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The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds Hardcover – May 7, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Among authors trying to bridge the gap between science and spirit, former astronaut Mitchell brings unique credentials. Originally scheduled for the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, Mitchell, as told in this smooth blend of autobiography and exegesis, journeyed to the Moon in 1971 (and generated great controversy over ESP experiments he conducted on the flight). As he gazed on Earth, surrounded by blackness and an unfathomable number of stars, he experienced "an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness" that was to change his life. Within a few years, he had left NASA and founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, aimed at the systematic study of the nature of consciousness. At the institute, he came to some fascinating conclusions, detailed here and based on principles of resonance, regarding a possible natural explanation for psychic powers. In later years, Mitchell has developed a "dyadic" model of paired opposites-mind/matter, life/death, etc.-that he also covers here and that owes as much to quantum physics' wave/particle duality as to Taoism's yin/yang. Mitchell isn't afraid to go out on a limb; his contention that the universe "intended" to evolve to higher levels, for example, goes against mainstream Western science. He grounds his ideas in data and reason, however, making this a strong offering for those who enjoy the books of Larry Dossey, Ken Wilber and others pushing the envelope of the science/spirit paradigm. BOMC, QPB and One Spirit selections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Apollo 14 astronaut Mitchell offers a vision in which technology and intuition are harmonized in pursuit of a more advanced consciousness. When Mitchell was hurtling back to earth after walking on the moon in 1971, he had a profound sense that all things are interconnected and that the universe is an intelligent process with which we need to link up. We hear how Mitchell began a career as a fighter pilot in the years following WW II, switched to NASA with the hope of being part of the new space program, and came to know the legendary Wernher von Braun, whom he believes was a true visionary rather than a Nazi opportunist. Mitchell tells how, while returning to earth, he carried out a private ESP experiment that seemed to yield positive results. Subsequently, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, in order to test paranormal phenomena scientifically. We hear of Uri Geller's ability to bend spoons at a distance and of how Mitchell's own mother had her eyesight restored by American psychic Norbu Chen--until she realized that Chen was not a Christian and her near-blindness returned. Mitchell concludes that our own consciousness and beliefs are profoundly part of reality. He offers us a tour of Western thought from Aristotle to Newton, arguing that intuition and science were divorced until the advent of Einstein and quantum physics. We hear a lot about synchronicity, left and right brain, and the concept that psychic events are quantum exchanges in the brain that link us with the larger world. Unfortunately, Mitchell's insights, exciting but frequently obscure, depend excessively on one-sided generalizations about European philosophy and on his espousal of Joseph Campbell's views on religion. A stimulating attempt to reinvent the wheel. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam and Sons; First Edition edition (May 7, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399141618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399141614
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Edgar Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1972, as he began a quest for common ground between science and spirit following his life-altering experience of walking on the surface of the moon. Mitchell's autobiographical book THE WAY OF THE EXPLORER describes in thrilling detail his experiences with the Apollo missions, as well as his subsequent exploration of the fields of consciousness and paranormal phenomenon. Mitchell's heart-warming accounts of his feelings as he walked on the moon, and then traveled back through space to see how "the heavens and earth tumbled alternately in and out of view in the small capsule window" are gracefully combined with his insightful observations of the nature of consciousness and reality. We can all benefit from experiencing the Earth as Mitchell does... as one planet interconnected with each and every one of us. I was so moved by what Mitchell wrote about seeing Uri Geller bend spoons and bring lost objects across space and time that it inspired me to see Geller bend one of my (very SOLID stainless steel spoons) in person in October 1999. I love this book's timeless wisdom, beauty, and depth so much that I return to it again and again. It's a powerful book that touches my heart and greatly inspires me!
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Mitchell asks the same questions as all seekers, and rightly connects the search for knowledge about self with the search for an understanding of the universe. He begins his book with a short personal history, bringing the reader up to a description of his incredible journey to the moon. As a US Apollo astronaut, he walked on the lumar surface. During the journey back to earth, he experienced a sudden insight about the nature of reality, an understanding that came from an unknown source. The experience most resembled the reports of mystics, who generally ascribe a religious meaning to it. Mitchell has spent the years since that journey searching for a way to understand the experience, a way to bring together the disparate ways of knowing, the way of science and the way of religion.
While it is fascinating to read his descriptions of the view of earth from space and to know that seeing our beautiful mother earth from that vantage point could trigger such insights, what Mitchell describes is an experience many, many people have, as he later came to realize. It is the experience of "knowing without knowing how you know." Sometimes the knowing concerns the nature of reality, as when you get the sense of the unity of all things, and sometimes it is a psychic insight, as in knowing someone has just died. Sometimes it is the amazing synchronicities that happen when you cease to believe they cannot happen.
This source of knowledge is real, so how does it work? There is no accepted scientific answer. At least there wasn't until Mitchell took on the task and gave us his dyadic theory of reality. It is an interesting explanation. The universe, in this view, evolved not just from energy but always incorporated intention.
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By A Customer on July 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book kept my interest very well. I am first and foremost an Astronaut buff and I was happy with the first part of Dr. Mitchell's book talking about his NASA experiences. But, the rest of the book was equally captivating. I was disappointed that he made no mention of the results of his ESP experiments on the way to the moon. He only referenced the Journal of Parapsychology for those who wanted to know more. I thought he would have written a little more about this. But, he kept my interest to finish reading the book very well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Try not to miss this fine gentleman's deeply honest assessment of his experiences and his thoughts. This book opens up the gates of reality that we have kept closed for fear of wrongful accusations - if you have ever experienced intuition or second-guessing or have felt an inexplicable leaning a certain way toward a choice or a thought, READ THIS BOOK. I intend to re-read it over and over. Believe me, it is well worth your time.

Jerine P, Watson, Freelance Editor/Ghostwriter/Author
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is a very inspiring book. The most remarkable since it is written by a person with no "New Age" background whatsoever.
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Format: Paperback
Apollo 14 astronaut and moon-walker Edgar Mitchell has written a uniquely challenging book in which he explores the nature of reality, the universe and human consciousness and lays out a new paradigm of understanding from his life experience combined with years of research as founder and head of The Institute of Noetic Sciences.

"The Way of the Explorer" is not all easy reading, particularly for someone not schooled in the complexities of particle physics, quantum theory and informed discussion about the zero-point field. If you have read "The Holographic Universe" by Michael Talbot, then you'll be in roughly the same territory here but whereas Talbot's book is racy and populist, Dr. Mitchell's is a deeper and more demanding read, more radical and original.

This review is of the third, updated edition published in 2006 which includes a number of minor revisions and is slightly extended from the earlier editions. The book is co-authored by Dwight Williams but it is not clear what parts he wrote or co-wrote.

The first part is a brief autobiography of Dr. Mitchell's life story up to and including involvement in the Apollo missions, and a fascinating and detailed description of his trip to The Moon in Apollo 14. It's generally known that experiments in ESP and telepathy were carried out by NASA on this particular Moon mission, and Dr. Mitchell relates the details of how this was done. On the return trip to Earth from the Moon, Mitchell experienced a kind of epiphany, a spiritual awakening reported by many of the Apollo astronauts on seeing the Earth as a small but vulnerable jewel in space from great distance: "Certain truths seemed brilliantly clear, truths that became suddenly obscured within the atmosphere of the Earth.
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