Sacred Contracts engages you in an extensive, self-exploring expedition to unearth the core ingredients of your unique, spiritual identity. Because there are so many assignments to do in the book and it is so detailed, I suggest you get the hardcover version rather than one of the audio versions.
Of all the many books I have read about finding and following the dictates of your own true self, Sacred Contracts is by far the most unusual and detailed. The author calls upon major religious traditions, Eastern ideas about energy centers in the body, Jungian psychological archetypes, and astrology among other sources as context for seeing yourself as unique. Although few of these references are ones that I relate to very often, I was impressed by the way that they centered my focus by helping me see what life roles are not important in my life, as the contrast for seeing what is important. In my past experience with increasing self-understanding, the focus was on what was important. Cutting away the unimportant makes those important areas stand out much more clearly.
This is a book that can help you learn for the rest of your life. Unlike many books that are aimed at helping you find "the answer" and then getting you off working with "the answer," Sacred Contracts is designed to help with new challenges and issues in the future . . . as well as the ones you have today.
I found myself particularly enriched by reviewing the very long list of potential archetypes that are developed in the book. These are explained by stories of individuals, references to popular books and movies, and examples of how one archetype differs from other, similar ones. As a result, the archetypes and my own reactions to them came into much clearer focus in my mind. When I had read about these in Joseph Campbell's work, I often found them to be distant. Here, they are immediate.
Sacred Contracts focuses on "what is our mission in life?" This includes both "where am I going?" and "who will go with me?" The answer is unique for each person to each of these questions. A sacred contract is "your overall relationship to your personal . . . and spiritual power." The contract is "a plan to help you develop your divine potential." This is to fulfill "an agreement your soul makes before you are born." As I read these concepts, I found them to be most closely identified in my mind with the beliefs of Buddhism as they relate to the reincarnated soul. The author takes care to show that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam also contain these points of view.
The book contains a lot of material to help you absorb the context of these perspectives. In that sense, I felt a little like I was reading a condensed version of The Golden Bough.
After you understand the archetypes and their manifestations, you are directed how to engage in an extensive mental dialogue with and write about the positive and negative forms of each important archetype for you. These will include the four universal ones (child, victim, compromised person, and saboteur) as well as your selection from dozens of others for the ones that seem most important to you (such as addict, angel, bully, gambler, Midas, poet, and thief). For example, you will ask, "Why did I choose this archetype?" "In what way do I feel the archetype serves my Contracts with other people?"
The focus of all this remains on keeping "your attention on reaching your highest potential." To do this, you must "surrender to self."
Most people will find the list of what to think about and the exercises to do to be a bit intimidating. I certainly did. The work is based on a successful seminar that the author has been developing over many years. So it is intended to take quite a bit of time to do and implement. I suggest that you find blocks of time of at least two hours in length to work on these assignments when you will not be disturbed. If you are single, you might go someplace where you can be alone but see the splendor of nature. If you live with your family, early morning or late at night would probably be the best time . . . while others are at rest. Naturally, if you like what you read here, you could also consider doing a seminar with the author. I'm assuming that that is much more expensive than working with this book on your own. Some people might find it helpful to find someone to do this with, so that you share your results with one another. This could help provide the discipline to keep working on discovering your sacred contracts.
May you fulfill your highest purpose in ways that bring great joy and benefit to you and all whom you meet! God bless you.