A quote from the Coffeehouse Culture Real Meanings Dictionary: Prophesy -- the innate potential for an object or event to show a profit.
Continuing our on-going exploration of The Celestine Prophesy, two experienced and knowledgeable metaphysicians go head to head as they discuss the real meaning of the insights that make the book -- for so many people -- a valuable tool for personal growth
THE CELESTINE PROPHESY
INSIDE THE INSIGHTS
If ever there was an unlikely success story, it is The Celestine Prophesy becoming a bestseller. But a bestseller is what it did become. It is hard to see why. Almost totally devoid of literary merit, the book has a storyline that is barely adequate, a plot that is arch, ham-fisted and predictable and a climax that is almost impossible to swallow. None of that seemed to matter, however. It sold like hotcakes. It is clear that something other than being a great read made the book the success it became. In this article -- with the help of two experienced and knowledgeable metaphysicians -- we consider what made the book so successful and where it might fit in the lexicon of spiritual tools available to us at this crucial point in world evolution.
ALL OUR CHILDREN
What is truth? My truth? Your truth? Somebody
else's truth? All different. Truth must be more
than that. It must be something that is true for
all of us or most of us. It must be understandable,
meaningful and real.
It would have been easy to have dismissed The Celestine Prophesy except for the fact that everyone was talking about it. Few books in recent years had excited so much discussion. James Redfields tale of archaeological intrigue and adventure seemed to reach parts that other books did not even get close to. It seemed that it had something meaningful to say to almost everyone who read it. But it was an unlikely candidate for runaway success. An unsophisticated and not very ripping yarn with a slightly spiritual orientation, it was clear that the books success was due to something other than the storytelling.
...For a bestseller, The Celestine Prophesy has little to recommend it. Poorly written, poorly plotted, featuring one-dimensional and badly drawn characters reacting to situations like puppets in a kids TV show, it is far from great -- or even good -- literature. Possessed of a writing style that is adequate but neither erudite nor elegant, James Redfield make few demands on his readers intelligence. Using a vocabulary that is, to say the least, limited, it is amazing that the flat, uninspired and monochromatic text manages to keep the reader with it. Maybe there is something to be said for easy reading. Described on its cover as An Adventure, it lacks the drama and tensions that the description implies. The essential dynamic of adventure stories, the energy produced by the conflict between an objective and adversity, is missing. And that makes for a not terribly gripping read.
...So, what is it that placed this grizzled, warty, hunchbacked dwarf of literature among the tall and elegant literary aristocracy at the top of the bestseller charts for so long? It certainly wasnt its high literary values. But there was something. Something special. Something that transcended the sheer awfulness of the tale itself. Something that gave the book a meaning and a value that far outshone its literary worth.
...It was easy to see the highly contrived and clanking tale of a disaffected social worker and his travels in Peru seeking a missing part of a Mayan manuscript, as a device. Clearly the whole point of the exercise was the dissemination of the nine insights contained within the manuscript. It was those nine insights that were the raison detre and point of the whole thing. The tale, the adventure story, well that was just a device to get the insights across. They are what The Celestine Prophecy is about. It is the insights that keep us reading. And it is the insights that have made the book the bestseller that it has become.
...Unlikely as it might seem, it is, nonetheless, the insights that give the book its unique worth and value, that make it a volume that everyone should read. To have that effect the insights must be possessed of some significant qualities. Indeed, they need to be revelationary. That means that they must not only be relevant, meaningful, insightful and profound but also easily understandable, broadly applicable, personally relevant and believable. We are talking about truisms here. To become a bestseller, the insights must speak to everyone and not be found to be speaking rubbish, either. To have the power to excite interest and evoke conversation and debate, it must have that revelationary quality that brings forth deep truths in a new form that gives us a more profound understanding of the factors that REALLY influence our lives. It must almost provide an epiphany of understanding.
...And, indeed, in many ways The Celestine Prophecy does provide such an epiphany. Just how it effects this is a tale in itself. There are, however, moments when the truth is revealed in such startling and striking clarity that it takes ones breath away. Confronted with a truth that one has felt but not known, experienced but not defined, with a truth that had marked ones life but has never been understood or within ones control, it is hard not to be a little gob-smacked. To have such truths defined in simple terms is like turning on a party in the head -- the lights are flashing and the bells are ringing.
