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Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing Paperback – November 1, 2002

4 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews

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Paperback, November 1, 2002
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Editorial Reviews


"Absolutely marvelous, splendid, perfect book!" -- Acharyaji Anatole, Abhidhyan Yoga Institute

"I loved it. Insightful, bullying, delightful, and just fun. A magic book without the sleight of hand." -- John Kremer, author,

"McKenna is an American original, and his delightful Spiritual Enlightenment is just what's needed to wake us up from slumber." -- Lama Surya Das, author, “Awakening the Buddha Within”

"McKenna's description of enlightenment is so good, 99.9% of his readers might not understand how truly profound it really is." -- Satyam Nadeen, author, “From Onions to Pearls

"Starkly provocative and uniquely insightful. This book cuts like a knife through many detours along the spiritual journey." -- Alan Cohen, author, “I Had It All the Time”

Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Wisefool Press; Edition unstated edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971435235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971435230
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #496,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am incredibly grateful to this book. It has caused me to grow in so many ways. It was the honesty I needed to actually face myself and my myriad of life controlling fears. The universe lead me to this book and I am thankful.

This is a volatile book. If you choose to take a long, hard look at the overall picture McKenna is presenting, it will shake your foundation. It will spur you to question all assumptions about existence. The book's ability to bring about a true audit of your assumptions (regardless of whether you like it or not) is reason enough to make it an extremely beneficial read.

If you have highly cherished beliefs you aren't willing to part with, this book will do no more than make you angry. I assume you are reading up on this because you aren't satisfied with your life. Remember, our minds dictate our reality. If we aren't willing to change our minds our reality won't change either.

Any giant leap in consciousness requires a dramatic rewriting of our internal maps. This is really uncomfortable, and requires a willingness to abandon any concept that shows itself to be no longer useful, no matter how much we may love or value it. In order to benefit from this book you must be willing to let go of preconceived notions. Even if an idea seems crazy, if there may be even a morsel of truth, entertain it for a while without judgment. If it resonates with your gut, internalize that morsel and move forward. If it doesn't, no harm done. Move on.

THE CLINCHER: To exist within the ego is illusion. Judgment is the glue that holds this illusion together. So if your aim is to spiritually expand outside the boundaries of your ego and seek after truth, don't judge anything, especially this book.
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Format: Paperback
Gaaaaaaaaaah. Not only the back cover but the _first ten pages_ of this book are filled with glowing reviews by the representatives of today's Illuminatus Industry, praising Jed McKenna to the skies, carrying on about how marvellously enlightened he is, and crowing about how this book is Just What The World Needs Today. Man, by the time you get done reading those, you'll be ready to toss (a) the book in the trash and (b) your cookies.
Well, don't. In spite of all of the sell-it-to-the-seekers tub-thumping, it's actually a pretty good book. (And you have to wonder why so many of these folks have so heartily endorsed a book that heaps so much well-deserved scorn on the spiritual-fashion industry. Maybe they don't think he meant _them_.)
On the plus side, there's the total absence of crap on the subject of enlightenment itself. This McKenna distinguishes carefully from both religiosity and mystical experience. Neither of these, he says, has squat to do with enlightenment, which is nothing more or less than abiding nondual awareness (a.k.a. "no-self"). His no-nonsense advice on how to get there comes down to this: just keep asking yourself what's true until you know. But it's not for everybody, getting to it is pretty painful, and the cottage industry that has grown up around it is actually selling something else.
Well, that's nice, and his lack of bull-puckey on the subject is refreshing. Heck, enlightenment aside, he's fun to read just to enjoy a little healthy irreverence toward vegetarianism, the practice of mindfulness, and umpteen other brands of Fashion Spirituality.
McKenna also seems to be a pretty decent and interesting guy in his meatspace persona.
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Format: Paperback
I read reviews of this book, and they are as paradoxical as the book itself seems to be... at first read.

Jed McKenna, fictional or non-fictional, creator of a work or simply a process that seems to be writing a book, is himself an enigma of epic proportions. If one stops at this layer with the book, the whole point is that there is no point except getting a good dose of irreverent and fun blasting of all the world's religions, new age thought, and science as an alternate religion.

The book, however, defies its surface. Just as U.G. Krishnamurti defies explanation, the author and the book defy the layers of BS in which we shroud true spirituality. What is spirituality other than humankind's search for meaning and purpose in a seemingly purposeless and meaningless world? What is spirituality other than a search for Truth?

For someone who had wandered through being raised fundamentalist Christian and subsequently converting to Hinduism, reading extensively in Chaos mathematics and Quantum Physics, searching through quasi-metaphysical works, and studying everything from Kabbalism, Gnosticism, numerology, and astrology to the Bible, Darwinism, and Relativity, this book served one purpose. That purpose... toss it on the fire (it provides valuable fuel) and keep going.

After reading this book, I felt like someone had given me a golden key which unlocked all the goo and rephrased all my study into a brand new context. All of it and none of it points to the Truth of existence. I felt like Arjuna being stunned with the reality of my situation. To paraphrase, I too felt like I was just 'having a bad day at the office when the Universe flashed me.'

Truth burns, and that is what makes this book so valuable.
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