), but there is basically no myth of a hero which includes an episode that won’t fit into Campbell’s beautiful scheme.
Here’s what it says, broken down, section by section:
A hero’s journey starts with a call to adventure: the hero is summoned by someone to venture from his normal world into the world of the unknown for one of many different reasons.
Sometimes, this call is just too strange or dangerous or ethically problematic, so the hero refuses the call. However, after some hesitation and in the presence of just enough evidence (say, Hamlet seeing the Ghost of his Father), the hero eventually agrees.
Once he/she embarks on the adventure, his supernatural aid – the mentor – appears or becomes known to him.
With the help of his aid’s advices or magical talismans, the hero is able to cross the first threshold and finally enter the unknown, the field where the laws of the normal world don’t apply anymore (aka: “that creature was actually a vampire!”)
A minor setback or danger may appear at this stage, such as Jonah – or Geppetto – ending up in thebelly of the whale.
OK – not that minor in real-life terms.
But that’s when the real adventure commences!
The Hero is now in a world of “monsters,” treading the road of trials. After several heroic endeavors, he encounters the goddess or the temptress – either way, the woman who will make or break him (remember Gilgamesh?)
Now, comes the center point of the journey: the hero meets the person/figure which holds the ultimate power over his identity or life. Campbell calls this stage theatonement with the fatherwhich means that if you had known the contents of “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” and taken it literally before watching “Star Wars,” you would have guessed one of the most famous twists in cinematic history!
Apotheosis is an Ancient Greek word meaning deification, which makes this stage self-explanatory.
The ultimate boon isthe goal of the quest: the thing due to which the hero’s journey started in the first place. It can be the Holy Grail or the elixir of life – or just some type of knowledge. But once the hero obtains it, the journey is complete.
Time for coming back.
Sometimes, however, the hero mayrefuse to return: the grass is greener on the other side for me, he thinks, so who cares about the people awaiting the boon.
And sometimes, returning from a journey may be just as difficult as going on one: so, at this stage, the hero must perform the magic flight.
If it doesn’t go well – say, he is wounded or weakened – he may need to be rescued from without by a supernatural aid, a beloved person, or a completely unassuming figure.
Next follows the crossing of the return threshold after which the hero usually shares his boon with his original community.
Now, he is the master of two worlds, both his brutal physical force and his inner spiritual understanding of what it means to live in a human society.
In some cases, he makes one more step upward, achieving the freedom to live by the total annihilation of his former fear of death.
Key Lessons from “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”
1. All Heroes are the Same 2. The Basic Structure of the Monomyth 3. Why All of This Matters
All Heroes are the Same
The main thesis of “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” is there in the book’s title: Osiris and Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad, Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter are all just different manifestation of the same character, the Archetypal Hero.
The Basic Structure of the Monomyth
The universal pattern of the hero’s journey – the monomyth – can be summarized, in Campbell’s words, thus:
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered, and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
Why All of This Matters
Because, to quote Campbell, even though “there are of course differences between the numerous mythologies and religions of mankind,” once the similarities are understood, “the differences will be found to be much less great than is popularly (and politically) supposed.”
Unification in the sense of mutual human understanding.
Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.
Hooper has written several books, of which “Six-Figure Musician” and “The Rich Switch” are the most famous ones.
“Ask, Believe, Receive PDF Summary”
When David Hooper was in high school, a friend of his grandfather gave him a copy of “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen.
A few years later, he came across some old recordings by Earl Nightingale which inspired him to start looking for motivational books similar to “The Strangest Secret.”
Nowadays, he doesn’t believe these two events were mere coincidences.
But that it was the Universe showing him the guideposts on his path toward self-discovery.
Which is why what happened next turned out to be the final piece of the puzzle: in 2006, Hooper had an opportunity to see the film “The Secret,” and he saw it “in the right place, at the right time, with the right material”!
And it all made sense!
In Hooper’s opinion,
‘The Secret’ exposed the world to the Law of Attraction in ways James Allen, Earl Nightingale, and others hadn’t. It reached millions of people, many who would never set foot in a metaphysical bookstore or New Thought church.
“Ask, Believe, Receive” is intended as a practical supplement to Rhonda Byrne’s extremely popular book, one which – in Hooper’s opinion – “The Secret” wouldn’t have even needed if it wasn’t for all the misinformation surrounding the Law of Attraction today.
It’s a “step-by-step formula, actually five of them, to help you achieve what you want in specific areas of your life – money, relationships, health, employment, and business.”
Each of these formulas is divided into seven steps, so the subtitle is not a clickbait: David Hooper actually believes that his book can transform five important aspects of your life for the better – if not for the best – in no more than a week!
