Hero: Mastering The 17 Spiritual Stages (Kindle Edition)

by M. A. Stephenson, originally published as a paperback in July 2017.

Amazon Link to the Kindle Edition:

Review

A book that I immensely enjoyed reading. I actually devoured it in half a day. This shows that it fluently written and I must add I found only two little typos and this is exceptional these days as even books from renowned international publishers contain typos.

The author affirms in the Introduction that he has not put up his own model but tries to most authentically reflect the original teaching of the late Dr. Joseph Campbell as outlined in his book ‘The Hero with the Thousand Faces’ which I have reviewed as well.

Purpose of the book is to present this teaching as a model that can be applied in daily life in any life situation, as he shows with an example in the Annex.

—See Appendix A – Example Journey (Getting Healthy)

There is a firm structure in this model that I found convincingly presented as an archetypal pattern by itself, the pattern of the Hero’s Journey, as a passage, a movement of growth and self-transformation. The book has its practical take-away value in the fact that for each of the 17 chapters there is an exercise to do. The exercises are placed in Appendix C of the book.

It is useful to resort first to Appendix B – Inventory of Gifts, where the structure of the journey is outlined. (See below under Quotes).

I was especially captured by stage number 8, Woman as Temptress, where the author explains that the union of the hero and the goddess can only truly take place if the union is based upon love, not when it is based upon lust. He gives very good explanations why this is so that I quote below.

I have only two little points where I would tell the author to change the text a little or add something on. It is the word ‘Goddess’ that is today not really cognitively graspable for many young people. Instead I would explain when I first use this term that in modern language this is usually called ‘Your Soul Mate.’

Second, when the author gives examples of specific hero journeys, he often mentions athletes, and artists, poets, or painters, or performers. Now, life is more diverse than that: what about entrepreneur hero’s? Was and is Bill Gates’ journey not a hero journey? I can’t think of a better example, really. And what about Mohammad Yunus from Bangladesh, the founder of Grameen Bank, the first large-scale microfinance institution in the world? Stephen R. Covey has commented on his success in his book ‘The Eighth Habit.’

Here, the figure of Mohammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2006 and creator of microfinance in Bangladesh, stands out as an unforgettable example. After years of struggle and hardship, Grameen bank, the bank Yunus created for granting small loans to poor people, then worked in more than 46,000 villages in Bangladesh, through 1,267 branches and over 12,000 staff members. They have lent more than $4.5 billion, in loans of twelve to fifteen dollars, averaging under $200.

With this little caveat I give the book still 5 stars and highly recommend it especially for younger people who are unfamiliar with the rules and secrets of success in life and who may be brought up in a too materialistic and too soulless fashion.

Quotes

Appendix B – Inventory of Gifts

1. Call to Adventure

Freedom from boring, average, normal life

2. Refusal of the Call

Assurance that the task is worthy; inner commitment to the call

3. Supernatural Aid

The encouragement and approval of the external world

4. Crossing the First Threshold

The knowledge that you are capable of completing the task

5. Belly of the Whale

Psychological transformation; a new perspective aligned the truth of reality

6. Road of Trials

The concrete skills necessary for success

7. Meeting with the Goddess

Grace to give and create

8. Woman as Temptress

Proof that the prize is valuable and worthy of sacrifice

9. Atonement with the Father

Inner transcendence; mastery of yourself and the world

10. Apotheosis

Divine insight into the nature of reality

11. Ultimate Boon

Supernatural ability to perform beyond what is natural or reasonable

12. Refusal of the Return

Understanding of the value you bring to the world

13. Magic Flight

Aid of the external world in accomplishing your task

14. Rescue from Without

Confirmation of the world’s desperate need for your achievement

15. Crossing the Return Threshold

Acknowledgment of internal value in the lives and actions of the external world

16. Master of the Two Worlds

External victory, achievement, accomplishment, and success

17. Freedom to Live

Peace, harmony, fulfillment of having accomplished your personal quest or destiny

If your goals are completely self-serving or self-centered, they will come with all sorts of trials and opposition along the way. You will likely destroy yourself under their weight, and if you do meet with success, you will likely end in ruin. Think of all the pop idols we have seen rise to such heights of fame only to crumble under the weight of their popularity. Drugs, alcohol, erratic behavior in the public spotlight—fame is too much for the intact ego-self to take. (…) In every quest or goal, there is an underlying current of serving the world. For the true hero, he finds in this stage that he is not only pursuing his quest for his own selfish ambitions but to save the world from persecution and tyranny. At this point, his motivations change, he grows and matures as a hero, and we as an audience suddenly see him in a new light.

On a more practical level, when you give in to temptation, you lose sight of what is important. Unvirtuous acts have a way of blinding us. They prevent us from seeing what is important. They weaken our bodies and minds of the spiritual energy we need to disrupt the darkness and create truly good things in life. (…) Whether you are male or female, temptation comes to us all. Understanding this, and that on this quest we seek union and harmony with the giving energy, not obsession with the self-absorbed ego, prepare yourself for the temptation when it comes. By so doing, you will be mentally prepared to pass the text and move into the next stage of realization. (…) Temptation can be any vice—not purely sexual, although that is typically what we see in myth and common stories. We give in to our vices and are destroyed by them when we have no hope, no vision for the future. (…) Clarity of purpose, a defined vision and goal in this regard, is our greatest strength. (…) The trade-off between vice and virtue must be well established.

