Reviews written by Jon Norris
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An interesting book, and one which took me a bit of effort to get hooked on.
It is a very well done compilation of ideas and methods from the Human Potential movement, the New Age movement, and some very old spiritual ideas. It takes that information and weaves it into a new perspective, the idea that beliefs about oneself are basically “I Am” statements. All the usual “you create your own reality” directions and observations are developed through this concept, and that is done very well, indeed.
I found much of what is in here to be old news, as I have been seeking and exploring in this arena for nearly five decades. For someone who has not done that, this book is a treasure-trove of wisdom and liberating ideas. Even for a jaded old seeker like myself, there is much that is new, if only because it is viewed with “new eyes.”
I found the writing uneven at times. Sometimes too verbose and awkward, sometimes repetitive and overly detailed. For example, At the start of Chapter 2, the author describes how we create our own experience of life. He states that we are capable of experiencing all the manifestations of matter in the world through our senses, then goes on to state that again in the next sentence, enumerating the 5 senses one by one. This paragraph should have been tightened up considerably. There is much of this early on in the book. I found the later parts of the book had much less.
He also tends to “invoke” scientific ideas, as is common in such writings, and when that science is out of date or wrongly interpreted, it hurts his message. I know this is a common tactic with writers today to try and seem modern and in touch, but most mainstream science used by people is inaccurate or just plain wrong. (The reason why so much mainstream science knowledge is incorrect is long and involved - not an appropriate discussion here.) It is not necessary to try and tie everything to “science” for it to be powerful and true.
Those nitpicks aside, it is still a very good book. It is not, however, a quick fix or cookbook solution to one’s life dilemmas. This is a book to be studied and digested, tested and verified, and studied again. There is a great deal of valuable knowledge here, and a very powerful set of tools for liberating oneself and others.
This book is a collection of authoritative information about Buddhism in dictionary format. The title is a bit confusing, "A Concise Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen," as Zen is a form of Buddhism. One would think that the title of "Buddhism" would include Zen, as it would Tibetan and other forms. Oh, well, small nitpick.
The dictionary is quite well done and thorough on the major portion of Buddhist terminology and concepts. To give you an idea, it contains an entry for Yeshe Tsogyel, but not Aro Lingma. This is understandable, as the former is a figure from mainstream Buddhism, and the latter a less well-known figure from the Tibetan Dzogchen school. This book does not pretend to be an exhaustive encyclopedia of Buddhism. It is as it says, a concise dictionary.
I found the entries interesting and learned quite a bit from reading the entries "Buddha," and "Siddhartha Gautama." Even after many years of "popular" Buddhism, I found I had several misconceptions to overcome.
This is not a book designed to teach Buddhism, but would be a vital adjunct to anyone wanting to learn and understand the concepts, history, and ideas of Buddhism. There is also a chart showing the lineage of major teachers, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary format obviously makes it easy to quickly and easily look up items of interest.
A very useful book to have around, if you are interested in Buddhism. Also, quite handy if you just want quick access to terms and concepts of Buddhism for authors and journalists. It is a very useful reference book.
The book started off being interesting, but quickly became more frustrating than useful. If one is new to these topics, this books might be more useful, but anyone who is already familiar with this topic will find this book pretty thin on useful information.
I get the impression that the author is not a native English speaker, as some of his word usage is just slightly off. For example, he states that love is eternal but not permanent. He goes on to explain that it is always changing, so what he really means is that love is dynamic, not static. The words eternal and permanent are too close together in meaning, and their use does not convey the meaning he obviously intended. In a work intended to deal with topics like healing and the energy body, this kind of inaccuracy can create problems. It can lead to errors in understanding on the part of the reader, especially if one is new to these concepts.
The author also falls into a trap in which many in the so-called New Age arena get caught. In trying to link ancient, metaphysical ideas to the supposedly "concrete" world of science to add credibility, people invariably introduce even more errors. Rados' scientific knowledge is clearly based on very mainstream and somewhat dated (which is a redundant statement) understanding.
Trying to explain the effects of the chakras and the human energy system through glandular function may seem laudable, but actually undermines the fact that all matter is basically energy held in (to us) "solid" form by forces from other dimensional levels. The blueprint for these forms exist beyond our usual concept of the physical world, and changing them at that level changes the physical world. This is not mysticism, it is an area of physics called "precursor engineering" discussed by Dirac, Whittaker, and more recently, Tom Bearden. To get caught up in another layer of mental abstraction does not serve to free one from its grip. There is no need to try and water the concepts down to make them more palatable to those who trust the outdated scientific ideas of the mainstream. I found that his concentration on this approach detracted from the good information he has to offer.
While the author does describe the core concept of healing very well, Tolle does a far better job of explaining to Western minds how to be centered and grounded in the Now.
