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Explorers of the Infinite: The Secret Spiritual Lives of Extreme Athletes-and What They Reveal About Near-D eath Experiences, Psychic Communication, and Touching the Beyond Hardcover – May 29, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (May 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585426512
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585426515
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #929,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas Demerly on June 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought Maria Coffey's "Explorers of the Infinite" a few days ago and ate it whole. This book is fascinating since it is about the endurance athlete- a group I count myself among- and what drives us. I've been privleged enough to participate in about 250 triathlons, the Marathon des Sables (154 mile desert running race),the Eco-Challenge and the Raid Gauloises and the Jordan Desert Cup 105 mile running race as well as the Antarctic marathon. It is nice to read ideas about what makes a fellow like me "tick".

"Explorers of the Extreme" is perhaps one of the first really credible, readable and entertaining examinations of the endurance athlete's psyche, motives, mindset and even "spirituality". Coffey is apparently not an endurance athlete herself but treats our kind with loving adoration. If you are a marathon runner, triathlete, surfer, cyclist or other "extreme" or endurance sport athlete you'll appreciate the insights and feel some of the pages in Coffey's book become an interesting mirror. This is also a fantastic read for an athlete's spouse who may have questions about why a person would ever subject themselves to the rigors of preparation and participation in endurance/extreme/risk sports.

Coffey explores the extreme athlete mentality from mountaineering to ultra-running to the Tour de France and even more amazing feats like free diving and extreme skydiving. It is refreshing to read a respectful treatment of our sub-species, the endruance/extreme athlete. Other books I've read on the motives and inner realm of us freaks treat us with a sort of detached disdain and label our motives as self-destructive and self grandizing. Coffey sees other inspirations as told to her by the people in the sports themselves.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very interesting book for ANYONE with an adventurous spirit who feels connected with nature.

I have often wondered why I only felt the connection to something bigger than me when out in nature or pushing myself to my limits. This book actually goes into the science & spirituality of it all.

"He advocated going into nature, for an experience of the sacred...to reestablish your contact with the core of things, where it's really at...The way back to the meaning is to go out into the wilderness with an open heart, to feel it as a mystery...something totally outside your ordinary thought patterns. The Holy Other."

In other words, push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of and share the real rawness of the outdoors and there is no doubt you will come back a richer person.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first and last time I jumped out of an airplane, I was 17 years old.

It was my mom who nearly died of fright. She had to sign a waiver that listed in gruesome detail all the ways her underage, unlucky son could die or sustain serious injury from skydiving. True to the odds, nothing went wrong. After four hours of “training,” the actual skydive, from Geronimo! to hard landing, lasted just a few minutes. My weekend parachute was an adrenaline rush, but hardly death-defying or life changing.

In contrast, the extreme adventurers in Mary Coffey's fascinating book “Explorers of the Infinite” push themselves physically and psychologically to the breaking point. Skydiver Cheryl Sterns jumped from an airplane 352 times in 24 hours, setting a Guinness World Record. Tanya Streeter free dove without oxygen to a depth of 525 feet below the ocean, holding her breath for almost three and a half minutes, her heart rate plummeting to five beats a minute, before resurfacing. Cyclist Jure Robic pedaled for 3,042 miles across the continental U.S. in 8 days, 19 hours and 33 minutes.

Such super-athletes suffer mind-numbing exhaustion, unbearable pain, intense solitude, sudden terror, and narrow escapes from death – conditions which parapsychologists know can generate paranormal experiences. And the heroes of this book have a journal’s worth, experiencing time distortions, altered states of consciousness, telepathic communications, out-of body experiences, precognition, premonitions of death, and visions of the dead.

I’ve investigated and written about these baffling phenomena for some time. So the reading pleasure for me came less from the garden-variety paranormal experiences these crazies report than from the god-awful, insane exploits which trigger them.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Again, written by a woman that was close to a famous climber who delved into the psychological components of climbers and that was very interesting, I am not sure that she is the first to do so, but its an interesting journalistic exam of this subject , covering more than one climb and climber.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought the Kindle version after hearing Coffey on Oprah's Soul Series. I read it more as a spiritual searcher than as an endurance athlete. The book was comprehensive in its exploration of what drives people to put themselves in the path of great suffering (made me think of the monks who built monasteries on chunks of rock off the coast of Ireland)... why? While the book is full of ghosts and other psychic phenomena, Coffey is even-handed in exploring these. She approaches mysteries with a true spirit of inquiry.

Also, I couldn't put it down. In this snowy season, it did change my attitude about facing the cold as a mini-adventure.
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