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Enlightenment Trilogy #3

Spiritual Warfare

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Book Three of Jed McKenna's Enlightenment Trilogy: Guns and bombs are children's toys. A true war wages, and you're invited. IT'S AN INVITATION you may not be able to accept if you want to, or decline if you don't. It's an invitation to fight in a war like no other; a war where loss is counted as gain, surrender as victory, and where the enemy you must face, an enemy of unimaginable superiority, is yourself. Spiritual Warfare issues a damning and irrefutable indictment of its own audience and genre, putting spirituality and religion themselves on trial. Spiritual Warfare is a sharp-edged book for those who want to experience a direct and authentic spirituality.

328 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 2007

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Jed McKenna

38 books202 followers

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5 stars
428 (68%)
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52 (8%)
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14 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
Profile Image for Rogier.
Author 6 books23 followers
October 13, 2008
And this is the sweeper, here McKenna decisively wipes the floor with any would be enlightenment artists that might still be left standing, and dispenses with any remaining foibles and fallacies that surround the topic. The book is full of humor, and if nothing else the disclaimer in the front of the book alone is worth the price.

If you're tired of half-baked stuff, and new-age gobbledygook, this trilogy is a must-read. If you'd rather spend the rest of your days feeding your sacred cows, avoid them like the plague.

I sincerely hope McKenna stops writing now. He's made his point, there's nothing else to say, and if we didn't get it by now there's little point in continuing. Besides, this stuff is so good, if he wrote more I'd have to buy it...

Having said that, this 3rd book is easily the best of the trilogy, but if you read them at all -- proceed at your own risk -- by all means do read them in order.
Profile Image for Ivan Hrvoić.
47 reviews6 followers
March 31, 2018
Spiritual warfare is 3rd Mckenna’s book in Enlightenment trilogy with word “spiritual” in name and which doesn’t have anything with enlightenment. This trilogy is about McKenna trying to tell you that life has no meaning and all beliefs are false and you could see it clearly if your sight hasn’t been obstructed by your ego. It is fair to say that I like McKenna’s work, but I reckon there is a majority of people who will read the book(s) and will not be able to get anything out of them, and McKenna also explained that in every each of them why is it like that.

Reviews of previous books can be seen here and here. I will continue pretending you have read them. As in the first two books McKenna is giving non-subtle signs that he finishes with that book and it was little bit funny to see same story repeating in first, second and again in third, while I am already in possession of fourth one, which I think is stand-alone but don’t hate me because I didn’t check and I do not check as I write this.

I’d personally divide this one in three parts about how I felt about them. First one is first quarter of book, second second quarter, and third one remaining half. First part starts in his usual aimless, senseless tone, driving (metaphor) around and doing this-and-that. I was in for it, little bit of laugh, some his insights, introduction to story which awaits and characters who will join us for the rest of book. Pleasant, but nothing special. Second part I did not like; I felt it was repetitive to the first two books, like he run out of things to say. Thing I didn’t like even more is that I felt he didn’t know how to say what he wanted to say. Now I’ll make small digression to explain why I actually hated that. Thing which actually attracted me most to McKenna’s book is that he is actually one of rare people who is on same page with me considering the way to look at reality. We both are discarding all bullshits, stripping layers of ego until there is nothing left. We are not in search for happiness, love, peace, peace of mind or enlightenment, we only seek to really see what is and what is not. And unlike most of the other people, we do not make compromise or try to slip from one delusion to another. We do have couple of differences, but they more probably come for limitations of expressing through words, rather than different view of particular subject. But in this, second part I occasionally felt we fell of same train and it was bit of disappointing. It was about connection between falling of bike and finishing book; if you are on same page with us, you’ll get it. And third, last part, was where McKenna started to shine. All faults of being unable to express his thoughts have vanished, and strong parts of text arose. He was clear and strong. Maybe this last part was the most unbelievable in all three books about realness of characters in it, but it did not bother me, because they fully served their purpose. And coming close to an end prose was started being more and more poetical, humor was subtle and elegant and you could see the honesty in words about himself and his path.

One of the criteria by which I judge book, is what to they mean for me, what do I gain from them. I consider a book good if I am able to get two or three things which expand my perspective or offer me some kind of understanding which I haven’t had before. Spiritual warfare follows the example of its predecessors making McKenna writer (or a person) which I hold in high regard. What will you be able to gain for them/him, it entirely depends on not your desire to see everything as it is, it depends on severity of your discontent with delusions you’ve created so far.
Profile Image for James Fisher.
6 reviews2 followers
August 21, 2012
Becoming an adult vs. going all the way to enlightenment...

The whole series is exceptional and thought provoking. Highly recommended.

