Review of Secrets of Heaven by Marshall Vian Summers

 

I was asked to give a review of the new book by Marshall Vian Summers, Secrets of Heaven. I’m not familiar with the author, but I agreed and so I present to you my review.

The book is structured around a series of short messages, some more fulsome than others, that seem to have been channeled directly into the author’s mind with very little filtering or editing on his part. It touches on a number of topics which are presented seemingly in the order in which they were received, jumping from one to another without much organization or systematic examination of each. It recalls the style of books such as A Course in Miracles and Conversations with God, but more suggestive rather than precise and goal-oriented. Christian terminology is used (e.g. God, Holy Spirit, Heaven) but the book is not aimed at a Christian audience but rather a general audience. It falls clearly within the New Age camp, even declaring “Now the old age draws to an end”.

There are typically two main types of spiritual books: those that teach salvation, redemption, awakening or personal improvement within the world (including some of the more elevated self-help books), and those that teach release from the world, leaving it behind, letting it go. This book is the latter kind, clearly not focused on incremental tips and tricks to make your current life run a little better, but rather on transforming your entire notion of your purpose in life to something different by recognizing your purpose – over which you have no choice – and coming into alignment with it.

The main message, however, is kept vague and forward-looking, without getting into the details or steps of how individuals can apply these lessons in their lives starting today. The message seems to be aimed at seekers who are already advanced on the path, have tried many things in the past without success, and are ready to give up and learn a new way, to find answers where they have not found them – in other words, the wisdom of no-choice and surrender to a higher will.

Like the majority of modern spiritual books, it connects with a part of us which is familiar – namely, our discontent with the state of the world and the suffering in our own lives – and reassures us that life does not have to be this way, that there is a deeper and more meaningful journey to be undertaken, yet it gives the reader precious little in terms of describing what this journey is all about, beyond general messages of Knowledge, Teachers, Spiritual Family and the Greater Community. It is hard to disprove or find fault with the book’s message because it is kept very general and does not make any claims that are precise enough to find opposition.

 

The book’s content can be summarized as follows:

  • Leave the world behind – it has no answers and cannot be fixed.

  • We are entering a new age, with big changes coming. The world is in a state of transition, at a crossroads or turning point which will witness the end of tribalism and contact with life beyond the world.

  • In the universe there is more than meets the eye, suggesting the presence of beings and forces beyond human perception.

  • There is help / wisdom from non-earthly beings (Spiritual Family / Teachers / Greater Community). Your relationship with them is key to the transformation taking place.

  • You have no freewill. Your purpose is already established in the contract that you made before coming into the world, and has nothing to do with the goals that you have set for yourself so far. Therefore your path is one of eliminating rather than expanding choice.

 

The book stresses the importance of several things:

  • Relationship: not the usual human form of relationship but something deeper and more powerful.

  • Listening, receptivity and Knowledge, more than action; Knowledge as a priceless spiritual inheritance whose discovery is a kind of returning home as well as a doorway to true meaning and truth.

  • Transcending the old religions without attacking or degrading them.

  • Preparation for Knowledge. By ‘Knowledge’ the book means “a capacity for greater experience”, and the way we prepare for it is by emptying our proverbial cup to create space in our mind, and develop strength and stability so that we can handle Knowledge when it arrives.

  • Being unconventional is part of the process of discovering Knowledge, because we are leaving behind all of the typical human beliefs, ideas, norms. We may become estranged because of this, but finding Knowledge will resolve all of the minor personal problems we seem to have.

  • The journey toward Knowledge is a remembering of what was inside you us along, but buried under layers of social conditioning. It is not an intellectual knowledge but an experience of greater relationship in an expanded universe.

 

Secrets of Heaven mentions Teachers which exist in another dimension, who can see us but cannot be seen themselves, and are waiting for us to get ready so that we are prepared to rediscover their eternal message and usher in a transformation of life as we know it. These things may be true or false, and it’s hard to know either way. There aren’t many ‘experiments’ offered to the reader to test the validity of the book’s message in their daily lives, which for me is the litmus test of true spirituality – the relevance to real-life experience.

I kept waiting for the book to get to the core substance, but it never came. It seems to be floating above (or below) the level of everyday human experience, without much in the way of instructions. There are some interesting bits here and there, but they are hard to really pin down. The book lacks the cutting analysis of Zen writing which attacks the observer’s biases and turns the critical eye inward on itself. It hints at the existence of God’s Master Plan, but does not explain further what this may be.

