In From Grief to Awakening, author Steven Joseph explains the complex, personal and spiritual struggles he underwent as he tried to make sense of his ultimate loss – the suicide of his son – but there is far more to the story than that, offering a challenging and enlightening perspective on loss.
Prefaced with his admitted suspicion (years ago) of anyone claiming to have an understanding of life after death, the author begins by expounding his own reticence to accept that there is a way to find peace after tragedy. He recounts his doubts of religion, and the empty promises it so often gives to its faithful. This is not an overly religious book, but rather a spiritual one – not providing answers, but rather a pathway to personal serenity.
Following the death of his son, he says the time “was right” for him to explore the world of psychic mediums and the realm beyond death. Joseph states up front that many people who read this book will not find comfort from his words, as those readers may not be at a point where this guidance will be useful or believable. That said, what follows is still powerful, thought-provoking and utterly fascinating, even for the skeptic.
Much of the book is composed of philosophy, rather than actual testimony of connecting with the other side. The prose is intended to be a guide for those who have experienced great loss, or who want to make sense of seemingly senseless tragedy. Changing your way of thinking about your personal experiences is a way of altering how you perceive the universe, and when the right triggers are pulled and questions are answered, peace can ultimately be achieved.
Joseph does not propose that everyone can speak to those they’ve lost, nor does he presume to understand everyone’s private pain. Instead, he tackles the universal emotions and unanswerable questions following the death of those we love. Some of the chapters address more tangible processes to handle and manage grief, while others focus more on philosophical, theological or moral quandaries, along with strategies to extricate our minds and souls from such troubled times.
Some may immediately discount the book’s validity based on its premise, but in truth, it is a collection of compassionate wisdom. That said, some of the claims and accounts do border on the esoteric or abstract, and will challenge one’s preconceived notions of consciousness, spiritual awareness and the bonds of mortality. Depending on your mood and mindset when reading, this can inspire incredulity or quiet consideration.
What makes the book ultimately effective is Steven Joseph writes with the passion of a prophet, but the patient curriculum of a teacher. He does not expect every reader to buy into everything he claims, so his overall focus doesn’t inspire derision or doubt. The methods and belief systems he suggests are based in logic, empathy and the hope for personal peace, making this book valid for any who are suffering, regardless of their overarching belief in psychic abilities, higher powers or life after death.
The writing is confident, but gentle in its assertions, and while the text is repetitive at times, the book is carefully edited and flows in a natural progression from one lesson to the next. Some of the book may exceed some readers willingness to believe, but that doesn’t discount the inspiring tone and beautiful sentiment contained within these pages.
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