Acclaim for “Spiritual Growth is Not What You Think.”

“[I] have enjoyed [this book] very much. I found it stimulating, provocative, challenging, even disturbing! The topic is timely and relevant—baby–boomers en masse are coming out for spirituality, needing direction and guidance.”
–Nancy Marriott,
Co-author, with Candace Pert, of Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d.

“This book is an important reminder that all beliefs place limits and boundaries upon the ineffable spirit. This is a valuable guide to the pathless path: The genius of one’s own genuine spiritual experience. This work will help us lighten our beliefs and dance more with one another.”
–Harold H. Bloomfield, MD,
Author of Making Peace with Yourself, Life Mates, and Love Secrets for a Lasting Relationship.

“With so many spiritual books being Published everyday it is rare to read one as unique as this.”
—Gerald G. Jampolsky M.D.,
Author of Teach Only Love, and Love Is Letting Go Of Fear

“I LOVE the “catalytic essay” effect that this book has. It provokes the reader to reintroduce some skepticism as a way of re-introducing new concepts, like a will to love, emotional maturity, less following everyone’s say so, etc. It caused me to think that I was mostly a number “two,” and this was disconcerting but in a good way. It is a professional book, with really great references, wow, impressed. It seems like you have experience with Christianity, Zen, Rajneesh, different schools of thought, so not one thing, or the other.”
― NoelaniRodriguez.Com, Psychic

“I think much of this book is brilliant, funny, reverent/irreverent and wise. I thoroughly enjoyed your work and am sincerely glad to have spent the time reading it. I enjoyed your humor and your stories, and your honest self-appraisal.”
–My Literary Agent

Longer reviews

New Paradigm Digest

A book review by Jeff Hutner

Spiritual Growth is Not What You Think ―How Seekers Mistake the Evolution of Their Philosophy for Spiritual Progress

By Doyle Barnett

Maybe everything that happens to you isn’t always for the best; maybe it is possible to make grave spiritual mistakes that could impede your evolution for a very long time….
Could it be, that to grow spiritually you have to transcend all spiritual beliefs?
For those seekers among us who are stuck, entranced, or disillusioned by our quest for the spiritual grail, Doyle Barnett arrives lance in hand, to prod us toward ultimate clarity. This is a book whose time has arrived. It is a course in spiritual philosophy. In the name of tough love, Doyle challenges us to pull up our spiritual socks via a series of radical questions, the answers to which determine the reader’s progression beyond dysfunctional spiritual beliefs through to each of several stages of personal awareness.
Yet at the very moment you feel your courage might desert you, Doyle’s irreverent and self-deprecating humor repeatedly softens up the entire exercise.
Doyle writes from his profound spiritual and life experiences. In his quest for truth he invested his “heart and soul into many different religions.” A search made even more powerful following a traumatic childhood, debilitating chronic illness and a near death experience.
After thirteen years as a practicing Christian, followed by a year at a Zen monastery, Doyle joined the Brotherhood of the Sun. Isolated from the outside world, he practiced his monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He meditated twice daily for nine years, sometimes for periods of sixteen hours a day, non-stop.
For several years he worked and studied with American Indians. He slept in tee-pees, tracked and hunted animals, studied wild herbs, did vision quests and fasted for days in search of the Great Spirit.
For three years he lived with the followers of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a master from India.
Finally, he delved into the modern metaphysical movement: “For four years I consulted more than forty psychics, sought spirit guides and did soul retrievals. Eventually, I outgrew the relentless cycle of belief upgrading. I quit searching for hand-me-down spiritual beliefs to use as replacements for my old beliefs. For the past twenty-three years, I tried to purge myself of all borrowed spiritual beliefs in order to live life more authentically. I sought a more objective truth rather than confirmation of what I wanted or needed to believe.”
Doyle poses the now almost perennial question: “Six billion people make up the top twenty-two religions in the world. Considering the condition that the earth is in, how much is all this religion helping?”
Neither are New Agers let off the hook. He observes that most of today’s seekers don’t really know what they are doing and think that attaining new beliefs will somehow make them wiser and more spiritual. Eventually, however, they trade in these beliefs for new ones and assume they are becoming even more spiritual, whereby “the spiritual path of seekers has become the Tao of belief upgrading, or in essence, the modern metaphysical movement.”
For many, this process of belief upgrading can continue until death. For others, “the stimulation of their spiritual egos finally grows old and they realize they ‘know’ nothing for sure – it’s all just beliefs.” He exposes some of the fallacies, superstitions, and hypocrisies of the modern metaphysical movement and encourages seekers to replace their spiritual fantasies with a genuine reality check.
Doyle does not eschew belief or faith and is by no means anti spiritual. Nor does he seek to replace his readers’ beliefs with a brand new set of his own. He merely points the way toward the only intelligent, sensible –and indeed spiritual – direction available and allows readers to make their own choices. His conclusion is a most satisfying, inspiring and enjoyable read.
This intelligent, authentic, heart-felt and funny book is a must have companion for any truly genuine seekers.
Doyle Barnett has lectured throughout the US and has been a frequent guest speaker on national radio and television. He has been published in national magazines and newspapers and is the author of two books on communication tips for couples. He lives with his wife in Santa Barbara, California. They swing dance, rock climb and regularly spend time in God – the Great Out Doors.

Reviews from

★★★★★ Spiritual growth might not be what you think, but this is one book that really made ME think. If you don’t want to have your assumptions challenged, then by all means do not read this book. But if want to spend some quality time with someone who has seen life from every side and who is not afraid to let the chips fall where they may, I can guarantee that you will enjoy and benefit from it immensely. Full of warmth, wit, insight, and great (hilarious) stories! —DR. Robotnik

★★★★ This book cuts to the chase of what it means to truly evolve as a human being. Through highly personal and entertaining vignette’s, Mr. Barnett challenges the reader to see how readily we give up our discernment for the sake of comforting ideas. And with great wit and candor he provokes us with questions that couldn’t be more important; How willing are we to put aside cherished notions about ultimate questions, and spiritual philosophy, to devote our time to our emotional growth? How willing -and curious- are we to confront our own blind spots? Above all, how well do love -ourselves, and others. Mr. Barnett has dug deep with this book. and although I don’t agree with all the conclusions, ( thus the 4 stars- otherwise it would be a 5) I do strongly think/feel that the questions he encourages us to ask ourselves-( questions which many are way too cavalier about) -are essential to humanity’s development, and… although I think it’s a loaded word, I agree that the best indicator of our ‘spiritual’ maturity, is in how we live the answers to these very questions. —Syballine

★★★★★ Reading this book was a very enjoyable experience. Even though I have just begun to question my personal spiritual journey, the book “Spiritual Growth is Not What you Think”, is a wonderful place to start. I found it entertaining, funny and easy to relate to. The themes that the author writes about are ones that every person considers in their lifetime. I found it to be an unique perspective. I recommend this book to people of all ages and religions. —Jacklyn

★★★★★ A well written and amusing look at the subject of spiritual growth. The author brings humor to a subject that is often cloaked in seriousness. Mr. Barnett has shared some valuable lessons here. —RBD