It was an interesting read, but bear in mind the above caveats.
This is a pretty straight forward and inclusive book on reiki. The author relates the history and meaning of concepts relating to the human energy system, and which impact on one's understanding and use of reiki.
For those unfamiliar with the topic, reiki is a form of energy practice based on a set of specific symbols and sounds in addition to the usual Eastern model of chakras and meridians of energy flow in the human body and the field it generates. It is traditionally passed down in the Asian tradition of secrecy from Master to student, although there exists considerable controversy in the West about that part of the practice.
The book is divided into sections dealing with the basic concepts, the First and Second degrees, and other topics in the field. It is well written, even-handed, and honest in dealing with the controversies and in-fighting in the reiki community. She does shy away from discussing the huge amount of money some Masters require for the Master attunement, however, although she does mention it.
There are many line diagrams of hand positions for healing and a great deal of practical information about reiki, its use, and energy work in general. It is a very good reference book for reiki practitioners, and might make a good text for those learning reiki.
While generally being very balanced in dealing with the current state of the reiki community, the author does make it clear that she leans toward the more traditional approach, and in so doing, does not reveal the symbols or mantras involved. These things have been published by other authors, in books, on DVDs and on the web. She doesn't believe in the efficacy of initiation, or "attunement" as its called in reiki, by any means other than direct physical presence of the Master.
Since I have personally experienced the attunements from Steve Murray's DVDs, I have to take exception with her attitude on this. I have found them effective, and given that we are speaking of an energy-based practice, there is no rational reason why DVDs would not work to transmit the attunement. Time and space should not be a limitation if the practice and the energy are real. However, this in no way detracts from the immense value and practical information in the book, and is a side consideration at best.
This is a very good book, and I heartily recommend it to practitioners and beginners alike.
This book is about the UFO flap of strange lights over Phoenix and some other cities in the southwest which happened in 1997. The book details the experiences and efforts of people to try and get straight answers from government officials about the event, and purports to present evidence of the extraterrestrial nature of the observed phenomena.
The book is well written, and thorough in its scope, but it simply does not meet the goal of proof that the events were ET in nature. Did they happen? Of course. They were witnessed by thousands of people with plenty of pictures and video to prove it. Did the government official act in a reasonable way regarding the event? Certainly not. The official story changed like the weather, and denials morphed into stupid explanations faster than swamp gas can turn into Venus. Did the government lie? Of course it did. how can you tell? Why the spokesperson's lips were moving; a dead giveaway to lying.
However, the book boils down simply to a collection of lots of opinions and some very poorly reproduced photos of lights in the night sky. It is not convincing at all, and I already believe in ETs being here.
One of the biggest problems I have with this kind of book is that a major part of the UFO thing is that much of it is deliberately created disinformation. Face it, the government is not going to admit to flying highly classified black project craft to news people or common citizens. They don't care about you, and simply don't think you have the right to know anything, even if you are paying for it. That is just the way it is, so get over it.
It is far more likely that the craft seen were black project (of some group or nation) than ET dropping by to phone home. The opinions which people spout about it "not possibly being from Earth" because of size, movement, lack of sound or other characteristic would depend on those people being completely informed about the nature of every black project on the planet, and I guarantee that is just not the case. Covert black projects can easily have technology which is 20-50 years ahead of anything the general public, including many pilots, have seen. The ET/UFO field is saturated with agents and counter-agents with many agendas, at least one of which is to steer people away from the idea that any of this technology is terrestrial.
These phenomena could easily have been black project craft, or electromagnetic or optical weapons technology such as scalar EM devices or some advanced laser holography. Such devices are known to exist and to be capable of creating phenomena like what was seen.
If you know nothing about the UFO field, then you might enjoy this book, as it is not a bad introduction to the generic stories and state of the UFO field today. If you have progressed past most of the noise and disinformation surrounding this arena, you will be disappointed.
This book is designed to provide the reader with tools for achieving greater meaning and peace out of life by exploring ten basic ideas through the writings of philosophers. Does it meet its goal?
I think it does, with some caveats. The author is a professor of philosophy, and the book has the burden of being a bit overwritten in a somewhat academic style. It is not as bad as many I have read by academics, but the prose tends a bit toward the flowery side, and while generally quite clear, it is by no means concise. It is well written given those nitpicks.
As a casual read, it wears a bit, but if one considers it as a sort of textbook for exploring certain aspects of philosophy, it suddenly comes into its own. It is set up to be used as a guide to exploring ten ideas or concepts:
The author chooses two philosophers to illustrate each topic, along with study questions, books to read, movies to watch, and music to listen to. It is also suggested that the reader create a "philosophy club," of people who can get together and discuss the ideas presented.