And he believes in this so much that he isn’t even interested in earning money from it: just like all of his previous books, he has made “Ask, Believe, Receive” freely available as an audiobook at YouTube.
Here’s, for example, Day 1 of “How to Attract Ideal Relationship”:
We weren’t able to locate a playlist of the book, but you can find all of the chapters on David’s channel here.
And we highly encourage you to listen to them all – or, at least the ones you’re most interested in – and start applying the Law of Attraction to your life as early as today!
For our summary, we’ve decided to summarize the 3 steps of the title, i.e., the 3 steps you need to follow to activate the Law of Attraction in any sphere of your life.
Step #1: ASK
The first step to activate the Law of Attraction: asking.
But not asking as in “I want a lot of money.”
Asking as in “By the end of this year, I want to find a fun and fulfilling job as a _____________ in a company located in _____________, which will earn me about $_____________ a month.”
And even more specific than that!
Let us answer you this question with a question of our own: what are the chances that you are going to get the meal you really like if you tell to the waiter at a restaurant “Give me something good to eat”?
Well, consider the Universe your waiter!
In other words: be specific, be polite, and ask what you want out loud.
Limiting belief 2: not believing it is possible to have what you want.
This is a common mistake many people make.
How does it work?
Say you want to have a million dollars. The only way you think you can get it is by winning the lottery. So, you focus all your energy on guessing those magic numbers, and, in time, you realize that this is improbable.
So, you start thinking that you’ll never get your million dollars.
However, you’ve forgotten the most important lesson: the universe has unlimited resources.
So, keep an open mind!
The Universe will do the rest.
Step #3: RECEIVE
However, be aware that you’ll only be able to receive your gift after letting go of any emotional attachment to your present or future state.
This could mean being impatient, desperate, angry, sad, mad, frustrated, afraid.
The only state the Universe understands is the state of allowing which, in the words of Hooper, “actually means to be in a state of non-resistance.”
A good way to let everything go and reach the state of allowing is to spend some time lying quietly in meditation.
Key Lessons from “Ask, Believe, Receive”
1. How Does the Law of Attraction Work? 2. Ask, Believe, Receive 3. The Power of Affirmations
How Does the Law of Attraction Work?
But, isn’t this all just some New Age mumbo-jumbo?
Is there some scientific basis for the Law of Attraction?
Well, according to David Hooper, there is:
Here’s how it works: Your thoughts trigger your emotions. Your emotional state emits a specific ‘frequency’ of energy to the universe. In turn, the universe returns events and experiences into your life that correspond with your emotional frequency.
Ask, Believe, Receive
The three steps which activate the Law of Attraction are the following:
#1. Ask: be specific and precise in what you want; write it down or create a visual board; ask the universe politely, as if you’re sending it a letter in the form of a prayer.
#2. Believe: build your self-esteem: you deserve to get what you want, and it is very much possible to get it; dig deep inside your heart and keep an open mind.
#3. Receive: put yourself in a state of allowing and non-resistance by lying still and meditating.
The Power of Affirmations
A good way to reach a higher frequency and allow for some things to happen to you sooner is by telling yourself a couple of daily affirmations.
Mantras of the kind: “I always have more than enough _________________.”
Feel in the blank with anything: “money than I want,” “love in my life,” “of anything I need…”
This will put your mind in a more assertive and allowing state, i.e., it will make the second and the third step of the Law of Attraction much easier.
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Who Should Read “Creative Visualization”? And Why?
“Creative Visualization” is basically “The Secret” three decades before “The Secret.”
So, if you like Rhonda Byrne’s classic – or any of the many self-help books which aim to help you make positive changes to your life by teaching you how to think positively – you’ll certainly like Shakti Gawain’s pioneering book as well.
Read it if you want to find an encouragement and revolutionize your life.
Especially if you need some helping hand to take you out of the gutter.
About Shakti Gawain
Shakti Gawain is an iconic personal development and New Age thinker and author.
Born as Carol Louisa Gawain, she obtained a degree in fine arts and dance from the University of California in the mid-1970s.
Soon after – in 1978 – she published her debut book, “Creative Visualization” which has been a bestselling book ever since.
She went on to write few other classics of the similar kind, such as “The Path of Transformation,” “Living in the Light,” “Four Levels of Healing,” “Developing Intuition,” and “Creating True Prosperity.”
All in all, her books have sold more than 10 million copies and have so far appeared in editions in no less than thirty countries and languages.
Gawain is the co-founder (with Marc Allen) of the New World Library Publishing Company.
“Creative Visualization PDF Summary”
Of course you do.