Your ultimate boon stage will come when, having tapped into the transcendent and transformative energy, you are now able to create a great masterpiece. Whether a work of art or a masterful performance on the field or stage, your ultimate boon represents the sought after prize. It is your magnum opus, or ‘great work.’ It is that masterpiece of art, literature, or sportsmanship that can put on display, through the human vessel of clay, a supernatural grace that transcends the limitations of the physical world.

Imagine how they will benefit. See them rejoicing, celebrating in the product of your victory. Imagine the ways their lives might be changed or transformed. As your vision clarifies, you will ensure you have exceeding levels of power and momentum to return and move forward on your quest. You will also be more willing to pay the price of the road of trials because you will know just how much the world stands to gain from your victory. (…) When a traveler embraces the return, the universe itself once more aids him or her. The magic-flight stage is one in which the universe supernaturally aids us in our return to the precise point to provide the greatest benefit to the world.

At the beginning of the journey, you set out to accomplish something great. In the second act, the middle section, you mastered your internal world and self. Now, in the third act, you manifest that mastery into the external world. And in this final battle moment, you put on full display both internal and external masteries. Once you complete this stage, the people of your world, your family and friends, will see you as the hero you have become. Within, however, you will know that you are much more than just a hero. You are a master of the two worlds. This is the grand finale, that final summation of your skills, gifts, strengths, transformations, and masteries. It is the moment when you put on full display every ounce of skill and strength you have gained all along the way.

The hero who arrives at this stage has completed the grand journey. He has mastered every single element of a successful human life both individually and in the previous stage, all at once. There is no feat that is beyond his power to achieve—as long as it is in line with his personal calling and quest in life. He may never be an astronaut, but only because an astronaut he is not called to be. Instead, for all his days, he will be a grand personification of the quest to which he was called.

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Your Infinite Power to Be Rich

Your Infinite Power to Be Richby Dr. Joseph Murphy, New York: Prentice Hall, 1966, quotes and prayers selected by Dr. Peter Fritz Walter.

Review

This is the forth book published by the young Joseph Murphy, in 1966, after his bestselling first book ‘The Power of Your Subconscious Mind’ and the next two, ‘Miracle of Mind Dynamics’ and ‘The Amazing Laws of Cosmic Mind Power.’

While I have read all of Murphy’s books, the present one is the least conceptual and the most practical one of them. In fact, most of the book consists of stories taken from daily life and the author’s travels and lecturing tours, and his many encounters with people who became his clients or enjoyed free consulting.

The advice the author gives to all those people is always to the point, first diagnosing the ‘problem’ which in most cases is negative thought, resentment, feelings of hatred or revenge or other ‘mental poisons,’ the author then spontaneously hands out a prayer, which can be extremely short or consisting of two or three full sentences, and gives a recommendation how to do the prayers.

Dr. Murphy did this ministry always with a pure mind and an astonishing generosity. The cure, then, comes from inside out, it’s a process that takes place in the mind of the beholder, the person himself or herself who applies the prayer technique for self-healing or ‘healing’ their financial situation (which amounts to the same in most cases).

This book is inspirational in the true sense for it leaves out the conceptual approach and focuses entirely upon the power of right thinking. In this same sense, some of those the author met already possessed the knowledge and applied the wisdom of right prayer, and just reported the often miraculous results to the author who always carefully takes note ‘for the record’ and joyfully acknowledges when other people spontaneously found the same truth, and shared it with others.

Prayers

—I am ever grateful for God’s riches that are ever active, ever present, unchanging, and eternal. /22

—God’s wealth is circulating in my life. His wealth flows to me in avalanches of abundance, and I give thanks for my good now and for all of God’s riches. /25

—I know that my good exists this very moment. I believe in my heart that I can prophesy for myself harmony, health, peace, and joy. I enthrone the concept of peace, success, and prosperity in my mind now. I know and believe these thoughts (seeds) will grow and manifest themselves in my experience. I am the gardener; as I sow so shall I reap. I sow God-like thoughts (seeds); these wonderful seeds are peace, success, harmony, and goodwill. It is a wonderful harvest. /77-78

—From this moment forward I am depositing in my subconscious mind seeds or thoughts of peace, confidence, poise, prosperity and balance. I am drawing out the fruits of the wonderful seeds I am depositing. I believe and accept the fact that my desire is a seed deposited in the subconscious. I make it real by feeling the reality of it. /78

—God’s love fills my soul, and I radiate love and goodwill to all those around me and to all people everywhere. God’s love flows through me as harmony, love, companionship, wealth, and true expression. God is my shepherd, and I shall never want for money, love, beauty, or companionship. God answers me now and I give thanks. /87-88

