Enlightenment Ain’t What It’s Cracked Up To Be: A Journey of Discovery, Snow and Jazz in the Soul, Robert K.C. Forman, Alresford, O-Books, 2011, pp. 214. ISBN 978-1-84694-674-5 (Paperback). £9.99.
Dr. Robert Forman is co-founder of the Journal of
Consciousness Studies and founder of the Forge Institute for Spirituality and Social Change. He has many years experience of meditation and academic work in religion and mysticism. His stance on
the latter led to the ‘Katz-Forman debates’ regarding Perennialism versus Constructivism. He gives lectures and workshops globally and has written numerous books including The Problem of Pure Consciousness, Mysticism, Mind, Consciousness, and Grassroots Spirituality: What it is, Why it is here, Where it is Going.
The first thing that should be said about this book is that, in contrast to most of Forman’s other work, it is not an academic text. Instead Forman has chosen to write a personal, auto-biographical account of his own spiritual journey, which is accessible to non-academics. Although he mentions the so-called ‘Katz-Forman debates’ he does not get side-tracked into putting forward an academic argument about his views on what he terms ‘pure consciousness events’. Leaving aside this debate Forman emphasises some important, and possibly controversial, points about ‘enlightenment’.
Having gone through his own process of spiritual awakening, he is in a position to be able to do this from a first-hand perspective.
OK - my goal is to provide a counselling and advice service for people who are curious about or distressed by anomalous, religious, or spiritual experiences. However, there are quite a few things to do and quite a few questions to answer to reach that goal (if I ever do!)
Firstly, I need a good grounding in counselling and psychotherapy skills that are relevant to this, somewhat specialist (should I say 'fringe?), area.
Secondly, I need to know what demand there actually is for such a service (if any!)
This blog is, therefore, my way of tracking my progress towards this goal. I'm really not sure who reads blogs but perhaps someone will find it interesting or relevant. Who knows?
Progress to-date: about 20 years experience in listening to people's religious, spiritual, and anomalous experiences; post-grad academic qualifications; and currently training in hypno-psychotherapy with the National College of Hypnosis & Psychotherapy.
Further updates to follow...