37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Startling
"The Disappearance of the Universe" is an amazing and startling book. The author, who as far as I can see is just a regular guy with no academic background, has managed to do what the other popular books about "A Course in Miracles" definitely did not do: make it truly understandable! Not only that, but this book does it in a way that's fun to read. Not that it isn't...
Published on 17 Sep 2003 by Cindy Casey
122 of 132 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, possibly helpful, but bonkers
Seeing all the reviewers who've rated this as 5 stars, I'm guessing there are a lot of believers amongst the reviewers (I'll put my hands up and admit that I am not). However, to anyone who believes this stuff, please don't take my review as an attack, but rather as a "forgiveness opportunity". How could it be otherwise, since I'm apparently not a separate person from...
Published on 17 Aug 2005
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Startling,
This review is from: The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight Talk about Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness (Paperback)"The Disappearance of the Universe" is an amazing and startling book. The author, who as far as I can see is just a regular guy with no academic background, has managed to do what the other popular books about "A Course in Miracles" definitely did not do: make it truly understandable! Not only that, but this book does it in a way that's fun to read. Not that it isn't challenging; on the contrary, this book is substantial, formidable and if one wants to follow this path - demanding. But if you're ready for it (and not everybody is) this book actually tells you how to apply advanced spiritual teachings to your everyday life in a practical way. Oh by the way, it also manages to completely explain the universe at the same time in a way that I've never seen done before. Because of these many facts, I certainly have to give the author the benefit of the doubt when he says that these in-the-flesh appearances and conversations with two ascended masters (Saint Thomas and Saint Thaddaeus) actually took place. Indeed, who can judge that they didn't if they weren't there? The conversations in the book are so realistic, the timeline they follow so authentic, and the author so unlikely to write this book that I now believe him when he says at the beginning in his Author's Note: "...I can vouch for the extreme unlikeliness of this book being written by an uneducated layman such as myself without inspiration by these masters." Personally, I think Gary Renard has given the world a book that succeeds on so many levels it is perfectly appropriate to describe it as amazing and startling. It deserves both success and appreciation.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How To Get Out Of This World Alive,
This review is from: The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight Talk about Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness (Paperback)Is it possible for any of us to ever attain the level of Ultimate Masterhood (graduation from this world) in the context of our everyday, mundane existence? What rules our reality? Are we even aware of the origins of our limitations? How does one break free of this crazy world? These are some of the fascinating topics discussed in this new book.
We have been told that, for our willingness to follow Spirit, we can expect fulfillment of the promise: "Ask and ye shall receive." Astonishingly, for the author, the response to his spiritual pledge came right after one of his meditations, in the form of two ascended masters who allegedly materialized out of thin air in the comfort of his living room. Arten and Pursah, as they are named, disclose that in one of their previous incarnations they were respectively Saint Thaddaeus and Saint Thomas, both contemporary disciples of Jesus. They inform Renard that they will share a series of 17 sessions together. These would turn out to span nine years.
A few pages into the book, the reader is convinced of the writer's sincerity. Renard is, by his own admission, a layman with a limited education. A work-at-home husband with no children, he lives in rural Maine where his quiet surroundings allow him to meditate regularly. In his times of prayer he often tells Jesus how he wishes he could have been one of His disciples so he could have been taught personally by the Master.
These moments are cherished by Renard but he finds himself more often at war with himself and others. Yet one day, he makes the clear determination that this painful pattern has to stop. "There must be a better way," he thinks, and he offers the olive branch to a former adversary as a stepping stone to removing conflict from his life. For those familiar with the Course in Miracles, this decision is eerily reminiscent of the gesture of peace between two feuding colleagues, which was the catalyst for the Course's coming into being. Its central teaching is that salvation (or Ultimate Masterhood) can only be attained through the application of true forgiveness. Arten and Pursah make no mystery of the fact that they come as messengers of the Course. They strongly emphasize that their words are in no way to replace its study. To the contrary, they aim to clarify the content of this extrordinary document via the mode of casual exchanges with Renard.
Throughout 17 chapters, Arten and Pursah invite you to embark on an enthralling voyage of the mind. With them you revisit the Gospels, Shakespeare, a student of Freud's, the beginning of the universe, the origin of Christian Science, and even have a peek into the future. While these pass in review, you learn the reason behind all cycles and patterns, sickness, death, the impermanence of all we experience. The Masters point to the grand illusion of time and space, the holographic nature of our entire universe. They debunk quite a few myths which we still cling to in the domains of religion, science, and contemporary spirituality.
