A commentary on two books by Gary Zukav: "The Seat of The Soul" (Fireside, New York, 1989), and "Soul Stories" (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2000). [Note: "The Seat of the Soul" is abbreviated as SoS and "Soul Stories" as SS, in any citations from these two books, below.]
I like and highly recommend "The Seat of the Soul." In terms of the book's personal-level implications. Their teachings for use in living are undeniably worthwhile and "true" in the sense that a person can apply these practical insights and hints and benefit from an expanding awareness, a greater openness, and a more joyful way of being.
What about "Soul Stories"? To me, it was an attempt at expanding on and reinforcing the major themes of "The Seat of The Soul." Hence, it is a book best read after reading "The Seat of The Soul" so that you understand the contexts of the "story" headings. "Soul Stories" also made me see more clearly where and why I have some disagreements regarding some less direct statements in "The Seat of The Soul." I reluctantly found myself in a state of disagreement regarding the macroscopic implications of Zukav's theses, about there being a new species of multisensory humans in the making.
We will save disagreements for a bit later in the discussion, but it is very important to realize, in reading my comments, that it is my belief, based on my experience, that just because you do not share another person's every opinion and nuance of belief, you can still learn much from such a person and consider such a person to be a very good friend. In fact, I would suggest that if a person echoes your every thought and prejudice, you are talking into a mirror, or the intellectual and political equivalent of one, and you will learn nothing. So, even though I do not agree with all that is written in either book, I consider myself enriched by the reading of both, and more so by the contemplating of my own experience and beliefs it has led me to.
Let me start by quoting a very basic premise I was surprised by, but find I agree with after reading further:
"What is truth?
"Truth is that which does not contaminate you, but empowers you. Therefore, there are degrees of truth, but, generically, truth is that which can do no harm. It cannot harm." (p.88 SoS)
The mind immediately goes to finding exceptions, since we have all been taught that the truth can hurt, and in that context most of us probably thought that Paul's New Testament admonishment to speak the truth in love meant to withhold it to the extent that is necessary to prevent pain. But Zukav is on another wavelength, he gets to the idea later that it is not in your best interest or anyone else's to go around correcting other people's lack of truth, and that it is important to be kind. But here he is speaking of the truth of an idea that comes to us intuitively (or even via his book followed by intuitive internalization):
"At times, the truth that comes through intuitive processes or through intuitive channels can be contaminated with your own fear. Here is a place to apply your intellect. In other words, you might think that you are receiving a clear intuition, but if you examine it rationally, if you take it apart, you will be able to see that you are responding to an insecurity.
"Answers that come through your intuitive process or through intuitive channels may challenge what you would prefer to do. Your lower self, your personality, will not challenge, but rationalize." (p .89 SoS)
Now there is a discomfiting thought for those who believe every nuance of their being will be or should be validated by their intuitive processes. In fact, if these processes put you in touch with the real you, with your real self, your soul, it implies that you could find that you are out of step with, out of harmony with, even at odds with, your own soul!
Of course Zukav has lessons to teach that deal with this potentially unsettling and uncomfortable truth about truth, and you will have to read the books to learn them.
One piece of imagery that Zukav weaves very expertly so that even I could intuit the truth of it is the imagery of Light. Not a flashlight, or a star's, moon's or sun's light, but Universal Light:
"The Light that flows through your system is Universal energy. It is the Light of the Universe. You give that Light form. What you feel, what you think, how you behave, what you value and how you live your life reflect the way that you are shaping the Light that is flowing trough you." (p.106 SoS)
Prior to this paragraph, which really caught my imagination, Zukav had already explained that:
"You are a dynamic being of Light that at each moment informs the energy that flows through you. You do this with each thought, with each intention." (p. 106 SoS)
And it is the idea and power of intention that Zukav spends a lot of time with, and I want to comment on his treatment of this central topic.