Mountain Jim
Profile Image for Kim.
147 reviews3 followers
May 9, 2019
Just when I though the series could not get, nor conclude any better.

Jed’s book this time focuses on a woman, Lisa who comes to stay with him in Mexico having had enough of her constraining normal life and bolts to find some serenity, and clarity, albeit she does not know what to do next. It’s just hard for her to try to assess what happened and try to decide and determine what happens next.

Nevertheless, Lisa learns that she has embarked however unwillingly, as she (and most of us who experience this) on the event that can change her life … if she so chooses, and chooses to go further with what the life changing event can entail potentially. Add to that, Lisa brings her daughter, whom Jed ‘uses’ as an additional incentive for Lisa to choose becoming awakened and going further in embracing, flowing with and continuing on with her new life. The dynamics of this is discussed in detail in Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, McKenna’s previous book.

What is interesting about this book is the discussion between Lisa and McKenna about what to do in the aftermath of the life-changing event (which is usually devastating and involves a loss of some kind), and between Bob (a spiritual teacher and author) insofar as to what spirituality means and can (or cannot) do for people. McKenna’s Spiritual Autolysis is reinforced throughout the book in both discussions, as McKenna’s point still is, one needs to look at events and onself honestly in context of the event in order to be able to see what one has to do next, toward be(com)ing an Adult, rather than an overgrown child. That entails exploring and looking what we believe in the eye and questioning honestly whether or not it serves us or holds us back. McKenna contends that beliefs do the latter. Nevertheless, the exercise is or Lisa, Bob and the reader to determine via testing what(ever) we believe for ourselves and be honest with ourselves with the result. With Bob, however, the discussion is between Bob’s wanting to use the traditional practices, rituals, tenets of spirituality, which McKenna counters are debilitating to people’s capacity and opportunity to discern what is true, for themselves, and impedes people’s discernment between self and ego and self and no-self: the awakened state.

The crux of the book is to not take anything for granted, life in particular and live each day, each moment as honestly as one can. We have to learn to be(come) vigilant in terms of being present or within the (socially-constructed, and limited) program (roles) we are to play to keep society whole and functioning … but we do know; we don’t pay attention to the fact that at some point, the role we play and expectation we are to fulfill do not serve us, respectively. Sooner or later, it either explodes in our faces, or is ripped from us. Hence, Lisa’s trip to Mexico after her son declares he wants to be a dentist like his father … a profession, the reader later learns that Lisa’s husband did not really want to go into. Nevertheless, we do see the warning signs, but we ignore then in that either they will go away, or can/have to be dealt with later … which inevitably, it cannot!

I am most touched by the discussion of death. Beyond fear of doing what we can and should, but don’t, Death is treated as the uncomfortable truth we ignore. We know its there, we know it’s coming, but we do everything in creation not to face it. Nevertheless, McKenna’s discussion on death makes one appreciate life more as death is the thrust that incites people to appreciate (albeit not consciously, if barely in our day-to-day capacities) life more. McKenna’s discussion of death, with the quotes following that chapter, bring the perspective home. I am reminded of Fulghum’s facing death in visiting his cemetery plot in his book From Beginning to End: The Rituals of our Lives. The point is death is inevitable, and we know it, and we know it to be true. However, we don’t take it seriously as breathing, as we are taught that death is something to be feared and pushed back as far away as possible, as it is too scary to deal with. Yet, as with a lot of inevitables in life, we don’t take the moment to face it, let alone consciously deal with it … until it irreparably comes and we then cannot duck, dodge nor make excuses anymore.

That is also McKenna’s take on fear. We don’t consider let alone deal with what fear does to our lives . Nor do we discern if it is us doing the fearing, or something else inducing the fear, masquerading as us. That fact is clear throughout all three of the books, but is brought home in this book because anything that we fear IS what holds us back from becoming the adults that we can be! Sadly, we don’t face it because we are too scared or too busy, but it doesn’t make what we need to face lessen nor go away.

McKenna again uses movies and literature to emphasize his points and from an awakened perspective a lot of it begs reviewing. Stories in general, do help us grasp what the concepts are, and they do teach, providing that is the intent. The crucial point is for the student and reader to see the point of the story, as well as McKenna’s point in utilizing them. Nevertheless, the choice of whether or not to, is up to the student and the reader.

Overall, it will be interesting to see if the student/reader wants to and can pursue his/her awakening given what it requires, and what the result is. It is up to the student/reader to honestly choose and commit to the task … and it is NOT an easy one. Still, the alternative, as illustrated in the book 1984, Animal Farm, and the movie The Matrix, (among others in McKenna’s bibliography and throughout the book) is not conducive to human development, freedom nor evolution.

