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Posted February 22, 2005
A Book to Own, Reread, and Give to Others
The clarity with which he writes, the depth of what he knows about Buddhism and Psychology, and his insights into both--how how they can and do work together--made this book invaluable to me.
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Posted March 4, 2005
A Psychological Gem
Dr. Aronson has written a gem. His psychological insights are warming and wonderful. His bridge to Buddhist meditation practice is both unique and invaluable. Rarely have I seen a psychotherapist who understands and communicates the quality of a successful psychotherapy so well. Coupling that gift with his ease in personal revelations, Dr. Aronson creates a warm holding environment, one that encourages the reader to feel equally comfortable and at ease in looking at his or her own vulnerable feelings. The ability to communicate both the value of a good psychotherapy and to capture its warm essence is very rare. Dr. Aronson has another gift. As a long-time Buddhist practitioner and professor, he possesses a deep personal knowledge of how the practice is used, and misused, by Westerners. Dr. Aronson captures this by providing a very interesting cross-cultural perspective, picking up strengths and weaknesses as Buddhism has been both transplanted and translated from Asia to the West. He has a unique and invaluable perspective on the way Buddhist teachings are recruited to one's individual neurosis. Dr. Aronson retranslates Buddhist proscriptions against 'anger.' He believes the Asian teachers were not admonishing one to avoid an emotional state, but rather to avoid destructive actions. Aronson believes that angry feelings are often helpful, or even necessary for some people to grow, and to become able have an effective meditation practice. This opinion is consistent with his gloss that the advice to avoid anger should be read as avoiding destructive action. This is so because if a person was the victim of destructive actions, or a longer destructive upbringing, hiding or disavowing those destructive actions perpetrated against the person would actually be to collude with one or more aggressors, and that can only done at a high personal cost. The cost could take many forms, including disengaging with the world, having symptoms of depression or guilt, substance abuse, chronic relational problems, etc. In this discussion, we see Aronson capturing therapy at its best. My only criticism of this book is that its title didn't offer a way to easily capture the imagination of the psychotherapeutic world, as I think psychotherapists, and people interesting in psychotherapy are a natural audience. I appreciate this wonderful book and encourage others to enjoy this fascinating and stimulating book. Mark Siegert, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist, Psychoanalyst
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