"If you have conflicting intentions, you will be torn because both dynamics will be set in motion and oppose each other. If you are not aware of all your intentions, the strongest one will win. You may have conscious intentions to improve your marriage, for example, and, simultaneously an unconscious intention to end it. If the unconscious intention to end your marriage is stronger . . . the dynamic of restlessness, lack of fulfillment, etc., eventually will overcome the conscious intention to become loving and harmonious within your marriage. In the end your marriage will terminate." (p. 107 SoS)
Imagine how this paragraph hit me, since its inverse was my exact experience. Here I need to digress into a personal tale of something that happened to change my way of being, something that has caused me to actually begin to read books such as the ones I am here reviewing.
A woman I knew in the 80's and lost track of for about a decade breezed back into my business life and immediately took it upon herself to re-create me. She said she was my soulmate and could see I had taken a wrong term somewhere and needed a course correction. I saw she was young, cute, and recalling some of the romantic notions about soulmates fantasized about where this was going to lead, until she slapped me upside the head, figuratively, and let me know in no uncertain words that that is not at all what this was about: we were soulmates, yes, but not to be lovers, she was to correct my course, and I was to have an influence on hers as well.
She caused me a lot of pain, teaching me to reach into my inner being for insight into myself and my motivations. My final exam came a few years after I had mastered pretty well what she was trying to show me about knocking down the scaffolding of defensive posturing and making my intellect into a tool rather than confusing it with who I am. What she caused me to understand was that I am not my intellect, my intellect is my tool, it is needed to be effective in this life. It is not me, it is my tool.
My final exam came on an evening when I waited at work to call her after she got home (different time zones). I told her I had looked at it from every possible angle, and had concluded that this night, when the inevitable blowup between my wife and I would happen, I would calmly and simply declare my long-standing intent to obtain a divorce. She said three things that are hard to forget: she said (1) "I don't care how this comes out, divorce is something people do at your age" (ouch!). (2) "But, you are so intellectually defensive and closed right now I have a hard time listening to you. I feel like telling you to call back when you are really you again." (3) "You are not here, in the present, right now. You are taking all the ugliness you can from the past and projecting it into the future, and placing yourself into that intellectual and monstrous construct and talking to me about changing this intellectually skewed vision by making one of the most important decisions of your life in the here and now? You aren't even in the here and now!
She continued to tell me that "divorce may be the right thing, but you will never know while you are hiding in your intellect's worst nightmares. Have you forgotten all we have worked on the last year or so?" Then she talked me down, into the present, and got me to promise I would stay in the present, set aside the past and the future (in other words, my intellect) and deal with my wife and my decision only if I could remain in that state. Divorce may be right, but this was the way to be myself and to know what I really wanted and needed.
In retrospect, this advice was remarkably like that described on page 87 in Zukav's "Soul Stories" where the author describes how he prepared for a confrontation. In my case my intention was to make a decision, but from within myself in the everlasting present, not from remembrances of the past or fears of the future. Zukav's motivation was to discuss a contentious issue that was separating him from an associate, for the purpose of allowing them to be close again. There is a difference, but the underlying principles are the same:
. . . "I decided to feel everything inside me, every time I spoke. I used to spend a lot of time thinking, and less time feeling. When I spoke about what I thought, sometimes my mind wandered. I didn't want that to happen. I knew that if I focused on what I was feeling, I would always be present. That is exactly where I wanted to be.
"I made another promise to myself, too-to let anything happen. . . . I decided that my job was to have a clear intention, speak from my heart, and not be attached to the result. The rest was up to my friend and our family.
"When the storm struck, it was more violent than I had imagined." (p. 87 SS)
You will need to read "Soul Stories" to catch the end of Gary Zukav's tale. But here is the end of mine: to my honest surprise after a nasty confrontation I heard myself simply say (and I knew it was me speaking from my deepest feelings even though my intellect was aghast!) in response to a tirade of accusation: "I will not abandon you." And the storm was over right then and there, I was standing there, open, in the present, something my wife had not seen for years.