And remember her 1994 hit about “the affirmative powers of self-confidence” titled “You Gotta Be”?
If not – here’s a reminder:
There’s a reason why we started our summary with Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be.”
Because that song is basically “Creative Visualization” put to music.
Well, “Creative Visualization” is the book where it all started.
You already know the basic premise: think positively and positive things will happen; envisage what you want to do, and your body will move you forward to do it; visualize the finish line before the starting pistol has even fired, and you’ll get to it first.
But why should something like that work?
Well, think of it this way!
If you are a painter and you want to paint, say, a group portrait of some historical figures, you first have to see the final image in your head, then sketch their positions, and only then move to its execution.
Just the same, you can’t start writing a book if you don’t know how it will finish and it’s basically impossible to assemble correctly the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle if you don’t have the big final picture in your head at all times.
Well, the same is true with your life:
Let us imagine that life is a river. Most people are clinging to the bank, afraid to let go and risk being carried along by the current of the river. At a certain point, each of us must be willing to simply let go and trust the river to carry us along safely. At this point, we learn to ‘go with the flow’ — and it feels wonderful. Once we have become accustomed to being in the flow of the river, we can begin to look ahead and guide our course onward, deciding where the course looks best, steering the way around boulders and snags, and choosing which of the many channels and branches of the river we prefer to follow, all the while still ‘going with the flow.’
But – you may wonder – how does it work?
Or, in other words, does creative visualization has a surer scientific or philosophical foundation?
Well, according to Gawain, it does.
The key is to use the power of your “alpha waves” which originate from your brain’s occipital lobe during the minutes of “wakeful relaxation with closed eyes;” or, in more practical terms, just before you go to sleep, the few moments after you wake up, during meditation, or while you’re calmly listening to a flowing river or the wind rustling through the forest leaves.
Well, these alpha waves, according to Gawain, are the ones which connect us with the energy waves controlling the future, emanating and streaming through the universe around us.
And when we creatively visualize, we are actively participating in the dialogue between the energies.
Just like in love, the more you give, the more you receive back. Send care and affection, and the universe will respond to you caringly and affectedly.
As the Bible says: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Key Lessons from “Creative Visualization”
1. Creative Visualization is the Art of Changing Your Life with the Power of Your Thoughts 2. Three Prerequisites: Affirmations, Self-Love, and Belief 3. Tips for Successful Creative Visualization
Creative Visualization is the Art of Changing Your Life with the Power of Your Thoughts
A colleague of yours is constantly taunting you in the office about minor things and it is obvious that he doesn’t like you.
But, do you: a) play out in your mind the quarrel you’re inevitably going to have with him in the near future; or b) think about a peaceful conversation you’re going to have with him after which you’ll transcend your disagreements become best friends.
B is, obviously, the better-case scenario, but, if you are like us, you are probably obsessed with A.
Well, the “creative visualization” technique says that you’ll reap what you’ve sowed, i.e., if you think about A, you’ll unavoidably get A in the end.
So, why won’t you start thinking about B?
Three Prerequisites: Affirmations, Self-Love, and Belief
If you have problem visualizing, then start with daily affirmations. You don’t have to see images. You can just talk yourself up. Think of Des’ree’s song and the way it sometimes makes you feel.
An important prerequisite for a successful creative visualization, is love. If you don’t love yourself first, you won’t get in touch with your energy. So, accept the outcome first – and then start visualizing.
Also – believe!
Because doubt is creative visualization’s greatest enemy.
Tips for Successful Creative Visualization
Few things you can do to make sure that your creative visualization will succeed.
First, quiet down your mind and set a clear goal before yourself. You can even play some music if that “quiets down” your brain.
Use all five senses and be as realistic as possible.
Also, don’t repress the bad thoughts that will inevitable come. Acknowledge them and try to meander around them. Otherwise, they will emerge victorious.
Finally, say it out loud: “I’m going to make this thing happen. You just sit and watch!”
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When it appeared in 1978, “Creative Visualization” launched a movement which, if not the phrase itself, made the philosophy behind it one of the most popular and most well-known in the personal development field.
Four decades – and countless of imitators – later, the book is still widely read and used in almost every single field of human endeavor.
And when a personal development book is as popular half a century after first seeing the day as in the first few years after it was published – then it’s undoubtedly a book which has struck a profound cord of the human nature.
So, even though we think that it’s just too New Age to tickle our fancy, we won’t try to discourage you from reading it.
“Spiritual Growth” is the third book in Sanaya Roman’s/Orin’s “Earth Life” series – and, quite possibly, the most famous of the six.