...It all comes down to credibility. In the final analysis, for the book to have the revelationary qualities that are necessary, it must have demonstrated its credibility. And it is more than necessary for The Celestine Prophecy to fulfil this requirement for several of the insights take more than a little swallowing. Of course, the insights come in different forms and flavours. The way they are expressed in the original book makes a number of them deeply meaningful and profound but reduces others to almost gobbledegook. However, expressed in other ways, the more out on a limb insights become more believable but some of the others lose a lot of their relevance. It is a case of horses for courses. As you can see from our two Alternative Insights boxes, the two versions of each insight come across in completely different ways. And both are dramatically different from the original.
...For me, this is nowhere better highlighted than in the sixth insight. When I first read the book, this was the insight that did it for me. Boy it was an eye-opener that left me blinking with incredulity that I had missed something so obvious and influential. Suddenly a whole new aspect of life opened up, One that explained why people are as they are, why they continue to be so, why we have little or no control over it or ourselves, why life is the self-interested, superficial and heartless experience that many of us (probably readers, one and all, of The Celestine Prophecy) had found it to be.
...In the brief version of the insights, number six is said to deal with: Investigating family dynamics and interactive control dramas.' But that doesnt say half of it. The longer alternative says more but that is what longer versions do. It does not, however, speak as loudly, as clearly, as stridently or as meaningfully as does the original.
...Designed to be explored and developed sequentially, one after the other, the sixth insight is unveiled in a conversation about control dramas -- the ways in which individuals seek to control people and situations through creating a dynamic that gets all the psychic energy coming their way. The scene is set when the unnamed hero meets someone with valuable information but is too distant and aloof to elicit it. When he realises that he has screwed up, he talks to his travelling companion, the old priest, Father Sanchez. The good fathers response is significant and meaningful. You were so aloof you didnt allow an important coincidence to take place.
...The significance of the response, lies in that key word coincidence. One of the core concepts of The Celestine Prophecy and the pivot upon which almost all of the insights rest is that there is no such thing as coincidence. Thus it is that, in a clever and one might say almost manipulative fashion, Redfield consolidates the credibility of earlier insights.
...Disturbed that he has messed up through his own ineptitude, he asks the priest to explain more and thus the sixth insight is unveiled. The first thing, says Father Sanchez, who is the principal medium through which the insights are revealed. is to bring our particular control drama into full consciousness. We must, he says, look at ourselves and discover what we are doing to manipulate for energy.
...To do this, the old priest continues, we must go back into our own past and discover how these habits developed. Remember, he says, most of our family members were operating in a drama themselves, trying to pull energy out of us as children. That is why we had to form a control drama in the first place. We had to have a strategy to win energy back.
...Describing each control drama as unique to the family and the individuals involved, Father Sanchez, explores the unnamed heros own childhood, probing him with questions about his parents' attitudes and characters. When our hero mentions that his father was critical -- He asked questions, then found something wrong with the answers. -- the old priest makes his move.
...And what happened to your energy? he asks.
...I guess I felt drained so I tried to keep from telling him anything.
...With a tacit Ah hah! that echoes through time and space like the J. Arthur Rank gong in a bucket, Sanchez strikes. You mean you got vague and distant, trying to say things in a way that would get his attention but not reveal enough to give him something to criticise.
...Describing the heros father as an interrogator, over the next few pages Father Sanchez defines the four kinds of control drama and describes how they work. Everyone, he says, manipulates for energy either aggressively, directly forcing people to pay attention to them, or passively, playing on peoples sympathy or curiosity to gain attention.
...The most extreme control drama, he says, is that of the intimidator who uses threats, verbal or physical, to gain attention and energy. This is the most aggressive and unpleasant control drama.
...Next comes the interrogator who gains energy by setting up a drama whereby he asks questions and probes anothers world in order to find things to criticise. If the strategy succeeds, the person being criticised is pulled into the drama and becomes self-conscious and defensive in the presence of the interrogator. In this way the interrogator gains control of the psychic energy in the exchange.
...The response to both of these control dramas is usually the Aloof Drama. This both protects against other control drama freaks and creates a manipulative mystique that is itself designed to gain psychic ascendency.
...More insidious is the Poor Me drama. This is the guilt card and it is probably one that most of us recognise. It works by telling a person about the bad things that one is experiencing and suggesting that they are responsible or if not responsible at least unwilling to help to rectify the situation. Guilty or not it is a card that nearly always works.