—I release this money freely, and God multiplies it exceedingly. /89

—God is my invariable source of supply, meeting instantly all my needs, and His riches flow to me ceaselessly, tirelessly, and endlessly. /90

—The limitless riches of God are flowing to me as fast as I can receive and use them, and every other man gets richer day by day. /98

—I recognize the eternal source of all riches which never fails. I am Divinely guided in all my ways, and I adapt myself to all new ideas. Infinite Intelligence is constantly revealing to me better ways to serve my fellow man. I am guided and directed to create products that will bless and help humanity. I attract men and women who are spiritual, loyal, faithful, and talented, and who contribute to the peace, prosperity, and progress of our business. I am an irresistible magnet and attract fabulous wealth by giving the best possible quality of products and services. I am constantly in tune with the Infinite and the substance of wealth. Infinite Intelligence governs all my plans and purposes, and I predicate all my success on the truth that God leads, guides, and governs me in all my undertakings. I am at peace inwardly and outwardly at all times. I am a tremendous success. I am one with God, and God is always successful. I must succeed. I am succeeding now. I grasp the essentials of all details of my business. I radiate love and goodwill to all those around me and to all my employees. I fill my mind and heart with God’s love, power, and energy. All those connected with me are spiritual links in my growth, welfare, and prosperity. I give all honor and glory to God. /99-100

—I am aware that there is a perfect law of supply and demand. I practice the golden rule in all my affairs. I am at peace. Whatever I wish to sell is an idea in the Mind of God. The principle of all knowledge is within me. I know everything that I need instantly. I recognize whatever I wish to buy or sell represents an exchange of ideas in Divine Mind within me. I know that there are mutual satisfaction, harmony, and peace. The price is right; the people are right; all is in perfect order. I know the Truth; I understand the Truth; and I am the consciousness of God in action. All the ideas I need constantly unfold within me with perfect sequence and perfect combinations. I receive and rejoice in Divine ideas, and I give them to my fellow creatures; I receive ideas in exchange. Peace is mine now. There is no delay in Divine Mind; I accept my good. /100-101

—I know that all men are my brothers; all of us have a common Father. I wish for everyone health, happiness, abundance, and all the blessings and riches of life. I mean this; I am sincere. I know that what I wish for the other, I also wish for myself, and as I bless the other I am blessing myself. The love of God flows through me to all mankind. I bless all who are richer than I, and I bless those who criticize and speak ill of me. I rejoice to see all my co-workers succeed and prosper. I open the windows of my mind, and I let in the riches of Heaven. I am loving toward all. I pray that God’s riches flood the mind and heart of all. I give thanks for His riches now. It is wonderful. /103

—God reveals to me better ways to present the truths of God to my fellow man. /124

—My business or profession is full of right action and right expression. The ideas, money, merchandise, and contacts that I need are mine now and at all times. All these things are irresistibly attracted to me by the law of universal attraction. God is the life of my business; I am Divinely guided and inspired in all ways. Every day I am presented with wonderful opportunities to grow, expand, and progress. I am building up goodwill. I am a great success, because I do business with others as I would have them do it with me. /127

—The law of increase is inevitable, and my mind is constantly open to a bountiful increase. My business grows, expands, and unfolds in a wonderful way, and my finances are always multiplied exceedingly. I am richly and abundantly supplied within and without from the infinite storehouse within me. I open my mind and my heart to the abundance and riches of God, and I am increasingly rich within and without. /137

—Divine intelligence leads and guides me to my right work, which I perform in a perfect way for a wonderful income. /148

Quotes

—The first principle in the art of becoming rich is to realize that thought is the only intangible power which can produce tangible riches from the storehouse of the Infinite. /38

—You live in a thought world, and in order to become rich and to solve your financial problems you must continuously dwell on thoughts of wealth, prosperity, and success. /38

—In your mind, continue to imagine that you are a distribution center, that you possess all sorts of riches and that you are bestowing these blessings on others. As you do this, you are opening the way for still greater supplies to flow in. /41

—Your vision or mental estimate of yourself activates your subconscious mind and compels you to be all that you imagine yourself to be. The law of your subconscious is compulsion. Get a bright new estimate of yourself. Your new concept will gain you new contacts, promotion, and untold wealth. /55

—When you mentally wish to withhold wealth from another, you also automatically withhold it from yourself. This is why the golden rule tells you to think, speak, and act well toward your neighbor; and never indulge in hate, resentment, or carping criticism for the simple reason that you are the only thinker in your universe, and your negative thoughts set up negative reactions in all departments of your life. Your subconscious mind is always fabricating and projecting on the screen of space the totality of your stream of thought-life. /76

—Love what you are doing now, i.e., do the best you can where you are. Be cordial, kind, affable, and full of goodwill. Think big and think of riches, and your present work will simply be a stepping stone to your triumph. Be conscious of your true worth, and claim riches in your mind and claim riches for every single person you meet during the day, whether it be your boss, an associate, a foreman, a customer, or a friend—all those around you. You will feel your radiation of riches and advancement, and Infinite Intelligence will very soon open up a new door of opportunity for you. /136-137