It’s, more or less, an entirely practical book, since it’s basically a list of teachings and techniques whose aim is to help you reach a higher self in your everyday life, in addition to aiding you while you create a vision of your higher future purpose.
The book is divided into three parts, each of which contains seven chapters.
(The last time !)
Part 1: Reaching Upward
The goal of the first part of “Spiritual Growth” is to teach you how you can move from your self to the Self of the Universe.
The basic premise is that you are not just the person living inside of your body.
You are much more than that.
And you can have everything you want.
Every time you use your imagination you are breaking the shackles of your limited being, letting go the ghost entrapped in the shell of your body and your senses.
The more expansive your imagination, the more expansive the future reality you can create for yourself.
You can transcend your present by connecting with the Universal Mind and by linking your inner self with the higher will of the Universe and the plan of humanity’s evolution.
Thus, you’ll open yourself to the miracles of the universe, and even learn to create some miracles yourself – out of pure light!
Don’t accept your current circumstances as the best you’ll ever have. Don’t believe people when they tell you something is impossible to create. When you know how to create with energy and light anything is possible.
Part 2: Opening Inward
You are a creature of energy much more than you are a creature of muscles and bodily fluids.
Open your heart chakra and increase your vibratory rate, so that you can both give and receive more energy from the higher planes of existence.
That way, you’ll be able to easily accept all changes – good and bad – and experience peace at all times.
People who have aligned their emotions with their souls are capable of meeting both heartbreaks and joys with the same calmness.
Because they’ve learned that in order to feel good, they have to allow themselves to feel that way:
People who have abundance, loving relationships, and happiness are not more deserving or better than you. They simply allow more good things into their life.
Some of them are even capable of changing the frequencies and experience their existence in some parallel universe.
Just like “A Course in Miracles,” “Spiritual Growth” purports to be written by someone who is not actually from this world – a spirit-teacher called Orin.
There are, usually, two ways to look at books of this kind: either dismiss them as an oddity or take them very seriously and start idolizing every word within them.
We recommend a third one: read them as works of fiction which may help you adopt a completely different outlook on your life and living in general.
If they don’t – then it’s all but irrelevant who wrote them: evidently, God doesn’t speak all languages. If they do – well, once again, it’s beside the point to talk about the author: obviously, the objective was reached even without the supernatural element.
We sincerely believe that people may profit profoundly if they reading religious books this very same way.
Covering the first half of this exceptional man’s life.
Who Should Read “The Golden String”? And Why?
Since “The Golden String” is an autobiography, it’s only obvious that the people who’ll enjoy it the most are those who have some previous knowledge of Bede Griffiths.
However, if all you know about him comes from Wikipedia, be warned that this book only covers the first half of Bede Griffiths’ life, ending with his decision to embark on an enlightening journey to India.
So, if you are interested in his experiences from the ashrams of South India, then you should consult Griffiths’ other book with a Blakean name, “Marriage of East and West,” an autobiography justly subtitled “A Sequel to the Golden String.”
Of course, if you have the time, it would be best if you read both books – so that you get the full picture.
About Bede Griffiths
Bede Griffiths, born Alan Richard Griffiths, was a British-born Oxford-educated Benedictine monk who spent the second half of his life living in the ashrams of India.
Because of this, by the end of his life, he was known by yet a third name, Swami Dayananda, i.e., the Bliss of Compassion.
After spending his childhood in poverty, Griffiths got an Oxford scholarship. At Oxford, he met C. S. Lewis and started regaining his lost faith. This will ultimately result in him rejecting modernity and becoming a monk.
“The Golden String” was his debut book. By the end of his life, he will end up writing eight more.
“Universal Wisdom,” Griffiths’ idiosyncratic selection of the religious thoughts from all major religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism) will be published soon after his death in 1993.
I give you the end of a golden string; Only wind it into a ball, It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate, Built in Jerusalem’s wall.
Bede Griffiths used its first verse as the title of his 1954 beautifully written autobiography; the implication: this book, chronicling Griffiths’ personal experiences with faith, may lead you to the discovery of God as well.
Because, in his personal dictionary, discovering God is synonymous with discovering yourself.
Alan Richard Griffiths was born at Walton-on-Thames on December 17, 1906. He was the youngest of three children in a middle-class Anglican family.
However, soon after Griffiths was born, his father was betrayed by his business partner, leaving Griffiths’ family at the very brink of absolute poverty.
Consequently, in 1919, Griffiths was entered into the Christ’s Hospital, the “Blue-Coat school,” called that way because it was only attended by the poorest boys.
Griffiths excelled in his studies, and by 1924 it was obvious that he was destined for something great.
