The cornerstone of this book is the view that we do not live in a purely mechanistic universe of unbreakable laws, but that heart-felt belief can have a tangible effect on reality itself. What we know as physical reality is but an expression of a deeper reality, and that deeper reality is consciousness. The universe is what Braden terms a “consciousness computer.”
For reasons of my own, I’m already sold on the view that the universe is holographic and that we all are all one consciousness. It was interesting reading Braden’s justifications for this view, drawing in particular from the findings of quantum physics, such as the double-slit experiment.
The book is a mixture of cutting-edge science plus Braden’s personal memoirs, both from his everyday life and his travels to remote places for research. Some of the justifications he makes from personal life felt a little shaky. For instance, he talked about a man who expected to die at thirty-three because his brother had died at thirty-three, his father, too, and his father’s father. Braden believes that it was the belief in this “family curse” that was bringing about the actual result in each case; our bodies seek to mirror what we believe about ourselves. Now, the principle may or may not be true, but the scientific foundation of it cannot stand on a few anecdotal examples from Braden’s personal life. Likewise, Braden makes much of an “impossible” hand-print impression on the wall of a cave, supposedly put there centuries ago by some highly knowledgable seer who lived there and learned to wield power over reality itself, pressing his hand into the rock. I’m rather more sceptical of such tourist attractions. Nevertheless, these memoirs certainly made interesting reading.
Despite these criticisms, I do think Braden may be one of the pioneers helping to bridge the gap between science and spirituality. This gap has certainly been shortening for me personally in recent times, as I withdrew from the influence of dogmatic religion, while also realising that the world was stranger than classical physics. What I notice is a convegence of ideas. Braden’s “belief creates reality” hypothesis is not different in principle from my personal experiments with telekinesis, no different than the power of positive thinking, no different from those “manifesting wealth” teachings, no different from answered prayer, no different even from the underlying principles of Satanic ritual (and that last one is not a joke; see my review of The Satanic Bible). It is extremely interesting when ideas from so many different philosophies converge and point to the same principle: belief affects reality. It tends to make you think, “Maybe there’s really something to this notion.”