Title:The Six Principles of Enlightenment and Meaning of Life
Author: Russell Anthony Gibbs
Review: I want to start by saying because this book is non-fiction it will be slightly longer than my normal review. Now I don’t normally read non-fiction unless its a topic that really peaks my interest and having studied AS level Religious Studies the concept of this book was extremely appealing to me, as one of the aspects of Buddhism as a religion is the concept and achievement of enlightenment. I liked the fact that science and religion play key roles in this book despite the fact religion and science have opposed each other for centuries.
In the first chapter; What is Enlightenment? Gibbs explains what enlightenment is, although there are many different interpretations; “enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity” or “…awakening or understanding which leads to a cessation of all suffering”. Despite the different interpretations of what enlightenment is the goal is the same “to achieve the state of perfect happiness and peace”.
The Important Concepts of Quantum Mechanics,Consciousness and Emotions was of great interest to me as I really wanted to see how science could possibly influence and govern religious principles. Gibbs talks about how 99.99% of what we perceive to be physical and solid isn’t because of this I really enjoyed Gibbs’ view on how science which governs our sense of reality and also governs our perception of non-physical things like consciousness, thoughts, desires, beliefs and emotions . He also talks about while these things have no apparent mass and are most likely forms of energy, these forms of energy could also be part of the 71% invisible parts of the universe. I also liked how Gibbs used example of scientific theories that could support his own theory like Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity, string theory and multiverse theory and how these things are key facts and theories of quantum mechanics that relate to the Principles of Enlightenment.
Gibbs then goes on to talk about consciousness and the different interpretations of it such as dualism and materialism. He also talks about how philosophers like Aristotle connected consciousness to the concept of the soul. I loved the comparison he made between consciousness and gravity which is really interesting as you would not normally associate one with the other. But when you think about it both “consciousness and gravity themselves are invisible and immeasurable, yet you can easily measure the effects of each in the universe”, which is an interesting point to make and rings true in many ways. I also found the concept of panpsychism, which is the idea that everything material has individual consciousness interesting as I had never heard of this before even when studies the consciousness in psychology.
I found Gibbs’ points on emotion profound as we don’t know their purpose or what causes them, emotions are just there. I found Gibbs’ idea that emotions are indicators of our general state of being intense but I do believe the purpose of emotions and how it relate to our overall levels of consciousness needs further study to accurately define it, although this is the case with many areas and disciplines of scientific research.
After making quite a few definitions and clarifying a few things that he will talk about in more details, Gibbs leads us through the six principles of enlightenment. Gibbs makes clear and concise points on the collective conscious, unconscious and how everything is connected. He also shows how these related to the principle of oneness. Gibbs also makes an interesting point that love is the recognition of Oneness and that the more you love, the more you experience the Principle of Oneness. This is an interesting point as we all love in different ways whether its the love of a child, pet or spouse but most of us would not connect love with being one with the collective unconscious aka The Universe. A great example he makes regarding this point is “when you connect with your favourite food, you physically and energetically become one by consuming it” and how when you make these connections in a positive way it will feel pleasant and invigorating. He also makes a clever point on the reverse side as when you hate or dislike something you are effectively rejecting the principle of oneness and these feelings are unpleasant and uncomfortable because you are in conflict with the natural oneness of the Universe. I also like how he mentions that these negative exchanges can make you feel tired and drained. This rings true for me as when I argue with friends I feel mentally drained afterwards, but when I have positive exchanges I feel full of live and ready for anything it can throw at me, I was quiet surprised at how the principle of oneness identifies and explains these exchanges in a way that resonated with me as a reader. Gibbs’ use of quotations is great, one particularly struck me by Rumi; “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion” as it definitively say you are one with everything around you, you are it and it is you.
The second principle of enlightenment is the principle of manifestation. This principle is basically saying manifestation is the creation of matter with the energy of thoughts and beliefs but in order for these energies to collide and create matter they have to be in agreement. So if a positive and a negative energy collide they will cancel each other out and not manifest but if its two positives or two negatives they will. An example of this cancellation process would be if you desire success but believe you have not earned it, you will not succeed. Dreaming, meditating and praying all are mechanisms to focus your consciousness and experience the Principle of Manifestation. To experience the principle of manifestation we must recognize and accept that your core beliefs are of your own selection. “You—on a conscious or unconscious level—choose what you accept as a core belief. If you do not like your choice, change it to a more enjoyable belief and reality will follow. Living the Principle of Manifestation ultimately means taking responsibility for everything you create in life and realizing you participate in all creation.” This strikes true because only we ourselves can make or change a decision affecting our lives and in doing so we allow ourselves to become one in harmony with the Universe being mindful and taking one of the first steps toward enlightenment.
The Principle of Multiple Realities is the acknowledgement, acceptance and experiencing of infinite, multi- dimensional universes. While “many religions and philosophies acknowledge other realities, such as heaven, hell and the afterlife. However most fail to realize the infinite nature of these multiple realities”, meaning even though many people acknowledge a heaven may exist they do not understand the nature of this dimension in its entirety. A key example of this principle is dreaming. When we dream we are shifting our consciousness to any reality or dimension and it is here we manifest our unconscious thoughts, feelings and desires. We can also project our consciousness by daydreaming, when we do this we not only change the dimension in which we manifest but also the time period meaning we can manifest desires in the past, present or even the future which we have to believe already exists. These principles make you really think about some of 50,000 thoughts we can have everyday and offers some degree of clarity into our collective unconscious. Another interesting point Gibbs makes is that all these multiple realities are connected because we exist in these places simultaneously and we are constantly exchanging the energies and experiences between these realities in order to manifest our thoughts. Experiencing this principle is slightly more difficult than the principle of manifestation as to experience the principle of Multiple Realities we have to be open to and believe that anything we can imagine already exists somewhere in these multiple realities in which we exist. To experience these other realities we have to establish your thoughts without conflicting thoughts. This would be extremely difficult if you cling to your subconscious thoughts and beliefs as these may conflict with your conscious thoughts and beliefs. I personally found this principle slightly more difficult than the previous two to understand, but once you wrap your brain around the fact that multiple realities exist and we exist in every one of them then the prospect of drawing on the energies of these realities doesn’t seem so confusing and becomes more believable.