I love the series!
Profile Image for Jordan.
80 reviews47 followers
December 30, 2019
The most essential author I've ever read. There are those who have read Jed and those who have not.

My sense is that it's crucial to counterbalance Jed with the likes of David Hawkins, Eckhart Tolle, or Mooji. Jed's world is not the end-all-be-all, but it's a test, a crucible, a paradigm-shifting gauntlet. And once you pass through it, you will never be the same.
1 review
June 9, 2008
This is a truth book without all that spiritual satsang language,,, it's written really orginally so it feels really groundbreaking in a really really ordinary common sort of way
February 18, 2014
What to say

What to say

a total and complete pull your head of the sand wake up call for me. I'll need to read it a few more times, lots of stuff here to consider.
Profile Image for St Fu.
353 reviews12 followers
May 19, 2017
“Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see….”
― John Lennon, Strawberry Fields Forever

See, I can do the quote thing too. Here's another:

“They are simply and undisguisedly realizations of wishes.”
― Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams

Freud saw the dream state as responsive to mind. The universe manifesting what you want, but not the inauthentic (merely conscious) wants, or else no one would ever have bad dreams. McKenna refers to everyday life as the "dream state" and sees it similarly. He doesn't require us to agree, he's just saying what he sees. After all, there are no facts, other than "I am."

I'd like to say what I see, or some of it. On second thought, I probably wouldn't like to say it. What's the point?

I mostly enjoyed reading this book. He bothers to describe the indescribable so who can complain if it doesn't always come out consistent or fully understandable? His certainty when saying what can't be said is sometimes scary, but I believe it's really what he sees. After all, he could be lying to us. He doesn't believe lying, or anything else, is wrong. Right and wrong are Maya's domain.

Profile Image for Caleb Greenwood.
41 reviews2 followers
March 11, 2018
Simply Explained

I’m unsure about Jed McKenna. Spiritual Warfare has to be his most accessible book about enlightenment, focusing on conflict between our perceptions and a reality of nothingness.

I like that McKenna is down to earth and the book is fairly rhetoric free. It’s sort of an every man’s mysticism type of book, without the frills of guros. At the very least, it’s thought provoking.

However, i still don’t understand the hype of McKenna, perhaps because I haven’t take the leap into “enlightenment.” Sure, he lays out the ideas simply enough, and I guess that’s his main selling point.

Outside of the book there’s a questions on if McKenna is actually the man of his pseudonymous writings, or if this lifestyle and mode of being are simply works of fiction. A short search on google can pull up articles about “the real Jed McKenna” - recommended if you want a candid picture of this character and/or author or some drama.

If you don’t know who he is, you can probably pass this up. But if you can’t escape the McKenna name, this book is a primer.
Profile Image for Luca Pendu.
16 reviews
August 2, 2017
The last book of the trilogy helps the person in the middle of the spiritual journey to make sense of his/her new life after the post-enlightenment "breakdown". It really stuck with me the idea that: "Whatever happens is the best thing to happen because it's the thing that does happen". This book is designed to help us letting go of our illusion of control and live more in the moment. Highly recommended if you underwent the process explained in the first two books.
Profile Image for Joseph Knecht.
Author 3 books30 followers
May 11, 2020
Jed again tries to explain enlightenment without watering down the content. His words give you the perspective from the "other side", so that you should know what to expect. He uses many references from movies and books he has read and offers an enlightened interpretation.

The biggest lesson is that once you wake up, you must go with the flow since you are the flow.
13 reviews
December 4, 2019
The War is on in the non-realm...

The first step began ten years ago. Further to go...thank you for the clarity, non-Jed. A heavy blow to non-Maya's non-ego. No thumbs up...waaay up!!!
4 reviews
May 4, 2020

It’s difficult to put in words what this book is. For many it will challenge long held beliefs, and people have a tendency to hold on to beliefs even when life continually shows you “This is not working “.
Profile Image for Sam Klemens.
223 reviews15 followers
March 14, 2018
Hell of a book. If you've read the first 2 in this series you know what you're getting into. A nice compliment, definitely worth the time.
Profile Image for Tasin Hoque.
24 reviews
December 25, 2020
If I'd to summarize, if you're in a spiritual warfare, the only way to victory is through surrender.
This book also discusses about memento mori, integrated state, and many others.
Profile Image for Dora Tolstoy.
Author 1 book2 followers
April 8, 2021
Jed Mckenna’s trilogy is the most important thing I’ve ever read, and also the most difficult. We’ll see where I go from here.
Profile Image for Cade.
55 reviews
August 5, 2022
The best book in the series. Easy 5/5. Burn everything and believe nothing. What's left is all that's true.
43 reviews3 followers
December 8, 2017
My initial ah-ha! and enthusiasm for this book is waning the more I read. I have to admit I feel some resistance building. McKenna--whoever he is--does a stellar job defining the absolute line between being awake and simply dreaming a new dream within the dream we call life. He poses great self-inquiry questions and accurately points out that nearly all gurus and spiritual sages are either completely full of shit or aiding and abetting their followers in avoiding the only thing that's important--seeing directly what's right in front of them. I appreciate what he lays out, and his style of writing is refreshingly readable and unpedantic.

