Ordinarily, one might reach for the aspirin before reading a text whose acknowledgments include thanks to ""the spirit entities John, Tom MacPherson, Atun-Re, Obadiah, Japu, and. . .many others."" But in the case of the first book by well-known trance-channeler Ryerson (who was featured in the TV-movie of Shirley MacLaine's Out on a Limb), coauthored by a writer and ""student of Buddhist philosophy,"" a handful of NoDoz would be more to the point. The authors certainly aim high: ""We will explore the answers to such questions as: ""Are we here for a universal purpose? Do we each have an individual life purpose that is uniquely our own?"" And so on. Before answering these choice conundrums, however, Ryerson sets the stage by summarizing the history of trance mediumship; the nature of his communicants (John, his primary ""spirit guide,"" is an ""Essence scholar of Hebrew ancestry""); the mechanics of channeling (it's akin to picking up a radio broadcast); and his own background (by high school, he was an avid parapsychologist). He also boils down the myriad messages sent from above to their kernel--which amounts to exhortations to expand self-knowledge in search of spiritual evolution. Along the way, sad to say, Ryerson manages to distort both Buddhism (claiming that the Buddha was a theist) and Christianity. As for the actual messages from Atun-Re, Obadiah, et al., which constitute the second half of the book, they will be familiar to anyone who has read or listened to Shirley MacLaine (""Each of you is a portal. You are a window upon the Akasha, the all-knowing""; ""There are souls with whom you have had many incarnations. For instance, you both like to play tennis. . .This is because you lived together in the court of Louis XVI""). Balm to believers, baloney to skeptics.