...Explaining the inter-relationship and mutual dependency of the four control dramas, Father Sanchez presents a convincing -- some might say, among them me, mind-blowing -- case for understanding the way people are. As we all become victims of the control dramas of others, we develop defenses -- more control dramas. But, although we are constantly engaged in the control dramas in every area of our lives, it is the parental ones that mark us deepest. By the time we are adults ourselves, we have developed the mechanisms to not only defend our energy but to quickly replenish it if it does get zapped. Playing out the same control scenarios again and again, they become familar, instinctive and integrated into our characters. We come to expect that we will have to defend our energy against attack and put up our defenses in that expectation. And, before we know, the defenses are going up so early that we have become the attacker. By this time the systems we have developed for defending our energy have become so regular, common and routine, that we no longer know we are doing it. And about that time we decide to have some children. Love and cherish them as we might, we are set in a pattern andthere is no moving away from it. Thus it is that inadvertantly, unknowingly and with no malice or forethought, we pass on to our offspring our legacy of screwed-upness. It is easy to see why the world is so slow to change and why the same old patterns are repeated again and again.
...It is also hard to apportion blame. The control dramas to which we were subjected as children mark us indelibly for the rest of our lives. Although no one intends to perpetuate the control drama scenario, we received it from our parents and they received it from theirs and it is virtually impossible tnot to pass the legacy on.
...When I first read and thought about the sixth insight, it was a deeply profound revelation that almost moved me to tears. I could see how I had been marked by my parents and how it had marred my interaction with life. Worse, however, was the way I had passed the tradition to my own children. Except.
...There was no blame involved because neither I, nor my parents nor any of us knew we were doing it. But -- as they say in the cover hype on the paperback edition of the Prophecy -- it was a life-changing experience. Of course, it is only when new information comes to the fore bringing with it a new understanding that negative aspects of individual functioning can be adjusted. Only through examining ones past and present can the future be secured.
...Although within the insights there is much that felt instinctively right. it is number six that seems to have made the biggest impression on many people. And it is number six that made everyone stop reading. What they had thought was just another faddish and fashionable accessory suddenly seemed to be rather more. Like me, many readers must have gone back and re-read the previous five insights with a new eye and appreciation. And, like me, they probably tried or re-tried the seeing energy fields technique. And, like me, they probably did see their own energy field and the fields of others. Mind-blowing stuff. When something as outrageous as seeing your own energy field is brought to life in such a simple and unpretentious way, it is hard not to take stuff that is even more outrageous rather more seriously.
...As you will have seen, it was not just concepts and ideas but real techniques that did things. Carlos Castenada made a fortune offering a lot less. And, right at the heart of the insights -- number seven in the list -- is the key technique that makes all the other insights realisable -- meditation. It is there because it is always the key technique in any system or practice designed to develop or nurture spirituality. And it offers support to all the other insights through its ability to elevate consciousness, to broaden and expand vision, to clear the obstacles that block the path of evolution and to develop an appreciation of the subtle forces that operate within life. It is the catalyst that draws the elements that constitute spiritual development together and binds them into a propellant force that makes them both very real and very active.
...In particular, the insights that deal with how we view and respond to the world -- which is most of them -- are supported by meditation. Not only supported, either, but also developed. In the Rig Veda it says: Knowledge is structured in consciousness. And it is knowledge such as that contained in the insights that the Rig Veda is talking about. This is profound knowledge, perhaps the most profound knowledge. It is wisdom of the ancient sages that is still relevant today. It is eternal wisdom that has relevance, meaning and truth to impart to every age.
...And the fact that The Celestine Prophecy became a bestseller is, perhaps, in part due to its deep value as a practical and philosophical value purveyor of truths, as a proponent of evolution and as a tool for the development of higher consciousness. It is a book with a special message. As if its message of personal development, evolution and world change were not enough, it also has to tell us that there is hope. That enough people have bought the book to keep it at the top of the bestseller lists for so long is, in itself, a message of hope for the future.
So you have discovered what seem to be some
Truths that could change people and their lives.
This is powerful knowledge but what happens
now? What do you do with the knowledge? How
do you get it across?
James Redfield's world vision, 'The Celestine Prophesy,' was presumably born out of his own personal journey to find 'Truth.' Where his journey took him and what he experienced can only be imagined. What, however, he brought back is a dramatic and life-changing legacy. For the truths he found were shocking and amazing, perhaps even to him! His urge to share these findings resulted in a book that has no rivals. The simplistic style in which it is written makes it accessible to all who care to see the world through a new lens, one that has been polished to sparkling just for the occasion. Mr. Redfield's version of 'The Truth' offers far more than platitudes and encouragement; it actually gives the reader usable tools for personal empowerment and spiritual evolution. This book is both a revelation to our current state of consciousness and a remembering from a deep level of soul. Although there are many books that offer advice, techniques and step-by-step guidance for those on the path to Enlightenment, Redfield's book has something else going for it -- accessibility. This is no holy book, gospel or esoteric treatise on personal development. It is, as it proclaims on the cover, 'An adventure.' And it speaks with a contemporary voice, one that everyone can understand.
