CrossRoads by Steven Nedelton


Crossroads by Steven Nedelton

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

What if you had the ability to control someone’s actions and thoughts from a distance and they would be none the wiser? What if you could connect with another person from a distance telepathically and know what they were thinking, doing and what their inner-most thoughts were? What would you do if you were a major player in a government’s plot to find out the strategies of other countries at war and you were capable of controlling the outcome? You would be one of the major players in a groundbreaking novel that brings to light a very dangerous time in our history, The Cold War. For Mind Control and mind altering experiences frighten anyone into thinking: Who can you trust?

Is the Cold War over or just in another phase? Is Crossroads a novel way ahead of its time?  Those are the questions you have to answer for yourself after reading this novel…

Our world is full of curious eyes , as the saying goes–that is a given. Count on it even in your own loo, enclosed by four walls, a bare foot from your mirror, a few feet from your own bathtub. Think—is someone observing me right now? Am I truly alone? And you know something? You just might not be…

This novel is about spies and espionage for they were the main players in the Cold War game. These men and women, sometimes double agents, infiltrated the opposing secret services as well as their own, gained their confidences then stole their innermost secrets while spreading falsehoods and total confusion.

Let’s meet them in our novel.

We have CIA agent Dave Tillman who is in charge of a group of men who are being trained in mind control methods and outer body experiences that would unable them to connect with someone from a distance and read and understand their thoughts. Dangerous, deadly and frightening  to say the least. The author enters the reader into a world most people are unaware of and unprepared for.

Next, we have a Russian ‘agent-defector’ Mikhail.  A man sought by the Russians’ expert group for he is trained to spy on Americans. Tatiana, a woman in a powerful position in the KGB Directorate, is his control.

Then we meet Mme Benoit, a ‘double’ Mme Benoit. The Citizen Benoit who eventually discovers an agent can never be too comfortable in her position, never feel safe. What that meant for the good looking Benoit, you will have to read and learn for yourself.

Tatiana is a Russian doctor and a major player in this plot to find out what exactly the Americans are working on and how her former subordinate Mikhail is involved. She is also a seductress with hypnotic powers over her subjects, capable of erasing their thoughts, minds and controlling their every action and more.

Hypnotic mind control or mind controlled hypnosis: Do you believe in it?

Are you born with the ability to hypnotize someone and control their every thought and create situations for that person that they would follow your directions and wishes against their own will?

Tatiana did just that when she wanted a certain Colonel Volkov to forget everything he knew about Mikhail and his plan to eliminate him. She repeated the stunt with the Special Operations boss Sergey Sokolov. In this war or game, no one was indispensable and everyone’s life was on a thin tightrope, as thin or fragile as that of a spider’s web.

Then there is an ex-cop, a hitman, hired by the Russians. The Director of Operations is killed, a photographer is murdered, a man is declared insane after going after Sokolov and then eliminated. What is going on? Some men are controlled by greed and others by a voice on the phone that hypnotizes them and paralyzes their very own will. What is the connection?

In Russia, a group of dissident leaders meet to discuss how to take down Gorbachev and regain control of their Communist Party’s ways and the people. But they don’t understand what is happening to the man leading them or what controls his mind and why are his opinions and ideals suddenly changing.

Then a young woman is murdered because she knows someone important? All of these lose ends and more will come together for you as you read more about a city that was once peaceful, sleepy and crime free, and known as Crossroads.

This book is mind stimulating and gives the reader reason to pause and think about what might really be happening behind closed doors when leaders of many countries have one goal and try to achieve it at all cost. Can this be happening under the watchful eyes of CIA, FBI and Homeland Security today as it did back during the Cold War?

What is the role of Project Sphinx? What part the mind controllers play in the plot to remove Gorbachev, in thwarting the coup you will have to read the book to find out? What finally happens to Tallman, Jack, Larry and Mikhail? What is the final fate of each of these brave men and others? Only the author knows and if you want to find out the unexpected ending with all its twists, turns and more, read this Five Stars novel from an author that I feel is equal to Daniel Silva, Steve Berry, Baldacci and other writers of exciting thrillers.

Fran Lewis:

Reviewer

www.SNEDELTON.com

Novels by Steven Nedelton:

Crossroads

The Raven Affair

Fear Factor

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Backwards Buddhist


A Great Book For 2010

The Backwards Buddhist by Barbara Fleming

In the Backwards Buddhist, Barbara Fleming searches for a path to freedom. Retelling her own spiritual journey from basic meditation to the practices of the highest Dzogchen of Rushen, Trekchod, and Togal this reviewer learned a lot about the author, her journey and her many destinations. In creating her own path to freedom and beginning a new journey away from her old beliefs, the author formulated a plan of her own: first she had to decide what path to follow. Next, she had to pursue the path until enlightenment or until it was no longer appropriate. Third, she had to reassess while proceeding on the journey in order to measure her progress. Then, not micromanage course corrections and finally evaluate additional major spiritual shifts thoroughly. She decided on Meditation as the start of her journey.

Meditation is the conscious cultivation of attention and awareness, often referred to as mindfulness. When you develop mindful awareness it purifies, illumines and frees the mind. It helps to free the person of habitual conditioning, compulsion and attachment. It clarifies and helps to resolve inner conflicts and untangles what is tangled. It helps to sharpen and enhance powers of observation and sharpens the mind. Meditation often brings the person inner peace, calm, centeredness, concentration, relaxation and more. This is something that anyone, regardless of his or her spiritual beliefs can benefit from. Our author decided to take the path of learning Dzochen, which teachings concern the true nature of the mind. Dzogchen is a Tibetan word meaning Great Perfection. It refers to a method of meditative practice that enables the person to recognize their true nature. Ultimately, great perfection is that very nature: the natural.

