18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tim Freke's piece de resistance
The Mystery Experience is Tim Freke's piece de resistance -- and it should be recognized as such. Having labored under the radar for years, with many excellent books behind him, he now synthesizes all his work. He addresses the most pressing spiritual questions of today, while avoiding common pitfalls. For example, he steers clear of the wishy-washy platitudes of New...
Published 19 months ago by James Andrews
14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A self-proclaimed bliss junkie would jazz you up with cosmic love
While I was reading The Mystery Experience by Tim Freke I kept thinking about how many weight-loss books are published every year. Here in the U.S. we have an obesity epidemic despite the fact that whole forests have been cleared by the weight-loss book industry in past decades and millions of people have read them.
Yet millions are still fat. It this bizarre,...
Published 15 months ago by Ken Korczak
Most Helpful First | Newest First
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tim Freke's piece de resistance,
This review is from: The Mystery Experience: A Revolutionary Approach to Spiritual Awakening (Hardcover)The Mystery Experience is Tim Freke's piece de resistance -- and it should be recognized as such. Having labored under the radar for years, with many excellent books behind him, he now synthesizes all his work. He addresses the most pressing spiritual questions of today, while avoiding common pitfalls. For example, he steers clear of the wishy-washy platitudes of New Agers, the false objectivity of hard science folks, and even the inhuman detachment that Tolle's followers sometimes project.
While staying within the general range of spiritual subjects that mind-body-spirit authors generally concern themselves with, Freke weaves in a great deal of scientific insights. This should provide a bridge for MBS readers for understanding some of the scientific implications of their beliefs. It may also provide a doorway for more scientifically-minded people into the MBS realm.
All in all, this is a powerful and important book. It deserves equal attention as has been given Tolle's The Power of Now and similar books. Highly recommended.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery is more mysterious than Freke claims,
This review is from: The Mystery Experience: A revolutionary approach to spiritual awakening (Kindle Edition)I bought "The Mystery of Existence" because, like TIm Freke, I have a longstanding love affair with an unfathomable, exotic, alluring, mysterious mistress: existence. Not the existence of this or that, particular things, but existence pure and simple. Is'ness. The raw fact that any "this or that" exists.
For about the first hundred pages of Freke's book, I felt like he and I were on almost exactly the same mystery-loving wavelength. "Yes!" I kept saying to myself, as I read passages like this:
"The mystery of life is so enormous it takes my breath away and leaves me speechless. It's not some riddle I will one day unravel, but real magic to be marvelled at. It's not a darkness my intellect can illuminate, but a dazzling radiance so splendid that my most brilliant ideas seem dull.
I may go about my daily life as if I know what's going on, but the truth is I really don't know what life is. Nobody does."
Absolutely. Again, what we're talking about here isn't the particulars of life, such as how the brain and body are fashioned, or how evolution has brought about us humans.
Rather, Freke is pointing to the unarguable fact that nobody knows why existence exists -- or even if "why?" makes any sense when the question pertains not to the existence of some particular thing, but to the famous query "Why is there something rather than nothing?"
There is nothing more mind-blowing than to ponder the astonishing mystery of "is." Personally, I suspect that the fascination we humans have with the philosophical, religious, and mystical questions surrounding why existence exists is a byproduct of our all-too-human cognitive abilities and brain processes.
A more advanced alien intelligence might look upon the question of "Why is there something rather than nothing?" with a resounding Huh? This is a meaningless question. The answer is obvious. Which, however, we wouldn't be able to understand.
As shown by the quote above, at first Freke seems to agree that because nobody can know anything about the basic "is" of existence (in part, or in full, because any answer presumes a pre-existing "is," such as God), everything within existence, including life, is fully submerged in the all-pervading atmosphere of mystery.
Freke correctly says that we need to have our stories, but these don't penetrate the mystery. There are religious stories, scientific stories, philosophical stories, poetic stories. Each of us picks and chooses from these stories, elaborating and adding upon them in our own ways. Then we over-confidently say, "This is what life is all about."
Given how Freke started off his book, I figured that he would maintain a core position: the mystery of life and existence can be intuited by us humans, but never really known, understood, penetrated, or grasped. After all, Freke said: "I may go about my daily life as if I know what's going on, but the truth is I really don't know what life is. Nobody does."
Well, this isn't the stance in the latter part of the book. Nor in the Mystery Experience retreats that Freke puts on and talks about frequently, sometimes in a rather annoyingly infomercial sort of fashion.
Because we're told that actually Tim Freke DOES know what life is all about.
"As a person I am a form in the flow of time. But the deep self is outside of time. It is timeless being... I think most of us have this sense that our deep self is the same now as when we were much younger. I know I do... What I am is timeless awareness witnessing TIm's journey through time.
