Most, if not all, adults have found themselves in gridlock traffic. As they watch the minutes tick by, the frustration starts brewing. One driver and then another voices their anger by blaring their car horn. It is difficult to resist the urge to join in; the slight release found in honking the horn is satisfying. Alas, the traffic continues, as does the boiling pit of frustration, impatience, and anger. David Mutchler and Elizabeth Beau present a method in their book that promises relief from experiencing negative emotions in situations like this, as well as situations of greater concern and consequence. Unfortunately, it delivers only in part.
Fourteen Inches to Peace is the joint effort of Mutchler’s “Awaken to Ego” and “A Course in Miracles” methods to assist those seeking a life of little to no suffering and a deeper spirituality. The approach is deceptively simple, yet requires awareness and diligence from the practitioner. But although the book is an improvement on some of Mutchler’s earlier texts when it comes to “Awaken to Ego,” it has huge gaps in its explanation of “A Course in Miracles,” and leaves the reader largely confused.
Fourteen Inches to Peace is separated into three major parts. The first section explains the “Awaken to Ego” method: That by acknowledging ego’s presence in life, its power is weakened and suffering is minimized. The short second section focuses on the “A Course in Miracles” method and how it and “Awaken to Ego” changed co-author Elizabeth Beau’s life. Finally, the third section attempts to answer frequently asked questions about the methods, such as, “Is there a connection between ego and sin?”
Having read and reviewed Mutchler’s earlier book Non-Judgment Day is Coming, I was very pleased to see that at least some of the problems of that earlier text were not dragged into this newer one. In Non-Judgment Day is Coming, Mutchler had focused on how the “Awaken to Ego” method could change society and the world — which did not serve the book well. Fourteen Inches to Peace provides a much better explanation of how the technique can help the reader on an individual level. And unlike in his previous book, Mutchler’s presentation here is much more straightforward and not overly idealistic. That is an improvement.
Instead, it is Beau’s explanations that are sorely lacking in this text. A handful of pages she has written are specific to “A Course in Miracles,” but they are barely an introduction. It is not clear exactly what “A Course in Miracles” is about. My understanding is that ACIM is a spiritual approach, although I could be wrong because so little is presented to clarify that. Beau’s section on ACIM would have been better as a foreword to Mutchler’s book or as an appendix rather than as its own main section.
Thankfully, the frequently asked questions section does provide some help with ACIM. However, the answers barely scratch the surface as to whether ACIM is a spiritual method or a full belief system. In answer to certain questions, there are comments and elaborations, but many “answers” simply quote Beau’s measly chapter.
If you are looking for a resource on Mutchler’s “Awaken to Ego” method, then Fourteen Inches to Peace is indeed worth your while. And one could perhaps read this book not as a reference for the individual practices but as a reference to a spiritual practice that provides peace in your daily life. Otherwise, due to its confusing explanation of ACIM, it falls short.
Fourteen Inches to Peace: Seven Simple Steps to Move from Your Head to Your Heart
Balboa Press, August, 2012
Paperback, 212 pages