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96 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2003
This book is highly recommended for anyone who feels spiritually "stuck." If your goal has been spiritual growth through the study of Jesus and his message but you find that the traditional emphasis on Jesus' death and resurrection has lost it's meaning, this book may help. Marion's basic premise is that the Kingdom of God is obtainable here and now, "on earth as it is in heaven." If we are to seek the Kingdom, we must enter into a developmental process leading to greater consciousness.
Marion relies heavily on Ken Wilber as he takes the reader through the developmental stages leading to the Kingdom. He is straight forward about this and readers of Wilber's work will appreciate the manner in which he has made Wilber understandable and accessible. For those unfamiliar with Wilber's writings, the book can serve as a good introduction. I was skeptical when I first picked up the book because Marion is described as a former monk and mystic. Since I am neither of those, I wondered how relevant his message would be to my life. I am now in my second reading and believe it is one of the most valuable books I have read about Jesus and his teachings. Marion is quite effective in his arguement that Jesus expects more from us than good behavior. We must "put on the mind of Christ" in order to manifest the love of God and neighbor that Jesus calls us to.
Those who are wedded to a traditional interpretation of the Gospel may reject Marion's ideas. If, on the other hand, you are ready to move on, this book is for you.
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92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2004
For the first time in my adult life, I have seen the New Testament and the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth from a perspective to which I can finally relate. When the Kingdom of Heaven is viewed as the ego-shattering level of nondual consciousness, the scriptures have great wisdom to share and somewhere accessible to point. (Yes, I realize that I'm awash in spacetime nomenclature, but such is the nature of writing.)
Jim Marion's digestable explanation of Ken Wilber's differing levels of consciousness is a veritable pot-of-gold find for me. This is the first book I have read that parallels and details my own secular spiritual path. What's amazing is that it is done with ample support from the New Testament gospels! Who knew I'd one day find myself nodding along to what the boys in the Bible wrote? Marion has even taken a shot at describing the level of nondual consciousness that I attained several years ago. Now when blank faces stare back at me as I fumble for the words to explain my own life-altering experiences, I can simply direct them to Putting On the Mind of Christ.
I commend Jim Marion for his undeniable courage, his soul-searching honesty and his ability to show me, a non-Christian, that the Bible holds great wisdom that is relevant to my own spiritual journey. Though I shall not be setting aside my Sunday mornings for pew-warming anytime soon, I have a newfound respect for esoteric Christian teachings.
This is my new favorite reference book.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2005
This book is one of the greatest books I've read for a while. Jim's complete lack of dogmatism and emphasis on the Kingdom of Heaven that is here and now is very uplifting. One of the best parts of the book is Jim's explanation for the need of everyone of us to seek the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth in our lifetime. If we don't do it now we literally have to go through the pain and suffering associated with life until we finally have grown in spiritual awareness and have attained the Christ's consciousness. That theorem marks a profound departure from traditional christianity that in its more vulgar and fundamental forms teaches that one can only reach salvation through Jesus and through the church.

Quite early on Jim Marion completely does away with the traditional churchs insistence on dogmas and its long-winded list of thou-shalt-nots and thou-art-sinnful. For this reason Jim may appear subversive in more fundamentalists quarters.

"Putting on the Mind of Christ" allows man to be on par with Jesus by permitting man to also reach the Christ consciousness.

