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No delusions, just an open mind

5

The main reason I like Deepak Chopra’s latest book, The Future of God is that it stands as a viable alternative to the “militant atheist’s” bible, the God delusion. Indeed, even though Deepak does not make the statement himself (at least I have not read specific words to that effect), it seems to me that The Future of God was written as a direct response to the “avowed enemies of faith.” As such, many references are made to the militant atheist tribe and their self-proclaimed conquistadors.

Deepak does clearly state in this book that he has no issue with those who have no faith in a higher power, he simply takes exception to the fact that, ‘This disturbing movement centered around Professor Richard Dawkins cloaks its vehement, often personal attacks in terms of science and rea-son… I have no harsh things to say about atheism without the militancy.’

Building from there, Deepak incorporates three stages of personal development that one progresses through on the path to God: unbelief, faith and finally knowledge. In other words, “They are stepping-stones from ‘No God’ to ‘Perhaps God’ to ‘God in me.’” The first stage of ‘Unbelief’ is characterized by reason and doubt and individuals, atheists, take the position that the physical is all that there is. The second stage, ‘Faith’, is when individuals hope that God is real and while this can be a positive influence, there is also the negative side of faith which is fanaticism. The third and final stage, ‘Knowledge’, is the stage where we are able to assert unquestioningly to ourselves that God does exist. The transition from stage to stage is not a clear cut, well-defined process, rather it is a gradual progression and it is bi-directional, in that while progress can be made, there will also be times when we can also digress.

Woven into the three stages are: numerous references and discussions that have taken place with said militant atheists, statistics about the state of religion and faith, anecdotal stories about the power of faith and various scientific discoveries pertaining to the nature of reality.

If one truly looks at the “facts”, the “hard questions” have not been solved by science and to discount a potential cause, simply because it does not fit into one’s belief system, is certainly not science, it is dogma. For those who do not wish to open their eyes, the world will always be dark.

So, in the final analysis, an ardent militant atheist would likely not enjoy this book, nor would any religious fundamentalists because, The Future of God is written to encourage a deeper exploration of the mystery of existence. As evidenced by the prolific endorsements from some of the world’ s leading professors, in many diverse fields, it is apparent that this latest book from Deepak not only provides readers with a philosophical view of faith, but also one founded on leading edge science - rather than the pseudoscience advocated by the naysayers. If you already know all the answer to the mysteries of life, then you won’t enjoy, or benefit from, this book. If, on the other hand, you feel that God doesn’t have to be an old man with a beard sitting on a cloud, if you feel that there is ‘something more’, if you are curious about the nature of reality and you are open to possibilities, than this could be the book you are looking for.

On people’s book shelves for 115 years, that speaks volumes

5

Ok, to put this in perspective, this book has been on the market for about 115 years!!, and it is still widely published to this day. Ralph was/is regarded as one of the original founding voices of the New Thought movement, and with books like, In Tune with the Infinite, it is easy to see why.

Unlike some of the other books from this era & in this genre, such as Prentice Mulford’s book, Thoughts are Things, this book is linguistically easy to read.

That being said, the main premise of this book is very similar to others in the genre with the belief that our internal dialogue and beliefs are manifest in the external: essentially our thoughts create our reality, “…so far as the physical life is concerned, all life is from within outwards.” Thoughts are forces and when we realize the power within us and truly believe in that ability, then we can create a reality that we want rather than live in the reality that appears beyond our control, “Thoughts are forces, subtle, vital, creative, continually building and shaping our lives according to their nature. It is in this way that the life always and inevitably follows the thought.” This of course means that we need to take responsibility for our thoughts and for the outcomes that come as a result of them, an idea that many people do not wish to entertain because it is far easier to place blame on external forces.

Compounding the problem is that fear thoughts will bring with them consequences that are in opposition to what we desire. We manifest what we think about not what we want.

The mind is everything, what you think you become.” Buddha

For those reading my other reviews this may be redundant; however, I add it here for those that have not read my reviews from similar authors: if you are deathly allergic to some of the labels/terms associated with religion, terms such as God, Jesus or spirit, then you might not enjoy this book, nor the other New Thought Books with similar messages. In order to have a conversation about the unseen world, the world of cause, we need to get over the dogma associated with the formal religions and see these labels simply as terms of reference for meaningful discussion. We can substitute any label we like, the essence remains the same.

Personally, I did not find this book to be ‘preachy’ or in any way advocating organized religion. The concepts on these pages, as with the other books in this area, if applied, have the power to transform our lives by allowing us to reclaim our power from the external. Of course this requires that we are honest with ourselves and that we take responsibility for both the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ alike.

