Presenting a book by Christopher Speer, the Grang Illusion.

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Spirituality Is An Experience Not Just A
Concept—We Are All Governed By Universal
Spiritual Laws—To Change Our Lives We Have To
First Change Our Ideas

We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value
that we forget that the inner value, the rapture that is associated
with being alive, is what it’s all about. ~ Joseph Campbell, The
Power of Myth

Doubt everything, find your own light.~ Buddha

This book is the account of one person’s journey from a crisis
of devastating emotional pain to an experience of profound
joy and peace. It is about the discovery of those workable
principles that, when applied, always permit a return to an
experience of inner peace, love, and the pure joy of existence,
despite the ups and downs of “real life.”
    At first, I thought I should write this book without reference
to my own experiences. It seemed too self-absorbed to
talk about my life, and uncomfortably revealing. But as I
reviewed what I had written without including the process
that led to my realizations, it seemed that something important
was missing.
    It occurred to me that perhaps my own difficulties, and
the solutions that had worked for me, might actually be the
most useful thing I could write about. It seemed clear that
they must be universal experiences that other people could
relate to as well. Maybe describing what had gotten me out
of my hole would help others out of theirs.
    The book’s title—The Grand Illusion—is the phrase that
occurred to me as I was trying to describe the mass of negative
emotions, thoughts, and false beliefs that keep us from
experiencing our natural state of love, compassion, kindness,
joy, and connectedness to life.
    Negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, grief, jealousy,
and resentment can darken our lives and sap our energy.
Beliefs about all that is wrong with ourselves, others, and
the world around us can enmesh us in a web of conflicts and
turmoil, and can turn our lives into a soap opera of drama
and tragedy. We can be living our lives still stuck in painful
incidents that happened decades ago, and needlessly still be
carrying around toxic resentments.
    This book is about the path away from this “Grand Illusion”
of suffering, and into the light of joy and contentment.
The path is organized to be accessible and understandable
as 20 habits which when practiced in daily life will bring
about spiritual transformation and take us out of suffering.
The only requirement on the part of you, the reader, is a
desire to experience positive change in your life, the openness
of mind to consider new ideas without immediately
dismissing them because they are new, and the persistence to
actually apply them and see if they work in your own life.
    For most people however this is all too much effort, they
just want to be comfortable and entertained or reassured or
medicated into oblivion. Or they don’t believe real change
is possible to achieve. Or they are still convinced by the
falsehood that the physical universe can provide all they
need. And so nothing much changes as they make their way
through their life. And then one day they die.
    This book is not aimed at those people. This book is written
for those people who are motivated by a strong internal
desire to find something beyond everyday life: beyond a job
to pay the bills, a beer, some laughs, the TV and a comfortable
place to sleep. The fact is that life will give you what you
ask for—mundane or extraordinary.
    I am not a member of any organized religion or philosophy,
so I have no agenda to forward. I am open to wisdom
wherever I find it.
    I have collected and included quotes from spiritual teachers
and others with insight throughout the book to show
the universality of the truths I discuss—that they show up
in many places and come from many religions, traditions,
and just people of perception. In fact, the more I looked, the
more amazed I became that people from completely diverse
walks of life and totally different cultures were saying the
same things over and over, proving how similar the human
experience of the divine really is. We are far more similar
than we are different.
    But most of these teachings were not the source of my
own insights. I gathered most of them after the fact, to give
my writing context and to illustrate that these truths indeed
are universal. Many of the religious quotes only made sense
to me after my own experiences.
    I mention this for those who mistakenly believe that
spirituality can be achieved by intellectual pursuit alone.
It cannot. It is beyond intellect, it is an experience, and must
be found through the application of spiritual truths. This is a
very important distinction.

