Going Within

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

MacLaine’s unabashed sharing of her spiritual experiences has brought her both critics and converts alike. Converts will appreciate GOING WITHIN’s “how to” approach, and critics may be surprised at how plausible MacLaine’s arguments are beginning to sound. With her latest book, MacLaine’s metaphysics has seasoned somewhat, matured. Not that she has backed down in any way from pushing the limits of psychic understanding, but rather she has worked harder in GOING WITHIN to synthesize New Age ideas with the more accepted beliefs of science. Like the doctor whom MacLaine invited to witness a psychic surgery, doubters of the New Age faith may be given at least a moment or two pause. Though the doctor could find no way to dispute or debunk the amazing things that he saw--a man performing surgery without benefit of knife or anaesthesia--he still cold not quite accept something that cast into doubt everything he had ever learned about the human body. Ever the New Age cheerleader, MacLaine will inspire those who have already joined her on the spiritual path, and may even bring a few new converts along the way.

MacLaine offers practical information on meditation, balancing one’s energy centers or “chakras,” working with crystals, and using color and sound to bring healing to those areas of the body that are “dis-eased,” where negative thought patterns create disharmony and illness. There are a number of pages that suffer from MacLaine’s habit of “thinking too much,” that is, running away with theoretical speculation or attempting to nail down a philosophy that ends up sounding much too simplistic. MacLaine is at her best when she is anecdotal, sharing what she has seen and how she personally uses the New Age tools she describes. Especially fascinating are her accounts of meeting two psychic healers and a trance channeller through whom artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec still paint, and her interview with nuclear physicist Stephen Hawking.