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."