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Record Type: Review   ID: 943

Spiritual Awakenings: Insights of the Near-Death Experience and Other Doorways to Our Soul

Whitfield, Barbara Harris

This book, in effect, is about exceptional human experiences, or what Whitfield calls "spiritual awakenings." In the foreword, Charles Whitfield, a physician and near-death researcher, defines a spiritual awakening as "an experiential opening to a power greater than ourselves." It enables us to "become more aware of and open to our self, others and the Universe" (p. xi). This echoes my definition of an EHE and its aftereffects, although I have used a more naturalistic terminology, because when one has awakened to the More, as William James termed it, all of life becomes sacred—spirituality is not simply a major component of life but it is life itself evolving and becoming more conscious. In a sense, the term spirituality preserved the bifurcation of human life into the sacred and the secular. EHEs today, as always, are resacralizing the world, it appears in greater numbers than have been recorded earlier.

That Barbara Whitfield, an NDEer, is dealing with EHEs is evident from the beginning chapter where she refers to experiences of awakening as "doorways to our soul," echoing what I have said about EHEs opening us to the EHE process and the Experiential Paradigm, a new worldview known only by the coming together of bodymindheartspirit. She devotes a paragraph or two to each type of awakening experience, all of which are types of spontaneous EHEs, including both spontaneousness and some of the experiences that trigger them, and induced experiences, such as new NDEs, childbirth, meditation, intense prayer, experiencing the death of a loved one, withdrawal from chemical dependence, bottoming out from an overwhelming loss, an alien encounter including angels or other beings, an intense transcendent sexual experience, spontaneously when in nature, while reading spiritual literature or hearing a spiritual talk (in my experience it can even happen when reading passages in books that are not usually considered "spiritual"), in a "big-dream" that is remembered for life, a kundalini experience, breath and body work; and gradually, and without first having a dramatic experience. Her aim is to help people enjoy the experiences of opening they are blessed with, overcome the obstacles they meet as they begin to live their own path, and commit to taking their unique path the remainder of their days. She begins with her own experiences (kundalini and NDEs). The rest of the book is a practical guide to dealing with the insights and energies that EHEs awaken, including kundalini, blocked energy, psychic ability, divine energy, spiritual sexuality, enhancing soul, and living in unconditional love. Appendix I presents in tabular form Charles Whitfield’s model of how to heal the inner child and live from the true self. This is a practical guide to working with EHEs and their sometimes difficult but always wondrous aftereffects.

Publisher Information:Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 1995. Pp. vii + 188. Appendix I. The Child Within: 167-170; Appendix II. Spiritual Emergence Network: 171-173; Bibl: 175-179; 3 figs; Ind: 181-185; 2 tables
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