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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How To Get Out Of This World Alive, 9 April 2004
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.
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