When I live lucidly I see that I am both mortal and immortal. The person I appear to be in time had a beginning and will come to an end. But the deep self isn't in time, just like a dreamer isn't in a dream.
As a person, I'm a body that is born to die. But the deep self can't die because it was never born. My essential being is immortal, because being by it's very nature must always be."
Freke believes that God, or timeless awareness, becomes conscious of itself through the consciousness of beings in time, like us humans. A Koranic hadith has Allah speaking somewhat similarly: "I am a hidden treasure who wanted to be known." This notion also is akin to HIndu teachings of atman and brahman, soul and God, part and whole.
To which I say, fine. But it was disappointing to find such a large dose of mystery-dissolving spiritual dogmatism in the last two-thirds or so of the book. Mystery takes a back seat to various exercises taught at Freke's workshops where people are shown how to get in touch with their "deep self." Finally, he says:
Our pilgrimage has led us to deep love, which is the sacred ground towards which we have been heading all along. When we're conscious of ourselves as an individual expression of the primal oneness, it's an experience of all-encompassing love, This is the heart of the mystery experience.
I can't agree. The heart of the mystery experience is to experience the mystery of life/existence (they're linked, because only conscious living beings can be aware of cosmic mystery). In his workshops, and in his book, Freke claims to know what this mystery consists of. Spoiler alert! He writes:
"My deep love affair is with God as the ground of being and Goddess as the appearances of being. The natural world is an objective expression of the unconscious oneness from which we have arisen. It is the unconscious foundation from which conscious bodies have evolved. When I see the numinous in nature, I see the mystery in the manifest."
OK. That's Freke's story. And it's an appealing story. I can understand why other people would resonate with it. To some extent, I do myself.
I just wish that Freke had stuck with his initial "nobody knows" theme, and emphasized that how he looks upon the mystery of life and existence is his personal way of relating to unfathomable mystery. Religions attract converts by claiming they -- and only they -- understand the ultimate nature of the cosmos. But no religion has any demonstrable evidence to back up its claim.
And given the seeming impossibility of anyone knowing how, why, or what existence is all about, no sage, prophet, guru, or other person ever could penetrate the mystery. Freke can't either, notwithstanding the author's claim to be able to lead people to a "spiritual awakening."
All that said, and I've said a lot in this review, I still liked "The Mystery Experience" and can recommend it to lovers of existential mystery. Just be aware that the mystery will remain shrouded in darkness after you finish the book, even though Freke claims to have illuminated it.
If you want to read a book that truly honors the mystery of life and existence, I more highly recommend Jack Hass' wonderful "The Way of Wonder." Hass views any attempt to de-mystify the ultimate mystery of being to be disrespectful -- even sacrilegious in a sense, though religiosity shouldn't be associated with the mystery of existence. Read Hass and you'll understand what Freke needs to understand about cosmic mystery: leave it mysterious.
[Note: this review is of the print edition, not the Kindle edition. Both new and used print copies can be bought via Amazon, even though the print listing says the book hasn't been released yet.]
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in years,
This review is from: The Mystery Experience: A Revolutionary Approach to Spiritual Awakening (Hardcover)The Mystery Experience by Tim Freke is the best book I've read in years! It clarifies and explores the spritual journey and meditation, bringing together all the religions of the world in the best possible way. I had several "ah ha" moments while reading including: why I have been so interested in quantum physics, why I have felt other explanations of the journey were incomplete and how I can consciously use the discipline of meditation to come back into the world with a more open heart. Tim has an excellent and indepth understanding of not only meditation and modern day spirituality but also all the traditional eastern and western religions of the world. (He has written books on most of the world religions.) This book is more important and much more comprehensive and helpful than Tolle's book on the Now. This author is one thought provoking and talented guy who is running under the radar. Oprah, get with it and bring this author into the mainstream. Lynn Hills Tatum
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Awakening Outside the Box,
This review is from: The Mystery Experience: A Revolutionary Approach to Spiritual Awakening (Hardcover)"The Mystery Experience" by Tim Freke is a brilliant, integrating breakthrough in evolutionary spirituality. Even after nearly 40 years of immersing myself deeply in many of the world's great wisdom traditions and pursuing an ardent practice of vipassana meditation for most of this time, I have found the guidance in this book to be enormously illuminating and enriching--both to my formal meditation practice and in everyday living.
Through his introduction of a revolutionary new concept, paradoxity, Tim reveals the intrinsic "both-and" nature of reality; on this basis, he offers a spacious new way to understand spiritual awakening. On the one hand, it entails transcending the pervasive illusion of separateness and realizing that, in our essence, we are all one Being, characterized by Deep Love; of equal importance, however, we are ALSO uniquely individual expressions of this one being. This is highly analogous to recognizing the paradoxity that the ocean exists simultaneously BOTH as a single, unified body of water AND as its individual waves.