The meditation practice described by the author is that of the Great Perfection and is designed to break up obscuring mental habits of mind and revealing at that moment what is really there. When you meditate you relax and rest in that true nature. You can observe how thoughts spontaneously arise, abide and disappear. In meditation you can discover that there is no effort required to dissolve thoughts and that the very same ones that cause your problems actually arise by themselves and then dissolve by themselves.

Beginning her journey at a two week retreat in 2002, our author, allows the reader to join in her journey and experiences and enter the new world of silent retreat along with her. Learning new vocabulary, simple mediations from the teachers, chanting simple mantras and immersing herself in the teachings of Dzogchen.  Describing her first days at the retreat you can feel and understand her frustrations, her successes and her determination to learn about Tonglen, the many of the philosophies taught in Buddhism. I am going to summarize the ones that I think the reader would really like to learn and understand and then I will describe some of her experiences at the retreats that she participated in. Starting with the Four Boundlessness or Four Immeasurables. Understand that the premise behind the book is not to convert the reader or convince you to change your beliefs but to go along with her on her journey to change.

The premise of her book as she stated is finding the answers before formulating the questions. As with most people this author, like myself, would rather know where you will wind up and the end result and not just the questions or the roads in between. Here are the Four Immeasurables and Tonglen that she learned and followed during her retreat. These are practices that she incorporated in her daily life when she returned home and that anyone can understand and even might incorporate in their lives too.  Briefly, in Buddhism there are some basic tenets that are common to all sects or schools. These are the Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the Four Mind Changers and the Four Immeasurables, which I will now explain. The others you will have to read and learn about yourself. In her retreat experience is where she learned these. The first is empathetic joy, which means sympathy or understanding. This might evoke a different meaning other than the one that is intended. In other words having empathetic joy was the basic idea and behavior it means to develop, the ability to rejoice in the good fortune of others. For example: If a child receives a special present or a job promotion you should be truly happy and feel joy for that person. The next immeasurable is Loving Kindness which begins at home. This immeasurable helped our author learn to put her ego in the backseat and realize that everyone is the same when seeking happiness. Compassion is third and she learned this on the retreat too. Showing compassion for others is not as hard as showing it for yourself. Compassion in this sense is to be able to show it for yourself in a situation that calls for your understanding of you. Finally, the last immeasurable is Equanimity which is defined as mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper in difficult and different situations. In order to learn how these impacted our author and her life, you need to read about her experiences yourself.

Every road has its bumps or in this case hindrances that need to be addressed as the author finds out along the way. With the help of her teachers and asking questions, she learns to understand more about herself and the philosophies,

She goes on to tell about the main forms of Tibetan Buddhism. They are Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Each are also referred to as the lesser, greater and diamond vehicles. The first path focuses on achievement of personal enlightenment and is gradual. The second focuses on compassion for self and others and the third is the path of transformation of life’s experiences, mantra, visualization and deity practice leading to enlightenment. The author’s journey and what she learned are really interesting and informative and should be read by the reader in order for you to learn what I did reading this insightful book. You want to go along with the author on her journey and feel a part of it in order to truly understand her message in writing this book.

Finally, I will discuss Dzogchen, which is taught in three sections. The first is Rushen, the second Trekchod and third Togal. These three whether together or separately provide the structure for constructing a practice leading to full enlightenment. Rushen is the preliminary practice and devoted to self-inquiry. Trekchod is translated as cutting through a person’s self-generated delusional perspective of reality. The last, Togal, is a visionary practice. In order to truly understand what leads to the Natural Great Perfection you must read Chapter 9.

Implementing this into her life the author states that she dislikes and has a strong resistance to rules and regulations. She also has difficulty sitting from 30 or 40 minutes at a time to meditate and she knows that specific times should be set aside. She does practice various kinds of meditation depending on her state of mind. Meditation as she states is personal and how she worked it into her daily life is described in Chapter 12. There is so much more that I learned from reading this book that you will have to explore and learn for yourself. At the end of Chapter 12 the author defines the basic precepts, concepts and preliminary teachings not included in the rest of the book. The Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path, The Six Paramitas or perfections, Refuge Vow, Bodhisattva Vow, Vajrayana practices, Lojong, the three kayas, shunyata, emptiness, which she follows to one degree or another.

In conclusion I will say that whether you believe in these philosophies or not, you need to keep an open mind as this reviewer did and read and learn about Buddhism, Dzogchen and the many concepts and precepts involved in the teaching and decide for yourself if any, some or none can be incorporated in your life. Chapter 13 will help you learn the situations that the author created for herself or encountered where her teachings and lessons helped her through.

Thank you for allowing me to go on this journey with you and thank you for giving me the honor of reviewing this book. I learned about many things and teachings as well as the philosophies and understandings of Buddhism and Dzogchen. This book should be read by those who have open minds, want to explore new avenues of learning and want to learn how to be more loving, kind, compassionate, empathetic, and more to others.

I never give stars to books that I find above the rest. I try to give five of something related to the text and that would be meaningful: I give this book: perfect teaching, perfect teacher, perfect student, perfect time, and the perfect place: the Five Perfections.

I reviewed this book for the author. My review just highlights what I think most people will understand. I feel that you need to decide for yourself whether you would read this book. The author wrote it to share her journey with the reader and not to try and convert, or change your beliefs.

Namaste  (that means I bow to the best in you).

Barb F