There are hundreds and hundreds of books I’ve read and studied over the years that have influenced and enriched my thinking. Below I have provided a brief summary of a few books and a couple of thinkers that had special significance for me while writing the Elysium's Passage series over the last five years
1. A COURSE IN MIRACLES (ACIM)
I repeatedly make reference to ACIM throughout the series. I found it fascinating to learn that the book came into existence in the late 1960s through words inspired and dictated by Jesus to a bewildered and reluctant professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Dr. Helen Schucman was the last person you would expect to be called to scribe these writings, sometimes referred to as the Christian Vedanta.
For one thing, she was Jewish and so had little regard for Jesus or the Christian faith. But not only that, she was also an atheist and scientist who had a scholarly reputation to protect. Added to this she was married to a devout Jewish businessman. The divine must have a sense of humour when choosing his scribes.
Rather than go into my own opinions, which are obviously favourable, I leave to the reader who is interested in finding more about this astonishing work.
One very informed book about ACIM is Understanding a Course in Miracles. It’s written by journalist and scholar Dr. Patrick Miller who provides a very balanced view and excellent orientation of the book, its history and legacy.
If you are interested in knowing more, there is much information available on the Internet including a movie documentary. I would recommend beginning with the Foundation for Inner Peace website.
2. A COURSE OF LOVE (ACOL)
ACOL was published in various stages between 2001 and 2008 but only became readily available after 2014 and is today being translated into several languages. The book is based on the inspired writings of Mari Peron who likewise claimed to have received her readings by way of written dictation through the spirit of Jesus, just as A Course In Miracels had been delivered.
In these writings, Jesus purports to say much more about his life on earth as an example of how divinity is to be lived on Earth. ACOL is less centered on exercises to reorient and convert the egoic mind to a spiritual mind as encouraged by ACIM with its recommended exercise for each day of the year. Rather, it is more focused on emphasizing the union of heart and mind into fullness of being and how this can transform humanity into Christ consciousness.
Though just as profound as ACIM, I find ACOL more readable and gentle. To me it seems it has been bestowed as a love-oriented application and conclusion for what ACIM had to say.
I found it most interesting that many of the images I wrote about in the Elysium series were already contained in ACOL even before I read it or was even aware of the book. Especially prevalent is the image of the Mountain, its ascension and the ‘level ground’ (being comparable with the ‘Lowlands’). The hermetic words ‘as within, so without’ are also contained throughout. As with ACIM, I have quoted ACOL several times in the Elysium’s Passage series
3. THE HOLY SPIRIT’S INTERPRETATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (NTI)
I also make a number of references to another book called The Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament, generally referred to as ‘NTI’. I have found this book be fully compatible with ACIM and ACOL in sharing the same basic perspectives with it's own unique and highly personal approach.
The book was written by Regina Dawn Akers and published in 2008, purportedly dictated by divine inspiration in the same way as ACIM and ACOL. As with ACOL I find NTI to be more heart centered than ACIM’s more rigorous intellectual approach.
The message to the reader purports to come directly from the Holy Spirit. If this sounds preposterous, I can only say, as with the other two books, if you have an open heart and an open mind, the Spirit will speak to you such that you hear precisely what you need to hear, no matter where you randomly open the book. At least that has been my experience, but it’s not likely going to speak to those of who are contrary minded to its message of hope and encouragement.
I think its rather amazing how these three books seem to be in concert with each other with differences only in orientation and the scribes' writing styes. I would say they are more than complementary. For me, they seem to illuminate each other as does the heart with the mind.
After years of reading and meditating on these books, which I continue to do most days, I strongly believe that each are divinely inspired, in as much as that is possible through human oracles. I do not wish to suggest, however, these are the only ones since there have been many inspiring works written over the years, as I'm sure will continue to occur into the future.
4. EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)
Swedenborg was a highly regarded scientist in Europe in the 18th century, closely associated with Sweden’s royalty as a friend and administrator (Royal Assessor of Mines). In 1741, at the age of 53, much of his life changed when he became exposed to the spirit dimension. First beginning with dreams, a few years later he reported his soul’s heavenly visitations that continued for remaining twenty eight years of his earthly life. This he described as his 'spiritual awakening'. From then on he recorded his celestial visits while speaking with hundreds of spiritual entities, not all in the higher realms.
