by Jon Mundy, Ph.D.
A Story of One Man's Passionate Search for God
Many people claim to be serious spiritual seekers, but few dedicate a lifetime to the study and personal experience of a wide range of religions and mystical practices. In Missouri Mystic the reader is able to objectively sample the search for God through the wide open mind of author Jon Mundy, PhD. Being the quintessential Missourian, Mundy constantly poses the same "show me" question. How does this system of thought work? What's behind everything? And then he shares his remarkable findings with us.
Mundy heard and responded to the call to God at the age of nine when he started holding church services for family, dolls, and animals. By the time he's 19 Mundy officially baptizes seven people in the Cuivre River. Eventually he becomes a Methodist minister, but still there is an undercurrent of interest that takes him elsewhere. He continues to check out other Christian Churches. He studies Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and the Kabbalah. In addition, there are the great mystical thinkers of the world such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and others that turn him on. And finally Mundy begins to dabble with alternative paths to God including yoga, meditation, healing, parapsychology, firewalking, dream interpretation and LSD.
Says Mundy, "I long for the deeper experience I have read about in the mystics' descriptions of rapture." So he slips on his backpack and begins a trek through India in search of a living avatar. Along the way he meets Rajneesh, Sai Baba and Muktananda. Of the three, Mundy is convinced that Rajneesh "has it, that he is enlightened." Yet it's back in New York City that Mundy finally finds what he's spent almost thirty years looking for. It comes to him in the form of a book, A Course In Miracles, which is personally presented to him by scribe Helen Schucman. "Helen hands me the newly printed book and says I think you're supposed to teach this."
The Course, as it's also known, brings Mundy to the end of his 22-year relationship with traditional religion. "Over the years, I've come to believe that the church provides a kind of inoculation against religious experience. It gives enough experience so you feel as though you've got something. It is somehow also not 'the' experience..We go to church and get a vaccination to protect ourselves against the real thing...Despite its profound message, to my surprise, the Course interests few ministers. After Mundy leaves the Methodist Church he becomes co-founder of an Interfaith Fellowship. While this non-traditional religious interlude satisfies for a while, it's in his break from any organized religion whatsoever that Mundy finally finds his peace and his place.
Mundy's quest for God unfolds against the backdrop of his personal life, and he is in no way exempt from the milestones and melodramas that we all share in our earthly experience. This guy from Missouri tells all about the women he's loved and lost, the money he's made and lost, and the disappointments he's encountered and overcome. Says Mundy, "there is no learning in pain, There is learning, however, in the overcoming of pain."
The two most memorable stories in the book have to do with Mundy's personal experiences with death. His first death trip is intentional. In Castaneda-esque style Mundy seeks out a Mexican shaman who uses psychotropic drugs to create a bodyless death journey, which he describes as hellish, intensely painful, and insane. The second death trip is Mundy's battle with colon cancer, which is more worldly but just as hellish, painful, and insane. Ultimately it brings Mundy to the point of letting go of all the expectations, hang-ups, regrets and nostalgia of what might have been. "The acceptance of death brings an incredible awareness. And...an unexpected manifestation of intense compassion. Tears come to my eyes and love in all its glory intoxicates my heart."
Missouri Mystic is Jon Mundy's gift of love to the world. It is not to be missed.
Reviewed by Karen Bentley, author of The Book of Love
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