An informative read for any Wayne Dyer Fan

5

I want to state right at the outset, and although this is obvious to many, it seems that some people know that this is an autobiography, yet do not UNDERSTAND that this is an autobiography. What I am saying is that previous books written by Wayne Dyer focus on an idea, issue, etc. in which some personal experiences are shared. This book is about Wayne’s journey through life and that necessitates a frequent use of "I." Personally, I did not find this book self-aggrandizing, and people who read biographies can likely relate to the style in which, I can See Clearly Now, is written; however, people that expect this book to be written in Wayne’s traditional style need to be conscientious of this "different" perspective.

Now that the caveat is out of the way, for those familiar with Wayne’s work, you will find numerous stories and anecdotes that he has shared during his 40+ years or writing and sharing...it’s hard to believe that Your Erroneous Zones came out in the mid-70’s!!! Many of the stories and personal experiences that have been shared during Wayne’s journey are finally compiled in one place, in a chronological order, that is easy to follow.

Wayne starts out with the early days in Detroit where he lived in an orphanage, his days in school and then he progresses through his post-secondary years, his time in the navy, and then through the creation of his 41 books. Along the way Wayne shares the encounters he has had with some of the significant “change agents” in his life, people like: Mother Teresa, Ken Keys Jr., Viktor Frankl, Guruji, Edwarda, Abraham Maslow and so many others. The names however, are not as important as the messages that came with them. It seems that every time a new person intersected Wayne’s path there was a new unfoldment, a new way of seeing the world. Some of the encounters were pleasant, some not so much, yet all the encounters contained new seeds of experience that helped Wayne expand his consciousness.

As his consciousness grew so too did his writing evolve from the physical/cerebral world into the world of the subconscious/spiritual . Going from Your Erroneous Zones to his later books, such as The Power of Intention or Wishes Fulfilled, there is a definite shift. I would concur with Wayne’s own conclusion that there is a Divine hand in this process and that all of the events in his journey have “conspired” to carry him along the path that he needed to travel to fulfill his dharma. Although hindsight is the rest stop we don’t get to enjoy until after the bumpy roads are behind us, the fact that we can “see clearly”, even after-the-fact, is a blessing that we can share with others as they travel on their own bumpy roads. The fact that Wayne is sharing his road map is the most significant aspect of I can See Clearly Now: the reader gets to share in experiences that can connect us on a universal/soul level. In other words, Wayne candidly shares his experiences AND these then form the foundation of an idea/concept/lesson that others can benefit from.

I am grateful that Wayne wrote and shared I Can See Clearly Now. From the perspective of a curious onlooker - I enjoyed reading about Wayne’s personal journey thus far - and I also enjoyed this book from the perspective of a student of life – learning as I go.

To emphasize some of my previous ramblings, I Can See Clearly Now is definitely written from different perspective than Dr. Wayne Dyer’s other books: this is an autobiography. If you have read and enjoyed Wayne Dyer’s other books AND you are curious to learn more about his personal experiences then you will likely enjoy I Can See Clearly Now. On the other hand, if you are looking for a book that is exclusively a “how-to” book, or simply another book from Wayne Dyer that is written in the same style as his earlier books, then I Can See Clearly Now might not be the book you are looking for.

As a side note, ironically and synchronistically perhaps, before the release of “I Can See Clearly Now” was announced, I was reading another book by Dr. Dyer and thought that it would be wonderful to have more insight, in a chronological order, into Wayne’s life. Well, it is said “Ask and ye shall receive” and perhaps one could even take that a step further and say “Think and ye shall receive” because in this case my thoughts were answered and I now have the book I had hoped for.

Not a standard/traditional book on fear

5

While I enjoyed, and learned a great deal from, Living without Fear, I think the title might be a little misleading because this book only discusses the topic of 'fear' indirectly ' as a byproduct of not understanding our connection to the Universal/Source/Divine/God (insert whatever word you prefer, they are used interchangeably within this book). By giving our power away to another person/entity we can become fearful in our powerlessness; therefore, Ernest focuses his writing on re-affirming our own inherent power: power derived from being a part of the Universal source rather than merely a servant of it.

In other words, when we are in a state of fear the way to overcome that situation is not to beseech, beg or bribe an external power for help, but rather, as Ernest Holmes suggests, we should accept that we are one with the higher power and work with that power through a 'spiritual mind treatment' to resolve the challenges we face. A 'spiritual mind treatment' is, ''...based on the theory that we are surrounded by a universal Law'a creative medium which is receptive to our thought and acts upon it automatically in an intelligent manner.' Furthermore, 'We do not change the nature of Reality through prayer, and it would be superstitious to suppose that we do or can. But, through prayer and meditation we enter into the nature of Reality and partake of this nature.'

