Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 1999
Waking Up in Time: Finding Peace in Times of Accelerating Change is aptly titled. However, a glib acceptance of this title’s meaning will only serve to humble the reader. Russell used his obvious expertise in physics, psychology and philosophy to, more accurately, shock the reader into the most important wake-up call facing humankind today. That is, to catch up our inner awareness/development to the accelerating outward material/technical leaps of growth or change. Or else.
The book is divided into four parts. The first is titled “The Quickening” and succinctly describes the amazing evolutionary process of our universe. The scientific facts are interesting and succeed in dropping the reader down to size.
The second part, “The Crisis,” boldly covers issues that most of us manage to ignore while scurrying through our stressful lives, for example, the gluttony of humanity’s consumption; the destruction of our planet; deforestation; the ozone gaps; the disappearing species (one per hour), etc. Yet, the author pulls us out of this long enough to mention that the real crisis is psychological. Humankind has the erroneous belief that by molding or modifying our physical surroundings, inner change or relief or (dare we say) happiness will result. Dysfunctional thinking. After taking billions
of years to develop as homo sapiens
”sapiens”(“the wise human being”) we are ironically creating our own insanity. The author further talks of fear, stress and the accelerating technology; and yet, he proclaims the fulfillment we seek is found within.
Naturally, the next part is called “The Awakening.” This section touches on different spiritual paths and how they all share an alternative way of seeing reality. Basically, living in the “now” equals inner peace. Russell also touches on relationships, love, forgiveness, maturity and freedom. He also puts in a plug for meditation…a technique to reach the “still mind.”
The final section, “The Future,” is somewhat of a rehash of previously-stated philosophies, laws of physics and more informational facts. Ominous future predictions are explained and then the author shifts over (again) to inner evolution. The hope for our planet. He states the big question: is there a reason for our whole evolution? The answer: “the Universe exists so that it can be known.” This is profound and key to spiritual enlightening.
Russell’s book is alternately fascinating and depressing. If anything, the cold hard facts will jolt the reader into a new awareness. The urgent physics message that evolves into a cry for spiritual awakening is a tricky bridge to cross. The author did alright with the task, but it was not as organized as the part heads indicate. Also the spiritual offerings were rather old hat and easier said than done. The nice difference in this book from other (either science or self-help) books is that the author does try to tie these two areas together. It gives the reader a new avenue for personal change. Rather than adopting the defeatist attitude “What good does my little voice do?” the reader is given a new reason to create change. Personal change that is linked to planetary changes. And this is truly a timely concept.Waking Up in Time is a good addition to any library.