Book Review: Brian Joseph, The Gift of Gabe

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The Gift of Gabe , by Brian Joseph

Book Review
by Jane Burden

Copyright © 2006

This review first appeared
in the online magazine
Spirit in the Smokies

Reprinted with permission

In the journey of illumination, there are some mile markers that stand out. One of the first is the realization that there is a radically different way to look at life than the one passed down through our culture. Walking past this point brings awareness of a bigger reality, previously unknown. This is our home and it's pure love. This is where the real fun begins.

With Humor, Wisdom and Joy

The Gift of Gabe by Brian Joseph, is about the process of awakening to the Truth of Life. It reminds me of my favorite book - Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. It is also about a seemingly chance encounter between two men, that blooms into a friendship and leads to an epiphany. In this story we come to know Brian and Gabe.

Gabe is a mystic and a teacher. He loves to share the perennial philosophy. This is the idea that everything is really one thing, thereby awakening the sleeping masses. Asleep to the reality that Creator and Created are One. All major religions have Oneness as their mystical foundation, regardless of what has covered it over since the originating visionary left the realm.

Buy the book
The Gift of Gabe
by Brian Joseph

Brian's initial assessment of Gabe is that he's a little off his rocker. But he's a kind person and willing to humor the man. After a few visits, he realizes that something really amazing and life changing is taking place.

Paperback - 192 pages
First Edition, 2005
Published by Aventine Press

ISBN-10: 1593302665
ISBN-13: 978-1593302665

Read a book excerpt

Gabe calls efforts to discuss and share this paradigm of Oneness "the language," because learning it is similar in some ways to learning a new language. But it is so different from our native tongue that it's a better metaphor if you add the fact that you're just about deaf and so is almost everyone you have ever met. Also, this language belongs to a tribe that you didn't know existed, living in a forest that nobody's ever heard of. That's how remote this idea is to most people. So even though the idea is simple, it is by no means easy to get.

Phrases to Live By

Gabe has awakened and enjoys helping others do the same. In the book there are some wonderful phrases that explain his point of view. The Creator and the created together comprise `What Is.' Interesting enough, in Illusions It's called `The Is.' This is in contrast to `God' as viewed by most organized religions or `the cosmic boogyman,' a separate entity who is all about judging and controlling. Jesus, Buddha, Pantanjali and some other people that you might have heard of are quoted frequently, giving the reader a sense of the universality of this philosophy. It turns out `What Is' loves the part of Itself that is us, just the way that we are and wants us to be happy because It's happy.

Gabe uses music and poetry to explain to students that this other way of looking at life exists and that there are a few popular musicians, poets and scientists who are in touch with this language. Over the course of the book, Gabe and his new student explore dozens of songs, books and poems together, in effect a `Who's Who' of illuminated artists.

Levels of Meaning in Music & Prose

Some examples used are The Beatles, William Blake and Jimi Hendrix. These artists sometimes channel `What Is' because It likes to talk to Itself. This really blows Brian's mind because he didn't think the Creator talks to creation--through creation. He highlights artists who speak about what the path to illumination looks like, how to walk it and what the experience feels like.

While reading this book, I listened to some of the songs mentioned. What I experienced reminded me of looking at one of those Magic Eye posters. Remember those? If you hold the right focus you can see a 3D-image. The deeper meaning kind of pops out at you after awhile. But if you haven't got the focus right, it is impossible to see the image even though it's right there. Check this out. The song is "Across the Universe" by The Beatles from Let It Be, 1970:

"Sounds of laughter shades of life
are ringing through my opened ears
inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which
shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe"

Can you see it? Wow.

I strongly encourage you to read this book. The Beatles have become a part of my spiritual practice because of it. I can't think of a more appropriate book to buy someone who just doesn't get why you meditate or chant or pick up Spirit in the Smokies every month.

I'll leave you with my favorite quote from Gabe:

"Do you know why I'm in love, right now, at this very minute?"

"No, not really."

"There isn't anything else to be in!"

A passerby saw this book on my desk a few minutes ago and said, "I've heard that's a good book."

Aahh, synchronicity. It's about to be a phenomenon, I tell ya!

Book Description from the Press Release

DATE: 1/4/07

Few people have heard of the novel, The Gift of Gabe . A year ago even fewer people had heard of it. In these days of big budget mass marketing books that are published by small publishers often have difficulty finding an audience. Without an advertising budget, word of this book has been spreading. Early readers fascinated by the book's inclusive spirituality, told others. An internet forum for people who study Gnosticism picked up on the book last summer making it their topic of discussion for two months. Some Beatles fans became interested after the reviewer for the online music magazine, Ear Candy recommended it saying, "I was also fascinated by the interpretations of Beatles lyrics in the book,especially after having read about every book imaginable on Beatles song analysis." Shortly after the review in Ear Candy information about the book showed up on What Goes On, a website dedicated to Beatles news. Canadian readers with an interest in the paranormal picked up on the book after the author was interviewed on The X Zone Radio Show. There has been buzz about the book by Beatles fans in places as far apart as Israel, The Netherlands, Ireland, Finland, and Russia, places far removed from the book's northern New England setting.

The book is the story of meeting an eccentric old man who discusses his spiritual philosophy including the belief that people who have had certain experiences can communicate these experiences to each other in a symbolic language that is not readily understandable to most people. What most readers find fascinating is that many familiar songs are interwoven throughout the story and looked at in a way that is unique and thought provoking. A reviewer for Bookpleasures said, "Actually, it is primarily through Gabe's radical interpretations of the mentioned songs that one tends to become convinced of his perspective's veracity." Many of the songs are so familiar to people that the author was able to do this without directly quoting the lyrics. A reviewer for Mystic Living Today wrote, "There are many wonderful songs, book references, and passages throughout that are beautifully brought to life under the author's direct and interesting first person style."

While many readers seem to be focusing on the Beatles songs referenced in the book, songs by Jimi Hendrix and others are also referenced by the main character to help illustrate spiritual concepts. The volume of examples given and the interconnections between songs and artists have led many to conclude that there is truth in what the main character says. One of Gabe's claims is that during certain creative states some people can 'channel' the Universal Mind and be unaware that they are doing so. Gabe cites Plato and many others to support this concept. Purported examples are given including songs by Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison. Gabe believes that this experience is what some of the Sufi call shathiyat and what Joseph Campbell called transcendent poetry. What may be most controversial is Gabe's claim that this archetypical poetic experience is 'the speaking in tongues' of the early Christians. It is probably this concept that has appealed to readers who identify themselves as being 'new age'. Word of the book has shown up on websites like The Holistic Bulletin. The reviewer for Mystic Living Today said, " I would recommend this book to anyone who likes an enlightened and spiritual read.."

One of the things that differentiates The Gift of Gabe from other books in the visionary fiction genre is that it incorporates factual information and events in a way that is similar to historical fiction. Some readers have had a scholarly interest in the book seeing it as a modern myth that incorporates the philosophy of Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, G.I.Gurdjieff, and others. While some are predicting that the book will become a countercultural classic, the book is clearly not for everyone. A reviewer for Round Table Reviews wrote, "The Gift of Gabe is well written, but the subject matter was too over the top for me." The same reviewer still recommended the book for some saying, "Those with a strong interest in The Beatles and philosophy will be thrilled with Brian Joseph's novel."

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