"The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield. This is on Guro Fred's must-read list, and you should add it to yours as well.
I don't want to recant the book here, you should read it yourself, but here are my thoughts.
The book explains nine prophecies (so far) that the protagonist is searching for, prophecies which are supposed to guide human evolution to the next phase of development and enlightenment. He experiences these through encounters with a variety of characters, all of whom appear at the right moment to help him get the next necessary insight. Coincidence?? Hmmm...
As a piece of fiction, I was not too terribly impressed. The story is formulaic, the characters are a bit hollow and shallow ("aloof", is the word he uses), and the whole thing comes across as a bit contrived. That said, I encourage you to think of this as a parable rather than a true piece of fiction. Jesus supposedly taught using parables, as do most spiritual leaders.
The book is not as introspective as Dan Millman's "Peaceful Warrior" series, but neither as heavy and challenging as Blavatsky's books. Read on its' own, there is some merit for any aspirant, and some important reminders as well.
For me, the key parts were about the understanding and usage of energy. Redfield goes into some detail explaining how our energy interacts with others whenever we communicate, and that we can determine how to source and deliver that energy in order to change the nature of every encounter. We can revert to our childhood dramas of control, or choose to evolve to a higher state of being where we draw energy from the Universal source and use it to empower others, who then give back energy to us through a cycle of positive affirmation. His explanation is elegant, and links many aspects of pop psychology (Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins) to unified philosophy and non-denominational religion/spirituality.
The important message here is to continue to meditate every day - to inhale LOVE and exhale PEACE, to consciously evolve into a being which is complete in itself, and thus free to share the limitless energy of the Universe with others in a positive cycle of Oneness.
Too Touchy/Feely? Too much Group Hug? Possibly.
However, it is undeniable that our attitudes, the energy we project, and the way we engage are central to having positive and successful relationships with others. These aspects are within our control and demonstrate emotional maturity once we can learn to harness them.
As martial artists, we must be keenly aware of the flow of energy, not just in our fighting technique, but as a constant part of our everyday lives. We must not lose sight of the fact that we are responsible for what happens to us, and that we have the POWER TO CHANGE OUR LIVES. We also have a responsibility to be messengers of peace to others, and to use what we know to create positive outcomes in our lives and the lives of those we engage.
Yesterday I received an email from one of my students questioning a change in my energy during the Friday class last week. I am no different in that I must focus on sending the right energy all the time - people notice when I don't. People notice when YOU don't, too.
Martial Arts is a vehicle for personal life success - keep learning, keep growing, keep sharing.
INHALE LOVE, EXHALE PEACE.
Thank you James Redfield for the reminder.