“Here I’m going to do something I’ve never done before: I’ll go through the tenets one by one and show you how they relate to me and my journey. Some of you may respond to what I discuss, while others may feel that it’s too far out for you.” – From the book
If You Could See What I See is mostly an autobiographical account of the life of Sylvia Browne and how she has incorporated 21 spiritual principles in her personal and public life. According to Browne—a well known psychic and medium—these tenets came directly to her approximately 30 years ago via her spirit guide, Francine. When Browne started the Society of Novus Spiritus, these principles became the cornerstone of her church’s beliefs.
Using personal anecdotes, as well as stories from relatives and church members, Browne explains how the 21 tenets apply to everyday living. For her, they are both a spiritual roadmap and an explanation why things happen as they do here on Earth. Several of the Gnostic tenets of Novus Spiritus include:
• Do not give unto God any human pettiness such as vengeance, wrath, or hate. Negativity is man’s alone.
• Create your own heaven, not a hell. You are a creator made from God.
• Turn thy power outward, not inward, for therein shines the light and the way.
• Be simple. Allow no man to judge you, not even yourself, for you cannot judge God.
• You are a light in a lonely, dark desert who enlightens many.
• Let no one convince you that you are less than a God. Do not let fear imprison your spiritual growth.
• God allows each person the opportunity for perfection, whether you need one life or a hundred lives to reach your level of perfection.
• We believe in a Mother God, who is co-Creator with our all-loving Father God.
• We believe that our Lord was crucified, but did not die on the cross. Instead, he went on to live his life in France with his mother and Mary Magdalene, his wife.
While Browne tries to be hopeful in If You Could See What I See, a weary, jaded tone permeates the book. Referring to this Earth as a “hellhole” more than once, Browne focuses on the trials she has experienced through life. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, especially of it were only an autobiography. However, she’s offering the 21 tenets as a prescription for life and as a spiritual guidebook. Also, she repeatedly mentions the abuse and neglect suffered at the hands of her Mom while idealizing her father, grandmother, and uncle. Browne even goes as far as to call her Mom a “dark entity”—a soul that is not of the Light. Another unusual perspective in If You Could See What I See is that of forgiveness. The author relays a story about a man who was bilked out of his father’s belongings. Apparently, his brother convinced the father to change his will and the man was left with nothing—not even a memento. Browne advises that the man doesn’t “have” to forgive—“just don’t let it get in the way of your life.” Every spiritual tradition that I know of—not to mention psychological truth—shows that unforgiveness is toxic. We forgive for our benefit and health, not that of the transgressor. I find this advice extremely odd, especially considering that Browne considers Jesus her “Lord” and admits she believes he was crucified on the cross. If Christ is her supposed model, saying, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do” in the face of such treatment, how can she justify withholding forgiveness for something as petty as the betrayal of a brother? Since when are we guaranteed anything, let alone something as fleeting as an inheritance? I’m reminded of a quote by Gary Renard: “Without forgiveness, metaphysics is useless.”
It’s obvious that Browne has been through a lot, including public ridicule and outright mean-spiritedness. This is unfortunate and sad. As a result, there is an underlying vibe that she’s not over some of the hardships she has experienced in life and that she really doesn’t want to be here on Earth. In fact, she goes so far to say, “life isn’t too short—it’s too long.” Granted, this world is the toughest “school” in the cosmos, so I can see her point.
Browne does offer some solid, sage advice at times, but If You Could See What I See is best read as an autobiography of one woman’s spiritual journey, in my opinion. She’s a courageous woman who’s not afraid to show “warts and all”, which is more than I can say for many New Age authors.
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