A great sage of the Himalayas collaborates with an American-trained psychologist in this practical, holistic perspective on the role of emotions in the evolution of consciousness. They explain how we can expand our consciousness from a state of conflict, confusion, and unrest to an experience of peace, joy, and radiance, which is the core essence of our being. This important work outlines the journey from emotion to enlightenment and sheds light on how the creative use of emotion empowers inner transformation and the pursuit of freedom, while helping us engage in the drama of life with a clear, calm, and joyful mind.
Swami RamaOne of the greatest masters of the 20th century, Swami Rama is the founder of the Himalayan Institute, Born in the Himalayas, he studied in both India and Europe, and received his spiritual training in the Himalayan cave monasteries and in Tibet. His best known work, living with the Himalayan Masters, reveals the many facets of this singular adept and demonstrates his embodiment of the Himalayan Tradition.
Swami Ajaya Swami Ajaya, PhD, received his education at Wesleyan University and at the University of California, Berkeley. He taught at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison, Wisconsin, and served there as a consulting psychologist. In addition to his Western training, Swami Ajaya studied with various yogis in India. He is the author and co-author of numerous books, including yoga psychology: A practical Guide to Meditation and Yoga & Psychotherapy.
As we expand our awareness, we slowly move from a world of ever-recurring conflicts, discord and suffering, both internally and in our interpersonal relations, to a gradually spreading sense of the development process which leads to this transformation.
The first chapter sets the scene of the book and provides an overview by describing how consciousness expands. It shows that each individual, as well as mankind as a whole, is growing from a narrow, egocentric point of view toward seeing things from more encompassing perspectives. Each other then takes up this theme and shows how it applies to a particular aspect of our functioning. Interwoven with this basic theme are many comparisons between yogic and Vedantic concepts of human development and those of modern psychology.
Chapter Two treats of the development of our self-concept, our sense of identity. It deals with the question, “Who am I?” and the answers put forth at various stages of development. Are there further stages of growth beyond the formation of a stable identity as it has been described in modern psychology? Is one’s identity annihilated in the altered states of consciousness described in the Eastern traditions? These important questions are dealt with in Chapter Two.
In the third chapter we describe how our self-concept is influenced by innumerable suggestions from others. Because of the many conflicting suggestions coming from outside, we become confused and disoriented. Yoga psychology offers methods for casting off negative suggestions which we accepted and for learning how to rely on our own direct experience, finally experiencing our own direct experience, finally experiencing our own true natures.
This theme is carried forward in Chapter Four which looks at the world as play and drama. We take the drama of life too seriously and identify with the parts we are playing rather than seeking to discover who we are apart from these roles.
Chapter Five discusses the Self, the center of consciousness within. According to yoga and Vedanta psychology. The aim of life and the final stage of development involve disengaging from our false self-concepts and false identifications with the roles and drama to realize our essential nature as the self.
As we begin to realize our true identities, our interpersonal and family relations and our entire way of living become transformed. As this occurs, there is an increased sense of freedom accompanied by the acceptance of greater responsibility. Chapter Six shows that freedom and responsibility are in fact interdependent and necessarily develop together.
Emotions and problems arising from them are not clearly understood in modern society. Psychologists have differing opinions about how to deal with our emotional life. Some encourage emotional release, while others teach control or sublimation. Yoga psychology offers a clear, precise and easily understood conceptualization and training program in which the energy which give rise to such unpleasant emotional states as fear, depression, jealousy and anger, can be channelled toward the experience of positive emotional states, such as love, devotion and bliss. Chapter seven describes the way in which the various emotions energy finally can be transmuted and lead us toward enlightenment.
In the final chapter we trace the development of one particular emotional attitude, that of judgement and condemnation, and show how that attitude, which causes so much suffering both to ourselves and others, is dissolved as we develop love and forgiveness.
As we explore the various facets of human life, we see a lawful development toward increasing harmony and unity. As we grow, the confusion, uncertainty and mis-understandings which were once predominant in our lives are gradually transcended until we finally reach that state of enlightenment is equilibrium from which all can be appreciated and understood.
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