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EHE Process/Spiritual Path
Record Type: Review   ID: 113

Visionary Worlds: The Making and Unmaking of Reality

Irwin, Lee

 Irwin, who is director of religious studies at the College of Charleston, provides a map of the spiritual path viewed as a process. He is as considerate of the needs of the ego-self that must constantly be transcended as the All-Self, which is in and out of focus, depending on the stage the ego-self is grappling with. I get the distinct feeling that Irwin honors all stages of self, holding them lovingly and detachedly. He values not just the adversarial linear approach but gives full credit to the role played by dreams, fantasy, imagination, and mythmaking, in finding or constructing a viable place and role for ourselves in the world, rooted in time and space, yet open to global consciousness and the pull of the divine toward a way of being and living and seeing that is familiar to those at the fullest stage to which human consciousness has evolved. He shows how we can combine imagination and physical, personal, and social reality in such a way that at some point we can live as if the Sermon on the Mount were integral to our very being. This is made possible not by denying or repressing or ignoring all the steps that lead to this transformed place but by loving them and showing them that there is always more and urging them not to stop, because the further you go into full human being the more exciting, remarkable, creative, and fulfilling it becomes. It is written always with the world in mind, and it is about recreating that world and being aware that in the process the opposites of any question are represented but the process itself, at least momentarily, necessarily privileges one over the other. Irwin teaches how to expect the unexpected and accept the unwanted. "If we learn to open our hearts to the greatness of the world, its full becoming, then we can be even more complete and aware, discover the emerging edge of perception and move into the depth of those alternate worlds. There is no need to discard a world, or to reject a vision. But we must not cling to visions that keep others bound. We must strive with loving hearts to create a world in which our freedom is not a matter of law or rule, but intrinsic and part of the joy of every life form, every small and imperfect being" (p. 193). Irwin’s views on spirituality are for those who do not follow a traditional spiritual path, but in his world there is always room for these time-honored and tested way.
Publisher Information:Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996. 214p. Bibl: 199-201; Chap. notes: 195-197; Ind: 203-214
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