Reading at least one of the “Seth books” by Jane Roberts is almost a requirement if you have any interest in metaphysical books. Her books are often mentioned in others, and many more authors were probably influenced by them. Given that, it’s surprising it took me so long to begin reading them. But it was probably better that I did wait because of the complexity of the material.
I am not reading this series in the order they were written. I seldom do. Once I become interested in a particular author, I usually check the local library to see which books they have available and pick the one that appeals to me most. The Nature of Personal Reality was the first one I read, so I decided I would review it, instead of any of the others. If you have no decided preference, The Seth Material might be a better first choice. That one introduces the basic concepts, and the style is somewhat easier to read. It blends direct quotes from Seth (the channeled entity) with interpretation of the material by Jane Roberts.
As each new book was published, the style gradually changed to focus almost exclusively on the material directly from Seth, with comments by Jane Roberts’s husband being added in italics. This was distracting, especially since many of the notes were irrelevant to the topic being discussed. These asides usually broke my train of thought and interfered with my comprehension of the concepts. Eventually, I became better at skimming over or skipping entirely all these unnecessary notes. Oddly enough, the different approach used in The Nature of the Psyche, which inserted most of the notes at the end of each chapter, wasn’t much better, since many of those notes were relevant to the material and helped clarify certain points being made.
These books were originally published in the Sixties and Seventies. Although this was a time when many people embraced radical ideas, they still must have been quite shocking to most people. Even from a present day perspective, some of the content is pretty extreme. There is sufficient diversity in the topics covered—religion, health care, crime, science, aggression, history, etc.—to upset or offend just about everyone. In fact, I can’t imagine anyone ever agreeing with, believing, or even understanding everything in these books.
Many of the concepts are both difficult to fully comprehend and impossible to prove or disprove. Take for instance the comments made about time throughout all the books. According to Seth, “time” is used so we can experience the physical world, but everything is actually occurring simultaneously. There is no past or future. Yet, many of the ideas are presented in a time-based context. Although that’s probably the only way we can have any understanding of them at all, it still creates difficulties due to what seem to be contradictory statements. How can we learn from past lives if we are currently living all our lives? Even if it’s true, I don’t think we can truly understand this concept or all its implications from our physically-oriented perspective.
This book focuses on how we create our own reality. “You form the fabric of your experience through your own beliefs and expectations. These personal ideas about yourself and the nature of reality will affect your thoughts and emotions.” In other words, reality becomes whatever we believe it to be and is experienced in a self-confirming circular pattern. The structure of our lives is based on core beliefs, which then collect subsidiary beliefs that support them. The goal of the book is to help us understand how it works and also to recognize what our core beliefs are so that we can keep the ones that are beneficial and change the ones that aren’t. If we can change the core beliefs that create negative results, the subsidiary beliefs supporting them will drop away.
Various types of commonly held beliefs are explored in detail. Some of the most interesting ones to me were about crime, punishment, and guilt, and about aggression versus violence. Current events suggest that a better understanding of these would be of value to the entire world. Other topics focused on in the book include dreams, health, and the “Point of Power” (which is the present, obviously, since neither the past nor the future exist).
Ironically, the most disappointing aspect of the book was the lack of specific steps for discovering and changing one’s beliefs. I don’t know why that should bother me, since I hardly ever follow that kind of advice. But I felt like they were promised to me and when they were eventually revealed throughout the book, they seemed vague and un-emphasized to the point where I almost missed them. Even now, I’m not sure I made notes of them all. Yes, there are some suggestions. Just don’t expect there to be a 12-step program you can follow, or in my case, ignore.
The Seth books are fascinating, the ideas in them intriguing. The fundamental concept that we are creating our own reality is found in many other books, especially those dealing with the Law of Attraction. But the Seth books go way beyond the simplicity of those other books. Although some of the material is definitely too far “out there” for me, I found them thought-provoking and mind-expanding—well worth the time reading and even re-reading them. I have read several, so far, and plan on reading several more, if not all of them.