I did miss an explanation of the holy communion which I personally have always wanted a better understanding of and which is central to christianity. Nevertheless, for the aforementioned reasons this book is a very important contribution to anyone serious about developing themselves spiritual.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2003
This was the first book about Christian spirituality I read that went beyond the common ideas I had been exposed to in churches growing up (I am 21). It was amazing to read about some of the things I had been feeling/desiring or just been curious about: spiritual growth and development, transformation of my life by Christ and what that might entail, meditation, and even mysticism. I realized I didn't know what mysticism meant and that I needlessly characterized it as a suspect or hippie-dippy type thing.
I come from a semi-conservative background, and some things Marion wrote about didn't connect with me at all, but at the same time so many did. I think he's right on the target when he says we all have plenty of work to do to achieve inner growth, and that the overall goal is to love like Jesus did. It seemed to me that in this book, Marion put forth an honest and informed blueprint to what the path might look like. Overall it was characterized by sincere compassion and love for people, which I think is its strongest attribute. It was also rooted in the Bible, which was cool.
Definitely give it a read! Borrow it from a friend if you don't want to buy it. It changed the way I think about Christianity and provided many examples of saints, mature Christians, and even "spiritual masters" (as he put it) from other religions to look into. Good stuff!
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2005
I have been wanting to read this book for some time but was somewhat disappointed when I finally got around to it.
There is a lot of good stuff in here regarding the mysticism of St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila and the author does a good job in making their wisdom and experience relevant for a contemporary reader.
His scholarship is obvious and he provides references and excerpts from many historical and modern sources. His own experiences augment the facts but there were several passages that sounded needlessly "New Agey" for the subject at hand.
Despite misgivings about such subjects as channeling etc., I respected the author's experience and did not allow it to detract from the greater message of the book.
Then I came to a chapter in which the author describes in detail the seven levels of the afterlife. Marion does not qualify the content by allowing that this is a subjective opinion, he speaks with authority and states that he knows "with certainty" that what Jesus taught about the afterlife was true.
He then begins mapping heaven according to a patchwork of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Carlos Casteneda and (presumably) the NDE'ers who have visited heaven and returned to earth in order to do the talk show circuit. I don't recall Jesus mentioning any of these.
This one chapter tainted what was otherwise a very readable book for me as it seemed to leave no room for the mystery I thought might lie at the heart of mysticism.
There are many good references to the philosophy of Ken Wilber and although Wilber wrote the forward for the book, I doubt that he would agree with many of Marion's points regarding memories of past lives and channeling as he has openly questioned such claims in other places. If I wanted to read about those topics, I would pick up (and have done so) something by Shirley McClaine - they just seemed out of place in this book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2008
This book is an amazing, courageous text. The last time I had a spiritual experience reading a book was when I read Dr. Maurice Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness. Jim Marion's book is a modern day complement to Dr. Bucke's classic and I daresay that Marion's will have the same honor as Bucke's.

I have read reviews that criticize Marion's revelations as being non-scriptural. The fact of the matter is that prior to the Bible being printed, NO revelation was scriptural. St. Paul did not have a Bible to confirm if his vision on the road to Damascus was authentic. St. John had Book of Revelation to consult. Yet we accept these revelations as divinely inspired--so divinely inspired that we never questioning the validity of their revelations is often considered as tantamount to blasphemy.

Is it not possible that God continues to unfold and make known mysteries via visions and experience? Is it not possible that God actually might prefer personal encounters and direct contact rather than reading the stories of the encounters of others? Is it not possible that God extends beyond the pages of the Bible?

As a Christian I have had encounters with the Holy Spirit and my own spiritual path has been quite similar to Marion's. My experiences did not involve speaking in tongues or being slain in the spirit. Mine were simple, complete understandings of God that defy words, despite my desire to give voice to the revelations. Jim Marion does what I cannot. He finds a way to put into words--clearly, beautifully, and profoundly--the mystery of the Christian path.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2013
According to renowned Integral philosopher Ken Wilber, "Putting on the Mind of Christ" is a remarkable, often astonishing document." And author Jim Marion describes his text as "the first book to clearly describe the entire Christian spiritual path." In contrast to Wilber and Marion, I consider the book less than mediocre, and in no way do I see it accomplishing what Marion claims it does.

Early in the text, Marion writes,"It is the purpose of this book to show how the Christian spiritual tradition... completes the the work of the psychologists." Unfortunately, this book doesn't even come close to achieving its purpose--but if you buy into Marion's flat, Christianized Wilberism, you might imagine that it does.