She calmly said that it was a miracle, she and the older kids had been praying for 6 months that I would come back to myself, that she was losing me and I was losing me. Profound. True. That was five years ago, and the last five years have not been easy but my intellectually constructed nightmare of the future hasn't appeared either: as long as I stay in the present, the future will be like the present. It will be what we want it to be, we have become the masters of our circumstances, we are not any longer the victims of circumstances made by others, or even ourselves in our pasts, for very long.
Before I (re) learned to be in the present, I was conflicted and angry and a splintered personality full of stress and anxiety (all terms that Zukav uses, as you will see in a moment). And in my case, letting go of the idea of the intellect being me made this change in perception, which changed my reality, possible.
My soulmate? We stay in touch, email mostly and a very rare phone call. I think I was a help and comfort to her during her very nasty divorce, recently. My main contribution has been to remind her of the lessons she taught me, and to talk her down from her own intellectual prison a few times when the meanness and oppression of a very vindictive ex-husband was too much for her to take in the present. She is about done with this phase of the post-nasty-divorce-syndrome and will be alright now.
I mention this divorce only because she was absolutely correct: whether divorce is or is not the right thing to do was not the question in my case. What the principle was that I needed to put into practice was that this is the sort of life-question that should not be answered based solely on intellect. It is the type of question that should be based on how you feel, how the real you feels in the eternal present. A decision that should not be made based on the past-future as the intellect reconstructs the one and projects the other and suggests you will be the victim of the circumstances conjured up in this projection. The real you should make that decision, the one that owns the intellect as its tool, the one that knows it is the master, not the victim, of circumstance.
So, back to Zukav's treatment of these same, serious ideas. What Zukav goes on to say, which accords directly with my own experience, is that prior to coming to know your own motivations, conscious and heretofore subconscious, you are a conflicted being, a person with a splintered personality:
"This is the experience of a splintered personality. A splintered personality struggles with itself. The values, perceptions, and behaviors of a splintered personality are not integrated. A splintered personality is not conscious of all the parts of itself. A splintered personality is frightened. . . . A splintered personality experiences the circumstances within its life as more powerful than itself". . . . (p .108 SoS)
Going back to the person with an internal conflict over his or her intentions, if the opposing "intentions are nearly balanced. . . . severe stress and emotional pain result." (p .108 SoS)
"A splintered personality is a personality in need of healing. As a personality becomes conscious and integrated, it heals those parts of its soul that incarnation in order to be healed. The Light that flows through a whole personality is focused into a single, clear beam. Its intentions are powerful and effective". . . . (p .109 SoS)
This is in contrast to the splintered personality, in whom "much turbulence, so to speak, was created in the flow of the Light through that person" (p. 108 SoS)
The book paints these contrasting pictures, and does so very effectively. But it always, without fail, follows up with encouragement to seek healing, integration, and consciousness. And it gives practical advice, to an extent, on how to achieve these health-producing goals. And where these practicalities are a bit thin, the supplemental volume "Soul Stories" more than adequately recovers the main points with more personal, and in some cases more practical in my opinion, insights and examples.
A simple idea that Zukav feels to be very important, judging by the amount of material discussing it, is the idea that
"Where your attention goes, you go. If you attend to the negative aspects of life . . . you draw to yourself . . . disdain, anger and hatred. You put distance between yourself and others.
"You create obstacles to your loving. . . . If you direct your energy into criticism of others with the intention to disempower them, you create negative karma.