If you are someone who believes that we are separate from the Universal Source or that the Universal Source is a distinct entity that needs appeasement, then it is likely that this book will not be to your liking (nor would anything else written by Ernest Holmes); however, if you can relate to statements such as:

'...the Law of Cause and Effect governs everything. There is nothing which can hinder Law from working. It is never a question of how much the Law will work, but always how well we can use It. We can constructively use It to the degree our thought and belief will let us, no farther, but always as far.'

'Thoughts are things.'

'We must learn that we can transcend our previous experiences; that we are bigger than we know; that beyond the finite is the Infinite.'
'It is impossible to separate the mental from the spiritual.'

'Just as there are laws of matter, so there are laws of mind, for what is true on one plane is true on all' If certain factors in physics produce certain results, then certain mental factors will produce certain results.'

then you will resonate with the rest of the ideas discussed in 'Living without Fear.'

If you are looking to learn more about the specific topic of 'fear' in its many forms and manifestations, there are some other wonderful books that you might consider, including: Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Fear; Susan Jeffers books, Feel the Fear and do it Anyway and Feel the Fear and Beyond.

Uplifting words and images for any day

5

Created by National Geographic, 'Daily Joy: 365 days of Inspiration - Photos and Wisdom to Lift Your Spirit' is a treasure trove of colorful and superb photographs, accompanied by 365 equally wonderful and inspiring daily quotes.

The pages in this book are not labeled with page numbers, rather the book is arranged in a daily calendar format, labeled with the month and day--commencing with January 1 and ending with December 31'and there is no year given; therefore, the book can be used indefinitely (for the sticklers, February 28 and 29th are included as one entry).

While it would be impossible to describe the actual photographs included in this book, suffice it to say that they are breathtaking: with some taking up a full two pages and others taking up merely a portion of the page.

Just as with the photographs, the words shared on these pages will touch you at a very deep level and inspire you to see the world with new eyes. The quotes come from many notable people throughout history, such as: Sir Winston Churchill, John Keats, Steve Jobs, Maya Angelou, Mark Twain, Rumi, Pema Chodron, William Arthur Ward, Henry David Thoreau, Robert Browning, Erich Fromm, Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, and the list goes on and on.

While be impossible to do justice to the vast number of superb words of wisdom in this book, randomly opening to seven different pages I came up with:

'To be able to look back upon one's life in satisfaction is to live twice.'-Khalil Gibran

'You are built not to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more. To be more splendid. To be more extraordinary. To use every moment to fill yourself up.'-Oprah Winfrey

'Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.'-Steve Jobs

'Talk not of wasted affection; affection never was wasted.'-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

'Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.'-Anne Sexton

'Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought. Our brightest blazes are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.'-Samuel Johnson

''Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.' -Ray Bradbury

In addition to the stellar quality of the content in this book, the physical production is also second to none. The pages are made from glossy, high-quality paper; the spine is very solid and well bound and there is even a bookmark ribbon to help you keep your place.

If you enjoy reading inspirational quotes and if stunning nature photography kindles a flame in your heart and soul, then you will likely never find a more suitable book than 'Daily Joy: 365 days of Inspiration - Photos and Wisdom to Lift Your Spirit' (other than perhaps the newer titles in this series). After having acquired a copy for myself, I also purchased a copy for a loved one and I know that I will be gifting many more copies of this book, and the others in the series, in the future: it truly is one of those 'perfect presents.'

Inspiring photos and quotes for every day of the year

5

Just like the other two books in this series, “Daily Joy” and “Daily Courage”, this book, “Daily Calm” was created by National Geographic, and it combines awe-inspiring, colorful photographs with uplifting quotes for each day of the year.

The pages in this book are not labeled with page numbers, rather the book is arranged in a daily calendar format, labeled with the month and day--commencing with January 1 and ending with December 31–and there is no year given; therefore, the book can be used indefinitely (for the sticklers, February 28 and 29th are included as one entry). That being said, there are ‘themes’ for each month, starting with January being ‘Transition,’ followed by: ‘Joy’, ‘Experience’, ‘Simplicity’, ‘Mindfulness’, ‘Compassion’, ‘Perspective’, ‘Patience’, ‘Contentment’, ‘Wisdom’, ‘Gratitude’, and ending with ‘Serenity’.

The quotes themselves come from many notable people throughout history, such as: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mark Twain, Buddha, Albert Einstein, Rumi, Leonardo da Vinci, Voltaire, William Shakespeare, T.S Elliot, Marcel Proust, Frank Capra, Jane Goodall, Pema Chodron, William Arthur Ward, Cicero, Henry David Thoreau, Mother Teresa, and so many more (the entire list appears at the end of the book in a “Contributor” section).

