Putting on the Mind of Christ

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by Kristine Morris

Putting on the Mind of Christ: The Inner Work of Christian Spirituality

By Jim Marion, Foreword by Ken Wilber

Hampton Roads

American mystic and author Jim Marion believes that “the only essential purpose of religion is to accelerate growth in consciousness.” He also says that Christians, whose goal is to emulate Jesus, have all too often found their churches lacking in the knowledge, experience, and possibly even the willingness to assist them in attaining higher levels of awareness. With this book, which philosopher Ken Wilber called the first book to “clearly describe the entire Christian path,” Marion provides a map that takes us through the stages of growth in human consciousness to full spiritual maturity within the context of the Christian spiritual tradition. Wilber’s own study of developmental psychology and the spiritual writings of the Eastern tradition inform its pages, as do the teachings of Jesus, the lives of Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, and the work of the pioneers of transpersonal and other higher-level psychologies. But the real depth of Marion’s thought comes from his own personal experience of the stages of spiritual growth he so carefully describes for us.

Marion’s path to the kingdom offers a bumpy ride indeed — the “Dark Night of the Senses” and the even deeper “Dark Night of the Soul” must be traversed successfully (no step can be left out), and our culture offers very little in guidance through these turbulent spiritual realms. Marion unashamedly reveals his own “Dark Nights,” and, in doing so, gives hope to those who may be having spiritual experiences they do not understand or cannot bear without support.

The teachings of Jesus and the saints have not been understood, says Marion, because they involve “levels of human consciousness beyond that of even psychologically well-adjusted, creatively functioning adults.” In mainstream Western culture, and even in its churches, “the psychic, subtle, causal, and non-dual realms are not even considered to be ‘real,’ even though it is of these things that Jesus and the saints speak.”

Those who would follow in the steps of the Christian spiritual masters will find a sympathetic and knowledgeable guide in Marion. Utilizing modern research that is only now able to investigate the higher levels of this path, he takes us beyond what even the saints understood in their time.

Wilber called Marion’s work a “pioneering book, a truly inspired revelation, and a gentle guide to the deepest terrain of our own souls, where there awaits, as there has through all eternity, Christ as Source and Suchness of this and every world.”

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