The structure of the therapist-client relationship gets a revamp in this guide for life coaches, healers, and teachers.
Therapy in the West includes a wide array of strategies and approaches, but when it comes to understanding a client’s spiritual motivations and aspirations, many therapy models fall short. In an effort to redefine the goals and objectives of healing therapy, Leela Foundation founder Jaxon-Bear (Fixation to Freedom, 2019, etc.) provides a concise but detailed road map to a more fulfilling therapist-client relationship. The basic premise is quite simple; most people, the author says, are stuck in a false sense of identity that stems from the ego. This skewed, self-centered perspective not only causes suffering, but also impedes people’s ability to discover their true purpose, he says. Each chapter offers concrete examples of how professionals can integrate concepts, such as how to be a “true friend,” with illustrated diagrams that show intended results. His topics include hypnosis, the role of the therapist, and methods for transcending ego, and, along the way, he includes probing questions. He also emphasizes the importance of staying the present moment during therapy sessions: “When you do not have a personal agenda for how the moment should be, you can experience the moment as an intimate embrace.” The therapist’s willingness to be fully engaged and “awake” is central to his or her success, Jaxon-Bear notes, which is why his book includes personal worksheets to complete after sessions, in order to track progress and client feedback. There’s also a helpful glossary of key terms, as well as comprehensive examples of client-therapist discussions. The overall tone of the book is formal but instructive, and it’s meant for serious students who are committed to expanding their professional wisdom. Jaxon-Bear’s consistent encouragement and passion for the work shines on every page.
An insightful treatise on the transformative power of self-reflection.
Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2019
Page count: 310pp
Publisher: New Morning Associates, Inc.
Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2020
In this motivational guide, Leela Foundation founder and author Jaxon-Bear looks at how to overcome the ego and find true freedom in every area of one’s life.
Everyone, in their heart of hearts, longs to be happy—so why are there so many unhappy people? Jaxon-Bear has dedicated his life to answering that question, spending years traveling and studying different religious disciplines, such as Buddhism and Sufism. The author has created a unique take on the Enneagram, a popular personality-mapping tool that focuses on nine distinct personality types. But rather than seeing that test as a way to put oneself in a rigid box, Jaxon-Bear encourages readers to see it as a guide to what no longer serves them, as this will ultimately pave the way for them to go beyond the limitations of ego. According to the author, there comes a point in everyone’s spiritual journey when they hit a fork in the road and must choose a path to follow: “You can either continue to believe yourself to be a limited ‘me,’ or you can begin to fully examine the false belief that who you are is bound by time and form.” He explores the nine dominant personality types in depth, including their common traits and negative tendencies. He also offers several inspirational quotes by prominent gurus that help to illustrate key points and themes. The book as a whole is divided into three parts that effectively cover the gradual process of “waking up,” which includes examining the nature of reality, deciphering the Enneagram, and entering a final stage of spiritual evolution. The author’s tone is gentle but insistent throughout this book, and he frequently uses terms like “fixation” and “super-ego” to convey the meanings of complex topics in an accessible manner. For those readers who are new to spirituality-based texts or have never practiced self-inquiry, the book may sometimes feel overwhelming. However, those who are already familiar with Buddhist thought and Middle Eastern religious teachings will feel right at home.
A moving exploration of personal and spiritual transcendence.
Pub Date: May 1, 2019
Page count: 292pp
Publisher: New Morning Associates, Inc.
Review Posted Online: April 21, 2020
A spiritual instructor and author chronicles his journey from student and community organizer to lawbreaker and organic farmer in this autobiography.
Born Elliot Zeldow, Jaxon-Bear (Wake Up and Roar, 2017, etc.) grew up in Brooklyn and Queens, alternating between urban, mixed-ethnic schools and more exclusive ones with upwardly mobile Jews. He was a tough kid with street smarts who attended the University of Pittsburgh (in “a backwater steel town with a mediocre college”), where he was involved with the debate team. As a student, he traveled to Alabama to participate in civil rights marches, beginning a long involvement with social issues that continued intermittently after his graduation. Following brief stints as a steelworker, professional activist, and Ph.D. candidate—along with a short marriage to a Pittsburgh girl—Jaxon-Bear upped his involvement with drugs and crossed to the wrong side of the law on several occasions. Relying on his gift for gab and obfuscation, he avoided serious jail time on numerous occasions, setting off on spiritual journeys with more drugs than cash. He eventually met his life partner, Toni, and with their mystical and emotional connections—along with some fortuitous investments—the author achieved a respected position in his chosen field of spiritual development. With his discovery of Papaji (his guru, Zen master, and other “self”), Jaxon-Bear fully realized his spiritual odyssey. The author’s uninhibited, honest account of his life—with all of his flaws on full display—is refreshing. His early life emerges as surprisingly captivating, although readers may suspect his spiritual voyage is what he really wants to share. At times, his self-destructive, selfish behavior is wearing, particularly his firm belief in his youth (before he met Toni) that he should be exempt from monogamy because it did not suit him. Quotes and contemporary song lyrics before each chapter help set the scene for the subsequent narrative, but the book would have benefited from more introspection on Jaxon-Bear’s part. Too often it seems that he was just swept along with the times, without giving thought to what he was doing.
An intriguing and candid memoir that should appeal to readers interested in ’60s movements.
Pub Date: April 2, 2018
Page count: 322pp
Publisher: New Morning Books
Review Posted Online: May 11, 2018
A series of spiritual conversations led by a teacher of enlightenment.
Sri Harilal W. Poonja was born in 1910 in Gujrawala, India. His mother was the sister of Hindu Swami Ram Tirtha, a celebrated religious figure. A spiritually precocious child, Poonja eventually grew to become a disciple of the Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi. Author Jaxon-Bear (Sudden Awakening, 2012, etc.) met Poonja, commonly known as “Papaji,” in Lucknow, India, in 1990 and was entranced by the depth of his teachings. The bulk of this book is an assemblage of transcripts of Poonja’s satsangs—group conversations led by a spiritual teacher, reminiscent of Socratic dialogues. These discussions took place over more than a year, from January 1990 to April 1991, in Poonja’s home and covered a remarkable swath of philosophical ground, discussing such things as the nature of true freedom and enlightenment, the distinction between nirvana and samsara, meditation, love, and death. The thematic twine that holds it all together, though, is the goal of emptiness—a transcendence of dualistic conceptualizations that create the illusion of the separation of the self: “The Self contains everything,” said Poonja. “There is nothing apart from it. This is why you can call it emptiness. There is nothing beyond emptiness. All is empty. Nothing ever exists.” Jaxon-Bear ably provides context for readers to understand these discussions as well as a concise biography of Poonja. The conversations aren’t always easy to digest and may prove esoteric to those unfamiliar with Eastern spirituality. However, Poonja is shown to be a truly gifted and charming teacher, and the dialogues repay careful attention. There are also some engaging departures from traditional Buddhist doctrines; for example, Poonja rejects the notion of cosmic karma and criticizes the Dalai Lama’s teachings regarding the nature of morality, or “right action.” The whole book is a fount of provocative wisdom.
A succinct introduction to an intriguing set of spiritual teachings.
Page count: 312pp
Publisher: New Morning Books
Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018
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