It was here, while reading authors such as Fielding and Austin, and especially Dante, Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” and S. T. Coleridge, that he fell in love with Western culture.
He had also fallen in love with Marx and many other social thinkers, so, by the end of his secondary education, Griffiths considered himself a zealous socialist, an ardent pacifist, and a devoted atheist.
“We did not believe in any authority beyond our own reason,” writes Griffith.
However, an evening walk in 1924 will change that profoundly, because a mystical experience would open his eyes to the presence of God in nature:
I remember now the feeling of awe which came over me. I felt inclined to kneel on the ground, as though I had been standing in the presence of an angel; and I hardly dared to look on the face of the sky, because it seemed as though it was but a veil before the face of God.
It was with this new-found belief in the divinity of all living things that Griffiths continued his journey, by entering Oxford in the fall of 1925.
Needless to add, he was one of the very selected few of his milieu who had the honor of earning an Oxford scholarship.
Two years later, still believing that Christianity is “a religion of the past,” he started studying English literature.
Lewis’ views on religion – combined with a careful study of Plato and Aristotle, Spinoza and Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” – will affect Griffiths deeply, especially after 1929 when the author of “Narnia” will experience his first conversion to theism.
The next year, repulsed by the flux of modernity and the dehumanization of man by the second Industrial Revolution, Griffiths would start a Waldenesque “experiment in common life” with two friends, Hugh Waterman and Martyn Skinner.
The three men shunned civilization and settled in a cottage in the Cotswolds, where they earned money almost exclusively by milking cows and selling the milk, and where they spend most of their time reading the “Bible” and discussing it.
The experiment – which lasted for a year – had a strong effect on Bede Griffiths and, on returning home, he decided to seek Holy Orders in the Church of England.
He was advised to first gain some experience in the London slums, but during his time working with the poor he suffered a crisis of faith.
He overcome it through the writings of Cardinal John Henry Newman, which helped him undergo a powerful conversion experience.
On Christmas Eve 1932, Bede, despite the protests of his mother, was received in the Roman Catholic Church.
A year later he took the name “Bede,” and he made his solemn profession on December 21, 1937.
A decade later, Bede Griffiths was appointed prior of St. Michael’s Abbey in Farnborough, but he was transferred to Pluscarden Priory in Scotland as a novice in 1951 after he was unable to generate sufficient financial support.
It was in Pluscarden Priory that he wrote “The Golden String,” one of the most moving autobiographies of its kind.
Key Lessons from “The Golden String”
1. A Mystical Experience: The Golden String of Bede Griffiths
2. Discovering God is Discovering Oneself
3. The Divine Mystery Is a Mystery of Love
A Mystical Experience: The Golden String of Bede Griffiths
Bede Griffiths was an Oxford-bound poor boy who excelled as a student in a poor boys’ school before an evening walk in 1924 changed his outlook on life altogether.
Suddenly, he saw himself as something more than the greedy egos we all are – namely, a humble part of everything and all, Nature and God.
And, years later, he realized that, on that very evening, he had managed to find the end of a golden string which, to paraphrase Blake, throughout his lifetime, he would wind it into a ball which would, in turn, lead him to heaven’s gate.
Discovering God is Discovering Oneself
In Bede Griffiths’ words, discovering God means discovering oneself.
Turn that around, and you realize that you can reach God by merely trying to find who you are.
Consequently, if you have that objective in mind, it doesn’t matter if you’re reading the “Bible” or the “Vedas,” the “Qur’an” or Dante and Shakespeare.
They will all lead you to God.
The Divine Mystery Is a Mystery of Love
The divine mystery,” writes Bede Griffiths at one place, “is ultimately a mystery of love, and it reveals itself to love alone. It is only if we are prepared to give ourselves totally in love that Love will give itself totally to us.
To Griffiths, Love is a consuming fire.
It can purify you if you embrace it; but burn you if you resist it.
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We advise that you should snatch this book because it most definitely deserves a place on your bookshelf.
About Sogyal Rinpoche
Sogyal Rinpoche is Tibetan Dzogchen lama born in 1947. He has been teaching the secrets of Buddhism all across Europe for more than 3 decades.
He is the author of 4 books including Dzogchen and Padmasambhava, Glimpse After Glimpse & The Future of Buddhism.
“The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying PDF Summary”
Part 1: Living
In the first chapter, the author recalls his first-ever near-death experience and marks it as the main incentive for writing this masterpiece. Sogyal says that he wanted to create a manual, or a guide that will help those looking for the real meaning of life.
He finds inspiration in every breath and summons up the courage to oppose these harmful tendencies that are destroying the sanity of the present moment.
