Sunday, February 08, 2009

Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can by Caroline Myss, Ph.D.

I wrote this review a couple of weeks ago but forgot to post it. Oops. Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can by Caroline Myss, Ph.D. begins the way so many of these types of books do: Let me give you a lot of examples of how I know this works before I tell you why you should try it, through still more examples, and then eventually I’ll get around to telling you what you yourself can do in your life to make this a part of your reality. In other words, by the end of the second chapter I was bored beyond words. I understand the purpose of giving examples before jumping into the primary purpose of the text. It lays a foundation of trust and reinforces the reader’s commitment to believe that what follows is not ridiculous or useless but possibly deeply rich and meaningful. I just wish more authors would not spend so much time on the prelude. The first four chapter focus on “Why People Don’t Heal” and this is most of the foundation stuff. There’s a lot of Age of Aries/Pisces/Aquarius stuff that I probably don’t appreciate because I don’t get it. (Why do the ages evolve backwards through the signs rather than forward and why is Western astrology more relevant to our ages than, say, Chinese or Ayurvedic?) There’s Kabbalah and Chakra stuff woven throughout as well and it is all a sort of stew of belief systems with everything from astrology to Jewish mysticism to Hinduism woven together. It isn’t until the reader reaches the second part, the “How They Can,” that the book takes off by finally giving practical information. But first we have to have more examples. Goodness gracious, at what point is the reader not going to start thinking that the author doesn’t trust the truth of what she is writing because she has to give so very many proofs that she knows whereof she speaks? Or maybe the reader will assume that the author doesn’t trust the reader to 1) remember the many examples already given in the first section and/or 2) isn’t sincerely interested in healing? The truth is, if it is 2 then even with all of the examples, the reader won’t read no matter how much they may actually need the information. Either the reader is ready or isn’t. Given so many examples is not going to convince the reader of the text’s veracity. By the sixth, seventh, and eighth chapters you finally start getting some practical applications. Journaling, chakra work, and a surprising merge of both chakra and Catholic sacraments (because obviously Judaism and Hinduism were not enough) lead the reader through various ways of inner work and self-exploration. For those who are more ecumenical in their spiritual leanings, these last chapters are the meat of the text, the reason why you bothered to read the many pages that precede. Can you skip ahead? No, unfortunately. The groundwork laid in the earlier chapters is necessary. I just think it could have been given in a more succinct manner. With that in mind, if the tenets intrigue you then don’t give up on this book too soon. Trust that it does indeed get down to business eventually. Read with a conservative haste if you are getting so bored you might never finish. And if the last part still doesn’t resonate or appeal to you, then move onto something else. For me, I am interested in giving the various practices at the end of the text a try and plan to do so in the coming weeks. As I said, I wrote this a couple of weeks ago--before I began my chakra work. I even forgot to refer to this book at all last week because I was just enjoying what I was already doing so much I didn't feel an urge or desire to do more. Maybe with this week I will incorporate this resource as well. Or perhaps I will leave it for the last week when I work through all of the chakras. We shall see.

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