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Emotional Alchemy: How Your Mind Can Heal Your Heart Paperback – 3 Jul 2003
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"A wise and practical guide to emotional freedom" (Joseph Goldstein, author of Insight Meditation)
"A wonderfully clear, compassionate and insightful guide to freeing ourselves from difficult emotions" (Sharon Salzberg, author of LovingKindness)
"Written with humour [and] warmheartedness in lively prose..." (Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth)
The major book on the use of the mind to manage difficult emotions Alchemists sought to transform lead into gold. This book shows how we similarly all have the natural ability to turn the lead of our confused minds into the gold of insightful clarity. Tara Bennett shows how we can learn to see ourselves as we really are and thus learn to disengage from those emotional patterns that undermine our lives. Drawing on the latest research into cognitive science and neuroscience with ancient principles of Buddhist psychology, this profound yet very practical book shows how the mind can heal the very heart of our being.See all Product description
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You'll need a greater degree of tolerance than I possess to stick with her and I found myself skipping quite a lot. It's a shame that an editor didn't take this sprawling book in hand because the author has a lot of interesting information to get across and can be a very engaging writer at times.
The book is essentially about Buddhist mindfulness (uh, that word again!) filtered through the lens of psychoanalysis and it provides an in depth study of the way in which negative patterns of thought and behaviour are capable of controlling our lives. If you're a therapist reading this as part of CPD work, you may find it interesting but ultimately her case studies don't tell us quite enough to be particularly useful. If you're reading it simply to try and understand your own inner drives there is much of value in the pages but you'll need a fair amount of patience to keep at it.
The other thing I didn't like about the book was her tendency to name dropping. Is there a single Tibetan lama who hasn't taught her? And when she refers to the Dalai Lama as 'my teacher' .... well, he's everyone's teacher, dear! Also the fact that she lives in a privileged world where she and others in her circle can take themselves off to spiritual retreats for months at a time or go to Japan to learn the etiquette of Tea Ceremony sets off a few warning bells. It doesn't necessarily devalue what she says but makes me question how grounded some of her recommendations actually are.