Did I mention that humor is an intrinsic part of this book? You will chuckle at some of the repartees between the author and his visitors. In his prologue, Renard writes that he did not alter his sometimes flippant and not-so-dignified remarks. His guests give him a taste of his own medicine; all in good cheer, and with the vision and benevolence that Masters can demonstrate. You feel totally included in the trio's company, and find it difficult to tear yourself away from this book once you delve into its powerful message.
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely A Five Star Book,
This review is from: The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight Talk about Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness (Paperback)This is the story of how Gary Renard, author of "The Disappearance of the Universe", became a student of A Course in Miracles. What makes Gary's experience fascinating is the identity of his two teachers, the manner in which he first met them, and his openness to them.
But the book is really about much more than just Gary and his experiences. As a long-time Course in Miracles student (since 1982) I am impressed with how the book remains absolutely true to ACIM principles and teachings. They are presented in fresh new ways, in an earthy style that corresponds with Gary's personality. Gary is Everyman in this book, asking all the best questions we could ever think of asking. He makes astute and often funny comments. The teachings themselves found a joyous, new life in me as I turned the pages. Meanings became clearer. I saw connections and generalizations where previously I had not.
It is fun (and a little terrifying) to consider the miscreation of the universe and how the "big bang" occurred in thought! "The entire tempest in a teacup you call the universe is about to be miscreated by just a few decisions on your part. The eventual result will be an alleged you who is now totally unaware of the real power that is available to you and instead, is virtually mindless and seemingly stuck in a body."
Fortunately we can get back home to our real selves through the process of true forgiveness. This process is simple but not the dualistic kind of "forgiveness" we always thought we knew. We need to practice true forgiveness, as outlined in this book (and in ACIM), until it becomes second nature to us.
For me, this is absolutely a five star book.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the greatest spiritual information of our time,
122 of 132 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, possibly helpful, but bonkers,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight Talk About Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness (Paperback)Seeing all the reviewers who've rated this as 5 stars, I'm guessing there are a lot of believers amongst the reviewers (I'll put my hands up and admit that I am not). However, to anyone who believes this stuff, please don't take my review as an attack, but rather as a "forgiveness opportunity". How could it be otherwise, since I'm apparently not a separate person from you? Now, on to the review:
I couldn't decide whether the author was schizophrenic or just a canny business man, who had realised that the New Age market can be very lucrative, especially if you promise the key to eternal life or a return to the source. Towards the end of the book, I was leaning towards the latter, because of all the inconsistencies between what he was purporting to believe, and how he was actually acting (and in fact how his ascended master guides decribed their own behaviour)
The premise of the book is essentially: the world does not exist, and we do not exist as separate consciousnesses from fellow humans (or Martians, or Alpha Centaurians for that matter... or dogs or cats or beetles I shouldn't wonder). Anyway, the world is an illusion that we have constructed and are projecting from Heaven, because we mistakenly once had the idea "what if" (there was something beyond this unimaginable perfection that we experience all the time). Because this is an imperfect thought that cannot exist in Heaven, we had to create an illusory world outside of heaven, this being the universe that we believe we are experiencing now. Buried deep within us is the belief that God would be angry with us if he knew we'd created this horrible imperfect universe, so we fill this illusory world with pain and hurt, to distract ourselves and keep ourselves from knowing who we are. All other humans are just projections of our same consciousness, and whenever another person does something we don't like, it's because our consciousness scripted them to do such, so that we could have something apparently external to blame (still following me?). The "truth" is that God was never angry with us, because this universe is not real, and we never left Heaven. What we are experiencing is akin to a dream. All we have to do is realise this, and wake up from our dream, and then we can realise that we are still part of Heaven (albeit with one collective consciousness, because our individual characters do not actually exist). Time is also an illusion, and everything that has ever happened is going to happen. The story is all told, and we have all gone back to God. In the end of the universe (which is happening right now, and has already happened), we have all gone back to God.
I realise some readers may think that the above is the crazy part, but I didn't particularly have a problem with any of this (well, except the idea of, if there is no such thing as imperfection in Heaven, how could this part of Heaven have created something imperfect, even in illusory form? I'm sure they've got an answer to that, but I think it's on the level of semantics).
No, for me the crazy part was, if the author actually believes all of this, why does he still write the book as if we are all individuals? Why does he still describe his day to day interactions as being with genuine separate entities? For example, he pontificates about politics. Oddly enough, I agree with all of his politics, at least the taste he's given in his book. But if he believes it's all illusory, why would he care so much? When he blames Bush or the Republicans or corporate America (and I agree with his blame, that's not what I'm knocking) -- how is it possible, in his belief structure? He should just immediately see them as projections of himself. Throughout the book his spirit guides remind him that the world is not real -- he appears to believe this whole-heartedly, and yet continues to react each and every day to the world as if it *is* real.
