By Gary E. Schwartz, PhD
Professor of Psychology, Medicine, Neurology, Psychiatry and Surgery
Director, Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness
The University of Arizona
Author of The Afterlife Experiments, The G.O.D. Experiments, The Energy Healing Experiments and The Sacred Promise
If a book be wrong in its facts, disprove them;
if false in its reasoning, refute it.
But… let us freely hear both sides…
It is now generally accepted that we live in a unique and potentially perilous time in human history.
For example, there is no question that we are rapidly over populating the Earth. In the past fifty years alone our population has increased from around 3,000,000,000 to approximately 6,800,000,000. With this dramatic explosion in population have come massive increases in environmental pollution, destruction of plants and animals, depletion of natural resources, alterations in climate, and breakdowns in national and global economies.
We have also witnessed dramatic increases in the fractionation of religious and spiritual institutions, extreme polarizations between certain fundamentalist groups, and religious and political terrorism. When we add in extraordinary developments in military technology – including nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction – the combination is challenging to say the least.
If ever there was a time for us to come together as a species and discover a common path for survival, healing, and evolution, this is it.
Where are we to look for possible solutions? Solutions which are big enough and broad enough to bridge the history and evolution of religion, science, and spirituality?
Sometimes a book can play this role and point us in the right direction. History reminds us that every now and again a single book can change our lives. I have been privileged to have had a few such reading experiences in my life. Examples of visionary books which have transformed my consciousness and so altered the personal as well as professional course of my life include The Anatomy of Reality by Jonas Salk, MD, Living Systems by James G. Miller, MD, PhD, and Electromagnetism and the Sacred by Lawrence W. Fagg, PhD. And now there is this book. A Common Path by Alan B. Bourey, JD
is probably the most unexpected – as well as potentially most meaningful – addition to my personal short list of visionary books.
It is an honor for me – as an academic working on the emerging bridge between contemporary science and spirituality – to write the Foreword to A Common Path. The author of this book has achieved a synthesis which, in my humble opinion, creatively and compellingly bridges religion, science, and spirituality in a unique, effective, and inspiring manner. Due to its scholarly presentation, it has potential appeal to many scientists and academics; yet it is written so that it can be understood and appreciated by any thoughtful person. And most significantly it offers concrete suggestions for how we can live our lives in a manner which honors contemporary discoveries in both science and spirituality.
It is my sense that there are probably less than a handful of people currently living on the planet who could have written such a big picture book. Importantly, and to me even more amazingly, this book was not written by a senior scientist or theologian. Instead it was written by a seasoned lawyer who began his education with a passion for philosophy. And this author was not just any kind of lawyer; he focused his legal career on family law and mediation, in the process mastering tools essential for fostering cooperation, collaboration, mutual understanding, and peace. This book shines not only because of its coherent integration of philosophy, science, religion, and spirituality, but also because of its down-to-earth practical recommendations for how all of us have the potential to live creatively, harmoniously, and truthfully.
One special quality of this book is its focus on reasoning, experience, and evidence. Trained in law, the author appreciates the difference between “beyond reasonable doubt” and “the burden of proof” in civil law cases. He further appreciates the difference between physical evidence and “circumstantial” evidence. Using these distinctions – which he carefully explains in this book – he takes us on a great adventure as he raises and provides answers to nine big questions, including:
1. How did the universe begin?
2. Is there a God?
3. What happens after we die?
4. How should we live our lives?, and
5. Are events in our lives random?
If you are searching for answers to these and related questions, and if you are a “truth seeker,” I suspect you will find yourself admiring (and maybe even loving) this book as much as I do. I suspect that like me, you will find yourself disagreeing with some of author’s interpretations and conclusions proposed. And like
me, I suspect you will find yourself being challenged by some of the author’s proposals and wanting increased information and analysis.
Though the book presents some strong conclusions about God, life after death, the human soul, and spiritual knowledge and ethics, the book does not claim to be “perfect.” Quite the contrary, it encourages all of us to become ever more open to changing some of our historic beliefs as we, as a species, make new discoveries about the true nature of reality.
This book takes us on a sacred journey; in the process it offers great opportunities for us, both individually and collectively. Through this journey, the reader may find truth and wisdom to guide them throughout their lives. And, if each of us were to discover such truth and wisdom, we might collectively find a common path for survival, healing and evolution. May you enjoy this precious resource as much as I have.
By Gary E. Schwartz, PhD