Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Review: The Spontaneous Healing of Belief

Every so often on the path it becomes useful to read a book that expands your beliefs about what is possible. We need something that confirms that we're on the right path, and that there's some cool stuff along the way. The Spontaneous Healing of Belief: Shattering the Paradigm of False Limits by Gregg Braden is that kind of book.

The first point made by the book, and this is something I've believed for years, is that the advances made by science in quantum physics and string theory haven't been assimilated into the rest of science or our beliefs about science. While quantum physics has discovered an underlying unity in the universe, the rest of science is still stuck in the Newtonian paradigm of matter as little bowling balls called atoms, and that everything is either those bowling balls or some type of energy. The word "Newtonian" always gives me an ironic feeling when I read it because Newton was an alchemist and astrologer and I'm not sure what he would have thought of the paradigm that bears his name.

There are also some nice examples in the book of events that are impossible according to mainstream science. My personal favorite is a hand print embedded in a stone cave wall in Tibet. There's also a story about prehistoric climate-controlled condominiums in New Mexico. You've probably heard of stories of people lifting cars in urgent situations. This is normally explained by adrenaline, but that explanation seems rather hollow when you think about a non-athlete lifting over 20 times their body weight.

A key concept of the book is the fractal nature of the universe. I don't know if Mr. Braden is familiar with the Correspondence Principle ("As above, so below"), but it's definitely fractal. The key characteristic of fractals is that they look the same on a large scale as they do on a small scale, and that's the essence of the Correspondence Principle.

Another key concept is that the underlying unity of the universe responds to belief and emotion on our part. There's a great part at then end of the book about prayer as a means of accomplishing that, including a unique interpretation of the Lord's Prayer.

I recommend this book to all who are on the path, but especially beginners and fundamentalist materialists.

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