Life and death are in the mind, and nowhere else.
Going deep, and digging up those fears, is an inevitable road one must take, to finds its true nature. There are several chapters explored in this part such as Impermanence, The Nature of Mind, Bringing the Mind Home, The Innermost Essence, Evolution, Karma and Rebirth, Bardos and The Spiritual Path.
Although experts agree that this section, could have been published as a stand-alone book, Rinpoche respectfully disagrees and guides us through more in-depth topics of spirituality.
Gird your loins, and jump on the bandwagon to soak up the peaceful vibe of the book. We are just getting warmed up – let’s plunge deeper.
Part 2: Dying
This section revolves around the concept of death and questions the human nature to be overly afraid of an effortless transition – from one state of beingness to the other. If your moral and religious beliefs don’t overlap, you’ll also be dreaded by the thought of transformation.
We are acting as if we were the last generation on the planet. Without a radical change in heart, in mind, in vision, the earth will end up like Venus, charred and dead.
Sogyal unravels the cause for writing an easy-to-absorb but thoughtful book, which is filled with information and abstract meaning. According to him, it’s about time the people get out from the circle of suffering, and accept life with all its elements.
This section is subdivided into five separate chapters:
Heart Advice on Helping the Dying
Compassion: The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel
Spiritual Help for the Dying
The Practices for Dying
The Process of Dying
In this section of the book, the author gets the ball rolling with some life-altering quotes, statements, and examples.
He expands on the fear of death and explains that it’s profoundly senseless to love life and feel an aversion to its counterpart.
As a matter of fact, are they even yours? – Probably not, because every person would rather avoid face-to-face confrontations with its judgments and opinions than to take the bull by the horns.
Don’t get too excited. In the end, it’s neither good nor bad.
The last two chapters are particularly interesting and insightful. If you bury yourself in discovering the message conveyed through these examples, you’ll understand that thinking about death is silly. Such revelation will open your eyes to the possibility that you’ve been misled and misguided.
The author spares no one and goes through the death process step-by-step by examining the different stages of inner acceptance. If you are fearful about what awaits you then, be prepared to face death before passing away.
Part 3: Death and Rebirth
If you bear a grudge against the concept of death, the third part will open the doors to a new way of thinking. Death is only a new beginning, a liberation, which the ego considers a threat to its survival. It’s only that the personhood is trapped in a time-frame and it’s afraid to see the big picture.
This section has several chapters as well:
The Bardo of Becoming
Helping After Death
Near-Death Experience: A Staircase to Heaven?
All these chapters, speak about the Buddhist perspective in perceiving life. It examines – how to deal with temporary grief and overwhelming depression.
The part ends with a comprehensive analysis of the near-death experience and outlines the harmony between this thought-provoking angle and the bardo teachings.
Part 4: Conclusion
The last part is wrapped around in two chapters – The Universal Process and The Servants of Peace.
The first chapter, brings to light the concept of death, as something that should be embraced. It explains the universal truth and instigates a new behavior, which supposedly is an integral part of the whole existence.
The second chapter – Servants of Peace, focuses on those people whose minds and spirits are directed towards one goal of becoming a bodhisattva.
Key Lessons from “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”
1. Indulge in new practices 2.Don’t regret anything 3.Live in the present moment
Indulge in new practices
The point of being alive is staying flexible and committed to improving each day. If you stagnate, the world will pass you by, and put you, second-in-command.
Find new wisdom in every action, don’t be afraid to move your boundaries, and explore the hidden treasures of existence.
Don’t regret anything
Regretting your decisions, meaning being stuck in the influence of the past events. Such mindset, can only bring you sorrow and put you on your knees.
Stand up, and resist these notions, because this life has a lot more to offer.
Live in the present moment
Even when death comes knocking at your door, you’ll greet it wholeheartedly if you are truly in the presence of your inner-self.
The future is yet to come, the past brings only sadness, so why not being right where you are? You are not inclined to agree with us, just contemplate this proposition.
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And uncovers the structure of the seven stages of power and healing – tentatively present, in her opinion, in all major religions, and illustrated through three great traditions: Kabbalah, Christianity, and Hinduism.
However, if it is one of yours, then be sure to read “Anatomy of the Spirit,” something of a Bible in the sphere.
About Caroline Myss
Caroline Myss is an American author, medical intuitive and a mystic.
She is one of the most famous practitioners of energy medicine and has appeared several times on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” explaining what energy healing is and what it isn’t, as well as the basic premises of its philosophy.