A quote from Liza Minnelli helped me to understand this principle: “Dream on it. Let your mind take you to places you would like to go, and then think about it and plan it and celebrate the possibilities. And don’t listen to anyone who doesn’t know how to dream.” This helped me because dreams are the manifestation of our unconscious desires and by thinking about these mindfully we draw on the energy of the dimension where that “dream” is a “reality”. Understanding this principle also made me call into question what I perceive as a dream and what I perceive as reality and how I personally draw the line between the two, but I did recall several things which I’m going to call memories. I found this line is blurred meaning I can’t remember if it actually happens or whether I manifested the memory of something I desired to be a reality.
The fourth principle of enlightenment is the Principle of Timelessness. This principle outlines that time is an illusion, the most notable example of this is from Albert Einstein who believes that time
was a “…stubbornly persistent illusion.” This principle also identifies time as “..Just a filing system that helps our consciousness keep track of experiences.” One aspect of the principle of timelessness is that certain feelings like deja vu or intuition is our unconscious’ way of picking up the energies of other dimension. The way Gibbs explains the principle of timelessness is like a movie reel; each frame represents another dimension but all frames exist at once in the reel. If you project them one after another, they blend together creating an illusion of linear time. If you isolate them, they all exist, individually at the same moment, which is now.
As I read through the principles of enlightenment I am realising that each principle interconnects with the others. For example, in the principle of timelessness Gibbs refers to being mindful which is a key part of the principle of manifestation.
The second to last principle of enlightenment is The Principle of Neutrality and Nonjudgment. From the name this principle seems similar to the concept of mindfulness as to be non-judgemental you have to be completely aware of what you are thinking, feeling and saying. Gibbs in the chapter dismisses the idea of karma because instead of being part of universe it is a subjective invention of man to prove ones’ morality. I found this interesting as karma plays a key role in some religions like Buddhism. Some may find this principle hard to comprehend as it dismisses a key aspect in most religion and that is the idea of good and evil, and will contradict some religious teachings. The way Gibbs explains this is amazing, he says “creation was deemed good and destruction was deemed evil” but creation and destruction are natural part of the conversion of energy in the universe. He also points out that creation and destruction happens naturally as well as by man’s own hands. Gibbs also dismisses the ideas of God and Satan as ways of explaining good and evil in the universe as God being all knowing would have foreseen the evil in man and not created us. The only way to explain this is to assume they are good nor evil actually exists, they are just our manifestations. The enlightened view on this would be these are just choices that lead us down different paths filled with different experiences and consequences. The universe itself is non-judgemental and sees all these good and evil actions as worthy of their own existence. Accepting this principle is harder than the other because we must dispel our own prejudices, fears and judgements of others. So despite the actions of those before us we must dispel all doubt that one being is less worthy of existence than another because of things like race or religion. When we feel emotions like fear, disgust or hatred towards another being this is the universe signalling us to reflect on these judgements and dispel them and accept these beings as they/we are all worthy of existence in the eyes of the universe itself. I found this chapter invigorating as it looks more into human psychology than religion and how we make our prejudices and judgements.
The final principle of enlightenment is the Principle of Openness; this principle is about accepting we are the architects of our own destiny because we are open and receptive to all levels of our consciousness. The openness always for the expanding of our consciousness which allows a person to receive enlightenment and expand their capacity to understand what was previously hidden from them. With the combination of the five previous principles of enlightenment creates an open mind which is “ receptive to change, open to new possibilities, imaginative, interested in learning and does not hold onto thoughts or beliefs that do not serve it well or that restrict possibilities”. Experiencing this principle show the conscious efforts of the being as well as the pursuit of knowledge but without being judgemental, it is also the hardest principle to experience as it require an understanding and through experiencing of all the previous principles. I really enjoyed learning about this different ways to achieve this principle with daily introspection being the easier, looking in on ourselves and changing and expanding on what is already there. This principle is also called non-attachment because it is about being receptive and open to all that is around you without being attached to it.
These principles in themselves are quite complex and vast and therefore can be beyond the understanding of normal people, like myself but Gibbs explanations and guide to experiencing these principles are done in such a way everyone can understand and follow this comprehensive guide.
The final chapter of the book is entitled What Is the Purpose and Meaning of Life? And despite being extremely curious about other areas of the book, this is the chapter I most wanted to read. The reason for this is when you study different religions each has its own theory on what the purpose and meaning of life is and after reading a varied array of Gibbs’ ideas I wanted to see his perspective on this most difficult of topics. I won’t spoil this chapter for you but Gibbs ideas on the purpose and meaning of life are completely different than others I have read or talking with people about.
I also really enjoyed Gibbs uses of quotations and how they help you understand the points he is trying to make while validating the same points. He uses quotations from a variety of people including scientists, philosophers, authors as well as key religious figures.
Gibbs’ writing while ordered and methodical, it does not lack passion. You can tell reading this that the author is completely invested in these ideas and is projecting his own passions to the reader making you think intently about what he is saying. This book is under no circumstances like reading a textbook and I found it immensely enjoyable.
Overall for someone who doesn’t read non-fiction I found this an entertaining and thought provoking read. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in the topics of science, philosophy, psychology or religion. Also this book is great for people just interested in learning something new.
This Book was sent to me by the author for review
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