Some examples of the quotes are as follows:

Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” Henry David Thoreau

Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.” Walt Whitman

We can only learn to love by loving.” Iris Murdoch

Have a heart that never hardens,
and a temper that never tires,
and a touch that never hurts
.’ Charles Dickens

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning to work on becoming yourself.” Anna Quindlen

What wound did ever heal but by degrees.” William Shakespeare

And each one of these quotes is accompanied by an amazing photo - some taking up the entire two page spread, others just covering part of one page; however, they are all superb in their own right.

If you enjoy reading inspirational quotes accompanied with stunning nature photography then ‘Daily Calm: 365 days of Serenity’ could be just what you are looking for and, if you’re on my Christmas list, it is likely that you will find a copy of this book under your tree.

An insightful look into the process of prayer

5

** I would like to preface this review by saying that I have no affinity for any particular religion and I found ‘Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer’ to be very neutral and unbiased in its presentation. If you have a very strong belief system in one particular religion, or if you have a strong inclination to a specific mode of prayer, then this book might be incongruent with your beliefs. **

Although the essence of what is being said in ‘Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer’ could likely be summed up in a few sentences, doing that here would be a disservice to the potential reader because, as is often the case in life, it is the journey that is of value – not simply arriving at a destination. In other words, just like Gregg Braden shares in this book, unless we understand the essence of a process, in this case prayer, we are merely parrots repeating hollow words that someone has given us and these will likely have little benefit in our lives.

The good news is that the essence of effective prayer is not confined to one specific religion, or religion in general, because even science has shown us that “Through the blanket of energy that bathes our world, were all linked in ways that we’re only beginning to understand.” By being connected to ‘The Field’, ‘God’, ‘The Divine’- or whatever label you choose to use to describe the underlying creative force of the universe - you have access to a powerful, transformative energy. So, the reason that prayer transcends the physical limitations of our current reality is due to the fact that our true nature is one that isn’t bound to a world of the physical senses: we are connected to the very power of creation itself.

By using this idea of connectivity to all things as the central premise, and then incorporating years of research, Gregg Braden was able to come up with five components, five “secrets”, that are part of the “lost mode of prayer” and these correspond to the five chapters of the book:

1) “Our Lost mode of Prayer” – discussing how consciousness creates and the outer world is a reflection of our inner world.
2) “Hurt is the teacher, Wisdom Is the Lesson” – Discussing how many of the trials and tragedies of life can be transformed to teach us crucial lessons.
3) “Blessing Is the Release” – discussing how the power of blessing, as difficult as it may be, is required to help us let go of past hurt/wrongdoings, thereby freeing us from the mental prison of toxic resentment.
4) “Beauty is the Transformer” – discussing that idea that even though the definition of beauty is different for everyone, the simple act of choosing to see beauty in even the most unlikely places can uplift us.
5) “Creating Your Own Prayers” – discussing the mystical language of prayer transcends language and the final, crucial key for successful prayers is… (sorry, I don’t want to spoil the surprise here. I will leave this for you to discover in the event that this book interests you).

When all is said and done, I found ‘Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer’ to be a wonderfully informative, non-dogmatic exploration of the practice of prayer and I can see how we can potentially benefit from it. Additionally, in some way I could sense, or ‘feel’ the underlying exuberance with which Gregg Braden wrote this book. It seems to me that Mr. Braden truly is trying to improve the lives for those reading this book and, by extension (based on the scientific studies that have been, and continue to be, conducted) thereby potentially benefiting all life on this planet. And, based on the current state of the world, perhaps this ‘secret’ is the answer to our collective prayers.

19 books--some fantastic, some not--in one massive volume

4

To review each of the 19 individual books found in 'The Prosperity Bible' would make this review as unwieldy as the book itself; therefore, I will just share some general thoughts about the content as a whole.

First off, I think it is important to state that the word 'Prosperity' is used in a broad sense by the authors. As it is used, it does not only mean physical wealth, but it also incorporates abundance in other areas of one's life as well. This is not a compilation of books on ways to get rich quick, rather it is a compilation of books that explore how we can enrich our lives through personal development.

I originally purchased 'The Prosperity Bible' because it was precisely the book I had been wishing for: a compendium of material written by some of the early, Personal Transformation/New-age/Self-help authors in one book; however, as the adage warns, 'Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it' and that is exactly how I feel about this book now.

Having a book comprised of so many individual works is convenient, and it takes up less room on the bookshelf than 19 individual books, yet it also makes for an unwieldy, 1272 page, three pound (1.5kg) behemoth. Carrying the book in your backpack, or trying to hold the book aloft while reading it might save a few reps at the gym, it just didn't make for an enjoyable read. In addition, in order to save more weight and to reduce the actual thickness of the book, the pages are very thin and can be easily torn. If you like highlighting, be prepared for it to bleed through to the other side of the page.

