The first half of this book is filled with memories of growing up in the rural south. The descriptions are of a life that most Americans are only a generation or two removed from and it is an enjoyable experience to remember this way of life. The doctor's memoir is written in a circle, starting from a hospital room, going back to a childhood on a farm, and eventually we come back to the same hospital room.
As the doctor recalls his life journey, the listeners have an opportunity to remember the America of our grandparents and parents, perhaps we had a taste of it ourselves if we are bit older, of the family values, the religious roots, and small town lifestyle.
Woven throughout this book are the doctor's personal spiritual experiences and evolution. He relates his experiences to Christian beliefs with God, Jesus, Angels, and Heaven as a greater and more vivid experience than Earth. His experiences are in dreams, intuition, or even personal experience in the day. He repeatedly experiences a brief sighting of a glow of light as a patient dies, and even the same beautiful scent each time as the veil parts between heaven and the patient's room, or the feel of a warm movement of air.
With a patient who died that was cruel and abusive in his lifetime, and unrepentant to the end, the doctor had a different experience - there was a chill in the air and a scent of sulfur during his passing.
Interestingly, the doctor spoke of feeling with his hands where illness would be in a patient's body, and some of the stories shared how he let his instinct lead him to order further tests on a patient that common sense would lead a doctor to stop and send the patient home.
For people who have done a lot of reading on OBE (Out of Body) or NDE (Near Death Experiences) there would be instant recognition of many of the spiritual experiences this deeply Christian physician describes. And, it is possible that he hasn't read or been influenced by OBE / NDE books by Robert Monroe, William Buhlman, Dr. Eben Alexander, etc. Christian beliefs would exclude experiences in the books of Dr. Brian Weiss or Dr. Michael Newton, but the similar events related are recognizable.
Readers of books of a more spiritual bent rather than Christian would recognize this doctor as being an advanced soul or spirit because of his gifts, leadership, and good works.
This is a man who would be recognized in the spiritual readership as having some inborn skills of a shaman due to his physical experiences of touch, hearing, seeing, and smelling that which other people could not, but because he completely identifies as a Christian medical doctor, that is not the emphasis of this book. The vividly colored and scented beautiful places he experiences on the other side are recognizable to people who see the vastness and great diversity in what some call the astral plane as that portion which is related to by Christians and where Christians first go in their transitional evolution.
It's a graceful and beautiful book. There is gentle and self-deprecating humor to make the listener smile and there are portions that may cause the eyes to tear up and maybe put a lump in the listener's throat. There are some fascinating and mysterious events and miracles too. Most of all, there are good people who sometimes suffered tragedies, but because of family, friends, neighbors, and strong Christian beliefs survived and grew and loved and shared.
People who enjoy this book would also enjoy Making Rounds with Oscar - about a doctor and his patients - which is also a deeply moving *human experience* memoir.
This conversation between Tami Simon and Ken Wilber is an interesting listen. There were a few chatty moments that didn't add to the discussion, but overall, this was laden with useful information.
I really enjoyed those portions that discussed the various methods or organizations that seek to evolve Consciousness through meditation - like TM, Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, the machines, etc. I haven't found enough sources that discuss and compare, usually books are written by people who have picked and are promoting one way.
This Integral model is complex, yet, by discussing how it works, the meaning of the various parts, a deeply interesting look at humanity, individuals, nations, ideas and Consciousness unfolded and stretched my mind. I've come away from this book with a framework that I can use to "measure" things that are usually intangible. Like motives or self evolution.
The narration as a light-hearted conversation was delightful, although there was less focus that way, thus there was probably an extra hour of chattiness that added to the time, but perhaps also lessened any eye-glazing mind-numbness too since this kind of topic can be a lot to wade through at times.
Not every book in a series is going to be as good as the others. This one was lacking and I kept waiting for it to shape up, but . . . nada.
I'll probably get Book 4 later, but will try another author for now . . .
35 minutes into this book. Hoped to get used to the strange mechanical, sing-song, pretentious intonation with syllables raised in the strangest places. I give up.
This strange narration is distracting from what would be interesting information.
This book is from 1955, and the UFO research done back then is presented differently than that of today, so is of interest.
Natural speech is always more effective than weirdness. I don't know if someone used some mechanical filtering on this, but even that wouldn't account for the strange inflection of syllables. Narration shouldn't take away from the actual book.
This is a book I'll have to go back and listen to again. Not for any lack on the part of the author, but because I always have a tough time with physics.
I'm really interested in metaphysical explanations and seek a greater understanding of consciousness. But it seems the authors of books that explain these things like to start with a lot of physics and some philosophy before getting to consciousness or metaphysics.
Of course, any good teacher will start with the basics, so apparently an understanding of consciousness means learning about space-time, the speed of light as a constant, protons, neutrons or galaxies, the double-slit experiment and its implications, dimensions, the senses, perception . . .
The explanations in this book come from another angle, and I appreciate that very much since I struggle so much physics. I grasped only about 50 percent of this book, so I'll go back again as I do return to these books to get a better understanding the next go round.