McKenna seems to outright dismiss any teacher who sits and answers the questions posed by students unless the teacher only says in various ways I Am or This Is and refuses to deviate. McKenna says he has achieved an unwavering state of nondual awareness and sharp lucidity within the dream, and he has nothing to say and little hope of bridging the gap of communication with those who are deeply asleep and unaware they are asleep.

A Course In Miracles lays out the same basic cosmology and viewpoint as McKenna. So did Rajneesh/Osho. People who have had awakenings such as Gary Weber, Bruce Joel Rubin, and many others (see interviews on "Buddha at the Gas Pump" website) are not in opposition to what McKenna says. They have simply chosen their own way of teaching and sharing what they have found. So I find myself bristling a bit at some of McKenna's broad dismissals of almost everything in the spiritual marketplace. Part of this, of course, is my own self-delusion and my own egoic structure rising to defend itself. But I also suspect McKenna has some of his own blind spots and shadow material to work through.

Jeff Martin has done an excellent and thorough job researching spiritual awakening through his Sophia University-sponsored "Finders Course." He says there are four basic levels of awakening, and he believes there are many others beyond these. Once a person has realized ongoing and consistent access to stillness and a felt experience of witnessing life as essentially a dream state, they think "this is it" and there's no place else to go. Some people stay here for decades or perhaps the rest of their life. Others, however, go through another surprising spiritual crisis and unfolding and yet another state of awakening comes online that's more pure, more interconnected, and more humble and profoundly deeper and more inclusive than their prior state that felt like it was completely whole. Genpo Roshi, in his recent book Spitting Out the Bones, describes these waves of awakening and also describes how he was unconsciously on a power trip and arrogant in his connection to infinite stillness. He fell from the mountain and went through a grueling reassessment of his life and found a new, deeper and more whole level of inclusivity and humanness. I suspect McKenna is facing this same sort of thing if he hasn't already gone through it.

That said, he is making a valuable contribution and introducing powerful cognitive dissonance to the sleepwalkers who mollify themselves with yoga and books and self-reinforcing fairy tales that make them feel more spiritual. Reading Spiritual Warfare has me doubting more of my own inner stories and I'm paying more attention to the guidance from the vast stillness that is inescapably here right now. If a book can heighten this awareness and prompt an honest appraisal of the most basic assumptions, then that is a lofty accomplishment. McKenna, whoever and whatever he is, has delivered. Or perhaps it might be more accurate to say that, as a nobody teaching nothing, he has allowed symbols to appear on sheets of paper that have become pointers to that which cannot be uttered.
Profile Image for Dean.
294 reviews48 followers
June 3, 2014
The deconstruction continues. Third book in the trilogy. Contains some real gems, especially related to some of the more practical advice on keeping the spiritual deconstructive enquiry short and simple. However, it also contains quite a bit of storyline filler. Also contains some assumptions about spiritual awakening that aren't necessarily true (e.g. it involves a total loss of livlihood, identity, relationships etc.- these may or may not be lost. Things can continue externally as they always have; who would there be to 'change the course' anyhow). Great meditations on death towards the end. A little dramatic though, and became a labour, or "warfare" to finish. Overall, recommended as an entertaining and somewhat informative guide on around the 'birthing' of awakening, and "getting real", through some story characters.
1 review1 follower
June 17, 2020
An Egoistic Mind's View of Enlightenment

I believe his books can be helpful for a time to some. I also believe that at one time he may have experienced some inner revelatory Truth but that it's being voiced through an ego. How could it not be. If we're still appearing to be here, an ego still "exists."
Still, I have enjoyed and found value in some of his interpretations but not his judgements of the dreamstate. After all, " The world was over long ago." ACIM
If you have an interest consider Kenneth Wapnick's book "A Vast Illusion".

Profile Image for Matt Henriksen.
4 reviews7 followers
May 11, 2013
If your looking for spirituality, this might be the wrong book. If your looking for understanding, this might be the wrong book. If you are looking for a reminder that something else is going on, and that those gnawing doubts you have are on to something... we'' this could be the book your looking for.
1 review
March 25, 2013
Well written, thought provoking as in previous titles. However, again, the comment that needs to be made is that "Jed" seems intent on withdrawing himself as much as possible from interactions with other people. That does leave a question mark.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews

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