...Having 'discovered' a new tag on Truth, one that seemed to offer fresh and revitalised hope of salvation, Redfield's problem was how to get it across. Appreciating, quite wisely, that these truths came alive when accompanied bysome commentary, Redfield sought a device to get them across to the largest number of people. Clearly this was a case for a book. But what kind of book? Although he could have gone onto the new age shelves in the bookshop with one of those 'change your life' type volumes, he opted for something aimed at a less specialised market. What better than an adventure story? Were there not innumerable cases where profound truths and elevating wisdom had been conveyed through a fictional medium -- Hermann Hesse's 'Siddharta,' was a case in point.
...But for this new Moses, leading the children of ignorance out towards the land of milk and honey, there was no burning bush. Having produced his book he could find no one who would publish it. Undaunted by short-sighted (although perhaps possessing some literary taste) publishers, he published the first batch of softcovers himself and sold them from the trunk of his car.
...His voice called out to all seekers who had no access to scholastic studies of mystical traditions, no ministerial seminaries to attend and no mentors at hand to guide them through the brambles of living a life of Inner Truth. Right before their eyes, in nothing less than black and white, the nine insights appeared --- outlining exactly what to watch for 'on the Path' and how to integrate the incoming information.
...As we all know now, the story caught on in spite of its critics, and he soon had a publisher who was so impressed with his sales that they printed it in hardcover! This was the first time in our publishing experience, and that's the ink-stained Coffeehouse Culture gang we're talking about, that we had ever seen that happen, for as you may know, the hardcover always comes first so we will fork over those big bucks in anticipation of the unknown content.
...Maybe it always follows that anyone with something to say will have his naysayers, but as this celestine tale was told, critics shot gaping holes in the fabric of his story, leading many to see it as a childish fable, or even worse, a mere sham. Astrologers dissed him for erroneous comments on the Moon phases, researchers disregarded his 'historical' findings as frivolous and juvenile, and Church elders laughed at the silliness of his preposterous claims about extracting an ancient manuscript from the jungles of Peru. -sigh- They had all gotten stuck in the literalism of his story, and missed the entire point!
...The question arises of 'how does one go about telling a truth to the masses?' It is not merely a matter of finding a suitable vehicle through which to convey the information; it must also be processed, made palatable for mass consumption. The extent to which James Redfield effected his dramatic penetration of the collective psyche is a tale almost as impressive as the contents of the book. Most of our human history was first passed along (for thousands of years) through the telling of tales and legends, making it easy for the common folk to remember the important principles they contained. As these insights bubbled forth from 'Saint' James' expanding consciousness, they cried for a vehicle through which they could be 'written' in the minds of the populace. Through the medium of an adventure story, The Celestine Prophecy, Redfield made a connection at a deep level with countless masses of people, but it was the nature of the 'insights,' not the adventure, with which most people connected. The nine insights are almost all truisms. The nature of a truism is that it is true on all levels. Hardly, surprising, therefore that at least one or two insights clicked for everyone.
...Many of us instantly felt the familiarity of Redfield's metaphysical terrain. These Insights seemed to represent a current 'code of ethics' or a sort of living mantra, by which any spiritual seeker could instantly recognize another ('Soul Family'), and in that recognition find a piece of his or her own Truth. The seedlings of our own Enlightenment are initially sparked by a dawning awareness of something 'more than meets the eye' about the world around us. Redfield proposes that a point of 'critical mass' has been reached in the collective psyche (umm, no kidding!), and that it is becoming impossible to ignore the First Insight, that there is meaning in every moment and that synchronicity guides our every move, if only we will choose to see.
...The third Insight was one that awakened something startlingly new in many people, even those who had been following synchronistic trails for years. In broad terms, it tells us that everything is energy. Rather than seeing everything in our physical world as a result of cause and effect in a direct, linear fashion, we were suddenly being coached to realize that, "the basic stuff of the universe, at its core, is looking like a kind of pure energy that is malleable to human intention and expectation in a way that defies our old mechanistic model of the universe -- as though our expectation itself causes our energy to flow out into the world and affect other energy systems." This is virtually the same as 'makia,' the 3rd Spiritual Principle of Huna (of seven): 'Energy flows where attention goes,' which has been practiced by Polynesian kahunas for thousands of years.