"If you choose to focus your attention on the strengths of others . . . you run through your system . . . appreciation, acceptance and love. Your energy and influence radiate instantaneously from soul to soul . . . you move toward authentic empowerment." (pp. 127-128 SoS)
I agree that this is, based on my own experience, a very important topic. Without a certain unity within yourself you will have no authentic power, as Zukav defines it, and will tend to stray into self-defeating or even harmful behaviors seeking empowerment in inappropriate ways. Zukav explains that a splintered personality just cannot achieve wholeness without some healing taking place, and that that healing does not come easy (as I experienced it, it can be quite discomfiting and painful, like pulling teeth?):
"It is not easy for a splintered personality to become whole because only some parts of a splintered personality seek wholeness. The other parts, because they are not as responsible, or caring, or passionate as the parts that seek wholeness, pull the other way. They seek to create what satisfies them, what they have become accustomed to. These parts of the personality are often strong and well established. The splintered personality must always choose between opposing parts of itself." (pp. 136-137 SoS)
So how does one go about healing oneself? Recognizing your motivations and making choices in the face of that recognition:
"Responsible choice is the conscious road to authentic empowerment.
"What is responsible choice?
"As you follow your feelings, you become aware of the different parts of yourself, and the different things that they want. . . .
"As you became conscious of the different parts of your personality, you become able to experience consciously the forces within you that compete for expression, that lay claim to the single intention that will be yours at each moment, that will shape your reality. When you enter the dynamics consciously, you create for yourself the ability to choose consciously among the forces within you, to choose where and how you will focus your energy." (pp. 137-138 SoS)
Now, with that background on responsible choices as the way to authentic empowerment, because of my personal story's intrusion, it is of interest to explore some of Zukav's words on marriage as an institution:
"All of the vows that a human being can take cannot prevent the spiritual path from exploding through and breaking those vows if the spirit must move on. It is appropriate for spiritual partners to remain together only as long as they grow together. . .
"The archetype of spiritual partnership is new to the human experience. . . . Marriages will continue to exist, but marriages that succeed will only succeed with the consciousness of spiritual partnerships." (pp. 126-127 SoS)
Does this mean that the decision as to whether or not to stay in a marriage is at root a self-centered one? Not really. Quite far from it in fact. If you become authentically empowered:
"You begin to form and to live by the values, perceptions and actions that reflect equality with your partner and a commitment to his or her spiritual development and your own. You begin to set aside the wants of your personality in order to accommodate the needs of your partner's spiritual growth, and, in doing that, you grow yourself." (p. 165 SoS)
The discuss goes on for a few pages with examples of what is and is not conducive to a spiritual partnership. It is not easy, but it is rewarding in terms of reaching toward wholeness and authentic empowerment.
Zukav is at his illuminating best in a paragraph where he explains God:
"You have always been because what it is that you are is God, or Divine Intelligence, but God takes on individual forms, droplets, reducing its power to small particles of individual consciousness. It is a massive reduction of power, yet the power is as full in that droplet as it is in the whole. . . . As that little form grows in power, in selfhood, in its own consciousness of self, it becomes larger and more Godlike. Then it becomes God.
" This is a process that parallels the process of your personality, which is of your soul, expanding into your higher self, and thereby coming into the full power of your soul incarnate. . . .
"The individual unit of evolution is the soul." (p. 186 SoS)
So here is an example of a set of paragraphs that just melt something within me with recognition, intuitively. But I could not begin to express it intellectually and capture it in symbols, let alone words. To my chagrin, Zukav does make such an attempt in his "Soul Stories" when he describes the soul's relationship to the person in this fashion:
"Imagine that the mother ship is the largest seagoing vessel that you can picture in your mind-larger than the biggest ocean liner. It is an enormous city afloat. Imagine that the rest of the ships in the fleet are small boats, each with enough room for only one person. The mother ship is your soul, and you are one of the small boats." (p. 42 SS)
Zukav uses this imagery to relate some aspects of the soul/person relationship
that I sense as good insights, but the very fact that he used an image, a symbol, and words to attempt to capture
one aspect of the soul/person relationship is somehow a cause of discord in me that says: "Nah." Can
I offer a richer image? No. In fact I had the same reaction to someone who described the soul as a tree with many
branches, twigs and leaves, and we were all leaves and soulmates were leaves on the same twig for sure, and perhaps
the same branch. Sure, that imagery makes a point, and I was tempted to use it myself a few times, but internally
I had the same reaction: "Nah." I take comfort in the fact that I can intuit a relationship, but I cannot
condense it down to an image or a symbol or a group of words. I take comfort in there being something that is ineffable.