In addition, she has written numerous books on the subject. Six of them have gone on to become “New York Times” bestsellers: “Anatomy of the Spirit,” “Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can,” “Sacred Contracts,” “Invisible Acts of Power,” “Entering the Castle,” and “Defy Gravity.”
According to the Catholic church, there are seven sacraments instituted by Jesus.
According to a well-known tradition in Hinduism, there are seven chakras, i.e., focal points arranged along the spinal cord.
And, finally, according to the sacred wisdom of the Kabbalah,eventhough there are ten emanations, there are actually seven branches of the Sephirot.
Notice a pattern?
Well, about two decades ago, Caroline Myss did:
The universal jewel within the… major religions is that the Divine is locked into our biological system in seven stages of power that lead us to become more refined and transcendent in our personal power.
Afterward, she tried to create a map of the human “energy anatomy” by overlapping these three religious traditions
What she came up with was something more: a philosophy of disease:
My particular insights… have shown me that emotional and spiritual stresses or diseases are the root causes of all physical illnesses. Moreover, certain emotional and spiritual crises correspond quite specifically to problems in certain parts of the body.
So, in other words, a disease is a deviation from the God who is embedded within our bodies and biographies.
Consequently, a cure means going back to him, reestablishing the original equilibrium.
So, Myss dedicates a chapter to each of the body’s seven centers of spiritual and physical power, revealing, as she says, theseven sacred truths of ourexistence.
Each chapter includes the parallels between the above mentioned religious concepts, the related body parts, and potential illnesses, and a list of 10 questions for self-examination.
Let’s have a look at them all!
#1. The First Chakra: Tribal Power
Location: Base of the spine.
An analogous Christian sacrament: Baptism. Parallels in the Sephirot/Judaist tradition: Shekhinah (The Feminine Spirit), “the spiritual community of all humanity.”
Primary strengths: tribal identity, a heightened feeling of belonging to a group, physical safety of the family, a sense of law and order, the ability to stand up for yourself and those around you. Primary fears: fears of abandonment, loss of order, fears of physical survival.
Related body parts: the legs, the spine, the bones, the feet, the rectum and the immune system. Related health issues: depression, immune disorders, sciatica, chronic lower back pain, varicose veins, rectal cancer, rectal tumors.
Sacred truth: All is One.
Some questions for self-examination: “What belief patterns did you inherit from your family? What superstitions do you have? List all the blessings that you feel came from your family. Describe the tribal characteristics within yourself that you would like to strengthen and develop.”
#2. The Second Chakra: Power of Relationships
Location: Lower abdomen to the naval area.
An analogous Christian sacrament: Communion. Parallels in the Sephirot/Judaist tradition: Yesod (Foundation).
Primary strengths: financial independence; sexual prowess; the ability to take risks; the power to rebel; creativity and control; ethics and honor in relationships. Primary fears: fear of being controlled and dominated by someone else (impotence, rape, betrayal, addiction…)
Related body parts: the hip area, the pelvis, the lower vertebrae; the large intestine, the appendix, the bladder; the sexual organs. Related health issues: pelvic and lower back pain; urinary and sexual potency problems.
Sacred truth: Honor One Another.
Some questions for self-examination: “Do you consider yourself a creative person? Are you comfortable with your sexuality? If not, are you able to work toward healing your sexual imbalances? Do you use people for sexual pleasure, or have you felt used? Are you strong enough to honor your sexual boundaries?”
#3. The Third Chakra: Personal Power
Location: The solar plexus.
An analogous Christian sacrament: Confirmation. Parallels in the Sephirot/Judaist tradition: Hod (Majesty) and Nezah (Endurance).
Primary strengths: trust and fear; self-esteem, self-respect, and self-confidence; care of oneself and of others, sensitivity to criticism and personal honor; responsibility for making decisions. Primary fears: fears of rejection and failure to meet expectations; fears of physical imperfectness (baldness, aging, obesity); fears that your secrets will be discovered.
Related body parts: the abdomen area (the liver, the spleen, the kidney, the stomach, the upper intestines, the gallbladder, the pancreas). Related health issues: arthritis; colon and intestinal issues; gastric and duodenal ulcers; pancreatitis, diabetes; anorexia, bulimia, and indigestion; hepatitis.
Sacred truth: Honor Oneself.
Some questions for self-examination: “Do you like yourself? If not, what don’t you like about yourself, and why? Are you actively working to change the things about yourself that you don’t like? Are you continually wishing your life were different? If so, are you doing anything to change it, or have you resigned yourself to your situation?”
#4. The Fourth Chakra: Emotional Power
Location: Center of the chest.
An analogous Christian sacrament: Matrimony/Marriage. Parallels in the Sephirot/Judaist tradition: Tiferet (Beauty and Compassion).