    Once I had some very transformative experiences, I
then understood some religious teachings for the first time;
suddenly I was able to comprehend what had often been a
foreign language. And then I started to collect them.
They showed me that others had experienced the same
things before me, and that they can be experienced by everyone
who reaches for them. But you cannot logic or think
your way to changes in spiritual consciousness; the wisest
concepts are only sign-posts to what lies beyond the territory
of the mind.
    And this is why no one can say what is the right path of
experience for another. Each of us is somewhere our own
journey to awakening, whether we realize it or not. And this
is why tolerance is so important.
    This book isn’t about adopting new ideas; its concepts
are not mine, or even new. It is about the truths that always
surround us and of which we are a part, which we can
recognize within our own innate wisdom. They are always
waiting and accessible if we take the time to look for them.
    This is because spiritual truths are universal to all people,
and apply to those of all races, religions, and cultural backgrounds.
We all carry this wisdom within us, even though
it may be covered up.
    This book is an introduction to the Spiritual Laws of the
Universe, which exist just as gravity and the speed of light
do in the physical universe, without regard to our opinions
or judgments.
    I invite you to test the workability of the principles in this
book in your own life.
    One way is by using the type of “bracketing” approach
that anthropologists often do in studying other cultures,
wherein one’s own personal belief system is suspended
while learning about another system of thought in a nonjudgmental
    So you are not required to accept new ideas until you fi rst
know what they are, and have had a chance to see if they work
in your life when you apply them. If you simply reject new
concepts as you encounter them, just because they are different
to that with which you are already familiar, you are closing
the door to the possibility of change or advancement.
    The beginning of wisdom, as Socrates pointed out, is for
us to realize we don’t know anything.
    To declare: “I am dissatisfied with my life, and I want it to
change for the better, but without considering the possibility
of changing any of my ideas”— is describing a strategy that
I guarantee is simply not going to work!
Changing your life in a positive way requires first
changing your ideas in a positive way.
    If you are skeptical about spirituality, or if the very
word makes you cringe, you may be interested in knowing
upfront that this is the story of the gradual transformation
of someone who had pretty much rejected spiritual matters
and religions. I was so embittered by what I felt was my
earlier betrayal in following what I mistakenly took to be
a valid spiritual path, that for thirteen years I focused only
on material achievements, my career, family, and friends.
    But then I was presented with an experience of tangible
spirituality so undeniable and profound that it forced me
again to include spirituality in my worldview.
This book describes personal work we need to do in
order to bring about change. Then we can experience the
results. It is not just about absorbing concepts. Otherwise it
is like reading a book on weightlifting without lifting any
weights and then saying, “Well, that didn’t work!”
    I believe in pragmatism—that which can be experienced
to be true because of its workability in the real world.
Reading an idea is just the first step. Then the reader needs
to practice the principles in his or her daily life to experience
the results—just as they can experience the workability of
    Don’t ever accept anything just because it is found in
books. There is a great deal of nonsense written in books.
It will help to let the concepts seep into you, and to become
aware of your own internal responses to them. What is
important here is not my words but your own awareness at a
level beyond words. These are truths that you already know
at some deep level, but you need to let your recognition of
them surface.
    As Thomas Dewar famously noted, Minds are like parachutes;
they work best when open. In order to change one’s
situation, one has to be willing to consider and be open to
new ideas. One has to first be willing to learn, in order to
learn anything. If you are dissatisfied with your life in some
way and would like it to improve, but are convinced you
already know everything and are dismissive of considering
new ideas, you aren’t likely to get anywhere.
    Knowing that you don’t know is the first step to
    You may initially feel cynical or even antagonistic as you
read this book. One’s own pain can rise up like an angry
dog that has been awakened and finds itself still tied to
a chain. If you give in to negative emotion, you will stay
trapped by it. There is a way out—but it requires patience,
self-examination, and work. It is just a matter of priorities
and deciding what is important to you.
    For some people, the concepts will already be familiar
friends, or to others may be life-changing revelations—
depending on how open they are to their own internal
    I have tried to be careful about my use of words—words
like God or spiritual can be very emotionally loaded to some
individuals, either positively or negatively, according to
their life experiences. So if you encounter words you find
off-putting, I ask you to be patient until you understand the
concept being described. Please don’t assume if you see a
word that is emotionally charged to you, that it is being used
in the same way as you previously encountered it.
    If the concepts in this book are within the scope of your
consciousness, you may feel recognition of them reverberating
deep within you. It has often happened that once I became
aware of something, I saw examples of it everywhere.
But before that awareness, it was invisible. The day you drive
your new car home from the dealer, you see the same model
    You may recognize some concepts are being repeated
in the book—all the spiritual laws in the book interlock and
work with each other, and so they are repeated in different
contexts when necessary.
    Those who are seeking truth are like people walking into
the darkness with a flashlight. We cannot see what is beyond
the beam of our light, but sometimes, we come across a signpost
that tells us we are on the right road. Eventually, our
own internal compass will steer us in the right direction.
    Picture yourself in a box. The box is in the middle of a
beautiful garden full of flowers and trees, streams and lakes.
But you believe in the reality of the box, and so it contains
you and you cannot reach the garden outside it. You are not
even aware of its existence. But the moment you cease to
believe in the box, it vanishes, and you are free to walk in
the garden. The condition of most Homo sapiens is the same,
unaware of our natural spiritual state and of the possibilities
and freedoms that lay just beyond our grasp, beyond
the prison of our false beliefs and trapped attention—our
box—beyond the Grand Illusion.
    This book is like offering a man locked in a cell the keys
to his freedom. It is your choice whether to pick up the keys
and try them in the lock.
    I have written this book in the sincere hope you may find
it useful. I wish I had been able to read it myself when I was
young. It could have saved me a great deal of trouble!

With love,
Christopher Speer,
Santa Fe, N.M.