As far as content goes, with so many books included in one volume it is reasonable to assume that the group will include exceptional books and some lack-luster titles as well and, indeed, that is what I found here. Of the 19 books there were several that I did not enjoy at all, but I felt the majority were well worth the time it took to read them. Even with the occasional book that I didn't like, at this price the collection is an exceptional bargain (considering how much the individual books would cost if purchased separately).

For those wanting a complete list of these individual books:
1) Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (original 1937 edition)
2) Acres of Diamonds by Russell H. Conwell
3) A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard
4) As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
5) The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn
6) The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles
7) Creative Mind and Success by Ernest Holmes
8) Prosperity by Charles Fillmore
9) In Tune With the Infinite by Ralph Waldo Trine
10) The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel
11) The Secret of Success by William Walker Atkinson
12) The Act of Money Getting by P.T. Barnum
13) The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin
14) The Secret of The Ages by Robert Collier (original 1926 edition)
15) The Conquest of Poverty by Helen Wilmans
16) How to Attract Success by F.W. Sears
17) The Power of Concentration by Theron Q. Dumont
18) How to Grow Success by Elizabeth Towne
19) The Mental Equivalent by Emmet Fox

When it's all said and done, I am grateful that this book exists because it gave me exposure to many great books that I might not have purchased separately. Anyone unfamiliar with the authors who contributed to 'The Prosperity Bible', or for those who want to read the books in an inexpensive format, getting the 'The Prosperity Bible' will meet your needs. Personally, once I realized how transformative some of these books were, and how much I disliked reading them in this hulking book, I went out and bought the individual titles that I wanted to re-read.

The rating for this book is 3.5 stars (of course I can't give half stars with these ratings so I will bump it up to a 4-star rating overall) and it would be derived as follows:
Physical Quality = 2-stars (thin paper and the massive size weren't to my liking)
Quality of Content = 4-stars (most of the individual books would merit 4 or 5 stars, with a few warranting 2 or 3 stars)
Overall Value/Price = 5-stars (buying all of the individual books would likely cost 10x as much)

A calming voice in the storm

5

When you pick up Thich Nhat Hanh's book, 'Fear', you immediately get the sense that the words come from a person who is very gentle and whose aim it is to help people overcome the energy draining force known as Fear. Many people spend a great deal of life's precious resources dwelling on the past or fretting about the future - often which never materializes - instead of living in the present moment, where our true power lies.

Indeed, staying grounded in the moment is the starting point to overcoming the debilitating effects of fear. When we are mindful of the present moment we can deal with 'what is' and not get caught up on the roller coaster of negativity that leaves us powerless. From this place of mindfulness we can observe the fear, embrace it, and then allow it to dissolve. This is a process of 'working with' rather than 'fighting against.' This is a process of acceptance and then embracing our fear rather than trying to bury it or bully it into submission, 'Invite your fear into consciousness, and smile through it; every time you smile through your fear, it will lose some of its strength. If you try to run away from your pain, there is no way out. Only by looking deeply into the nature of your fear can you find the way out.'

Perhaps this sounds a lot easier to do then it truly is in real life, and while this might indeed be the case, Thich Nhat Hanh provides many lessons on mindfulness and numerous exercises, especially involving breathing, to help us along the way. As the author states, 'When we practice walking meditation, when we breathe mindfully, we generate a powerful energy of mindfulness, which can recognize and embrace our suffering and fear. After doing that for a time, you will see that the fear goes back down to its former place as a seed, and to understand that the next time that it manifests, you'll be able to do exactly the same thing. Your chronic fear and anxiety will be genuinely reduced.'

In the end, it doesn't matter what we are fearful of, or how the fear came to exist in the first place, the root of all fear exists in the mind and is reinforced by our beliefs that some external influence is more powerful than our own divine nature. While some degree of fear might be necessary for the survival of our physical being, on a deeper, spiritual level, when we come to realize that true nature extends beyond the mere physical world we see that many, or perhaps all, of our fears are unfounded, 'Birth and death, coming and going, are just concepts. When we are in touch with our no-birth, no-death nature, we have no fear.'

By giving us the benefit of his compassionate wisdom, Thich Nhat Hanh is empowering people to overcome the limitations that their fears have imposed upon them. In essence, Thich Nhat Hanh is not giving us keys to our prison cell, he is showing us that the door was never locked to begin with.

A book about more than just simple ways to spark a romantic relationship

5

When doing book reviews there is a fine balance between providing a lengthy/thorough review and providing a short, concise review that sums up a book in a few brief statements. So, in this review, rather than choose just one way, I will provide a short review as well as a long review of, “The Honeymoon Effect.”

