Book Review - Going Deeper

Cultic Studies Review, 4, (2), 2005.

Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of Your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense

Jean-Claude Koven

Cathedral City, CA: Prism House Press, 2004. ISBN 0972395458 (hardcover), 434-pages, $24.95

Review by Frank MacHovec, Ph.D.

The author of Going Deeper is described on the book jacket as “one of those rare, independent and adventurous free spirits who manages to bridge the pursuits of practical enterprise and cosmic mystery.” There is no reference to credentials or qualifications other than his being “a highly successful, respected entrepreneur for over forty years, starting and running more than a dozen business ventures.” We are told he “has studied with masters and led workshops on six continents.”

The cover jacket informs us that Koven “speaks for the still, small voice in the wilderness sent to this planet to help realign people with their soul’s purpose.” He pursues this goal in 27 chapters, a 1-page Afterword, and 4-page Epilog. There are 14 pages of acknowledgments, strangely inserted at the end of the book (pages 380-394), a 15-page glossary, and a 15-page, two-column index. All this supportive material is impressive for a book of fiction. The glossary, ranging from Akashic records and Atlantis, through chakra and kundalini, to the Upanishads and Veil of Forgetting, provides a taste of the book’s content.

The story line is the spiritual journey of Larry, “a successful young Los Angeles lawyer,” and his dog. Together, they experience a two-and-a-half day journey. Zeus, the dog, talks to Larry, leading him through the journey of self-awareness and self-realization. White buffalos, a raccoon, trees, and stones also talk to him. All this becomes part of both Larry finding himself and “the extraordinary possibilities awaiting the human race.”

In his journey, Larry learns that he is at a “3rd density level,” and he progresses to 6th density level as he ponders the nature of reality, oneness, evolving values, the meaning of life, and the power of free will and love. He learns there are 70 million “Wanderers” or “cosmic servers” who came to earth “from other dimensions through the Veil of Forgetting” (xi). These beings can “assist with the impending shift” to a better world. Larry’s world was “irrevocably changed on Tuesday, the eleventh of September, 2001” (13). He learns that realizing ancient myths and a higher spiritual consciousness by channeling can “help beings currently trapped within the illusion to move forward” (xiv). The book interprets 9/11 as a wake-up call to the need for spiritual growth and a higher consciousness.

The journey is a smorgasbord of New Age ideas taken from Buddhism, Hinduism, and their spin-offs. The chakras of kundalini yoga are emphasized, perhaps overly so by the author’s interpretation of dreams as reflections of the chakras (300). An Indian guide, “Gathering Cloud,” is reminiscent of Annie Besant’s theosophy. The emphasis on the ego is not so different from Freud’s conceptualization of the ego as “the executive function” and adds free will and love, similar to humanistic psychology. The author often uses a Zen-like koan riddle technique, but, surprisingly, there is no mention of Zen. Many other concepts are similar to those in uncited works, such as Carl Rogers’ unconditional positive regard, Abraham Maslow’s self-actualization, Lawrence Kohlberg’s universal ethical principles, Labouvie-vief’s post-formal development, Pierre Chardin’s evolving spirituality, and Ayn Rand’s self-reliance. Koven makes oversimplified forays into science, with references to quantum physics, the possibility of a parallel universe, and lightning as a plasma force we all possess at a lower level. It would have been helpful if the author had cautioned readers that self-reliance and free will can be harmful if uncontrolled.

This book reflects a typical New Age approach now somewhat outdated, a remnant from the pursuit of the Age of Aquarius of the 1960s. There is little new here. Many other New Age books have similar content, though this book provides a current overview of those ideas and ideals. Going Deeper touches on ideas but does not teach them, offering more of what and why than how to. The material is provocative and may stimulate readers to look further into subject matters of interest.