14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: How to Live in the Here and Now: A Guide to Accelerated Enlightenment, Unlocking the Power of Mindful Awareness (Paperback)
I just finished reading this book and I feel slightly bemused by it and here is why... The author has taken a very independent western approach to the concept of enlightenment which has been in the hands of many eastern mystics like Gurdjieff. I think Jones has slightly over-complicated the subject of enlightenment with his own terminology without referencing where he got his terms from properly. For example he uses terms like 'myth of the self' which is basically the construct of the ego, this seems to me like a Jungian term, yet Jung is hardly mentioned at all.
The 'uptime and down-time' model didn't quite fit with me either nor did his model of 'planet X' as an analogy 'to illustrate the tendencies and relationships of our short-term memory, which is the seat of consciousness'. I really didn't understand how or why he used a non-existent planet to illustrate tendencies and relationships. It just seemed to me that he was trying to be intelligent and structural. I also found the same with his term the 'unseen watcher', this sounds a lot like 'the higher self' or 'super consciousness' but he did not make any reference to these terms. I quite liked the idea of the 'Huxley Valve' but when he tried to bind all of his metaphors together at the end I was just plain lost. The authors metaphorical usages made a simple concept of being enlightened in the here and now structurally complex with terms that resonate few familiar terms.
I would have liked to have seen more credit to his inspirations and more honesty to how he came up with his terms. I found the biggest downfall of the book was that it didn't actually explain what enlightenment really is except for being in the here and now. The problem with this is that mostly everyone thinks they are in the here and now and probably would overlook this book due to that notion of ignorance.
The good points I liked in this book was his notion of it's 'okay to be not ok' but even this echoes the brilliant book 'I'm ok your ok' by Amy and Thomas Harris. The quotes he takes from Albert Camus, Ghandi, Walt Whitman, Carl Jung and Steve Taylor were impressive. I also liked some of his techniques to be in the here and now particularly the idea of turning your thoughts into bubbles. I am going to give this book two stars due to the effort. I would give it three stars but there was spelling and grammar mistakes within the book so I have to deduct a star.
I have a feeling that the author has got a better book in him than this, this is was a big disappointment. His narrative voice is not as strong or fluent as some of the previous authors I have been reading. There are tons of better books out there on this concept. I would certainly recommend Steve Taylor's books, Gurdjieff, Wayne Dyer, Ouspensky, David Hamilton, Carlos Castaneda and Eckhart Tolle for more straight forward and direct guides to enlightenment.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 May 2010 13:42:28 BDT
C. Moen says:
This review is correct in that terminology is important, but Jones has used his own words to free the reader from previous ideas and expectations. I find this book well worth a read, and intend to reread it one day, which is probably the highest praise I can give a book.
In reply to an earlier post on 18 May 2010 15:30:35 BDT
Rizo Gibonious says:
i have to agree with C.Moen. and i suspect the author that he took great pains in ironing out a new terminology and using it consistently within the whole work (easier said than done when consciousness / awareness / ego / enlightenment are the sort of terms being bandied about.) was very purposeful in an attempt to depart from the bulk of 'enlightenment literature'. the laziness of using existent terms would colour the ideas of the book with the old established (dogmatic) ideas.
a re-reading of the book will uncover the odd spelling mistake / grammatical error, but also turn up far more use of conversational hypnosis techniques within the text that may be seen as 'errors'. also you'll find many book names and terms that nod a wink to some of his influences hidden in and across sentences - to name a couple - 'mechanisms of mind' and 'beyond good and evil'. most obviously he covertly references i'm OK, you're OK.
i'd like to think that the lack of references and reference to much work outside itself keep the issues clearer than they might have been. i'm sure the passive voice and structural style are all about hiding the author and his personality from coloring the subject matter.
jones also explicitly tells us of his decision not to use the term 'ego'. he describes the myth of the self as encompassing more than the ego - and posits it as a bunch of processes, not a unitary structure.
as i understand it, the unseen observer is not the awareness, super conscious, or higher self (that concept appears only in the final chapter). the 'unseen observer' is a unconscious device or program that decides pre-consciously what enters the consciousness. the consciousness itself is a screen (contents of the short term memory) upon which the 'awareness' ' gazes down'
finally jones models a practical enlightenment through present moment awareness - but goes on to destroying automatic actions, thoughts, disrupting time and space perceptions, analysis of a our values and motivations, sense of identity, story of our lives and so on.
re: "I found the biggest downfall of the book was that it didn't actually explain what enlightenment really is except for being in the here and now" (nathan strange) - a re-reading will show that jones models it as experiencing the now WITH AS LITTLE INTERPRETATION AS POSSIBLE - it's dropping that interpretation (all the extra meaning that we project onto the present moment) that a large amount of the book deals with - and gives techniques to disrupt. he mentions that ultimately the concern with our place in time is only vicariously important in being the one way we control to reduction of our ego - tistical sense of self. (i.e. myth of the self) - he shows the relationship in one of the diagram quite clearly
Posted on 10 Nov 2010 09:00:10 GMT
I don't see how an explanation of what enlightenment is, is necessarily going to bring someone to that state.. any more than reading a menu helps someone quench their hunger. However, it is true the author does use a lot of complicated terminology. The exercises are quite effective though.
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