Monday, July 12, 2010
Book Review-Emotional Alchemy
Emotional Alchemy--how the mind can heal the heart by Tara Bennett-Goleman was an interesting accompaniment to Bread & Water, Wine & Oil by Archimandrite Webber.
Ms. Bennett-Goleman writes her self-help book from a psychological/Buddhist perspective and it was interesting for me to pick up some familiar eastern flavor while reading both books at once. Both talked about being present in the "now" as being of vital importance. According to eastern Christianity, God identifying Himself as "I AM" as opposed to "I Was" or "I Will Be" means that He is present in the present moment, and that, eternity, in fact, is really an "eternal now" and not an undefined future as we often imagine it to be.
This book centers around the concept of schemas. Schemas are powerful emotional states of mind brought on by primal fears from childhood such as fear of abandonment. These emotions trigger unconscious reactions to everyday situations that we use as coping mechanisms, even when they fail us in that regard.
Becoming mindful of our core schemas and allowing ourselves to feel the true emotions behind them, helps us to become more aware of our motivations and therefore more functional as people in our everyday lives.
Becoming more mindful in general is a way to live more in the present, where we have some control over our own emotions and lives, and, where eastern Christianity says, is the only place where God truly exists.
The book has exercises and suggestions at the end of each chapter to help you practice mindfulness. I found the explanation of specific schemas to be quite helpful in illustrating the unseen motivation behind seemingly extreme reactions to everyday situations.