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Record Type: Review ID: 969
The Experience of God: How 40 Well-Known Seekers Encounter the Sacred
Robinson, Jonathan (Ed.).
Robinson interviewed or obtained statements from a number of people who are identified with spirituality in regard to 10 questions concerning the experience of the divine. Brief biographical sketches with a photograph are given in a section titled "The Contributors" on pp. 3-40. There are 38 people in this section. They are Lynn Andrews, Marilyn Atteberry, Pat Boone, Joan Borysenko, LaVar Burton, Mantak Chia, Deepak Chopra, Alan Cohen, Stan Dale, Ram Dass, Bruce Davis, Wayne Dyer, Warren Farrell, Robert Fulchum, Willis Harman, Richard Hatch, Louise L. Hay, Jerry Jampolsky, Gurlicharan Singh Khalsa, The Dalai Lama, Kenny Loggins, Emmett F. Miller, Dan Millman, Edgar Mitchell, Him Nissley, Pam Oslie, M. Scott Peck, Peter Russell, Bernie S. Siegel, Marsha Sinetar, Ron Smotherman, David Steindl-Rast, Charles Tart, Mother Teresa, Doreen Virtue, John White, Marianne Williamson, and Meredith L. Young-Sowers. In addition, individual spiritual autobiographies are provided by Mark DeFriest and Robinson himself along with 5 people already listed above, bringing the total number of contributors to 40.
There are 10 sections. Not all contributors responded to each question. I would guess that an average of 28 are represented in each, with the responses being 1-3 paragraphs long. Robinson asked the following questions of the contributors, and their responses, following a brief introduction, make up the first 10 chapters. How do you encounter God? What does the experience of God feel like in your body, mind and emotions? How can you deepen your experience of God? When you meditate and/or pray, how do you connect with the Divine presence? Is there anything you do that seems to lessen your experience of God? What beliefs have helped you attain a better relationship with God? What, if anything, do you think God wants from us? How do you remember and/or tune into the sacred during your everyday life? Have you ever experienced any miracles? If so, please describe one and tell how it has affected your faith in God. If you had one piece of advice to give to people who wanted a deeper relationship with God, what would you tell them? Each person has something to say that will strike home to some people. On this first reading, I found I resonated to the words of six contributors, in particular. It could well be that in a year or two I would be drawn primarily to a handful of different contributors, depending on my own spiritual needs and budding insights in my life at the time, so this is a book to be read whenever one feels a need for spiritual guidance.
There are brief descriptions of exceptional human experiences (EHEs) scattered in various responses throughout the book, but the next to last theme chapter on personal experiences of miracles produced accounts of EHEs, including aftereffects, because of the way the question was worded. Some of the responses are thumbnail EHE autobiographies.
The 11th chapter is also of relevance to EHEs. In interviewing people for the book, Robinson noted that several had "particularly fascinating stories to tell about their spiritual journeys" (p. 195). The stories of 7 people are recounted in chapter 11 for the spiritual wisdom they provide, especially when we can "step back and see the bigger picture of the way God intersects with our lives. From this ‘bigger picture,’ it’s possible to learn new and different things about God and about ourselves" (pp. 195-196). These, in effect, are partial EHE autobiographies. The authors are Mark DeFriest, who is sentenced to 200 years of solitary confinement, which has led him to pursue a spiritual path; healer Meredith L. Young-Sowers, who founded Stillpoint Publishing and the Institute of Life Healing; Jim Nissley, a long-term AIDS survivor, who describes some interesting experiences he had that were associated with Sathya Sai Baba; philosopher Robert Fulchum; Author John White’s revised Alexander Imich Essay contest contribution (the original essay was published in vol. 15, No. 2 of Exceptional Human Experience, although not credited as such in the book); Doreen Virtue, a counseling psychologist, clairvoyant spiritual healer, and metaphysician; and Jonathan Robinson, the editor, who has been a spiritual seeker since his teen-aged years.
|Publisher Information:||Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 1998. Pp. vii + 239. 21 photos; 18 ports|
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