Offers the mystical route to lasting happiness
Howard teaches that suffering comes from a variety of causes. Much of our pain is caused by resistance to the truth of our inner poverty. Other causes are mistaking thoughts for reality, living in the past or the future, mistaking the false, conditioned self for the True Self and, most importantly, fear. Some tools for spiritual advancement include self-knowledge, receptivity, and present-moment awareness.
Howard contends that the message of mysticism is:
Pretty heady promises. Mystics have always taught that our emotions are not a result of outside events but of how we interpret those events, and our interpretations may be conditioned by parents, peers, society, etc. They may spring from outdated beliefs and values that we thought served us in less than ideal circumstances.
First and foremost, we must become self-aware. And we must not mistake the false self for the True Self that is divinely inspired. It takes courage to see one’s own flaws, and it takes wisdom to realize that these do not emanate from the True Self. No condemnation need follow such honest appraisal. After all, we can only release flaws we know about.
Since reading this book and separating myself from my thoughts and judgments and viewing them uncritically, I’ve learned quite a few things about myself. I’m embarrassed by some of what I’ve learned, or rather, my ego is embarrassed. My True Self is elated. Because I can choose now to judge differently, respond differently.
The mystic path requires relentless determination. It is a spiritual “practice,” not a quick fix. And it’s not easy. It’s hard but eminently rewarding work. I think I can say that this book **at this time** has changed my life more than any other.