TITLE: ETERNAL LIFE AND A COURSE IN MIRACLES
AUTHOR: JON MUNDY, Ph.D.
REVIEWED BY: Celia Hales
If I had to choose one word to describe Jon Mundy’s latest offering, it would be “reassurance.” Of course, those of us who have studied and taken to heart A Course in Miracles believe that death is not the end. But Jon makes that truth crystal clear with supporting evidence for the unbeliever and anybody unfamiliar with ACIM— near-death experiences that are prompted by psychedelics, near-death experiences that are natural, and accounts from dying people who do cross the threshold. Pervading his writing is a calming tone that will be soothing to the fearful who may be facing death sooner rather than later. His many selected passages from A Course in Miracles are superbly chosen, for he draws upon his vast knowledge of ACIM to select those passages most certain to speak to the matter of eternal life. Nobody could do a keyword search and find these gems; they are carefully chosen by an author who knows ACIM intimately from long years of dedication.
Jon Mundy is among the handful of individuals who helped to launch A Course in Miracles. The scribe, Helen Schucman, much older than Jon, counseled him in a personal way about the issues with which a young man contends. He also formed a bond with Kenneth Wapnick that continued for long years and included similar significant encounters. Jon’s respect for Ken is covered in a chapter – long very personal tribute that recounts Ken’s incredible journey with ACIM that prompted some 32 books, plus substantial contributions in other media. Jon’s memories of the early years will be eagerly read by those who love ACIM. Throughout, Jon has a very human voice in his writing that urges the reader forward in the book; he knows how to encourage one to keep reading, to keep turning those pages to see what else is going to happen.
Jon frankly lets us see into his heart when he describes in some detail his guided experimental use of psychedelics as a way to get beyond the ego and find himself looking death in the face. Readers who might be inclined to judge Jon for his experimentation should realize that he had these experiences in the seventies. He was guided by a psychiatrist/shaman who took pains to see that the people in his care were safe. The near-death aspect of Jon’s experience was prompted by the doctor’s administration of ketamine, an anesthetic.
Jon does not recommend that we follow in his footsteps, indicating that his way was harsh (he calls it “hell”), whereas the way to overcome the ego in ACIM is gentle. It seems apparent that Jon has spent a great deal of reflection in all the years since in trying to understand what he saw in near-death experiences. This reflection has been augmented in more recent years by near-death experiences that were not drug-related. He speaks easily about these experiences, certain that there is a plan and that it is gentle. Jon also draws on others’ experiences in near-death to pull back the veil over the afterlife.
The latter half of the book is devoted to a carefully developed exposition of what A Course in Miracles says about eternity. As mentioned, the selected passages from ACIM are exquisite; one gets the impression that Jon went about selecting the most beautiful of all available, knowing that he couldn’t give every instance of what eternal life means in ACIM.
What does eternal life mean in A Course in Miracles? Jon weaves this story in and through quotations from ACIM itself. Eternal life is a life that can begin on earth; there is no need to think that eternal life comes about only at death’s door. Heaven is here and now, if we have discarded the egoic separation from God, a separation that could only happen because we had a “tiny, mad idea” that we wanted to try to make creation be something other than what God had decreed. And all that we ever made was illusion. Jon makes the point that the radical monism of ACIM is extremely pertinent to eternal life. Our illusory bodies seem real enough to us, but real they are not. The only thing that is real is that which we cannot touch—peace, joy, harmony, and the like. And these things are eternal. Time and space are illusions that are found only in the physical universe. And nothing illusory is eternal. But Life and Love have always been and always will be. This is the promise of eternity that ACIM describes so wonderfully.
Jon’s reassurance about eternal life is borne of what he knows. He does not believe; he knows. And this insight pours out on every page, weaving anecdotes in some chapters, recounting ACIM in others. Jon has a very personal way of writing that develops an intimacy with the reader. He looks beyond his own persona to develop universal truths about eternity and eternal life as reflected in real experiences, his own as well as others, and in the philosophy of A Course in Miracles.
Jon Mundy has written many books, but this one is surely one of his best. Recommended for anybody who fears death, even a little, and who among us does not?