Review: ‘The Way of Spirit’ by Joanne Helfrich

The Way of Spirit: Teachings of Rose, Joanne Helfrich (NewWorldView December 7, 2014), 218pp.

The publisher of The Way of Spirit says this spiritual self-help book will help you discover your life’s purpose and the means of achieving your soul’s deepest fulfillment. Whether or not the book is successful in doing that depends on the reader’s point of view about who Rose is and how Joanne Helfrich received Rose’s guidance.

WayOfSpiritHelfrich describes Rose as “an energy personality essence–a multidimensional being who exists primarily outside out physical world of space and time.” Her guidance was received by an energy exchange method of meditation more commonly known as channeling.

Jane Roberts’ popular Seth books of the 1970s introduced the general public to energy personalities, channeling, and a body of metaphysical information summed up by the phrase “you create your own reality.” Helfrich’s book complements Seth’s teachings.

While many readers intuitively felt that Seth’s non-mainstream, impossible-to-prove view of reality was correct, they often had trouble putting his concepts into actual practice in their lives. Subsequently, teachers such as Lynda Dahl (Seth Talk) and channelers such as Vicki Pendley (Elias) and Serge Grandbois (Kris) have explained and/or added to the information Jane Roberts provided via 1,500 trance sessions between 1963 and 1984.

Practical Approach

Helfrich has written a joyful and very practical guidebook for those seeking “big picture” knowledge and personal transformation. Students of Seth will find some overlap here between the concepts in The Way of Spirit and those they already know. Others are likely to become enchanted by Rose’s positive, no-nonsense approach to who you are and what you can accomplish.

Original Seth book - click on cover for current edition
Original Seth book – click on cover for current edition

Unlike some of the “Law of Attraction” books that focused on acquiring fame, fortune and other material world gains, The Way of the Spirit focuses on inner transformation and a compassionate approach to others. Rose sets the tone for the book by saying, “Since you create all of your reality, it stands to reason that when you become heroes pf your own lives, you change yourself and your world for the better.” The approach echoes Joseph Campbell’s (The Hero With a Thousand Faces) admonition that you cannot have a positive impact on the world until you “fix” yourself first.

Rose focuses on the individual: discover who you are, find your purpose and the bedrock intention of your life, own your own reality, interact with others with love and compassion, and understand that transformation comes from alignment with the universe, not by using brute force logic or pushing others aside to get what you desire.

Naysayers will be quick to point out that, like many other spiritual books focused on meeting goals and desires, this book says you don’t automatically get what you want; you get what the universe thinks you need. Many see this fact as a “kings-X” rule that negates of the rest of the books, allowing the authors to say, “well, your law of attraction meditation didn’t work, not because the system is flawed, but because you were trying to attract what you weren’t supposed to have.”

That point is well taken and the “mechanics” of whether or not the workings of “you create your own reality” should be interpreted as “you create your own reality when the universe consents.”

Quite clearly, The Way of the Spirit is about the way of the spirit, not the way of the transitory, illusory physical world of success and failure, rich and poor, or fame and anonymity.

Helfrich - click on photo for author's web site
Helfrich – click on photo for author’s web site

One strength of this positive and enchanting book is the section called practices. These are not recipes or A-to-Z formulas for making reality (or yourself) change before your eyes. As Rose explains it, “Practices are small, regular actions that help you live a happier life. They may be things you already do, but wish to do in a different way. When they become habits, they will transform your life.” These practices are:

  • Access Alternatives – Breaking away from closed thinking patterns
  • Intent Practices – Discovering and expressing your inate abilities
  • Souter – Finding a new way to visualize your breathing
  • Rest in Rose – Finding ways to relax and experience ones essence
  • IDEA – Discovering your foundation beliefs and their alternatives
  • Addressing Fears – Learning the role of fear and an appropriate response to it
  • Vespers – Meditating and exploring ways to channel your essence in day ahead
  • Evening Prayers – Calming your mind and staying connected as you fall asleep

The Way of the Spirit–like Jane Roberts’ Seth books–presents a vastly different view of reality than we are taught in school. Everything we “know” about time and space, physical reality, and cause and effect is challenged here. It’s a lot too take in and it cannot be taken in with an effortless leap of faith no matter how right it sounds in the reading of it.

