About the Author
Robert Rosenthal, M.D. is Co-President of the Foundation for Inner Peace, publisher of A Course in Miracles, sharing that title with Tamara Morgan whom he has known since both were teens. He was introduced to the Course on Christmas Eve, 1975 at the tender age of 20 by Judith Skutch Whitson. He was living in the Skutch’s New York home when the first hardbound edition of the Course was printed and there met the Course’s two scribes. He became a close friend and protégé of Bill Thetford’s. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Inner Peace since 1992. After forty years, he remains an avid student and teacher of the Course, offering creative perspectives to help students deepen their understanding of the material.
Dr. Bob is also a board-certified psychiatrist and psychotherapist, now retired from active practice. He held the rank of Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the U.C. San Francisco School of Medicine and at Hahnemann University (now Drexel) in Philadelphia. He is a specialist in the areas of relationships, psychological trauma, chronic pain, and the interplay between psychotherapy and spirituality. He is also a novelist and screenwriter, with seven feature screenplays, two options and a TV pilot to his credit. From Plagues to Miracles is his first work of non-fiction. He is currently at work on a series devoted to explaining the principles of A Course in Miracles.
A BRIEF INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
There have been so many books about the Bible and its secret meanings. In what way is your book different?
Instead of looking for patterns hidden in the word order, or any other sort of secret code, FROM PLAGUES TO MIRACLES deals with the story itself, namely, the familiar story of Moses and Pharaoh from the biblical Book of Exodus. It treats Exodus as a parable—a teaching tale, the same kind that Jesus liked to use. And the secret to understanding the parable of Exodus is relatively straightforward. Pharaoh and Moses represent opposing aspects of the human mind: the ego and Spirit. So the story is not just about the Hebrew people escaping from slavery; it’s about freeing our minds from bondage too.
You’re saying the characters of Moses and Pharaoh symbolize parts of the mind. But weren’t they real people?
They may well have been. Or not. Either way, the parable stands on its own. When we understand Pharaoh as the embodiment of the ego-mind and Moses as our eternal link to Spirit, then the Hebrews’ journey becomes a model for our own spiritual journey back to God. We are the Hebrews—all of us, regardless of religious background—and if we follow the guidance of our Moses-mind, we can escape the ego’s tyranny and reach the Promised Land: a state of deep, abiding peacefulness in which the mind remains in constant harmony with God and Spirit.
According to the parable of Exodus then, we are all enslaved, isn’t that right? Can you explain?
The Roman philosopher Seneca said it well when he wrote, “Show me a man who is not a slave; one is a slave to lust, another to greed, another to ambition; all are slaves to fear.” We can also be enslaved to possessions, money, time, the physical body, relationships, belief structures, and the roles we play. But the root cause of all forms of slavery is the ego-mind. We’ve allowed it to run our lives and in the process cut us off from our true self, which is timeless, limitless, and in need of nothing. We’ve become the ego’s slaves, building its bulwarks of futile plans, chasing after illusory dreams and wishes, but somehow never managing to find lasting peace or happiness.
In Exodus, God strikes Pharaoh with ten plagues. How can plagues be part of the spiritual journey?
The plagues represent the hardships that afflict us when we continue to identify with the ego. But they’re not punishments; they’re teaching tools that provide necessary feedback. In fact, from the perspective of our true self, they’re miracles. The plagues only strike at Pharaoh and the Egyptians—that is, the ego. Their purpose is to separate us from our identification with ego and force it to relinquish its hold on our minds.
What about miracles? What role do they play on the spiritual journey?
The fearful ego frantically tries to control events before they happen. With Spirit, events simply flow toward the outcome that will most benefit everyone involved. Our part is to get out of the way: to “let go and let God.” When we do, miracles result. These can appear to be quite ordinary or truly extraordinary, but either way, we recognize them as coming from Spirit, not us.
If you had one piece of advice to offer fellow travelers making the Exodus journey, what would it be?
We all think that we know what we want from life, whether wealth, fame, love, power, beauty, or what have you. We believe that these things exist outside ourselves and that only through determined effort and action can we win them. We’ve got it exactly backwards. What we really want lies within. What we really want, what will truly make us happy, is to remember who and what we are. Our spiritual essence. Nothing else will satisfy us. When we get that piece right, the rest takes care of itself. Things just line up and we’re given whatever we need—not always in the form we expect, because from our limited human perspective we can’t always know the best outcome—but in ways guaranteed to surprise and delight us. And that’s the miracle.