[Spirituality/Literature] The Celestine Prophecy (1993)
Check out this (vintage) new-age religious fiction exploring ideas in eastern mysticism and western psychology, attempting to cultivate the ability within readers to establish a connection to the divine energy of existence.
Written in 1993, the Celestine Prophecy was intended as a parable. Author James Redfield was exploring his active interests in psychology, world philosophies, science, futurism, ecology and mysticism. After growing up in rural Alabama he would go on to study eastern philosophies at Auburn university, where he was drawn into the human potential movement of the 60's. He would then complete a masters in psychological counselling and spend 15 years working with abused adolescents throughout the '80's.
The fact that since its publication the novel has sold over 23 million copies suggests that using fiction as a vehicle for spiritual ideas is quite quite a successful technique. Before securing a publishing deal, Redfield would sell 100,000 copies out of the back of his own car.
“In the rainforests of Peru, an ancient manuscript has been discovered. Within its pages are 9 key insights... Insights each human being is predicted to grasp sequentially… As we move towards a completely spiritual culture on Earth.” (front cover material). The philosophical and psychological insights have over time proven to be the most relevant and celebrated aspects of the book and Redfields writing, overshadowing the fiction based narrative of the book itself which at times can be loose, serving as a platform for the ideas raised.
In total there are 9 insights offered within the pages, here are 6 more easily accessible suggestions put forward by Redfield:
Synchronicity ~ Perhaps the things that occur in our lives are very much connected, balanced across the rational, physical and spiritual realms of our human existence. In this, a state of peace of mind and soul, a harmony between these experiential abilities, is quite key in order to be open enough to notice these possibilities as they occur as coincidences.
To see them manifest with meaning and draw upon the potential opportunity with clarity as such. This concept could possibly be developed from and similar to Carl Jung’s work on synchronicity (or ‘acausal parallelism’).
Historical perspective ~ A sense of the past thousand years and of contemporary societies place within it. Attempts to understand the beautifully rich fermentation of human culture in the past millenia. Redfield himself presents a fairly western historical arc: In 1000AD the social structuring of much of the world was dominated by the ideals of mysticism and the church. The Renaissance and Reformation challenged much of these medieval ideals. The Enlightenment would eventually bring a rationality and deductive scientific logic to much of human endeavour.
In contemporary society, we are seeing this in material excess, we have reached material comfort within developed societies. Science has become a mighty tool in mass production and made instant gratification very easy in developed countries. Redfield suggests that now we are perhaps coming to a new epoch, one of the acknowledgement, exploration and advancement of human spirituality and the emotional realms of experience.
Subtle energy ~ Something that underpins all you see, think and absorb. Redfield calls this subtle energy and it is very much aligned with Daoist belief of an energy exisiting within all things. Everything we absorb, whether it be art, science or culture affects the kind of energy we transmit. I like to think of it like soul vibrations or frequencies - it is well worth paying attention to fine tuning and playing yours.
Competition ~ Humans compete for this energy, often mistake it for power or dominance and use it to gain energy from others. Basic psychological ideas are drawn upon in this. Some common negative effects from the ‘negative competition for energy,’ particularly during early socialisation and youth. In negative circumstances people feel the need to assert dominance in order to relive their own trauma of competitive failures through projection. On the other hand there are those who have positive feedback loops maintaining healthy and mutually inspiring relationships and in this way, energy becomes renewable and an essence of unification that is able to be accessed through.
Abundance of natural energy - A key aspect of the insights, Redfield suggests there are ways to source this energy without needing to take it from another person or being. Plants have high naturally occurring energy levels. (Higher still if they are grown with care and attention.) Being in a loving state of mind is a way to be more receptive to energy all around you that you miss while living in a traumatised state of mind. Cultivating peace, honesty and hope also helps. The ultimate mystical suggestion of the novel itself is to reach a state of mind wherein you are always connected to this loving and entirely open sense of inter-subjective empathy for existence. To quote the book itself and character Father Sanchez:
"Love is not an intellectual concept or a moral imperative or anything else. It is a background emotion that exists when one is connected to the energy available in the universe, which, of course, is the energy of God." [page 153, the Celestine Prophecy]
Using Intuition - a simple premise that relies on essentially trusting oneself. If existence is subjective then you are the greatest authority on yourself and your understanding of life. This state of mind comes more as a clarity of perception then a joyous explosion. A stillness, like that of water when there is no wind. Utterly fluid and yet all encompassing and solid somehow. This sense of clarity is trusting your intuition and is an essential place to begin exploring in this kind of quest.
Redfield suggests that by grasping each of all 9 of the insights, readers could begin to cultivate the ability to establish a connection to the divine energy of existence. The plot takes us on a first person narrative of somebody going through a spiritual awakening - the science fiction elements coming out when we find out the Mayan civilisation has survived and reached immortality after supposedly raising their energy vibrations to a state of eternal.
I would like to say with attrition that the book is not a religious text of any kind, merely that it presents some interesting springboards for challenging normative discussion in contemporary society around concepts of spirituality.
Check out an interview with author James Redfield below ~
- Psychic Garden