...The simple exercises for learning to see and sense the energy that exists in all living things were missed altogether by some readers in their hurry to get to the 9th insight, figuring that instant enlightenment awaited them at the end of the book, but those who took the time to try them out were rewarded with more than was promised. The act of stilling our bodies and minds enough to perceive, to see, to listen and to be at one ('meditation') is extremely empowering. Centering and intentional focus will build our 'chi' (life force) and hone our awareness of all the energy fields in and around us. This celestine tale emphasizes learning to perceive the auric fields around plants, animals and others, but in the process there is a byproduct of inner alertness that leaves us with a new found sense of self that is much stronger, illuminated and more confident that we are each a vital part of the world unfolding as it should.
...As we attune ourselves to the natural flow of life through synchronicity, we can actually begin to see the energy fields/auras (3rd Insight) vibrating around plants, animals and people, our food, drink and medicines, and even our thoughts and actions. Conscious cooperation with these energetic fields will produce profound levels of awareness and illumination, particularly when coupled with a strong sense of continued focus, meditation and attention to intuition (7th Insight). As we become more aware of the rich texture of every moment in our lives, we begin to see the patterns unfolding, the flashing sparks of light on the path of 'right action' and the lacklustre clouds of discouragement leading the other way. The more we witness these undeniable resonances between the path we are walking and our own personal truth, the more adept we become at tuning-in to the appropriate frequency for the moment in which we find ourselves, to truly be 'in the Now.'
...From that impartial jot in time we are better suited to recognize the meaningful 'coincidences' in our meetings and experiences along our life's path, noticing when, where and sometimes even why we happened to meet that person or witness that event. As we sift through our past (4th & 6th Insights), our parents' agendas and our own conditioned, unconscious(?) tactics for gaining control in any situation, the layers of dust lift from our eyes, and the newly envisioned landscape reveals the mystical qualities of our earthly sojourn (5th Insight) and suddenly, our consciousness is bumped up a notch.
...Like the Ten Commandments, the Nine Insights are now deeply ingrained in zillions of people's mental circuitry, and the movement toward the author's Celestine Vision has truly begun.
...Living the Insights is a dance, a constant interaction with the ebbs and flows of Life. Redfield's message is far more profound than the fanciful tale that encases it. It is a common theme in many teachings to put up a smoke screen first, to discourage the insincere and to test the mettle of the true seeker. It is also common that the Truth is so simple that most people do not believe it, if simply stated as it is. To someone unfamiliar with synchroncity this story may appear to advise floating along unconsciously, being pushed and pulled by every random current. But it is actually quite thecontrary; the Celestine Insights are about empowerment, consciousness and evolution, personally and collectively.
...On of the wonderful things about 'The Celestine Prophesy' is its broad applicability. Whichever insight or insights hit home, they did so with vigour and deep penetration. But always on a very personal level.
...For me the third insight and the whole book confirmed a realization from my own childhood. It seemed clear to me even then that everyone exuded a certain 'energy' for which I had no name. But by 'tuning-in' or resonating with that energy for only a few seconds, I was immediately aware of a feeling washing over me. It was either one of comfort and safety, which I translated to mean that I could trust that person, or one of alertness and tension, which usually meant that I needed to be on guard about them for some reason.
...Upon reading this book, I found that I was not alone in my findings, and in fact, that Mr.Redfield had taken it into much more detail and had outlined several more expansive steps along the way! It seems more obvious to me now than ever that our intuition is the very best 'defense' we will ever have against any kind of 'attack' regardless of its scope. The tools in these insights can afford us the ability to easily recognize the positive or negative life force ('good for me' or 'bad for me') in the foods we are about to eat, or the prescription the doctor hands us, rather than waiting until we end up in the emergency room at midnight. We hear countless stories of people being shocked at how 'Joe Blow could possibly have done all those terrible things when he seemed so nice,' but intuition is not fooled by appearances. But of course, our intuition only works well when we are 'keeping our channels clear' of the mental and emotional gunk left over from past dysfunctions, and abstaining from inappropriate diets and behaviours that continually send us back down the food chain. 'The Celestine Prophecy' is an excellent guide book for doing just that.
...A progressive system of development, having established the techniques for developing consciousness, Redfield goes on to the eigth Insight which imparts the wisdom of interconnectivity throughout all of existence and encourages us to recognize the necessity of worldwide interactivity and mutual support, rather than separatism and derision. Becoming 'one with' the 'Emerging Culture' (9th Insight) requires a leap of faith and a nimbleness of spirit that may challenge your every fibre. However, as a rapidly increasing number of us begin to realize that we are part of our own creation process, and that we are all part of a greater -evolving- Consciousness, the frequency of the entire planet will lift accordingly, and the Celestine Prophecy will be fulfilled.