There is so much I find problematic with this book, I could easily write a several-page review, but out of respect for the Amazon format, I'll focus on just some of the "problems." I write on mystical Christianity, and anyone interested in my viewpoints, which differ greatly from Marion's, is welcome to check out my writings.

In alignment with Wilber, Marion believes that "the human race as a whole has already passed through three levels of consciousness, the archaic, the magical, and the mythic, and is now into the fourth level of consciousness, the rational." I say this is nonsense--and in alignment with Objectivist scholar Leonard Peikoff, author of "The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out"- I hold that Kantian-based irrationalism, epitomized by postmodernism and Progressivism, is now the dominant "level" of consciousness in modern society. The West achieved "the rational" during the Enlightenment, and this was epitomized by the U.S. Constitution; but irrational "democracy," a euphemism for fascist mob rule, has supplanted rational "republicanism," the doctrine of inviolable individual rights, and the West, as a result of this "fall," is now heading down, rather than up, from Eden. Marion, in step with New World Order Globalist Wilber, ignorantly conflates "the rational" with "increased democratization of governments" when, in fact, such democratization is nothing but irrational liberal fascism.

Not only does Marion fail "to clearly describe the entire Christian spiritual path," he fails to satisfactorily explain any of the major subjects pertaining to the path. If you want to know how baptism, the Eucharist, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Heart, the three sacred vows (obedience, poverty, chastity), and the three stages of Christian mysticism (purification, illumination, Divine Union) relate to attaining God-realization, the Kingdom of Heaven, don't look to this book for answers or guidance.

In "The Foundations of Mysticism," author Bernard McGinn, the foremost scholar of Western Christian mysticism, identifies baptism as "foundation" and Eucharist as "crown" relative to the teachings of Jesus - but Marion has little to say about these two cardinal sacraments of the Church. The "rock" that true Christianity is built on is baptism. For unless you are baptized by (or in) the Spirit, the true Eucharist (Holy Communion and conductivity of the Spirit-current) has no real significance. Marion does state that baptism is the "one sacrament necessary for salvation," but he doesn't elaborate on Spirit-initiation and how it translates into penetrating Light-energy, which leads to en-Light-enment (or salvation). Meister Eckhart, perhaps the greatest Christian mystic, said, "I penetrate God, and God penetrates me." But Marion does not describe this mystical interpenetration, this baptized Eucharistic Communion.

Marion attempts, in his words, to "map the path to the Kingdom of Heaven," but fails miserably. For example, relative to the three stages of Christian mysticism, he describes illumination as "the breaking in upon the person of greater insights and understandings." Unbeknownst to Marion, illumination means literal whole-bodily en-Light-enment and divinization by the Holy Spirit-current. Psycho-epistemic "insights and understanding" are secondary to the process of organismic irradiation by Divine Light-energy.

Jesus said "the Kingdom of Heaven, or God, is within," but unlike Marion, he did not say that this Kingdom can only be found by "going deep within ourselves." Going within oneself, via inversion of attention, to find God is an exclusive-reductive act of consciousness. God is no more within than without; He is the Condition all conditions, and thus can be realized naturally, or non-strategically, in the Context of whole-bodily Divine (or Holy) Communion.

The Lord's Prayer, the only prayer Jesus instructed us to say, is not about going deep within; it's about allowing "Thy Kingdom to come" by allowing God's Will, or Power, the Holy Spirit, to unite with our souls in the Sacred Heart Center. Unbeknownst to Marion, the practice of the Lord's Prayer mirrors the Eucharist, and is about communing with the Spirit and receiving its Blessing Power, or Grace.

In order to deeply understand the practice of Eucharistic spirituality, or the Lord's Prayer, a disciple must be baptized in, or by, the Holy Spirit, and be able to receive and behold its Light-energy infusion. In mystical Christianity, this stage of illuminating communion is termed "infused contemplation." But Marion, erroneously, conflates this reception and conductivity of Spirit-Power with subtle energies, which I call the "lower Kundalini." The "higher Kundalini," in contrast to the "lower," is the descent, or infusion, of Divine Power into the disciple. This infusion follows holistic fusion (the practice of Holy Communion), and is pithily described by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount: "If thine eye [consciousness] be single, thy whole body will be filled with Light [from above]."