He wrote several books of theological concern, with over eighteen works published in Latin. Most of his works are deeply profound, and for some, perhaps difficult to read. His most popular and arguably easiest to comprehend is Heaven and Hell (1758); a popular introductory summary of his experiences and conclusions.
Given the nature of his experiences and how remote his spiritual discourses were from the normal convention, some considered his works insane. But this was largely mitigated by his impeccable reputation as a scholar and scientist with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He was also part in the Swedish House of Nobility (the Swedish Riddarhuset) and Parliament (Riksdag).
On a personal level he was characterized as being a very pious and warm-hearted man, speaking easily and naturally. Many literary luminaries became devoted readers of his works including, Jorge Luis Bores, Daniel Burnham, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Y.B Yeats, John Flaxman, George Inness, Henry James Sr., William Blake, Carl Jung, Immanuel Kant, Honore de Balzac, Arthur Conan Doyle, Helen Keller, Czeslaw Milosz and August Strindberg.
There are several books written on him and his works, many of which can be accessed online.
5. GEORGES I. GURDJIEFF (1872-1949)
Gurdjieff lived his early years in the Transcaucasia region which had rich ethnic mix comprised of Georgians, Armenians, Kurds, Greeks, Turks and Russians. At the age of fifteen he set out to wander the world, gleaning whatever ancient wisdom he could in scattered Sufi ashrams, Christian churches, Buddhist temples and assorted mystery schools across central Asia, Egypt, Rome, Iran, Russia and going as far as Tibet. He later established himself back home in Russia where he taught his esoterica under his own auspices, often in Moscow and St Petersburg.
In the first half of the twentieth century, Gurdjieff brought many ancient esoteric traditions to the western world such as the Enneagram. Gurdjieff also wrote certain classic scores for piano designed to awaken human consciousness and introduced Sufi whirling dervishes by bring several to New Your to perform.
Along with his primary student, P. I. Ouspensky and several others, they together escaped the Bolshevik revolution by traveling on foot from Russian down through Georgia to Istanbul in 1920. Later they established their own institutes, Gurdjieff in Paris and Ouspensky in London, each teaching and disseminating their ideas on the nature of consciousness and other arcane philosophies. Since returning to my earthly body, I’ve endeavored to become more familiar with their teachings through their several books. I’ve also taken in several talks related to the Forth Way school of thought that include concepts such as being present, self-remembering and non-identification, to name just a few.
Unfortunately, concepts dealing with higher consciousness are not well understood or recognized in most universities in the West, since so few now know anything about esoteric philosophy, or consciousness for that matter. (One notable exception is eminent philosopher Jacob Needleman from San Francisco State University).
Anything written by Gurdjieff, Ouspensky or others of that day’s cultural intelligentsia such as Orage, Nicoll, Nott and Bennett are recommended, although many of these books can be challenging.
The Gurdjieff Foundation has several affiliate organizations throughout the world. For more information, refer to the Gurdjieff Foundation web site.
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You may receive my free eBook HOW IT CAME upon request at firstname.lastname@example.org This tells
the fascinating story of how the Elysium's Passage series came into being.
THE SUMMIT is the first in a series of five Elysium’s Passage narrations regarding a young British philosopher named James Phillips who finds himself living in an altered state of reality while still remaining on earth.
After experiencing a near fatal fall while climbing to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes, James awakens in a new dimension. He soon encounters two mysterious beings who provide him with a very different perspective on the nature of his existence. Over the next year, before his body recovers from the coma, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding about life’s meaning and purpose far beyond anything he previously believed, or could believe.
An engaging and sometime surreal adventure with intimations of impending romance, the narrative explores the most important questions about life, death, reality and our ultimate destiny.
The Plains of Elysium (Champs-Élysées) was described by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and many other ancient poets as the paradisiac afterlife realm reserved for heroes.
As the Elysium's Passage series title suggests, ongoing narrative is about a journey through a passage that leads towards Elysium.
PENDING PUBLICATIONS ELYSIUM’S PASSAGE SERIES
The Summit is now available for purchase at Amazon.com/Amazon.ca
With the exception of the last novel, the other three have been written but still require more editing before publication.
The following titles in the Elysium's Passage series are projected to be released as follows:
THE SUMMIT now available
SURREAL ADVENTURES fall 2018
MYSTICAL ROMANCE spring 2019
THE ELIXIR fall 2019
THE RETURN sometime in 2020