An author (and “Spiritual Messenger”) imparts advice on surviving life’s trials.
The note of surprise Olin-Hitt strikes right at the beginning of his nonfiction debut should sound familiar to any reader of religious literature. The author was an ordinary guy, an English professor, who respected the spiritual when he encountered it in other people but never experienced it directly himself. Then, one day in 1998, that all changed; unexpectedly, he was seized by what he calls a “spiritual awakening” (as in most such descriptions, the symptoms also line up with a minor coronary event): “The spiritual presence entered me through my chest, then rose into my neck. My throat tensed. My face contorted. My breathing returned.” In that instant, he writes, he was “literally knocked to the floor” by what he later decided was the sudden opening of a personal doorway to the spiritual world, through which might come messages on a variety of topics: “Prayer, human suffering, the voice of God, the reality and roles of heavenly messengers, and the dawn of a new spiritual awareness.” He later learned that he could enter this euphoric state at will, and he became aware of how elastic the term “the voice of God” could be. Rather than any one deity, he sensed “the Braided Way,” a divine ocean in which all religions were tributaries. The bulk of the heartfelt book recounts the author’s ongoing personal revelations as a prophet and how they continue to change his earlier perceptions. “Suddenly, I began to see the apparent random nature of the universe in a different light,” he writes. The various pronouncements that come through this messenger are often on the trite side (“You are sparks of light; you are a piece of the Holy”). But Olin-Hitt’s skillful use of his own life story grounds the whole thing in an appealingly human register regardless of the author’s claim of supernatural powers.
A dramatically charged faith memoir full of personal revelations and spiritual platitudes.