Marion has read extensively in the Great Spiritual Traditions - his bibliography cites at least 200 books - but his Wilberized-Christianized version of the Perennial Philosophy is shallow and unimpressive. For example, he says "The heart chakra anchors the astral body." No, it doesn't. The Heart-center (the Hridayam in Hinduism and the Sacred Heart in Christianity) does. The heart (or anahata) chakra is the fourth of the seven major chakras along the spinal portion of the Sushumna nadi (or yogic "nerve channel''). But the astral, or "star," body, one's soul, or composite of psychical seed tendencies, relative to the body, is located in the Hridayam (just to the right of the center of one's chest).

Marion writes: "Some seers talk about still another body, the "causal" body, which exists at the level of the divine archetypes, i.e., the level of the soul." Marion has no understanding of the causal body, and his attempt to "Platonize" it is lame. In reality, the causal body is the Anandamayakosha (or Bliss "sheath") in Advaita Vedanta, which is the same divine Light-energy as the Buddhist Sambhogakaya (or Bliss body), Hindu Shakti, and the Christian Holy Spirit The separation of an individual's soul (or consciousness) from the Bliss body, or Shakti, or Holy Spirit, or divine Light-energy, "causes" one's un-en-Light-enment; hence the Bliss body functions as a "sheath" which veils the Divine Self (or Christ), and thus is termed the "causal" body.

I could go on and on, but I'll cut my review short and summarize it: This book is a big step up from parochial, de-esotericized mainstream Christianity; and those interested in the the interface between Ken Wilber's Integralism and Christianity might find it enlightening. But as both a theoretical and practical text on "the innerwork of Christian Spirituality," it is far, far less than "remarkable" and "astonishing."
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2008
I loved this book. It allowed me to bridge Eastern and Western. I grew up Jewish but never liked the idea of God as it was presented. I've found many answers studying Eastern religions but always felt that something was missing because I still couldn't connect Western spirituality to it. Reading Marion's works I've realized that it was the mythic concept of God presented in Western religions that cause many to go atheist. Clinging to old interpretations of scriptures and dogma, the West is not keeping up with the times of rationality and many young people are turning to atheism to escape the stupidity of fundamentalism.

This book really allowed me to see past the mythic concepts of Western religions and understand the core of Christian mysticism, which applies to all Western religions since God can not be limited to one religion.

What Christ is is also explained as your true state of Being, God's divine spark, that is inside everyone.

The Kingdom of Heaven is explained as the state of non-dual consciousness. Anyone who studies religion can see how non-duality is the goal of all paths, Buddhist (emptiness), Hindu (brahman), Taoism, and now Christianity. This book clears the gaps and uses scripture AND experience to get the point across. This is not a work of philosophy or theology, but it isn't definitive fact either. It is only your experience that can give you truth.

I also really liked how the book was in sync with Ken Wilber's integral psychology which makes it a very modern and rational work that can be understood by those open minded.

For those who are still struggling with how this book applies to Christianity, and whether or not its the work of the Devil, or anything like that.. check out Jim Marion's other book Death of the Mythic God
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2003
This was a great book, combining insights from such disparate sources as the Bible, the new age, and the great modern philosopher, Ken Wilbur, in ways that were both exciting and insightful. If you are a Christian, seeking to broaden your faith and expand your conciousness - or you are interested in new age ideas and feel a strong connection to Jesus - this book is a must read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I believe that Jim Marion is essential reading for serious students of Christianity, spiritual life and growth. The book is well written and challenges the reader to go inside to find the true meaning of Christ words, life and actions. In the end one comes away with the clear challenge to inquire, develop and strengthen the inner man . . . As Christ said "the kingdom of God is within you" . . .
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