by Tara Bennett-Goleman
"Emotional Alchemy" is all about mindfulness... and mindfulness is about seeing things as they are without trying to change them...
"Emotional Alchemy" is about changing our reactions to disturbing emotions, whilst not rejecting the emotion itself.
Margo bought this book for me while she was visiting Utah, USA and I have had some of the most profound shifts while working through the mindfulness exercises given on pages 44 -52...
If I have to recommend a book for understanding and changing emotional states, this is it!
According to ancient legends, alchemists use a magical philosopher's stone to transmute lead into gold. In "Emotional Alchemy", Tara Bennett-Goleman shows us how we can use this alchemist metaphor to transform emotional confusion (lead) into insightful clarity (gold). And what does the magic stone represent? - "Mindfulness"
The focus here is on how to use mindfulness to bring about an awareness of our thought processes and repetitive behavioural patterns that no longer serve us too well. And how to change the way we perceive them!
Goleman defines these patterns of behaviour as “schemas”. And, for me, the emotional impact of delving into "schemas" as defined by her was huge.
Intellectually I was aware of childhood influences on my adult being, but this book puts those experiences, and our coping mechanisms, or schemas, into a solid framework. I had never really given thought to how deeply rooted the schemas of abandonment, deprivation, and insecurity were in my own life, or of others. Her descriptions and explanations really did bring long-dormant emotions to the surface.
This is one of those books that can serve as a personal turning point...
It certainly did for me!
“AS LONG AS WE ARE ALIVE, WE ARE ALWAYS BREATHING. MEDITATION ON THE BREATH MEANS SIMPLY KEEPING OUR ATTENTION ON THE NATURAL PROCESS OF BREATHING, WITHOUT TRYING TO CHANGE IT IN ANY WAY”...
The more I change, the more the world around me changes...
What makes this book such an exciting breakthrough is Bennett-Goleman's ability to apply Buddhist mindfulness to Western psychology. She shows how emotional alchemy can be used to address typical habits, such as mistrust, fear of rejection, feeling unlovable. Readers will also find fascinating scientific facts on how emotional alchemy affects brain chemistry and even cancer survival.
Reviewed by Alan