Since the book tries to bridge the ground between an academic textbook and a popular guide, it really inhabits a territory all its own, and it does that well. While my current life is far too hectic for the relaxed manner of exploration involved here, at one point in my life it would have been very interesting. It would certainly be a good introduction to these ideas for younger people who are victims of our sadly industrialized school system.
While I did like much of what the author had to say, I find the approach of philosophy too cerebral and restricted by its limitations of imagination. I use a more mystical approach and find that more satisfying and all-encompassing in its understanding. (Which is not to say the two are mutually exclusive.)
If you like the idea of an informal course of study of these ideas in a philosophical motif, and have the time to devote to the material recommended as well as the discussion, then you will probably find the book to be fun and interesting.
If you are expecting a quick, cookbook approach to gaining a few new philosophical levers to make your life better, then you will be disappointed. This is a book to be read and digested at leisure, not wolfed down on your way to the airport.
Frank Joseph's book is a very interesting telling of ancient civilizations in North America – the Adena, Hopewell, Mississippian, and Anasazi. All four societies came and went without clear reasons for their ending, and have left many mysteries, most of which are ignored by the mainstream.
Joseph traces the rise and fall of each, giving what information is known, and speculating on the various mysteries. Some of his conclusions are amazing and exciting, giving tremendous new dimensions to the history of this continent.
The book is well over 300 pages, with the last 57 or so pages given over to appendices, bibliography, references, and an index. There are a few black and white photos throughout the text, and a section with eight pages of color photos in the book's center.
The biggest surprise and most exciting single piece of information for me was the influence of the Japanese on West Coast Native Americans and the Hopewell people. The fact that modern Japanese can converse easily with members of the Klamath tribe clearly upsets the mainstream applecart as concerns the travels of Pacific Rim peoples in ancient times. That is a fact that is impossible for any thinking person to ignore. It is a game changer.
While I enjoyed the book, it was fairly hard to read. Joseph writes in a style which I generically call “academic” - tending to the verbose, using long, complicated sentences, and indulging in obscure and difficult vocabulary which is not really required. This book was obviously written to be more academic in tone, and is therefore far more difficult to read than is necessary. I (and most others these days) prefer to write for clarity and transmission of information, not to impress with vocabulary and convoluted writing style.
There is also a great deal of detailed information; locations, tribal names, gods, and so on. This material can be quite difficult to follow, and one must take extra care in keeping it all straight. The organization of the material is not as clear as I would like to see, and the level of detail involved means that this is a book which must be seriously studied, not merely read, if one is to glean all the valuable information which is here (and there is plenty). I have to say that I far prefer the style of researchers like Joseph Farrel when it comes to dealing with complex and detailed information like this.
On balance, it is very much worth reading, but be prepared for a major effort, not a quick read.
This book is a distillation of many years of research into Near Death Experiences (NDE) by one of the most thorough and innovative researchers in this arena. Long's Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) and website (www.nderf.org ) are the primary tools he has used to collect the largest database of NDE data in the world. In addition to
his own work, he cites the research of other serious scientists working on NDEs.
The book has an Introduction, 11 chapters and a Conclusion, along with eleven pages of research citations at the end. It is readable and well written.
Long's research centers around a one hundred question survey and the complex analysis of the data people enter on the website. Long uses in-depth statistical analysis of the data, including sophisticated filters to ferret out false entries. What he has discovered through this common and well-accepted scientific method of research is nothing short of amazing. He
has discovered scientific evidence of life after death.
While I am sure that will scandalize many of a scientific bent, he develops his methodology in a meticulous and thorough manner, cross-checking results with other researchers to increase clarity and understanding. He acknowledges skeptics and systematically dispatches their objections in a balanced and thoughtful way.
He divides the evidence up into nine categories of proof:
Out Of Body
From The Mouths Of Babes
He devotes a chapter to each topic, giving details of the statistical results as well as including narratives from the people answering the survey. He then explains how the incredible similarity and detail, even from people of different ages, cultures, and languages from around the world, describes a situation which provides overwhelming evidence that our consciousness is independent of the physical body and survives the death of that body.
For any but the most pathological skeptic, the evidence is conclusive. If you add in all the historical, anthropological, and spiritual studies which have reached the same conclusion, it would be all but impossible to deny the conclusion. This squares well with other interesting research, like that mentioned in Talbot's "Holographic Universe," regarding people with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD, now called Dissociative Identity Disorder, DID), who can show radical alterations in their physical body (eye color changes, tumors and scars coming and going, vanishing medical problems like diabetes, etc.) simply by a change in personality. The "mind" or personality is definitely not a result of the physical body, but more primary and controls the physical manifestation.
A good, fairly quick read, and one well worth your time.
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