Related body parts: Ribs, breasts, lungs; heart and circulatory system; shoulders, arms, and hands; the thymus gland; the diaphragm. Related health issues: all diseases related to the heart (heart attack, congestive heart failure, mitral valve prolapse…), all diseases related to the lungs (asthma, lung cancer, bronchial pneumonia), allergies, pain in the upper back and the shoulders; breast cancer.
Sacred truth: Love Is Divine Power.
Some questions for self-examination: “What emotional memories do you still need to heal? What fears do you have about becoming emotionally healthy? What have you done that needs forgiving? Which people are working to forgive you?”
#5. The Fifth Chakra: The Power of Will
Location: The throat.
An analogous Christian sacrament: Confession. Parallels in the Sephirot/Judaist tradition: Hesed (the Love and Mercy of God) and Gevurah (the judgment of God).
Primary strengths: faith, self-knowledge, decision-making capacity. Primary fears: loss of faith; having no authority; the will of God.
Related body parts: throat and everything around and inside (thyroid, trachea, esophagus), hypothalamus, neck, mouth (jaw and teeth). Related health issues: throat problems, mouth ulcers, thyroid issues.
Sacred truth: Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will.
Some questions for self-examination: “What is your definition of being “strong-willed”? Are you able to express yourself honestly and openly when you need to? If not, why not? What makes you lose control of your own willpower?”
#6. The Sixth Chakra: The Power of the Mind
Location: Center of the forehead.
An analogous Christian sacrament: Ordination. Parallels in the Sephirot/Judaist tradition: Binah (Divine Understanding) and Hokhmah (Divine Wisdom).
Primary strengths: intellectual capacity; creativity; emotional intelligence. Primary fears: an unwillingness to discover your own fears; fear of discipline and objective truth.
Related body parts: the brain, pituitary and pineal glands, the eyes, the ears, the nose. Related health issues: brain issues (strokes, tumors, hemorrhages, neurological problems); blindness, deafness; learning disabilities.
Sacred truth: Seek Only the Truth.
Some questions for self-examination: “What beliefs do you have that cause you to interpret the actions of others in a negative way? What beliefs do you continue to accept that you know are not true? Are you frightened of the changes that might occur in your life, should you openly embrace a conscious lifestyle?”
#7. The Seventh Chakra: Our Spiritual Connector
Location: Top of the head.
An analogous Christian sacrament: Extreme Unction (Last Rites). Parallels in the Sephirot/Judaist tradition: Keter (Crown).
Primary strengths: devotion, faith. Primary fears: “the dark night of the soul”; loss of identity and connection.
Related body parts: the central nervous system, the muscular system, and the skin. Related health issues: energetic disorders such as depression and exhaustion.
Some questions for self-examination: “Do you bargain with God? Do you complain to God more than you express gratitude? Do you tend to pray for specific things rather than pray in appreciation? Are you afraid of a closer spiritual connection to the Divine because of the changes that it might trigger in your life?”
Key Lessons from “Anatomy of the Spirit”
1. The Divine Is Locked Within Us 2. The Three Principles of Energy Medicine 3. The Seven Sacred Truths
The Divine Is Locked Within Us
This is something most religions believe in: we are created by some God and made in his image.
In other words, our physical anatomy corresponds to a divine scheme.
According to Caroline Myss, the same is true of our spiritual anatomy, which can be sketched if we superimpose the seven Christian sacraments, the seven-branched emanations of the ten Sefirot and the seven chakras.
What we get is the blueprint of a healthy person.
Any deviation from it is a deviation from God – and, thus, a disease.
The Three Principles of Energy Medicine
Caroline Myss is a proponent of energy medicine, i.e., the idea that our physical ailments can be cured if the energies in our bodies are aligned as well as they were in the beginning.
And energy medicine is based on three principles.
The first principle is “biography becomes biology,” i.e., our bodies contain our histories, and “our biological health becomes a living, breathing biographical statement that conveys our strengths, weaknesses, hopes, and fears.”
The second principle is “personal power is necessary for health.” In other words, a patient must generate internal energy to heal himself or herself.
This is closely related to the third principle, which is “you alone can help yourself heal.” Meaning, healing is a bit different from curing, and while the latter can be controlled with medicine, the former (emotional/psychological balance) is your domain exclusively.
The Seven Sacred Truths
There are seven sacred truths you should abide by daily to reach an equilibrium of stability and health.
These are: 1) All is One; 2) Honor One Another; 3) Honor Oneself; 4) Love is Divine Power; 5) Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will; 6) Seek Only the Truth; 7) Live in the Present Moment.
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