is a do-it-yourself guide to enlightenment. For the ultimate victim of
celebrity, unable to go out in public, this was like discovering a
portable cathedral-one hundred and sixty-seven pages of wisdom,
inspiration, and provocation.
he would later immerse himself in more obscure readings, The
Impersonal Life was
ground zero for Elvis’s exploration of the beyond within.
And understandably so. Benner’s
writings made sense of Elvis’s core sense of puzzlement over being a
surviving twin who had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
Benner defines the term “impersonal” as meaning that the powers
of God reside within each of us. All
have spiritual equality and the energy that emanates from this awareness.
It is a philosophy quite similar to Teilhard de Chardins’s “noosphere,”
Freud’s “oceanic consciousness,” or Hegel’s “absolute spirit,”
but much easier to read. It
is a cosmic system where everything fits perfectly.
further explains that the key to this higher level of understanding and of
relating to others in a spiritual rather than physical sense are usually
hidden. They need to be
coaxed out through a life of mediation, reading, faith, and experience.
Even once an individual becomes fully aware of the power within-a
power that each person has an equal potential –these abilities are still
of no use unless one carries forth the message “to all hearers”.
book is concise, and must have been intriguing reading for Elvis.
In the first half alone, there are repeated word games where, for
example, “woman” is reworded as “womb man,” and “imagine” as
“image-in”. Sure to grasp
the attention of someone who already tended to look for omens and obscure
meaning are phrases such as “study carefully in order to recognize
SIGNS,” and the admonition, “in every line is a hidden meaning.” Elvis was also fascinated by Benner’s axiom that
individuality is but an illusion, his reference to “you and your
brother,” and the statement that “I am your brother.”
true revelation for Elvis came in Chapter Eleven, titled, simply,
“Use.” Here Benner says
that “enough has been revealed to prepare you for the recognition of My
Voice speaking within.” Geller
said that Elvis knew the reference was to Jesse.
He was suddenly galvanized by a direct link between something
“out there,” the most personal, private, and painful experience of his
existence, and Geller as the harbinger of this new awareness.
A reference followed that, even though written in 1916, Elvis could
have interpreted only as directly applicable to himself.
“I may be expressing through you beautiful symphonies of
Elvis, Elvis Presley and Graceland are