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- Publié sur Amazon.com
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. Consciousness is inherent in the universe and that is why, in the mystical experience, everything seems alive. There is no difference between the consciousness of my aloe plant on the windowsill, my cat who purrs beside me, and me. We use consciousness differently perhaps, but my plant grows better when I love it and want it to grow, I somehow know when my cat is outside the front door and wants to come in, and I use my consciousness to read books and learn more about my world. But the me that is sitting here looking out at everything else is victim of an illusion. It is only through working at techniques to shut out externals that it is possible to gain some realization of the unity, or to put it another way, to access the web that connects everything and that is the actual source of the knowledge that comes to us in these "mystical" experiences.
Dr. Mitchell's book takes us into heavy material, not always easy to grasp, and sometimes possessing its own assumptions. He seems intent on eliminating religious metaphors completely, as if providing an explanation that "works" means there is no longer a use for the concept of God. I have to agree with him that the long-standing practice of representatives of religious organizations of dismissing anything without a scientific explanation as "a miracle of God" (or sometimes as "the work of the devil") has retarded our ability to scrutinize any actual process at work. Likewise, it isn't helpful when scientists simply dismiss anything that doesn't fit their current understanding of reality -- Uri Geller must be a fraud because science can't explain how he bends those spoons. And since Uri is not a saintly person, it must not be "a miracle."
Because "God" is used to cover everything for which there is no scientific explanation does not invalidate the concept of a supreme presence, just as science is not useless even though it is intolerant of alternate explanations. It seems to me Mitchell neglects the idea of "purpose" just as he does not accept reincarnation, suggesting the past lives remembered are the result of accessing the universal web, the holographic record of everything (much like Edgar Cayce's "Akashic Record"). Could this be just a semantic difference, if we are all part of the same consciousness? While Mitchell's concepts "fit" the essentially religious experiences of those who believe in the immortality of the soul, it does not encompass the soul's purpose of perfecting itself through lifetimes of spiritual growth.
As I read this book, I found Mitchell has read the same authors I've read, and he mentions the same cast of characters with whom seekers are familiar, whether they write from a research, mystical or physics point of view. His desire to reconcile science and religion is the same desire many of us share. The journey inward is as worthwhile as the journey to other planets. Our yearning to know who we are can only be satisfied when we truly achieve the synthesis Dr. Mitchell seeks. You'll have to read and decide if Mitchell, as an explorer extraordinaire, has found the answer.