The short review - If you have ever had a relationship: good, bad or otherwise, or if you ever intend on having a relationship, then the information in this book will be of interest to you. I quite enjoyed Bruce’s writing style and learned a great deal about myself and relationships in general.

The long review.
In his latest book, “The Honeymoon Effect” Bruce Lipton once again employs a relaxed style to blend experiences from his personal journey with scientific processes to explain why it is that we so frequently sabotage our relationships. This s not a ___ step book to finding love, this book is designed to make the reader aware of the internal processes, most of which are unknown to us on a conscious level, as a means of making more loving and positive connections.

In a manner that is interesting, and often entertaining, Bruce illustrates how the body and brain behave when in different emotional states. The information is presented in a manner that can be easily understood by someone who has never taken a biology class (that would be me). There is nothing overwhelming in this section of the book and it is relatively short.
The next component of the book, and perhaps the section that contains the most crucial information, is the section on how it is that the conscious mind, full of good intentions, can be overwhelmed by the programming existing in our subconscious mind. Many people might not realize that it is the subconscious mind calling the shots 90% of the time. This means that all of our conditioned responses in relationships are often calling the shots without us even being aware of it. In other words, the captain of the love boat is only at the helm 10% of the time and the other 90% of the time the “computer” is running things.

This is not to say that we did not have a role in our failed relationships, this is simply saying that the programming in our subconscious mind played a large part in how our relationships unfolded and how they continue to unfold. By becoming aware of our “hidden programs” we are empowered and can make the changes we need for finding relationships that are positive and life affirming.

On a final note, with Bruce being so willing to self-disclose, I believe I should do the same. I have to admit that normally I do not seek out books related to building “loving relationships.” I know that many people enjoy these books and they have benefited from reading them; however, in my experience I found that many of the books I encountered were very general and the changes they suggested only dealt with conscious-mind issues. The changes that occurred, if any, would only have a temporary benefit. Now, having read, “The Honeymoon Effect” I understand that changes made to the conscious mind, even with the best of intentions, do not overcome the programming running in the subconscious mind. In order to truly have fulfilling and nurturing relationships one must become aware of the programming behind the scenes and then re-write it to be in alignment with our greatest desires. In simple terms, if we wish to have the feelings of love and joy that we experience in the initial moments of a loving relationship, if we wish to experience this “honeymoon effect”, we need to have harmony between four minds not just two.

Channeled messages providing personal empowerment

5

Can a book be called a classic when it is 30 years old? Written 30 years ago (where does time go?) “Personal Power through Awareness” shares ideas on personal empowerment that are as useful and relevant today as when they were written – it seems that regardless of the era we live in, many of our challenges exist independent of time or space.

The reason I also say ‘space’ is because the information that Sanaya shares comes to her during ‘channeled’ readings with a ‘gentle spirit teacher’ known as Orin. Now, before you get squeamish with the idea that the information is coming from a source outside of the physical realm, let me remind you that all of our thoughts and ideas have no definable, physical point of origin. How does a musician create new music? How does a scientist come up with a new theory? Where does your thought to watch Oprah come from? Some of the greatest minds in history have said that ideas just ‘come to them’.

So, ALL of our thoughts come from the ‘great unknown’ and the fact that Sanaya brings information from a source that she refers to as Orin has no relevance to whether or not the information is useful to me. I would suggest that ANY information that improves the quality of your life, and the lives of others, is worth the time to explore/read.

Perhaps sharing some quotes from the book will help you decide if the information is of interest to you (these quotes are not random; they reflect my personal bias as to what I considered noteworthy):

‘Take responsibility for the thoughts and emotions you send out, for they go out into the universe and create the events and circumstances that come back to you.’
‘Use positive, high words when you speak to yourself, words such as EFFORTLESS, INSPIRED, and CREATIVE.’
‘You could not grow without challenges. Your attitude towards them either helps you go higher and grow faster, or keeps you in the dense levels longer. The more you dislike problems, the more you rebel against things not going your way, the longer your problems will stay with you.’
‘Symbols are, in fact, more direct and more healing than words, for they are not connected to your belief system.’
‘Emotions help you create reality.’
‘Fear is a place that has not yet discovered love.’

Wisdom comes from being open to new ideas and, because we all need to hear information in a way that fits into our own internal dialogue, it is good to explore new sources of information/inspiration. And, while the information shared by Sanaya Roman in “Personal Power through Awareness” is very similar to those shared in some of the more ‘main stream’ books in the Personal Transformation/Self-help genre - books written by authors such as Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Doreen Virtue, Louise Hay etc. – her uniqueness has resonated with, and continues to resonate with, countless people searching for ideas on how to improve the quality of their lives.

