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enigmaThe Enigma of Consciousness

This beautiful  276-page 7.5 X 9.25 inch book with many helpful charts spells out important perspectives with full illustrations and careful definitions of the human approaches to truth, consciousness, wonder, and religion.

The nature of good religion is indicated by this story of a student who asked his meditation teacher if meditation causes enlightenment. “No,” said the teacher, “enlightenment is an accident, but meditation makes one more accident prone.”  If “religion” is defined as any practice that opens us to the enlightenment of wonder, then good religion is any practice that makes us more accident prone to the gift of wonder-filled living.  Because wonder is foundational in human existence, every long-standing  human society has come up with some form of wonder-filled religion.  This also explains why religion appears as one of the down-to-Earth social processes in human society along with education, economic systems, and sewage disposal.   Here are some words of endorsement for this book.

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With clarity and abundant insights, Gene Marshall proposes ways by which we can move beyond old forms to those that would enable us to manifest qualities of "profound humanness."  He has given us a roadmap constructed of vital possibilities, which are urgently needed in this time of multiple crises when the status quo simply will not do.
–Charlene Spretnak: author of  Relational Reality, The Resurgence of the Real, and States of Grace; Ojai, CA

The truth of reality is a mystery—in Gene Marshall’s language, “an almighty unknown”—but reality is ever-present to our consciousness.  To know what is known, or to make reality real, these are the profundities that Marshall systematically and thoughtfully probes in an analysis that rings as earnest and true as the author who penned it.
–Dr. Jeffrey W. Robbins: Professor and Chair of Religion and Philosophy; Lebanon Valley College; Annville, PA

Gene Marshall coaxes the reader beyond the limiting enclosure of the personality-centered self and ego mind and into the realm of authentic personal interior experience.  The author lifts the fog created by the pesky self-serving human mind regarding the interior life, and provides a path of clarity into depth states of being.
–Michael D. May: Teacher, Group Discussion Leader, Curriculum Editor for Interior Mythos Journeys; Bloomington, IN


Table of Contents

     Introduction:  The Meaning of Enigma
Part One: What is Truth?
1. Beyond Consilience
2. The Scientific Approach to Truth
3. Cause, Chance, and Choice
4. The Contemplative Approach to Truth
5. It, I, and We
6. The “We” Approach to Truth
7. Open and Closed Societies

Part Two: What is Consciousness?
8.  Qualities of Consciousness
9.  A Sixth Force in the Structure of the Cosmos
10. Consciousness and Evolution
11. Five Layers of Consciousness

Part Three: Inescapable Wonder
12. The Thought, Feel, and Choice of Wonder
13. Space/Time, the Eternal Now, and the Enigma of the “I Am”
14. Nine Aspects of the “I Am”
15. Nine Habits of Escape from the “I Am”
16. The Journey into Profound Humanness

Part Four: What is Religion?
17. The Death of Mythic Space and the Redefinition of Religion
18.  The Origin of Religion, a Speculative Story
19. Religion as Practice 
20. Religion as a Social Process       
21. The Vital Variety of Religious Practices

Part Five: Six Ways to Imagine the Unimaginable
22. Six Primal Metaphors for Religious Formation
23 The Primal Metaphor of  Sub-Asia
24. The Primal Metaphor of Arabia
25. The Primal Metaphor of Europe.
26. The Primal Metaphor of the Orient
27. The Primal Metaphor of Sub-Saharan Africa
28. The Primal Metaphor of Native America
29. Spirit Completeness beyond all Metaphors
Part Six:  A Being Basis for Responsible Action
30. A Being Basis for Responsible Action
31. The Roots of Motivation
32. Radical Monotheism as Center of Value
33. Contextual Ethics and Responsible Action
34. The Universal League of Profound Humanness
35. The Battle with Dysfunctional Religion

    A Short Reading List
    About the Author