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Living Deeply: The art and science of transformation in everyday life, by Marilyn Schlitz, Cassandra Vieten and Tina Amorok, New Harbinger Publications, IONS, Oakland, CA, 2007, 254 ff.

How to consciously give greater meaning to our lives
By Howard Jones

This is another book produced by researchers working at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) that combines modern science with mystical insight drawn from many of the great wisdom cultures of the world. Dr Schlitz is an anthropologist, Drs Vieten and Amorok are psychologists. IONS was founded in 1973 by physicist, engineer and Apollo 14 astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell with the purpose of using science and spiritual wisdom together to transform human lives sufficiently extensively to save our planet from self destruction. Such transformations `can be either sudden or gradual, mystical or mundane' and may be provoked by traumatic or uplifting life experiences. Artistic creativity derives from such noetic or mystical experiences and is uplifting for all who participate.

So this is not a book for close-minded materialists who refuse to accept the presence of the spiritual dimension in the world and all the inspiration that it can offer. If however you feel overwhelmed by the `weapons of mass distraction' that pervade our society and feel the need to retire to a haven of tranquillity for some peaceful meditation, or are in the midst of making some significant life-path changes, this book would make a most worthwhile accompaniment. It presents insight into `the perennial philosophy' - the spiritual truths that underlie human existence in all cultures through all time. This term was used in 1540 by the Italian humanist Agostino Steuco, by German mathematician and philosopher G.W. Leibniz in the 18th century, and by English writer Aldous Huxley in 1945. It is the world-view we need to embrace if we are to save our planetary home and our species.

The Romantic poets and philosophers disagreed with Kant's view that reason was paramount in shaping our world-view: for them, it was rather the emotions. The primacy of our emotions or beliefs in determining what we make of the world is illustrated here by an anecdote involving a field trip by Darwin and Sedgwick, who completely ignored the effect of glaciation on the landscape they were investigating, even though the evidence was all around them - they simply weren't looking for it. Psychologist William James gave many accounts of such transformations of focused consciousness in his book `The Varieties of Religious Experience'. Several more recent books have given numerous examples of good or ill health generated respectively by a positive or negative outlook on life (for example, see Herbert Benson's `Timeless Healing' or `You Can Heal Your Life' by Louise Hay).

Although this book is largely anecdotal, there is much that we can learn from the experiences and interpretations of others and the authors do a good job in bringing together these thoughts, provoked by a wide range of experiences related by individuals from many different cultures and religions. There are several pages of References at the end but no index.

Dr Howard A. Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God (2006) and The Tao of Holism (2008), both published by O Books of Winchester, UK.

Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief
You Can Heal Your Life: 20th Anniversary Edition
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on 28 December 2010
I bought this after reading a review in a Quaker organisation I belong to. It hasn't disappointed. It fits in with a lot of background info I have from neurology, counselling/psychotherapy and 'Creation Spirituality'. It's written carefully for all sorts. I'm starting to try the exercises, though aiming to tailor them to myself.
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on 14 July 2016
Lovely book. Well worth reading.
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