(Reviewed by Pat Luboff)
I was attracted to this book because it was described as a “fast-paced spiritual contemporary novel.” Intriguing, no?
I’m a person on a path of spiritual growth. I think we all are, but some of us are more intentional than others. So, I was looking to this book to help me along that path. It did. But I wouldn’t say it was all that fast-paced and I’m not even sure it could be called a novel. It’s definitely spiritual and contemporary to the point of being futuristic.
On the surface, it’s supposed to be the story of Tom, a psychologist, who has a client who has a spiritual/mystical experience. This inspires Tom to go on a Vision Quest in the Nevada Desert, which gives him a “mystically altered consciousness.” For most of the rest of the book he keeps coming back to the question of how does one live in the world once one knows a bigger reality. The story line skips ahead decades and plays second fiddle to a series of conversations Tom has with others who are sharing their spiritual insight.
Really, the book is a thinly-veiled platform for Robinson to preach his message. I’m glad I read it, because I think his message is important and I do like its import. Spoiler alert! Here’s the message: the major spiritual thought systems equate enlightenment with the casting off of the limits of the ego. Aging is a process whereby we lose the image of who we thought we were; the image that we spent our youth building up. Older people (I wouldn’t say all, because there are some curmudgeons!) let go of the ego dreams of youth as our bodies decline and turn to defining ourselves in a more spiritual context. So, properly and positively interpreted, aging can be a natural slow-motion process of enlightenment. In my experience, this is true.
Robinson takes his theory a couple of hundred steps further, predicting that the world is going to be utopia because so many of us are getting old together at the same time and the synergy of all of us getting enlightened at once will erase all of the earth’s problems. Even though I sort of believe that will be the eventual outcome of creation, I got lost in the long discussions Robinson uses to make that point.
Maybe you will get different things out of this book than I did. There is certainly a lot to be had. If you like bigger-than-words ideas, I think you’ll like Breakthrough.