I need that to maintain wonder in my heart. To stay wonder-full.
Zukav continues to be at his best in prescribing the cure for the spiritually ill:
"Spiritual psychology will support the choice to learn through wisdom, the choice to release patterns of negativity, of doubt and fear, that are no longer appropriate to who we are and what we are becoming". . . . (p. 205 SoS)
Does being "no longer appropriate" mean negatively, doubt and fear were at some point in the past an appropriate way to learn, to heal? No. But that is the way things have been because of choices made by our ancestors, and here is where my more serious objection gets raised:
"Awareness first enters into an unaware personality through crisis. When the personality is not attuned to, or is apart from, clear soul energy, it becomes seduced into the physical matteredness of life. That always results in a personality crisis because the necessary strength and guidance that are meant to flow into the personality have been cut off. . . . Therefore, crisis results.
"Was it meant that crisis be central to our growth? No. This pattern evolved through the choices that were made by our species. . . . Our species chose his way of learning, and, therefore, set karmic patterns in motion, generational karmic patterns." (pp 202-203 SoS)
This statement is part of a word picture that provides a larger, even a cosmic, context for the books he has written. To me it seems like an overarching background and ceiling under which he delivers his sermons and homilies. It is a pattern, I feel, that Zukav has selected to provide a context of profound importance in time and space, a vision of human progression, and above all individual hope. It fits well with the observations made on pages 163-165 of "The Seat of The Soul" which talk about the larger scale implications of people becoming whole and authentically empowered. Families, communities, nations and the world will benefit and be changed. Very nice and very hopeful sentiments, yes. But, I have a hard time believing this is about to happen on any scale of note.
I see these types of observations as a great antidote to the poisonous and self-defeating idea that the end of time is upon us, evil is everywhere, and we'd better get ready for some really bad times. That negativity, as Zukav teaches very firmly and correctly, begets negativity, and fulfills its own prophecy of doom, especially at the personal level. But, do I believe Zukav's positive future statement for the world and the race of humans intellectually? No. Do I sense its correctness intuitively, but just reject the mechanistic aspects of it? That is closer to the way it hits me, but there is still more to my reaction.
Already I have trouble joining Zukav in his hopefulness for the world and humanity as a species, but he really blows me away when he launches into the cosmic dimensions ordering and orchestrating these things:
"The cycle that we are ending, and, therefore, beginning, is of a moment in which three cycles come to conclusion and begin again. These cycles act one inside of the other. Just as the moon orbits the earth which orbits the sun and there are orbits within orbits, so, too, there are cycles within cycles. We are coming to the close of a grand cycle astrologically, a two-thousand year cycle, and an even grander cycle, where a twenty- five thousand year cycle is linking with a conclusion of a one-hundred and twenty-five thousand year cycle. That is why these things, within this moment of our evolution, are happening now. This is when they were meant to be." (p .205 SoS)
I am sorry. I do not believe this at all. OK, I should probably confess to being a working scientist with a built in intolerance for unfounded assertions of cosmic, or even trivial, fact. And I should also confess to being prejudiced by my encounter with equally magical thinking in another book on another topic.
What I consider to be an eerily similar view of rapid human internal evolution is in Julian Jaynes' book "The origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind." (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1976). In short, Jaynes believes that in recorded historical time there was a shift from a bicameral mind that reflected a non-conscious way of being, needing authoritarian instructions at the personal level from the right brain (the intuitive side reflecting voices of gods) and needing instructions from autocrats ruling in the name of and speaking the words of the gods. This system broke down because increasing complexity made the inner and outer voices of authority uncertain guides, and forced humanity to insert reason to survive. This was an irreversible step into consciousness, an evolutionary step. But bicamerality is still with us and manifests itself in the ongoing search for certainty from external authorities, be they religious or secular.
