The Shape of the Soul: What Mystical Experience Tells Us about Ourselves and Reality by Paul Marshall (2019)
When Paul Marshall began to pay attention to his dreams, he could not have anticipated the transformative experience that would follow. A tremendous expansion of consciousness exposed the insignificance of his everyday self but also revealed unsuspected depths of mind and hinted at a deeper self that holds the universe within.
In The Shape of the Soul, Marshall—now a mysticism scholar—draws on personal experiences, along with a wealth of religious, philosophical, and scientific ideas, to explore this deeper self, sometimes experienced in mystical and near-death states as spherical in form. Drawing inspiration from the philosophers Plotinus and Leibniz, Marshall takes mind to be more fundamental than matter and views the basic units of nature as perceptual beings. We ourselves are such beings, striving for fulfilment in a long evolutionary journey of soul-making.
Bringing together mysticism, philosophy, biology, and even some physics, The Shape of the Soul offers a deeply integrated vision of the self and the universe. Addressing the mind–body problem, the origin of the world, evolution, reincarnation, suffering, and the nature of God, Marshall delivers what will surely prove an intellectual classic.