It is not a systematic analysis of human experience like Ken Wilber’s Integral philosophy, nor a self-contained path toward complete liberation like ACIM, nor a guide to navigating and managing the subtler workings of one’s own psyche like psychoanalytical authors usually offer, nor a collection of channeled answers to life’s biggest questions like Conversations with God, nor a no-nonsense cut-the-bullshit hardcore spirituality like Jed McKenna. It falls in between all of these, too vague to be of much practical use to the individual who is ready to embark on a spiritual journey, and not powerful or precise enough for someone already further along the path.

The author has published several other books which have enjoyed popularity such as Steps to Knowledge, two volumes of Wisdom from the Greater Community and three volumes under the title The Allies of Humanity. Taken in the broader context of his body of work, Secrets of Heaven may be an interesting extension of the basic message, but I found that as a standalone work it was rather vague and incomplete, not offering a whole lot of value to the reader. For me, a great book is something you live and grow with, with several layers of interpretation that reveal themselves over time and which take you from where you are now to the next stage and beyond. Readers familiar with his work looking for the latest instalment may enjoy this book, but for me it didn’t quite seem to do it.

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~ by spiritualseeker1 on September 14, 2013.

6 Responses to “Review of Secrets of Heaven by Marshall Vian Summers”

  1. Publisher here. Thank you so much for the thoughtful review.

    If readers are interested in exploring the revelations of Marshall Vian Summers for yourself, please take a look at http://www.NewMessage.org where hundreds of pages, and many hours of audio, are available at no charge.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful review.

    As a student of Steps to Knowledge, one of the most comprehensive and real-world spiritual paths I know of, I can say that Secrets of Heaven does carry an ethereal and angelic call to respond, while the the “steps” we can take in our daily lives are presented in Steps to Knowledge.

    Secrets of Heaven is truly a calling from beyond the world. It isn’t a stand-alone book of how-to wisdom or fables to stimulate our human memories, emotions and cultural thought. Rather, it calls from beyond this earthly realm, calling us into the mystery.

    For me, this is a remarkable new text from the New Message from God, a 9000 page revelation which contains a vast body of wisdom concerning daily and global life, as well as a spiritual pathway of “Steps” to awaken self-knowledge in the human family.

  3. Thank you for a fair and open-minded review of the book.

    I would like to make one clarification where you state, “…[the book] gives the reader precious little in terms of describing what this journey is all about, beyond general messages of Knowledge…”

    There is a path to Knowledge, a path to knowing your destined purpose in life and it is by taking the Steps to Knowledge. Steps to Knowledge is a free book of 365 guided mediations designed to lead you to know God and what God you to do in your life. It is available free, online and for PDFdownload: http://www.StepsToKnowledge.com

  4. These assessments are thoughtful, indeed. Having spent some time with these pages, I might quibble with some semantics here about “no free will.” I’m not sure that’s the best way to paraphrase the book’s stance on choice, but it’s true that it poses the free will issue a bit differently than you may have seen in other places.

    And it’s true that taken out of the context of the rest of the New Message you can be left with a feeling of “ok, but now what?” The answer to that question is the other 9,000 or so pages (not all of which are published), much of which is free on the website. I think the purpose of this “vague” material is really to provide the most deeply mysterious corridor deep into the heart of the New Message and its revelation about us and our universe.

    There’s a wealth of other far more descriptive material that talks about the most mundane details of our lives, the broadest perspectives on our future, and even a program of Steps that one can practice every day. Again, mostly free. So if you walk away from these Mystery Teachings with a hunger for something less ephemeral there’s plenty in store for you just a few clicks away. For me this book is actually a great counterpoint to some of these other more explanatory Teachings that I’ve spent many years with by now.

    If I have a regret about participating with the New Message after these many years, it’s that I wasn’t available to participate sooner and more completely. There are Secrets waiting to be unlocked for all of us that are written nowhere but within. This body of work is the most effective path I’ve found to those discoveries.

    Thanks, Seeker.

  5. Seems like an interesting little book. I have ordered it through amazon and look forward to delving into it.

  6. I have read this book … or, rather, I have ‘engaged’ with it .. because to be fully appreciated and ‘recognised’ for what it Truly is, one must engage with a still mind and an open Heart. This latest publication from Marshall Vian Summers and The New Message From God is SO much more than a ‘book’! it is a Divine gift, given with Great Love to the individual and to the human family alike. The words of the Angelic Assembly whisper to us, along the corridors of time and space, and beyond. They convey great Wisdom and give us such rare and precious insight into the Mystery of our Life, our True Self, our Purpose and the reasons why we come into this challenging, yet beautiful, World.

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