Jaynes' theory is founded on characteristics of ancient literature. But where there are very few samples, it is hard to draw firm conclusions, and I find his hypothesis extremely unconvincing in light of love poems and prayers from the ancient world, which to me generally portray an awareness of internal feeling that is as modern as contemporary prayers and love poems.
But it isn't enough just to have Zukav remind me a bit of Jaynes in his casual
referral to a new and rapid evolutionary step to create a new way of being for humans. Zukav's vision of a new
race of beings, and I hope he forgives me for this one, also reminds me a little of the Neo-Tech movement that
saw its inspiration in large part in Jaynes' hypothesis, and is seeking to destroy every last vestige of bicamerality
in themselves, and to control those who continue to live in that regressive mode. A statement on their website
(reference below) says this:
"Neo-Tech I-V provides the knowledge needed for identifying the bicameral elements of any statement or action by anyone or any group (e.g., church, government, media, politician, priest, businessman, doctor, friend, parent, spouse, self). Armed with Neo-Tech, people can free themselves from the control or influence of mysticism and external "authority". And hopefully, by the year 2000, the discoveries of Neo-Tech and Neothink will have eliminated all vestiges of the bicameral mentality -- all vestiges of mysticism and external "authority".
"Without the bicameral mentality, all mysticism and external "authority" will wither and vanish, for they have no validity except that which is granted to them by the bicameral mentalities. With political and religious influences disappearing, the mechanisms for "authorities" to harm individuals and wage wars will also disappear. Thus, if civilization is
prospering by the year 2000, Jaynes's discovery along with the discoveries of Neo-Tech and Neothink will have contributed to that prosperity by ending the symbiotic, mystical relationships of bicameral mentalities with authoritarian societies (which now hold nuclear weapons). Such mystical relationships would sooner or later cause the annihilation of any civilization.
"If our civilization is flourishing by the year 2000, rational human consciousness will have eliminated mysticism and external "authority" through fully integrated honesty (Neo-Tech). And without external "authority", governments and their wars will be impossible. Best of all, without external "authority" or mysticism, no one will be forcibly controlled, impeded, or drained by others. Without the chains of mysticism, non-aging biological immortality will become commercially available to every productive person wanting to enjoy life and happiness forever."
There is a website located at http://www.neo-tech.com/orientation (Warning: connecting to this link may get you an icon involuntarily installed on your desktop, quite harmless and an easy way to return to their home page, but also quite an irritating invasion of privacy in my view). On that site you can get the facts on Neo-Tech, a movement that will help you destroy all tendencies to mysticism within, and help you remove the power of any and all external mystics over you. The result of applying Neo-Tech in your life is total control over the present and future, prosperity, happiness, love, and even living forever!
Zukav and his teaching, it is my judgment, are anathema to the Neo-Techies (and one hopes they are few and the millions of hits on their websites are self induced). Yet to me there was a striking likeness between the scaffolding used by the two: a new humanity and an end of the old way of oppression, violence and injustice, and soon!
But don't misunderstand me, I am very pleased with what I read by Zukav, I feel personally encouraged and inspired by what he writes. But I am horrified by Neo-Tech. This is made clear in my website diatribe against Neo-Tech, where I find nothing praiseworthy to say except that they do a good job interpreting Julian Jaynes' work, and carry their embellishments a bit far, but not unfairly so. My diatribe against Neo-Tech is found at: .../neotechsummary.htm (No warnings necessary).
So, what do I think of the idea that "The Seat of the Soul is about the birth of a new species-" as it says on the back cover of my edition? To make a long story short, I believe that modern media and the general sophistication and maturity of humanity today do allow a larger portion of the species to take teachings such as Zukav's to heart and can indeed influence themselves and families, and communities into living and providing the conditions for living fuller lives.