The narration is excellent, and if I want to be nit-picky there a few moments that a good editor would have cut out as the reader stopped, and re-read a sentence, probably with the expectation that it would have been edited.
History is often too boring. Dates, places, and facts . . . perhaps a little skewed to favor a point of view.
I love the way Timothy Egan wrote this book through the experiences and recollections and stories of the people. Each person is a thread and each thread is masterfully woven together.
This is the most exciting non-fiction book I've ever read. Who would have thought that forestry, politics, north-western regional history, immigrants, drunks, whores, settlers, loggers, miners, millionaire industrialists, railroads, Buffalo soldiers, and the largest fire in American history could combine to make for a gripping yet informative tale.
I’ve read a lot of books about the near death experience, reincarnation, consciousness, and the greater reality - some written by people who have graduate physics training but also appear to be mystics. Each book adds to a big picture as I’m seeking to understand what is reality, what is the purpose of life, is there something beyond death.
What I like about Dr. Eben Alexander’s book is that he has read a lot of the classic or relevant “hard books” and has thought about how they relate to his and others’ consciousness-stretching experiences.
I know that I too should read Plato, Socrates, Emanuel Swedenborg, and the other authors’ works that Dr. Alexander read and referenced. But I probably won’t, so I do appreciate Dr. Alexander’s distillation of the essential points he found in these books with regard to consciousness and the human experience of life and beyond.
There is a long introduction to this book, and then it starts with classic philosophy lines of thought, so I was worried that I was going to be bored. Nope. Dr. Alexander reads his own work, with a voice that is easy to listen to and I loved hearing out loud words I’ve often read, but never heard pronounced. That was a bonus!
Classic writings throughout history and expert opinions on consciousness are the bones of this book, giving those who are scientifically-minded food for thought and places to start reading. Throughout the book are letters people sent to Dr. Alexander after having read his first book, sharing their own experiences. Such letters, with their common points, add to the validity of the existence of a greater reality and flesh out the narrative.
The logical thought process of Dr. Eben Alexander has helped me to clarify and organize the ideas and experiences read from other books related to the continuation of Consciousness and the existence of a greater reality. This book is a clean and clear introduction and review at the same time. Pleasant and interesting too.
This story is told so elegantly that I just plunged into this other world everytime the iPod was turned on. The descriptive details are elegantly and subtly woven into the action and conversation. Of course, an intricate and well-planned plot are much appreciated in any story, but the humor throughout makes this fun. Some laugh out loud moments, but mostly the kind of humor that makes for a smile or grin.
Brandon Sanderson is a new author to me, and reviews were good. I downloaded this huge audiobook and wondered what was in store. The beginning was a little rough for me - like being thrown into the deep end of a pool. The author doesn't coddle the reader and we are plunged directly into another world with new words that aren't defined and meanings are discerned by the conversation, actions, or later on in the story.
That was an interesting experience for me, and I could either have chosen to be annoyed at having to work a bit or intrigued by having to discover meanings on my own. By about the 4th hour of the audiobook things started to settle into place - the world, the people, the new words, the culture and characters.
Well, in four hours some authors are starting to wrap up their book, but Brandon Sanderson was just getting warmed up. The plot is deliciously intricate and it takes time to weave happenings together and it's so fun to watch the individual characters develop and then anticipate the moment various storylines come together.
The imaginative details are impressive . . . I always wonder how people can think up these physical details.
A great experience. On to Book 2 of the series . . .
The one chapter that interviewed the Weaver family and looked back at what is known as the Ruby Ridge incident had a great impact on me. It was painful to hear about, but educational as well - I had not read behind-the-scenes information and the history changed for me.
The other chapters, where the various heads of political or activist or anti-this or anti-that groups, and their members, were interesting and at times amusing. In the end, all the people featured seemed to be of a similar personality type and maybe they got into their respective groups or ideas simply because of where they were born or who they were around.
The book started out strong and ended quietly. Jon Ronson is an excellent investigative journalist and I learned a lot, but because he can see the humor in life and people, the stories were easier to listen to.
People who don't read miss out. I almost missed out on this one due to the slow start of the story, but thankfully the book gained momentum after about half an hour or so, picking up more with each chapter.
Peals of laughter from deep in my chest, lumps in my throat, sometimes tears in my eyes that were left from laughter or some emotion that was brought forth from the writing.
In the movie Avatar, there is saying "I see you" and this is something that the author brought forth in this book again and again. We see humanity, with faults and gifts, angry, kind, childish, witty, mean, or compassionate. We see humanity through the various people described, observed, or met in this road trip, and especially in the unfolding of one character and the evolution of the other.
I started out knowing this was a fictional book, but midway couldn't help doing an internet search just to make sure. Because I hoped it was not. But, it is.
I hope the sequel will be put on Audible too. A book to bring forth the best in the reader as we are given moments to contemplate, be thoughtful, and maybe come out at the end of this book a little better for the experience.
The funny parts were really funny too. I love it when an author can make me laugh.
Excellent and perfect narration.
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