**As a side note, Sanaya has written and co-authored several other wonderful books, including: “Living with Joy” and “Opening to Channel”.**

A small book sharing profound insights from the founder of Aikido

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Prior to discussing content, it is important to note that The Art of Peace is literally a ‘pocket book’ - with the physical dimensions being ~ 2.5x3.5x.5 inches (~ 5.5x8x1 cm). Consistent with the small physical size, the thoughts/aphorisms contained in this book, acquired ‘…from Morihei’s collected talks, poems, and calligraphy, and from oral tradition’ are also very brief – most being a sentence or two in length. Translation of the material was provided by John Stevens: a Zen scholar and Aikido instructor.

While John Stevens certainly has the background to compile The Art of Peace, as the person reviewing this book, I have NO knowledge of Aikido and no prior knowledge of the founder: Morihei Ueshiba. That being said, at the very beginning of the book it was plain for even me to see that the essence of Morihei’s teachings are truly based on a system of harmony within that allows us to interact in a harmonious way without. “Unlike the authors of old-time warrior classics such as ‘The Art of War’ and ‘The Book of Five Rings’, which accept the inevitability of war and emphasize cunning strategy as a means to victory. Morihei understood that continued fighting – with others, with ourselves, and with the environment – will ruin the earth…. What we need now are techniques of harmony, not those of contention."

Many of the quotes/aphorisms are profound and they inspire the reader to ponder various aspects of life in general. The wisdom is essentially timeless because the ideas are a philosophy on life, a way of living in harmony with the universe, not simply a series of techniques to throw an opponent across the room. Indeed, the “…real way of the warrior is based on compassion, wisdom, fearlessness and love of nature.”

Other ideas put forth by Morihei Ueshiba that I particularly made note of:
- ‘Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.’
- ‘There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit – love.’
- ‘A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing.’
- ‘Each day of human life contains joy and anger, pain and pleasure, darkness and light, growth and decay. Each moment is etched with nature’s grand design—do not try to deny or oppose the cosmic order of things.’
- ‘ULTIMATELY, you must forget about technique. The further you progress the fewer teachings there are. The Great Path is really No Path
.’

As much as I enjoyed, and will certainly benefit from, reading the ideas of Morihei Ueshiba, the fact that no specific sources were provided with the individual thoughts is a disappointment. I don’t have any doubt that what John Stevens shares is accurate, it’s just that I would like to examine some of these quotes/aphorisms in context or I would like to follow the train of thought all the way to the station. On the other hand, if the intent of not providing the source information was to compel the reader to go on a journey of discovery, then I would say that the aim was successful because I will certainly be reading other books on the philosophy of Morihei Ueshiba.

In the end, if I had to sum up the essence of Morihei Ueshiba’s thoughts, as they appear in The Art of Peace, it would be thus: ‘Walk softly and carry a big stick.’

A Worthwhile read -but not my favorite from Dr. Fox

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Originally penned in the 1940’s and reprinted numerous times since, “Make Your Life Worthwhile” was written by Dr. Emmet Fox as a follow up to his previous book, “Sparks of Truth” and it is his intention to elaborate on his belief that, “True success: happiness, peace of mind, prosperity, and real help are within the reach of all who sincerely want them…”

Rather than a book of lengthy chapters, “Make Your Life Worthwhile” shares short essays (although I did not do a precise count, it appears there are approximately 150 essays in total), only a page or two in length, which “… were published once a week over a number of years. The subjects are usually handled in a light and amusing style, and often deal with similar incidents in everyday life.”

While the information itself can likely prove beneficial to people of any faith, there are frequent references to the Bible; however, Dr. Emmet Fox seems to interpret and apply the information from the Bible in a more liberal/non-traditional manner. As an example, in the section where there are 11 short essays that deal with some of the key words in the Bible, the word “repentance” is defined as, “to change one’s mind concerning something…. Repentance does not mean grieving for past mistakes, because this is dwelling in the past, and our duties to dwell in the present and make this moment right. Worrying over past mistakes is remorse, and remorse is a sin, for it is a refusal to accept God’s forgiveness.”

Given the previous definition, and the numerous other interpretations of biblical verses/words, I rather doubt that Dr. Emmet Fox would be categorized under traditional denominations and I personally do not know how he “labeled” himself, so my personal belief is that he was “spiritual.”