If such people rise to power, politics could be influenced at the national and international levels also. But history also teaches me that this type of inner awareness and wholeness has been known and taught from time immemorial, that it was the life searched out and chosen by the few, and at best now there are more searching for and choosing this life. But a new species that moves in its daily life-walk beyond the perceptions of the five senses? Nice idea, but I'll be pleased with myself if I can just maintain the awareness I have achieved, and not without pain, over the last few years.
But let us get back to where I really appreciate what Zukav has to say and hope to live by it in my daily walk and talk:
"Authentic needs are the needs that are always met by the Universe. . . . You are always being given opportunities to love and be loved, for example, yet ask yourself how many times in your life you have squandered those opportunities.
"By learning to respond to your authentic needs and by allowing your artificial ones to drop aside as unnecessary defense mechanisms, you become more open and understanding and compassionate with others. . . .
"If you see clearly through your own authentic needs, you will see that what you are really feeling threatened by when you experience an artificial need is the loss of your power, and, therefore, rather than being able to address it directly, you create an artificial need that does the speaking for you. Learn to address the real need so that you do not have to burden yourself with behavioral patterns that are not true to your own nature, that cloud you, that give you some artificial persona that you have to live up to." (pp. 218-219 SoS)
When I first read this page, I had to look at the original copyright date on the book. This was the speech my soulmate made to me, over and over in so many different ways, until I climbed out of my defenses, shook off the denseness that was choking me, and became a light being again, one in touch with my real self. It was only then that she allowed me to hang up and go home. What a lesson!!!
So, I wanted to ask her whether or not she was referring to this book as she was giving me advice, since it was already in print. But then I thought better of it. After all, what would it matter? She spoke words into my innermost being until that being was re-empowered. Then I went home and spoke and acted out of that being rather than out of the artificial persona my fear-filled and angry intellect had created. And as long as I stay in this mode of being, and use my intellect as a tool, and don't allow its fears and projections to be my driver or master, then life in the Universe is as Zukav says it is:
"Trust the Universe. Trusting means that the circumstance that you are in is working toward your best and most appropriate end. There is no when to that. There is no if to that. It is. Release your specifications and say to the Universe: 'Find me where you know I need to be.' Let them go and trust that the Universe will provide, and so it shall. Let go of all. Let your higher self complete its task." (p. 240 SoS)
Of course there is much more to Zukav's books and if anything in this review strikes you, get the book and devour it!
Zukav gives advice on how to obtain authentic power, and then describes what an authentically empowered person is like. I find these statements particularly inspirational:
"The road to authentic power is always through what you feel, through your heart. The way of the heart is one of compassion and emotional perception. . . .
"By remaining in your power you do not become a static energy system, one that hoards energy to itself. You become a stable energy system, capable of conscious acts of focus and intention . . . . An authentically empowered human being, therefore, is a human being that does not release its energy except in love and trust. . . .
"An authentically empowered person is humble. . . . It is the inclusiveness of one who responds to the beauty of each soul, . . . the harmlessness of one who treasures and honors and reveres life in all its forms." (pp. 224-225 SoS)
Zukav gives much good advice, including some on the difficult subject of sexuality and its expression. On that subject he warns that
"It is emotionally, spiritually impossible to have a sexual connection with a human being and not ignite certain emotional patterns, but they are a continual dead.-end street when there is no relationship or true emotional feelings to go with the act. . . .
"Asking for love is asking for the energy of the soul. It brings with it a genuine concern for the other. You cannot prey upon someone whose well-being is in your heart." (p. 232)
He continues to warn against seeking power over others, against domination, and observes that
"Humbleness, forgiveness, clarity and love are the dynamics of freedom. They are the foundations of authentic power." (p. 233 SoS)
I feel to say "amen" with that inspiring, but demanding, thought lingering. There is much more I could cite, and there is much I did or would not cite but that would probably speak loud to your heart. That is a sign of a book rich in meaning: it can mean different things to different people, and different things to the same person at different times. It invites revisiting and rereading, and rewriting where your own experiences begin to show you paths not taking in this or its companion volume.
I recommend both these volumes, but especially "The Seat of the Soul."