A psychologist blends spiritual paths from the East, West and beyond for an innovative approach to healing.
The author grew up in a traditional Jewish household with an attorney for a father. He expected to follow his father’s path and embrace a career in the law, but his trajectory changed after hearing his astrological reading at a fair and experiencing Woodstock, among other personal and cultural changes at the time. He chose to become a healer rather than assume the potentially combative existence of a lawyer; thus, in some ways, he is the “reluctant metaphysician” of the title. He’d been admitted to George Washington University Law School, but instead the author chose to enroll in a graduate psychology program in New York. He observes the decline of American values, particularly in health care, noting that in the U.S., “corporate greed and the profit motive rules our medical system.” Amen. Throughout his studies, he sought a balance between the urge to verbally spar with others and the need for emotional and spiritual sustenance, partaking in tai chi and qigong along the way. In recognizing the use of story in cultivating personal transformation, the book echoes Women Who Run with the Wolves. It’s also reminiscent of the writings of Matthew Fox, who examines human creativity, as opposed to consumerism and consumption, through the lens of Christian mysticism. Descriptions of qigong movements—an integral part of the author’s life—would be clearer in DVD format (a version of which is available for sale on Mayer’s website). The doctor’s stories and practices have roots in a variety of cultural perspectives, including Native American beliefs, Eastern philosophy, hermeneutics, astrology, shamanism, meditation and mythology. It’s a broad experiential brush, suggestive of a rich and adventurous psyche. Those without a strong background in metaphysics or psychology may lose their way on these many different trails; the rest will find an expansive tale told with humility and insight.
A meaningful contribution to the spiritual self-help library but not for dilettantes.