Accordingly, he shows how deep "gnosis," or knowing, of our essential oneness empowers us in honoring and celebrating our unique personal life "stories" more fully and also helps give us the courage to embrace all the joys and sorrows they entail, thus becoming true "lovers of life."
This crucially important emphasis is in sharp contrast to the key assumption in most of the world's great spiritual traditions that awakening or "becoming enlightened" requires an eradication of ego and the relinquishment of emotional attachments of all kinds.
Tim holds that this traditional view of enlightenment, along with a number of other commonly accepted assumptions about spiritual awakening and development, is basically wrong-headed. In keeping with a growing emphasis in current evolutionary spirituality, he emphasizes the crucial importance of "loving being," on the one hand, while "being loving" and compassionately active in the world on the other.
Very importantly, his approach to spirituality is also in elegant harmony with the paradoxical understandings of current science--e.g., the particle/wave nature of light and of quantum physics in general. In this regard, it posits the mystery of being as the "ground of reality" that manifests "paralogically" as both consciousness and matter.
This wonderfully inspiring book, in large part, is a distillation of the experiential processes that Tim has developed in initiating people into The Mystery Experience in his residential weekend retreats. After absorbing and savoring it fully, I can readily understand why the single most common response of Tim's retreat attendees in describing their experience is simply WOW!!!
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a poem,
This review is from: The Mystery Experience: A revolutionary approach to spiritual awakening (Kindle Edition)This book is a poem. A poem of life, to life, from life. It sums up everything, all in all. It is a book that has to live right along with my bible.
After I finished the book I went to a shopping center to watch a movie...what a trip!!!...I was loving everything, the colors, the music, all the people walking...I was in the zone...Lucid Living. This should be required reading for everybody. I feel sorry for the people that hasn't read it yet.
My hero Joseph Cambell, Ken Wilber, Walt Whitman,the Novel prize winners and one answer after another and another and another...
Lucid writing, indeed. The eternal paradox = the solution. It all makes sense. And it is just so incredible beautiful. We are love. If I could design the answer to the universe I wouldn't have come up with a better WOW way to do it...it is just WOW...With all due respect, but I have no need for more Rupert Spira, Florian Schlosser, Francis Lucille, Jeff Foster. The obvious is the difficult. The common advaita solution disregarding the individual misses the point and leaves me so lonely, so sad, and so meaning-less.
Here is to Tim, here is to the celebration of life...Bravo, bravo, bravo!!!!!!!!!!
Walt Whitman . Leaves of Grass. 1900.
ME imperturbe, standing at ease in Nature,
Master of all, or mistress of all--aplomb in the midst of irrational things,
Imbued as they--passive, receptive, silent as they,
Finding my occupation, poverty, notoriety, foibles, crimes, less important than I thought;
Me private, or public, or menial, or solitary--all these subordinate, (I am eternally equal with the best--I am not subordinate;)
Me toward the Mexican Sea, or in the Mannahatta, or the Tennessee, or far north, or inland,
A river man, or a man of the woods, or of any farm-life in These States, or of the coast, or the lakes, or Kanada,
Me, wherever my life is lived, O to be self-balanced for contingencies!
O to confront night, storms, hunger, ridicule, accidents, rebuffs, as the trees and animals do.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book in hard cover you will want it on your shelf,
His four books coauthored with Peter Gandy touched on some of the concepts he included here but were more focused on convincing their audience that stories we know about Jesus are myth and he was never alive in the flesh. This argument has been around since the early 1900's but is not held by the PHDs in biblical studies throughout academia. 99% believe Jesus was a historical man who lived preached and was crucified in the first century. They do however believe that most of the stories and the preaching we have about Jesus were created to share Christ with a variety of audiences. The myths the New Testament authors created gave us much of today's Christianity. Tim has grown out of this argument, perhaps he realized that Christian spirituality (salvation) depends on a spiritual Christ, who does not live in the flesh. If he did live great, if not, so what. I expect Tim is tired of the conflict that debating the point creates.
Tim's concentration in his recent books `Lucid Living', and `How Long is Now' are a foundation for this latest work - The Mystery Experience. Waking his audience up to the mystery experience is his goal. Tim lays out the path to the greatest experience in the universe. Awaken to the miracle that at the core of our being our consciousness is a part of the primal awareness linking every individual as one with each other and God. While this sounds very much like many eastern religions and the philosophers spouting non-duality Tim takes it a step farther with his emphasis on separateness and living a full complete life. He likes to call it a paradoxity, I just mentally substitute the word paradox - subjectively we are one, objectively we are separate individuals.
