THE HEART'S CODE

TAPPING THE WISDOM AND POWER OF OUR HEART ENERGY

Pearsall, the prolific guru of self-help advice combining scientific theories with New Age spiritualism (Sexual Healing, 1994; Ten Laws of Lasting Love, 1993; etc.), finds evidence in the experiences of heart transplant recipients to support his claim that the heart thinks and the cells remember. Energy and information are one and the same, says Pearsall, who sees the heart as a generator of this “info-energy,” and the cells as storehouses of info-energetic memories. When a heart is transplanted, some “cardio-sensitive” recipients—the stories of five such people are told here—report recovery of these memories, which to Pearsall indicates they are tapping into the “L” (for life) energy of the donor. While the nature of “L” energy remains obscure, Pearsall offers some 20 different descriptions of this mysterious force, ranging from its speed (faster than the speed of light) to its visual manifestations (auras, spirals, etheric webs). By learning “cardio-contemplation,” he assures the reader, one can tune into one’s own heart and the coded information that is the human soul. Further, since hearts exchange information with other hearts, one can also become sensitive to the incoming “L” energy of other people’s hearts. Connecting to one’s own and to others— hearts is presented as the key to healing, happiness, and living and loving better. Pearsall provides a Heart Energy Amplitude Recognition Test and a Cardio-Sensitive Inventory for those who want to assess their likelihood of being able to listen to their heart’s code and even to tap into the collective unconscious. Lots of scientific jargon—there’s even a glossary of technical terms—to dress up a familiar New Age message about getting in touch with oneself and becoming one with the cosmos. ($75,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild alternate selection; author tour)

Pub Date: April 22, 1998

ISBN: 0-7679-0077-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

THE ART OF SOLITUDE

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

ON LIVING

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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