Robert Speigel’s book is in a way not to be enjoyed. Who can enjoy the sadness of a world gone mad, bent on destroying itself. A world that cannot contain collateral damage to its children, brought into the it to suffer and die. A bloodbath, where we are all overcome by a selfish and complicated thought system that affects, no traumatizes many of us. The ego wants us dead. And its good at getting what it wants. It is after all its most magnificent achievement, death, hidden well among its glimmering trappings of an existence that isn’t, but convinces us it is. This book is a story of salvation. Taking the definition of that so Christian word to mean “something that saves someone or something from danger or a difficult situation.” (Merriam-Webster) Speigel shares with us his life experiences, enduring the pain while certain his calling through it all is to teach peace.
While approaching the subjects of horror, hatred and war with a detachment that causes him to stuff his pain in a part of him he learns in childhood, only to learn as an adult all are still with him. Ideas leave not their source. His early age “adjustments” are all the while hiding behind a set of made up “beloofs” (a term he uses to hide false beliefs from a false self.) Safety nets in a young mind are needed to survive. But in doing so there’s a price: he finds he can’t hide hurt within the ego’s delusions because its own delusions are made not in our best interests, but for the ego’s own survival. He speaks for all of us who try this. Speigel discovers the only way to face false beliefs is to expose them to the light, light which like the beliefs themselves resides in us. They are not where they seem to be. Not “out there” where the false self seems to be. We make up an “out there” so we can play the mind games we do. Spiegel tells a compelling story about how he, with the help of others, finds a way out. The process he adheres to is in itself moving and fascinating. However, his outlook is on life, gained from experience. In the process one sees the very core of his personality to be caring and compassionate. A loving human. He says,
“I apologize for placing these images here. (The pictures of Nazi death camps showing the worst known atrocities make by man to date in history.) They are abhorrent to me and make my stomach turn in nausea and disgust. They represent the depths to which man’s inhumanity to humankind can slip. I am firmly committed to my new belief that I am not a victim, and there are no other victims either. I am one hundred percent responsible for my life, and I hold others to be one hundred percent responsible for their lives. I believe that life is difficult and we are all here to learn to overcome difficulty. I believe that it is our suffering that develops us into the people we are meant to be. I try to teach these simple spiritual constructs to my clients so that they might be empowered to recover and change.” (page 67)
Our author recognizes the truth in this because of his own suffering and eventually realizing that healing must come from within. All the darkness, the demons, the mis-thoughts, the ego thought system that believes salvation is in grievances and resentments, (there’s a beloof for you) are not our true Self. Adam got us into a troubling thought system that requires us to buy into all of it, which makes it appear at times there’s no way out. But there is, by owning our own darkness. Adam couldn’t, for he makes the one fatal mistake: he blames Eve and she blames the serpent if you recall. Blame leads to guilt and more pain. We can transfer it, or transform it. Spiegel, unlike Adam decides on the latter. It requires we keep our faith in one wonderful thing about all of us. We are already what we’re supposed to be, love. With all of our nonsense here, God has not changed His mind, and He never will. We are all His perfect children, no matter what beloofs we come up with. And in the very depths of our insanity we know this to be true. Everyone. Yet, we just have to see it where it is. There is no “out there.” Trying to change the “out there” is like attending a movie we discover we don’t like. To see a different picture we don’t normally believe we can change the image on the screen to one we like better. The projection, our only choice is to leave or change the film, up in the booth. We take the film out and destroy it, not necessarily by ripping it apart but just seeing the truth in its place. The only place where true change takes place. It takes as much as it takes, before we realize it is our projection that makes our perception. Our illusions come from a sick mind. They do not make our minds sick, merely reinforce them.
As a professional therapist, in the midst of some terrible cards he has been dealt, Speigel uses the cards to perform the difficult work it takes to heal. The ride can be rough, he shows us, the way narrow and the end, well, sometimes seeming to be not there at all. We are created in relationship, which is the only place our true being can do what it is supposed to do, extend love. Desire is a major defense with a double edge, but we can help turn it about to our benefit if we engage in what we’re made for, relationship.
We can ask to take this ego alien journey with someone beside us, other than the ego, because the ego will always be there, convincing us over an over its way is the easier softer way.
Because it is one of my guides in life, I end this enjoyable review with the following, a quote from Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, in which he tells his story of being a prisoner in a Nazi prison camp. Just by chance he discloses he is a doctor without being saying he is a specialist in Psychiatry, and as a result he is saved to care for his fellow prisoners. The woman he speaks with below is about to die in the gas chamber:
“This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. ‘I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,’ she told me. ‘In my former life I was spoiled and I did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.’ Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, ‘This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.’ Through that window she could see just one branch a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. ‘I often talk to this tree,’ she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take here words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. ‘Yes.’ What did say to her? She answers, ‘It said to me, ‘’I am here — I am here — I am life, eternal life.””(page 68) Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl
Robert Spiegel is a professional therapist who recognizes his worth with with proud humility, I suppose one of the traits he would want for his clients. Listen as he describes his practice:
“My practice is rebirthing in a way that I could not have imagined. I am re-energized and experience a joy in my life that was not possible since being born into such shock, grief and fear. I complete my two-year Internship and take a year off before deciding to enroll in the next certification training, the Person Transformation Intensive Leadership Training.” (page 128)
Humility isn’t possible without love. It allows us to see what we are and where we are. (A trait Adam lacked for the moment when God sake him where he was. To share this with us is Robert’s great strength, in his belief he is not a victim and nor is anyone else. If we seek help it means we are in relationship that is a requirement for healing. Trusting the other person is paramount to growing with that person. This is because in the final analysis we do not heal alone. It is for everyone and for us. It is about the “giveness” part of forgiveness that we heal. In my opinion forgiveness is the only way to God (Enlightenment) available to us here. It is, once again calling on Adam, what he missed and we don’t have to.
Thank you for a wonderful book, Rob. I hope there’s more coming.
Review by Bob Pajer