In order to better decide if this book is for you, here are several quotes that appear in the book:

- “…we make our own world by the way in which we think; for we really do live in a world of our own thoughts.”
- “Practice is the price of proficiency.”
- “The man who overstresses his ANCESTORS is like a potato plant–the best part of him is underground.”
- “Determine today that you will demonstrate health, happiness, and true success, by realizing that God is working in and through you to bring these things about; and do not, for a single second, allow the carnal mind to tell you that it cannot be done. It can be done…”
- “You can build any quality into your mentality by meditating upon that quality every day.”
- “No one has ever lived in any moment except the present. To know this is the door to freedom.”
- “Too often we think of our salvation as being a greater or lesser distance ahead of where we are now, whereas in reality it is right here, or nowhere.”

With these short essays, readers who are looking for lengthy discourses may be disappointed, yet if you are looking for a book that offers some profound insights into life and that can be digested in small independent chunks, the ideas shared by Dr. Emmet Fox in “Make Your Life Worthwhile” may very well be just what the doctor ordered.

Working with Mother Nature and Ancient wisdom to find your way

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For those of you that are interested in the zodiac or horoscopes, or for those that have an interest in native American culture, this book will be of interest to you. The indigenous population was able to work with nature and their culture had a deep respect for the animals in their surroundings. They believed that animals were able to give us wisdom and that each animal has a different wisdom to share based on it’s own traits. By knowing what traits a particular animal has, we learn how to adapt to our surroundings in a mental, physical or spiritual sense. The amount of information is this book is amazing and it is THE most complete book on the interesting and mind expanding topic of animal totems.

If this subject interests you, I would also recommend:
Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals - David Carson
ISBN-13: 978-0312204914

An educational & exhaustive look at how the Placebo Effect can transform our lives

5

In Dr. Dispenza’s newest book, "You are the Placebo" we are provided with the life-affirming knowledge that our thoughts and expectations can transform our lives by helping us overcome illness, disease, and numerous other afflictions that limit our ability to enjoy life to the fullest.

I do not read medical journals, so I can’t make this statement with certainty; however, I would suggest that this book is likely one of the most up-to-date and exhaustive works on the Placebo Effect available today. Furthermore, for those that do not enjoy overly technical books, I would say that in spite of the fact that the nature of this book requires medical and scientific terminology to be used, this is still a very readable book.

In my own words, in very simple terms, I see the essence of the placebo effect as: mind over matter. Our minds have the power to overcome disease, depression and a vast number of negative situations that manifest in our body. Our thoughts, combined with expectation, can remedy heart disease & cancer, reduce pain, and even simulate the benefits of an actual operation. Perhaps it sounds too good to be true; however, the placebo effect has been rigorously studied throughout history and continues to fascinate/confound scientists to this day.

In order to better acquaint the reader with the workings of the Placebo Effect, Dr. Dispenza uses the first part of the book to recount numerous scientific studies that illustrate how our minds can physically change our bodies, simply through what we think and what we expect. A doctor using saline water as a replacement for morphine in the late stages of the war, people suffering from depression feeling uplifted by simple sugar pills, even patients who underwent simulated knee surgery feeling less pain and being able to walk properly again – all the result of the a placebo being used.

There is also the negative side of the placebo, referred to as the nocebo, wherein a person believes that they are ill, will die, or that they are suffering from the ill intentions of another person. For example, in some cultures where people believe in the ability for a person to be “cursed” by a witch doctor, there is the potential for negative beliefs and expectations to due substantial harm. The “curse” thought is implanted in the mind of the individual who then believes in the “curse”, which then eventually manifests in physical form. People have been admitted to hospital and, even under medical supervision, with no detectible illness, have died because of their negative expectations and beliefs.

After the initial discussion and the sharing of the scientific research on the placebo effect, Dr. Dispenza goes on to the most important part of the book: how we can make use of the placebo in our personal lives.

By providing actual, coloured, brain scans and EEG scans Dr. Dispenza illustrates that by altering our thoughts and beliefs we actually alter our physical bodies. This part of the book is very detailed and a cursory discussion would not do it justice, but I think this quote from the book will emphasize the essence of what is being said, “…we direct the formation of new neural pathways and the destruction of old ones through the quality of the experiences we cultivate…The goal here is to change our beliefs and perceptions about your life at a biological level so that you are, in essence, loving a new future into concrete material existence.”

This then leads into the final portion of the book wherein Dr. Dispenza provides information on a meditation that will assist us in making use of the placebo effect.

With over 300 pages in this book, there is certainly a lot of detail and information for anyone simply interested in learning more about the placebo effect. More importantly though, if one truly grasps the essence of what is being shared, that our thoughts and beliefs have a vast potential to heal or harm us, then a person becomes empowered and they can then more consciously create a life in line with their desires. In a very real, physical sense, the placebo effect proves that we can change our reality with our thoughts and expectations: what information could be more empowering than that?

** While this book can be read independently of Dr. Dispenza’s previous book, "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself" I would suggest that reading it prior to, "You are the Placebo" would be worthwhile.**