Even his spirit guides are guilty of this: for example, Arten and Pursah explain that they are a couple in the future. they live together, but are not married, because they do not want to offend the memories of the people they were previously married to (both dead by the time they meet). If we're all the same non-existent person, who could they possibly offend? The author might try to back-track on this by saying that they didn't understand all of this at the time, but Pursah was apparently an Ascended Master for the last 11 years of her life. It just doesn't stack up.
What also doesn't stack up is that Pursah tells Gary that she is actually an incarnation of him in a future life, and that she was also Saint Thomas during the time of Jesus. But.... if we're all the same person, how could you possibly distinguish one person from another, from lifetime to lifetime? On the one hand he says that we are all Jesus, because we are all the same person, and that the man who cuts you off on the freeway is just another manifestation of you.... but somehow they are able to distinguish all these people, who are really just one, but somehow are not, as they pass from life to life. It makes no sense.
And another thing... they often talk of good and evil. Things which are apparently only possible in our "false world of duality" (in Heaven there is only one thing, and that thing is good, or love). But if the world is illusory, how can there be any good and evil? At one point Gary has learned to "forgive" a film for being rubbish and having wasted his time watching it, and then one of the spirit masters says, "What you don't know is that, if you hadn't gone to that film, you would have been killed in a car crash". Again, if this world is an illusion, and the ending already played out, and we're already back with God, what does it matter if he dies in this life? I think the author would say that, by being given the opportunity to stay longer in this existence, he can undertake more "forgiveness lessons" and so hasten his return to Heaven. But if time is an illusion, the conception of which ceases to exist once we are all back in Heaven, and if we are all back in Heaven anyway, because the story was over as soon as it began, then why does it matter how long it takes or how much suffering you go through to find it?
I could go on and on, but the simple version is that the book and the experiences of the author and his spirit master(s) are completely at odds with each other.
I gave it three stars however because it was a fairly entertaining read, and it's probably a good idea to learn how to take things more lightly, not blame others so much, and "let stuff go".
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great For Beginners or Advanced Students,
Either Saint Thomas and Saint Thaddaeus really appeared to Gary Renard in person as he says and gave him all of this information, or Renard himself has a tremendous gift for combining his personal life experiences with the very best spiritual teachings in the world. The book would work either way, but if Renard could write this on his own then why would he prefer the false humility of presenting himself as the student instead of the teacher? I think the book works so well because Renard is one of us, and he engages his teachers in language that we can accept and understand, making very advanced metaphysical principles and their applications refreshingly accessable to any interested student.
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Impressive,
This review is from: The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight Talk About Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness (Paperback)This is one of the more impressive spiritual books I've ever read. It fully explains the universe and life, and also manages to teach the rather arcane teaching called "A Course in Miracles" in such a way that makes it very clear, which is something I've never seen done before. There have been numerous reports of long time Course students reading "The Disappearance of the Universe" and then going back and reading the Course and having it be like someone turned the light on. I can also attest to that. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is on a spiritual path, because the themes are universal.
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Presentation of the Truth,
The fact that this book has taken on a life of its own and is being read several times by those who buy it, as well as given away by so many of them, doesn't come as a surprise to me. I couldn't put it down. A spiritual book doesn't get any better than this, that is, if you're ready for it and don't expect your spirituality to always be sugar coated. The Disappearance of the Universe is funny, even a little racy at times, but perhaps that's because Renard is a real guy, and his teachers talk to him in a way he can accept and understand. The result is the clearest explanations of advanced spiritual principles I've ever seen, and it doesn't stop there, but leads the reader into the practical application of what is described as "advanced forgiveness." This in turn leads to the removal of unconscious guilt from the mind which is an absolute necessity in order for true enlightenment to be achieved. Only then can we break the cycle of birth and death. The book very clearly explains why most spiritual paths, while necessary for those who practice them, do not accomplish this unconscious guilt removal that is so essential for true enlightenment.
"Disappearance" is a "must read." It's not always saying the same thing as everything else, but it is saying something of GREAT importance, and does so with humor, clarity and brilliance. The entertainment value alone would make this book worth reading! But it is much, much more than just entertainment. It is the way home.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Couldn't Put It Down!,
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anti-American, But The Best Spiritual Book I've Seen,
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