Book Review: Spiritual Enlightenment the Damnedest thing


I literally just set Spiritual Enlightenment down because I wanted to write this review while the ideas and concepts were fresh in my head.

I’ve done a lot of reading in regards to the spiritual path… Eckhart Tolle, Alan Watts, Harold Kushner, Budhism, Zen etc. All of those books were interesting but none had the epiphany creating moments that Spirutal Enlightment did. There were many times where I had to put the book down and write out my thoughts, just to wrap my head around the concepts that were presented.

This books cuts through the facade of many spiritual teachers like a hot knife through room temperature butter. The mysterious Jed Mckenna presents himself as the anti-guru and lays out his ideas in very real direct terms. He swears, eats meat, goes skydiving and uses vampires and zombies to describe the “unawake” (my kind of guy).

The book reads like a story. There are characters (probably made up names), development, drama, conflict and resolution. This was a nice change compared to other spiritual books where concept after concept is thrown at you in “hard to read” fashion.

Mckenna describes some very complex ideas in very real world terms. I love his use of analogies as they allow the reader to relate unfamiliar ideas with familiar ones. His analogy of a person chained to their seat in a movie theater really drove home the concept of “Waking Up” for me.

Who’s this book for?

Anyone on the spiritual path should read this book. It is designed to tear down belief systems that we create in order to reveal what is false.  Removing the layers of the onion that are not true until only truth is left.

If you read this book with an open mind and allow the concepts to sink in, you’ll grow and develop as a result. If you can figure out how to levitate or read minds after finishing it, please let me know.


  • Mckenna’s direct and straightforward writing style is great. Most spiritual gurus tend to be very “wishy washy” and all over the place. Mckenna is the opposite.
  • The concepts of this book build on each other. He starts the book with simple concepts and uses other peoples experiences and stories to enhance the learning experience.
  • He uses easy to understand analogies for his concepts.


  • This book is not for everyone. Those tied to dogma are about to have their world shaken up. It will not be a pleasant ride.
  • Mckenna uses poems to reinforce concepts. Some of the poems read more like riddles than poems. In some cases the poems work really well, in others they don’t.
  • The book is on the short side and a quick read. I was left wanting more.

Summing It Up

Towards the end of the book McKenna leaves us with this summation of the book.

“Think for yourself and figure out what is true. That’s it. Ask yourself what is true until you know.”

About Ben Austin

My friends call me the illegitimate love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Nye. I’m a bodybuilding-yogi-science loving-foodie bringing an engineering approach to lifestyle design. Join me as I analyze the systems that go into optimal mental and physical performance and explore the stories and tactics of people who set the standard for the rest of us.
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