A varied potpourri of metaphysical teachings.

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THE INTUITIVE IN YOU

Electrical engineer and self-described “energy facilitator” and “psychic warrior” Burford tells of how to maximize intuitiveness in this debut self-help-book.

The author says that he believes that everyone is born with metaphysical abilities that are suppressed by conventional wisdom and education: “In playing with my own children when they were young,” he writes, “I realized that children can see angels, energy fields, auras, and so on.” In this book, he seeks to help readers who wish to revive these natural abilities through simple exercises. He focuses heavily on the concept of one’s “energy field,” which he also calls an “energy egg.” Chapters such as “Energy Awareness,” “Energy Healing,” and “Energy Self-Defense” provide extensive background on the different roles that he believes one’s energy can play in one’s life, including explanations of the body’s chakras. Burford tells of how he has used his own energy field—expanding it as a barrier, for instance, or drawing it back to make it less vulnerable to others’ energies—to protect himself and others, both physically and psychologically. He frankly discusses the benefits and challenges of meditation, particularly when beginning the practice, but he stresses, above all, the importance of positivity, kindness, and self-love. Throughout this easy-to-read manual, Burford insists that anyone can learn to master the skills he describes, even astral projection. However, the most useful section is the “Exercises” portion of the appendix, in which he describes exactly how to develop the metaphysical skills that he claims everyone has. The glossary will also be helpful to newcomers, although many readers who are interested in the book’s subject matter will likely already know some of the terms. Obviously, this work isn’t for everyone; some, for instance, may scoff at the idea of astrally traveling to a family member’s funeral in Prague, as he says that he helped one client do. That said, the underpinnings of Burford’s philosophy—helpfulness, kindness, and so on—are ones that anyone can embrace.

A varied potpourri of metaphysical teachings.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5320-3196-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2018

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

THE ART OF SOLITUDE

A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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