Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book review: The Ten Minute Moment

Book review: The Ten Minute Moment

by Jurgen Ziewe
Click here to see a list of all my OBE book reviews

Back in April, 2013, I did a book review for Jurgen Ziewe's book, Multidimensional Man and I gave it a glowing review. It's fantastic. It's definitely a "must have" book for anyone interested in out-of-body experiences and where they can take you.

The sequel, The Ten Minute Moment, is not directly about OBEs, but there are several reasons why I felt I should add it to my "OBE Book Reviews". First, it is "A powerful experiment in consciousness" as the back cover suggests. Second, it does talk about OBEs and other transcendental experiences. Third, it makes a good addendum to the author's first book, which is about OBEs.

The author was kind enough to mail me a copy of this book, and although I received it several weeks ago, it's taken me a long time to read, despite the fact that it's a short book (138 pages, and much of that is taken by photos). The reason is: I deliberately read it slowly, carefully. I would read a page here and there, then set it down, giving it time to digest for a few days. Many times my inner voice--my intuition-- would step in and suggest I set the book down and let it settle. This isn't out of line: It took me more than a year and a half to read Yogananda's translation of the Bhagavad Gita because I would read a page or a paragraph, then set it down for the day to let the wisdom sink in. Many times I'd meditate on it as well. I also did this when I read The Bible.

In my review of Multidimensional Man, I described Jurgen Ziewe as the "Eckhart Tolle of OBEs." It was so subtle that I gave a lengthy explanation. In The Ten Minute Moment, it's not subtle; it's obvious: this book is chock full of wisdom that often lies hidden and might easily be overlooked: an unintended bi-product of the deeply spiritual experiences of the author. My point is: It pays not to rush through this book.

The only thing I didn't like about Multidimensional Man was its lack of a "how to" section. The author gave all these fabulous out-of-body narratives and even some "God" experiences, but he never gave any techniques on how to do it yourself. In The Ten Minute Moment, Ziewe bridges that gap: he gives tips and techniques, not so much for achieving OBEs per se, but for his unique forms of meditation. For that reason alone, the book is a great addendum to Multidimensional Man.

One important thing to understand is that Ziewe was not trying to achieve OBEs (in either book); he was meditating, trying for a God / Nirvana / Satori / Enlightenment experience. It's just that many times he slipped into an OBE state "by accident" instead of reaching his ultimate goal. So his instructions in this book are not geared toward OBE as the goal. In fact, he often resists the pull of OBEs because he's after something much better. An out-of-body experience is still an "experience." It's still "doing" as opposed to "being", or as Ziewe puts it:
"Light is just a space which exchanges the old physical space with the new non-physical one and despite its glory it means nothing as long as it is perceived as separate from me. Stillness is different even if it is a black void, but as it offers silence, belongingness and unity it is much closer to reality and more powerful than any external experience no matter how glorious." (p.27)
To say that the book gives instructions for meditating is very misleading (some would say incorrect), so I should explain. In fact, Ziewe doesn't give instructions at all. He doesn't suggest exercises in any conventional sense of the word. He doesn't tell you to focus on your belly button, or visualize energy rising up your spine to energize the chakras. He doesn't say to focus on your third eye, or to chant an inner Aum sound, or any conventional techniques. In fact, he doesn't advise you to "do" anything, really. He does something much more important: He takes your hand and walks you through exactly what he did, step by step. That's much more helpful, at least to me. And in so describing what he did, and what happened, he gently invites you to take his arm and be escorted to the doors of inner silence. For example:
"With my inner vision held suspended in the dark void within, my ears methodically collected all sounds as if they were pearls found on an exotic beach. As I gathered their treasure they found themselves strung on a colourful necklace stretching across the inner void." (p.85)
That description is much more than clever or artful writing. If you look under the covers, you'll notice it is very instructional: instead of telling you what to do in your meditation (doing), he tells you exactly the frame of mind or attitude to place yourself in (being). He teaches more by example than by recipe:
"The sun of love had now become the object of my meditation. The only way to focus on it was to surrender to it. Love can never be divided. To fully understand and appreciate love I had to become love, and surrendering to it was the only way. The moment I did it ceased to be a sun and became a stream, rising into the air and then cascading down in its blessing, taking me with it." (p.87)

The author is a word-artist (as well as an artist by trade), trying to draw you into the painting.

There is a "Nine-Step Meditation towards Awakening" sprinkled throughout the book at strategic intervals, but even those instructions are more geared toward being than doing. He uses descriptions like "I surrender to it and let it unfold." Or like "I simply allow Consciousness to reveal Unity to me." Instead of meditating on a word, he would "allow it to float through my awareness." It's almost as if he's describing himself in a cosmic river, but instead of paddling or kicking to move from place to place, he's simply allowing it to flow, allowing his awareness to be swept away with it, with a feeling of immense gratitude.

There is also a down-to-earth humanness to the book. Ziewe is not some high and mighty enlightened guru on a mountaintop. He's an ordinary man, with ordinary flaws. He doesn't always get it right; his meditations don't always produce the results he wants. He writes with an undeniable honesty that speaks to the heart:
"...humbly accepting what I am with all its limitations. There were no attributes that could make me into anything special, make me stand out, and in that I perceived the greatest blessing, to be as humble as the squirrel on my porch, as the bird feeding on the crumbs given to them. The pleasure was intense and so was the gratitude I felt." (p.44)
This book is not just about meditating and inner experiences. It's a journey, physical as well as spiritual, and even the physical descriptions touched a special place in my heart. Perhaps that's because there are many parallels between my life and the author's. Consider this:
  • Ziewe and I are both published authors.
  • Ziewe has had countless OBEs, and so have I.
  • On page 71, he writes about consciously watching the process of entering a dream. I've done this too, and seen the entire process in detail.
  • Both of us could be considered old-timers, in our 50s.
  • Ziewe has a stable long-term loving marriage. I do too (21 years).
  • We both value solitude and nature: This book takes place at a cabin in the middle of a forest, with a nearby lake. I actually live in a house in the middle of a forest, on a lake in Northern Minnesota.
  • Ziewe feeds crumbs to the birds and squirrels. I have bird feeders and enjoy feeding the birds and squirrels right outside my office.
  • Ziewe describes watching deer walking by. As I'm writing this account, I can actually see a deer walking by, just outside my window.
  • Ziewe writes about his love of photography and walking around with his camera, taking pictures of the wildlife. I love photography too, and have taken countless photos. Anyone who's read any of the travelogues from my website will vouch for that.
It's almost as if Jurgen Ziewe and I are walking the same path. Right now, Jurgen is so far ahead of me spiritually, that I may never catch up. Maybe that's why I see his writing as such a beacon of light on my path.

This book is one man's personal journey: a journey into the wilderness and a journey to enlightenment. It's well written, descriptive and very informative, which is not easy to do when you're talking about transcendent and/or ecstatic experiences.

The Ten Minute Moment is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it.