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  • Written by Tara Bennett-Goleman
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How the Mind Can Heal the Heart

Written by Tara Bennett-GolemanAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Tara Bennett-Goleman

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List Price: $13.99

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On Sale: April 23, 2002
Pages: | ISBN: 978-1-4000-4548-8
Published by : Harmony Crown Archetype
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

“May this very important and enticing book find its way into the hearts of readers near and far so that it can perform its mysterious and healing alchemy for the benefit of all.” —John Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are and
Professor of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School

The Transformative Power of Mindfulness

Alchemists sought to transform lead into gold. In the same way, says Tara Bennett- Goleman, we all have the natural ability to turn our moments of confusion or emotional pain into insightful clarity.

Emotional Alchemy maps the mind and shows how, according to recent advances in cognitive therapy, most of what troubles us falls into ten basic emotional patterns, including fear of abandonment, social exclusion (the feeling that we don’t belong), and vulnerability (the feeling that some catastrophe will occur). This remarkable book also teaches us how we can free ourselves of such patterns and replace them with empathy for ourselves and others through the simple practice of mindfulness, an awareness that lets us see things as they truly are without distortion or judgment. Emotional Alchemy provides an insightful explanation of how mindfulness can change not only our lives, but the very structure of our brains, giving us the freedom to be more creative and alive.

Here is a beautifully rendered work full of Buddhist wisdom and stories of how people have used mindfulness to conquer their self-defeating habits. The result is a whole new way of approaching our relationships, work, and internal lives.

Excerpt

From Chapter One

From the window of my London hotel room Big Ben displays itself, a prominent, elegant presence amid the vista of river, billowing clouds, and spreading jumble of skyline. Big Ben has a grandeur as a piece of architecture, but I find my eye drawn more to the broad, open expanse of sky and river.

The panorama above and below Big Ben's rounded bluntness includes a resplendence of steeples and bridges that occupy the central view from my window. I notice how my mind, at first glance, takes in the spaciousness of the cloud-filled sky and the soothing expanse of the river below like a regal oil painting by some turn-of-the-century landscape artist, or like a postcard-perfect snapshot.

But as I gaze more carefully, with a sustained attention, I notice that the still snapshot-like rendering of this scene dissolves into a whirl of constant motion, a continuing series of tiny movements that add up to a vastly altered picture. There are tiny successive changes in the shape of clouds as they glide across the sky, sometimes opening up patches of sky through which rays of sunlight spill along the landscape, illuminating shadows into patches of light. There's the translucent shine of buildings and roads and bright red buses as they momentarily bathe in the glow. The scene before me shimmers with kinetic energy.

And so it is with our inner landscapes. This shift in my perception mirrors how the mind works: the tendency to assume it has got the whole picture on first glance, to rush on without a closer look, and the sometimes startling fact that if one continues to look more carefully, there is always more to be discovered beyond those initial assumptions. Too often we take our first impressions, the conclusions from a first hasty glance, as the lasting truth of the moment. But if we keep looking and noticing, we become aware of greater detail and nuance, of changes and second thoughts, and much more. We can see things more as they actually are, rather than as they appear to be. We can bring a more precise understanding to the moment.

If we sustain our gaze within, sometimes our probe may detect pain behind the masks we wear. But if we continue to look, we can see how the patterns of pain hold that very mask in place, and as we investigate further we see even these patterns shift and rearrange themselves. We see how our reactions to our emotions can keep us at a distance from ourselves. And if we sustain our focus, allowing ourselves to open more honestly, our awareness penetrates further, unraveling and dissolving, peeling away the layers as we look still further. We begin to connect with more genuine parts of ourselves, at first in glimpses. Then, as we sustain our gaze, we connect with a source that breathes awareness into every layer of our being.

This book is about seeing ourselves as we genuinely are, not as we seem on first glance as viewed through the filters of our habitual assumptions and emotional patterns. We will explore how through the practice of mindfulness--a method for training the mind to expand the scope of awareness while refining its precision--we can reach beyond the limiting ways we see ourselves. We will see how to disengage from the emotional habits that undermine our lives and our relationships. We will discover how a precise mindfulness can investigate these emotional habits, bringing an insightful clarity to distinguish between the seeming and the actual.


From the Hardcover edition.
Tara Bennett-Goleman

About Tara Bennett-Goleman

Tara Bennett-Goleman - Emotional Alchemy
TARA BENNETT-GOLEMAN, a psychotherapist and teacher, has been offering workshops on the synthesis of Buddhism and psychotherapy for close to ten years with her husband, Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence. She lives in Massachusetts.
Praise

Praise

"A wonderfully clear, compassionate, and insightful guide to freeing ourselves from difficult emotions."
-- Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness

"A wonderfully wise book, one that is down to earth and immensely practical. I know I will be using it as a resource in my own life for a long time."
-- Susan Griffin, author of A Chorus of Stones and What Her Body Thought

"May this very important and enticing book find its way into the hearts of readers near and far so that it can perform its mysterious and healing alchemy for the benefit of all. Tara Bennett-Goleman has done a great service in describing in such inspiring and precise ways how meditative practices can liberate us from the patterns of emotional reactions that, unexamined, lead invariably to suffering and harm."
-- Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go There You Are and professor of medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School

"A rare accomplishment, bringing the synthesis of Western psychology and Buddhist mindfulness practice to an entirely new level. Much more than theory, it is a wise and pragmatic guide to emotional freedom. Tara Bennett-Goleman weaves together with consummate skill the wisdom teachings of the East, the latest understandings of cognitive therapy and neuroscience, and the innumerable personal stories that bring all of it to life."
-- Joseph Goldstein, author of Insight Meditation

"Gliding effortlessly from personal reminiscence to the latest in neuroscience, from meditation instruction to the intricacies of cognitive therapy, Tara Bennett-Goleman invites us to be part of her journey. In showing us how to use our minds to heal our emotions, she heals our minds with her heart."
-- Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Thoughts Without a Thinker and Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart

"A very accessible and practical guide to transforming emotions. If you wish to know how your emotional habits can be changed, this book is for you."
-- Richard J. Davidson, director, Wisconsin Center for Affective Science and W. M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior, University of Wisconsin

"A beautiful blend of spiritual wisdom and psychological insight. Based on many years of intensive meditation and experience as a practicing psychotherapist, the author offers guidance that is relevant for anyone who wishes to be free from suffering or to help others on the way. This book is an engaging invitation to bring the art of mindfulness to emotional transformation and well-being."
-- Frances Vaughan, author of Shadows of the Sacred

"Emotional Alchemy is an amazing feast of knowledge of East and West, traditional and current. It shows how everyday emotions can be transmuted as a means of healing. All the principles of the alchemy of mind explained in one book -- a must-read handbook."
-- Tulku Thondup, author of Healing and the Mind

"Written with humor, warmheartedness in lively prose . . . a landmark step forward for us all."
-- Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth


From the Hardcover edition.

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