Joanne Helfrich has created a thought-provoking approach to making things better in our lives. The practice sections give us a way to test drive her ideas without having to throw away the world view that has sustained us for better or worse up to now. This inspirational book is highly recommended.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of contemporary fantasy and magical realism novels and short stories that focus on characters making transformational journeys.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: ‘What Casts a Shadow?’ by Seth Mullins

“Events are not things that happen to you. They are materialized experiences formed by you, according to your expectations and beliefs.” – Seth via Jane Roberts

whatcastsNOTE:  Over the years, Seth Mullins and I have discussed in various blogs and e-mails our affinity for the metaphysical information from the entity known as Seth who was channeled by Jane Roberts between 1963 and 1984 and subsequently chronicled in a series of books beginning with The Seth Material in 1970 (republished in 2011). Seth Mullins has previously explored spirituality, dreams and reality in Song of an Untamed Land and Song of the Twice Born while I have explored similar themes in my novels.

I hadn’t heard from him in some time when I received an e-mail asking my current address so he could send me a copy of his new novel What Casts a Shadow? (January, 2014).  He said that, among other things, the novel was an exploration of Seth’s view of reality in a contemporary story. Yes, there are multiple Seths here, but the one in Italics refers to the Seth as channeled by Jane Roberts and the Seth without the Italics refers to the author of this inventive novel.

What Casts a Shadow?

While the Seth material channeled by Jane Roberts was immensely popular during the 1970s and 1980s and continues to have a wide following today, my experience is that rather than feeling empowered by the phrase “you create your own reality,” a fair number of people fear and/or angrily reject the idea. For one thing, the idea doesn’t appear to make logical sense. Otherwise, people say either “if I create my own reality, why is my life filled with so many disappointments?” or “my thoughts must be totally screwed up to have created what I’m experiencing.” People had a similar reaction to ideas about “the law of attraction” as presented in The Secret and other books.

Seth Mullins’ protagonist Brandon Chane in What Casts a Shadow? has similar reactions when a psychologist suggests that the “world out there” isn’t out there. After Brandon’s mother died, he was stuck living with a drunken and abusive father who believes neither Brandon nor his new heavy metal rock band will ever amount to anything.

After his father lashes out at him prior to a performance, Brandon thinks: “My world is painted black; my entire inner landscape is barren. All the roads in my head lead to horrific ends. At the bleakest margins of this particular attack, I didn’t even care about the gig. I wanted nothing but oblivion.”

Mullins’ three-dimensional character is in many ways symbolic of creative people who want to express their unique visions of life through art, music, writing and other avenues but simultaneously believe that the world (or fate) is against them. Brandon and his best friend Tommy want to translate their feelings into their music; their music, they hope, will be their salvation.

Brandon reacts to the slings and arrows in his life with violence. Physical fights seem justified and bring release. Writing songs and performing them in front of an audience also bring release, but at the beginning of What Casts a Shadow? the songs aren’t as potent as knocking somebody down.

After a confrontation that involves the police and an interview with a consulting psychologist at the police station, Brandon ends up on Saul’s doorstep. Saul is a licensed therapist who believes individuals create their own reality.

Saul is a “new age” guru with a more or less conventional counseling approach. That is, he doesn’t sell guided-meditation CDs, lead drumming groups in the woods or ask his patients to recite affirmations. Instead, he asks Brandon to see his beliefs as beliefs rather than as facts and to compare his experiences with the states of mind leading up to them.

Mullins has created a protagonist that readers can easily identify with who has dreams that are running afoul of a seemingly apathetic world with bad people in it. Other than Saul’s active listening, Brandon will find clues that he might not be not doomed and worthless: Tommy understands him, his younger sister trusts him, the girl he meets doesn’t run away from him, and the music is evolving. Yet, his violence and anger feel so natural and justified!

Transformation and “success” in Brandon’s world will not come from a magic spell, a miracle drug or the intervention of a benevolent spirit guide. He will have to slog it out like we all do, day by day, doubt doubt, and reaction by reaction. What Casts a Shadow? will pull both open minded and skeptical readers into its story because that story mirrors so much of today’s world.

Malcolm