I’ve been taking some classes on a particular branch of Gnosticism and went in search of a book to help me see “the forest through the trees.” Certain things that were being taught on the transmutation of energy and enlightenment started to feel restrictive and I wondered how other spiritual traditions approached the subject. Author Barclay Powers has a BS in East Asian Studies from Columbia University and has studied meditation, yoga, and martial arts for over thirty years. His book allowed me to gaze across several Eastern traditions while confirming almost everything Gnosticism outlined.
Once upon a time, the secrets of the East were tightly restricted to advanced followers of personal lineages. That has all changed with new translations of ancient texts and a proliferation of skilled teachers. The internet itself can even act as a guru. Ancient wisdom is available from India, China, Egypt, Tibet, Japan, and eastern and western alchemy. Powers sees a paradigm shift coming. Science is now looking at states of mind through brain imaging and he feels science will eventually look at the phenomena of the “rainbow body”* (the dissolving of the body into pure energy). When that happens, the world has the potential to change and manifest the best of humanity resulting in a global Bodhisattva* civilization.
As we wait for science to catch up, individual practitioners all over the world are taking up techniques like meditation, yoga, tai chi, gi gong, kundalini awakening, and the internal martial arts. All of the methods begin in the body and ultimately unite the body, soul, and spirit. Instead of a psychological transformation, Powers is talking about a physiological process that spans traditions. The ultimate freedom of enlightenment is found when the individual transcends birth and death, as well as time and space. The bulk of the book is devoted to examining Indian (Kundalini), Chinese (Tao), and Tibetan (Tantra) teachings for their similarities of energetic enlightenment. This was a good book for getting an overview of the systems of enlightenment. I enjoyed learning more about Taoist philosophy and the difference between the internal and external martial arts. The book could be expanded to include more about western mysticism and the Kabbalah, but those are not Powers’ areas of expertise. This is probably not a book for someone without burning questions about the nature of reality and enlightenment. For the novice, these practices will, at times, be shocking. They are meant to be having spent a millennia being well guarded by the masters of many traditions.
*Rainbow body- a phenomena well-recorded in the East, especially when a great spiritual teacher dies
*Bodhisattva- someone who postpones full Enlightenment to return to help others: the ultimate expression of compassion
13 responses to “THE LOST SECRET OF IMMORTALITY by Barclay Powers”
Enjoyed the review, Ellis. Your blog is fast becoming a hidden gem in the blogosphere – brimming with intelligence and wisdom. Thanks for the recent likes. I always know I have produced something good when I receive one from you. Best of luck with the new book.
Truly like your blog and forgot to share this video with you. Some real experiences of the ‘rainbow body’ discussed here. Peace!
Thanks for sharing that. It added to my understanding of it. Also, looks like there are some wonderful books to check out!
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Truly excellent blog! Have you encountered the mystic Almine? Her book “Journey to the Heart of God” is one of my all time favourites.
I haven’t read that book. Sounds like it would be something for me.
Interesting review. Thanks for sharing. Many thanks for visiting Chicklets in the Kitchen and my post. We all appreciate it.
HI ELLIE!! noticed you liked a post on my blog…and I discovred u’re an author. what types of books do you write?
I’m writing books for teens right now. Most of them have a spiritual (not religious) side. I’ll have a new release in spring of 2012 called Elephants Never Forgotten.
Another Interesting Book Ellis, and a well written post, Blessings of light to the center of your utmost well being.
If you Did not have to survive in the world, you would be a God, you would live like a God, Imortality comes from truly experiencing that and can only be known when it is achieved.
Everything else, all other information is conditioning ,the pain you feel is that conditioning, you have lived your life according to it and now suffer from its assimilation and karmic outcome.
Relax , let it be as if you never existed, as if you have nothing to find, because it is only pain which drives you to seek an answer to the conditioned mind.
It is that mind, the Ego which seeks immortality and one may go round in circles forever discovering new truths but it is only the desire of the ego one is following.
Consciousness needs no immortality or survival it is free from the material bondage of pain, recognition of the living experience outside conditioning is ….. Well Being …. BEING.
Good info. Keep reading and stretching your beliefs. sd
E.E.Cummings, the famous poet, was appreciative of the Tao. I have a painting, by him, dated from the 1940s, which is a reflection of that appreciation. On the back of the painting, he wrote the title of the painting: “The Road.” Maybe, some day, I’ll post it with my other photographs on WordPress. It is very deep!