Throughout the book Tim comes back to the central theme of his new spirituality, which along with Christianity and many religions of the world focuses on LOVE. At the core, the mystery of being is a deep love that unites all things as one.
The material Tim has provided has much depth and will provide months of practice and study to explore. If you are only going to read one book on spirituality this should be the one. It will cause you to stop, and explore new possibilities.
I don't care if your life is great or a total mess you will find what you seek in this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Changed My Life,
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish he'd of written it earlier,
This review is from: Mystery Experience (Paperback)In my mid-20's I was suddenly and unexpectedly catapulted into the non dual realm of oneness, unfathomable bliss, love and peace. Ever since then, I struggled to find the meaning behind an experience for which language falls well short of. In my quest for understanding the non dual world through Eastern religion, I struggled immensely with concepts of 'non attachment', loving with 'equinimity', staying 'in the moment', 'killing the ego' and so forth.
I WISH Tim had written "The Mystery Experience" many years earlier and put me out of my misery. Apart from some amazing 'Wow" moments which I never believed could happen through reading a book, Tim has put my mind to rest and I am now more comfortable with being who I am and experiencing all that it means to be human with a normal, healthy ego. But then, we must also incorporate into our human 'story' a deeper understanding of who we are. Not either or, but side by side. He also helps us to acknowledge that we are essentially attempting to understand something which transcends human comprehension, but that is okay too.
Tim does not claim to have the definitive answers to the 'big' question, but he draws you deep into the mystery in a very positive way; he teaches us to 'wake up' and look around: It's amazing, it's beautiful, it's positively mysterious and clever. It is not all pink and fluffy and wonderful, but it is nonetheless perfect and with purpose.
What Tim taught me that is most valuable, is the concept that our lives do not have to be "either/or" but rather "this AND that." We don't have to have all the answers in order to appreciate the joy of being alive. And we don't have to DO anything special, but simply be who we are. "Be yourself, because everyone else is taken up." (Dr Suess)
This book is not laden with the esoteric language of 'spiritual seekers' that many might find daunting or incomprehensible. It is written to reach out to anyone who remains curious to the biggest question of all: Who am I? We don't know exactly, but what a brilliant mystery it is to contemplate. I am buying this book for my friends. I cannot afford to buy everyone a copy but if you have one, pass it around.
"We have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs, And stare as long as sheep or cows..." (The Little Prince.)
""Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle."
¯ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Paralogical Alternative,
After his introduction, the journey (as it always must be) passes through four stages starting with the wider world view and gradually, gently, taking the reader into themselves and their everyday lives. The entire process is most beautifully set out, simply but profoundly expressed. Tim includes a significant extent of hypothetical Socratic style exchanges between various figures and the wonderfully but pejoratively named `Clever' Dick. It's a device that works very well particularly where the subject is both scientific and spiritual - the exchanges between Dick and Uncle Albert (Einstein) being particularly memorable.
Tim also addresses in the most understandable way the two (dual?) aspects of duality: the physical attributes of wave/particle duality and the meta-physical attributes of oneness and separateness - C G Jung's "no reality without polarity". This greater duality illustrates to perfection the Neo-Platonic view about the inter-connectivity of all things - the `Catena Aurea' or Golden Chain.
`The over-all number of minds is just one' said Erwin Schroedinger who went on to `call it indestructible since mind is always now. There is no before and after, only a now that includes memories and expectations'. He continued `I also grant that I am now talking religion, not science - a religion, however, not opposed to science, but supported by what disinterested scientific research has brought to the fore'.
What is so fascinating about `The Mystery Experience' is not so much that it includes anything new or revolutionary but that it considers `connections' in a refreshingly different yet comprehensive and, perhaps more importantly, readily comprehendible form. This book is essential reading for those people - `People Like Us' - who comprise the vast, and often silent, majority and who are really not satisfied that either religion or science can ever have all the answers. A warning though - there is nothing here for fundamentalists, whether religious or secular. Vehement fundamentalism is a product of an ossified mind, both closed and unthinking. But how many minds out there are truly closed? Very, very few - fewer than might appear from their verbal posturings that usually merely conceal a need to control: `The Will to Power'. Avoid them and read this book!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing,
This review is from: The Mystery Experience: A revolutionary approach to spiritual awakening (Kindle Edition)I read continuously, searching for varying perspectives, on the broad topic of non-duality, enlightenment, medication. This author cuts through a lot of the preconceptions and conventions, and openly explores the topic in ways that ring deeply true to me.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Mystery Experience: A Revolutionary Approach to Spiritual Awakening by Timothy Freke (Hardcover - May 1, 2012)