on 5 April 2003
After having read many a book on topics related to personal development I found this particular gem by Regardie a particularly refreshing experience. A very short book, especially when compared to some of Regardie's more well known books, such as those describing the rituals of the Golden Dawn.
Nevertheless, its brevity actually remains its primary strength. Outlined in it, Regardie details what he regards as the most important and effective exercises one can undertake to develop oneself and seek, (and hopefully obtain), some kind of enlightenment.
Unlike many other similar books on the same topic, Regardie provides his recommendations with the minimum of fuss or frills. Readers of Crowley's 'Book Four' will appreciate the relative simplicity and straight-talking nature of the One Year Manual.
Think of this book, perhaps, as the very best essence of personal/spiritual development literature distilled into twelve exercises. Although I read this book many years ago originally, I still carry out some of the exercises detailed therein. Upon first encountering it I initially reacted by wishing that I had read this book first, before the dozens of encyclopedic texts I had tackled previously!
Having not had the ability to discern the wheat from the chaff when such books originally piqued my interest I have made up for this by often purchasing this book for friends when they express an interest in the topic. I say in all earnestness that if you have a fairly serious interest in finding out more about personal/spiritual development, reading this book will save you a lot of time.
Many books on these topics unfortunately steal the limelight because of the massive funding poured into advertising them. Gloss and advertising wins over solid content. I place this book in my top ten list of 'highest signal to noise ratio' texts.
As to the content of the exercises themselves, Regardie admits his biases at the very outset. Earlier editions of the book used Christian terminology in some of the exercises given. In his last major edit of the book however, Regardie replaced this with ancient egyptian terminology in an effort to remain more neutral and avoid putting readers off unduly.
All emphasis in the book remains on the quality and effects of the exercises themselves. The first exercises introduce the reader to fairly non-taxing exercises that fit in very conveniently during the day. Newcomers to this area will no doubt find that the most difficult aspect of these exercises remains the maintaining of the habit; the resolve to go through them each and every day. For the maximum benefit individuals should carry them out daily, or as often as possible - as indeed Regardie recommends.
The obstacle of habit-forming in the first place, I would say actually remains more difficult than most - if not all - of the exercises. Readers should bear this in mind when tackling this book as Regardie does not seek to instruct with profound soundbites of wisdom, or comprehensive analysis of the rhyme or reason behind doing such exercises.
No. It remains a beautifully short and sweet instruction manual for the most effective exercises for encountering and experiencing the kind of wisdom many other such texts purport to convey. One can find further clarification and depth in Regardie's excellent 'Tree of Life', and I would recommend reading this also after at least giving the exercises in the One Year Manual a try.
Having thoroughly experimented with the exercises myself over the course of a year I can honestly say that they help to give colour and context to almost every other book I have read on the topic before or since, and they do so in a way that will neither consume your time or your money. It seems that the best things do still come in small packages.
on 8 May 2008
This book contains a progressive series of techniques for disciplining and strengthening one's mind, leading to more advanced spiritual practices, with a view to bringing about personal improvement and change. I have not yet gone through all of the practices, but the earlier ones introduce meditation techniques, and then lead to more involved practices. The spiritual benefits of these practices can be tremendous, whether or not one completes the whole series.
Which brings me to another point - as Regardie himself acknowledges, 'one year' is ambitious. One can certainly expect to spend longer than a month on many of the exercises, unless already well-versed in meditation techniques. This should not dissuade anyone - a year spent doing just the first exercise twice a day would be a year well spent, in my view.
The book can be considered as a stepping stone to more advanced practices in other books. However, the book by itself provides the opportunity for radical self-change and one need not progress any further than the twelve steps contained within. In fact, one need not proceed through the whole book to achieve some very significant progress; carrying out only the first exercise for a few months is tremendously beneficial to one not already engaged in meditation practices.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who feels that they could benefit from instilling some discipline in their mind, whether or not they wish to progress to any of Regardie's other, more sophisticated texts. It is rare to find such a straightfoward and effective text in the often 'mystifying' genre of personal growth.
on 24 November 2014
I have worked with Dr. Regardie' s books, amongst others, for over 25 years. This title really shocked and surprised me. Stripped of the pompous language and nonsense that so much of the Western Mystery Tradition of the turn of the last century contained. Simple, short, easy....and incredibly effective.
Having run through the 12 basic exercises, I have pretty much spent the last year using one meditation from this book on a regular basis. It has changed my life and will continue to.
Whatever tradition, or non, you come from this book is guaranteed to work and help.
In years of trawling book shops I had never seen this title. Written when the Doctor was older in years it feels like the essence and summary of a life time in the Western Mystery Tradition.
I will be recommending this title to anyone who asks.
on 13 June 2011
At the point of submitting this review I have practiced two processes and read four of the chapters. For me the benefit to date has been in engaging in the relaxation techniques, where I have dropped off to sleep before each of the half hour session's has completed; the best nights sleep's I have had in years. Whether this leads to something spiritual or not I cannot say, being only one month into the process. An interesting read and an insight into some aspects of the psyche.
Happy to recommend the book, but it is not conventional in its outlook and has some pagan links.