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How to Know God: The Soul's Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries Hardcover – February 22, 2000
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God is not a person or a thing but rather a process, according to world-renowned author and spiritual leader Deepak Chopra. The purpose of this ambitious book is to assure readers that anyone can engage in this process--"it isn't a matter of faith, religious teaching, innate goodness, luck or some other mysterious factor," Chopra explains. "Our brains are hardwired to find God." This hardwiring is deftly explored as Chopra lists the seven ways humans know God and how they correspond to the anatomy of our human brains. He devotes a chapter to each of the seven visions of God: "Protector," "Almighty," "God of Peace," "Redeemer," "Creator," "God of Miracles," and "Pure Being--I am." In every chapter he asks and answers the same questions for the readers: "Who am I?" "How do I fit in?" "How do I find God?" The format works well, helping to tame this broad discussion while also illuminating the different personality types that are attracted to these seven different visions.
Fortunately, Chopra is a gifted narrator, able to make human anatomy and quantum physics understandable while also keeping spiritual and metaphysical discussions grounded. As he drifts through the cloudy realms of ESP, telepathy, clairvoyance, miracles, obedience, loyalty, evil, ego, addictions, and mentors, readers can trust that there is a competent pilot at the helm, deftly guiding this excellent book. Plan to take some time with this one. It is perhaps his best yet and as such deserves a slow and steady commitment. --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Prolific author Chopra (The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Creating Health, etc.) explores the different ways people apprehend God. Chopra contends that there are seven responses to God and that "the brain cannot register a deity outside the list of seven responses." Chopra's seven include: fight or flight (a God who can save us from danger), reactive (a rule-giving God), restful awareness (a God who brings tranquility out of chaos), intuitive (a good and forgiving God), creative (God as Creator), visionary (God as exalted) and sacred (God as the source of everything). Different personalities envision God differently, says Chopra; a go-getter determined to shape his own destiny will imagine a creative God, whereas someone who feels she is just barely getting through the day will have the stage-one "fight or flight" response, envisioning a God who can rescue her. For Chopra, these seven ascending stages are normative; someone who has reached stage seven is more in tune with God than someone stuck at stage one. (Readers from law-based religions may feel dismayed that Chopra so devalues their "stage two" conception of God.) To help spiritual pilgrims reach the seventh stage, Chopra recommends that they see themselves and others "in the light," forgive themselves when they err and seek out the sacred and the unknown. Like most theories that claim to be all-encompassing, Chopra's scheme is often reductive, but this will nonetheless be a worthwhile addition to the spiritual seeker's library. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author brilliantly clarifies this profound inquiry with an easy to understand blend of eastern philosophy and science. I was inspired and amazed by the depth of his understanding and his ability to impart this knowledge to his readers.
By using the author's distinctions of the seven different God responses, the reader is able to gauge his own personal evolution at any given moment, from the fight or flight response, to the sacred response. These insights allow for personal choice, intention and awareness, causing shifts in our perceptions, which change our reality. In my experience, nothing is more powerful.
The first thing to realize is that Chopra doesn't claim that he's going to present some great Truth to you. You don't get the Truth from a book or another person. You get it from yourself. All that Chopra can do and hopes to do is to so stimulate you to find it yourself.
The next thing to realize is that the seven stages that he presents are not necessarily progressive, but merely stages to identify with, presented so that you will recognize what stage you are at so that you will be in a better position to realize how to relate with God at that stage.
And then, opening yourself up to what is presented rather than just reading this is important. ... Krishnamurti is one of several writers Chopra suggests that you read, as well as Hawking, Zukav, Yogananda, the Maharishi, Ken Wilber, among others (This is in the notes at the end of the book.
Another says there's too much Biblical reference. Most western readers are more familiar with the Bible than with any other writing considered by many to be "sacred". You'll also find many Vedic references here.
... This isn't a book on physics, but on spirituality, so if his physics don't seem right to you, little is missed unless you center on points of disagreement.
... One's mind can accept only a certain amount at a time, and if you overdo what you're taking in, you'll fall asleep or just lose attention.
It's not necessary to agree on each point Chopra brings up to gain from this book. Heck, it's not even necessary to agree with most of what he says. It is necessary, if you truly wish to gain something useful from this book, to keep your mind open and let him state his case, because there are bound to be elements useful to you among those not so.
The bottom line is that the non-resistant reader who takes this book slowly, re-reading when you miss a point, will be stimulated into his own personal search, and this is what Chopra intends. Not to brainwash you. But to get you to search within.
If you buy this book and are disappointed in your first reading, then put it aside, but where you'll notice it sometimes, then come back in a week, or a month, or a year, and let the person you've become in that period of time read it.
What I appreciate the most about the book is the moment-to-moment changes I'm noticing at work and in potentially stressful situations. I'm witnessing my actions and reactions and moving closer to the sacred response, simply by being more aware of my choices.
The experience of reading "How to Know God" has truly been a life-altering one for me!
I found myself putting this book down every 10 to 12 pages just to think about what I had read. It helped me tremendously and I plan on reading it again with no break between readings.
If you are someone who has your mind made up and feel somewhat threatened by new ideas, please don't spend your money. You won't get past chapter two. I don't understand that way of thinking however, and have a hard time believing that the people who wrote negative reviews actually took the time to read this book.
Good luck to all in your search.