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The addition of spirit-channeling to basic spiritual messages makes this an offbeat offering in a crowded genre.

A self-help book featuring accounts of channeled communication by empath, shamanic healer, management consultant, and debut author Wyss.

In 2003, the author believed that she was generally happy—so she was shocked when she had a self-destructive urge to deliberately wreck her car. Soon, she writes, she began receiving messages from spirits, and she recalled similar experiences as a child. After this, Wyss pursued studies in business-coaching and the alternative-healing arts. In 2014, after suffering a brain injury, she persevered through a 10-day training session for entrepreneurs, feeling throughout that she was enveloped by an invisible presence. Later, she says, she experienced a visit from “Mother Mary,” the mother of Jesus, asking her to work with spirits “to reconnect humans back to themselves…through your work in companies.” Wyss realized that her true vocation was as a shamanic healer in the corporate world. She changed her base of operations from Switzerland to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she continued her studies in shamanism while counseling others. Several chapters here, as well as the introduction, are attributed to spiritual beings—including the Archangel Michael, the aforementioned Mother Mary, Neptune, the spiritually enlightened being called Lady Nada, the Native American Medicine Bear, and “the Source.” They’re universal in their praise of Wyss while delivering the book’s simple messages, such as that one should trust oneself, seek enlightenment as much as possible, and endeavor to connect with the spiritual world. Overall, the brief text, organized into five parts (“The Journey Calls,” “Finding Inner Strength,” “The Wisdom of the Heart,” “An Empowered Life,” and “A New Beginning”), is clearly written. The author’s decision to organize the book thematically, however, rather than chronologically, does make the timeline of events a bit muddled at times. That said, the author provides dates throughout to help to orient the reader. Many of the chapters also open with inspirational quotes (such as Cicero’s “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others”), which help to provide intellectual support for the spiritual material.

The addition of spirit-channeling to basic spiritual messages makes this an offbeat offering in a crowded genre.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-8607-4

Page Count: 134

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2018

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

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. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A moving, heartfelt account of a hospice veteran.

Lessons about life from those preparing to die.

A longtime hospice chaplain, Egan (Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago, 2004) shares what she has learned through the stories of those nearing death. She notices that for every life, there are shared stories of heartbreak, pain, guilt, fear, and regret. “Every one of us will go through things that destroy our inner compass and pull meaning out from under us,” she writes. “Everyone who does not die young will go through some sort of spiritual crisis.” The author is also straightforward in noting that through her experiences with the brokenness of others, and in trying to assist in that brokenness, she has found healing for herself. Several years ago, during a C-section, Egan suffered a bad reaction to the anesthesia, leading to months of psychotic disorders and years of recovery. The experience left her with tremendous emotional pain and latent feelings of shame, regret, and anger. However, with each patient she helped, the author found herself better understanding her own past. Despite her role as a chaplain, Egan notes that she rarely discussed God or religious subjects with her patients. Mainly, when people could talk at all, they discussed their families, “because that is how we talk about God. That is how we talk about the meaning of our lives.” It is through families, Egan began to realize, that “we find meaning, and this is where our purpose becomes clear.” The author’s anecdotes are often thought-provoking combinations of sublime humor and tragic pathos. She is not afraid to point out times where she made mistakes, even downright failures, in the course of her work. However, the nature of her work means “living in the gray,” where right and wrong answers are often hard to identify.

A moving, heartfelt account of a hospice veteran.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59463-481-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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