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HALL OF FAMEon August 23, 2002
In the last part of ANATOMY OF THE SPIRIT, Caroline Myss unites her discussion of three belief systems (Roman Catholic Sacraments, Kabbalah Tree of Life, and Hindu Chakras) within the concept of living in the present moment. Many who have trod the spiritual path Myss describes and faced the Three Big Crises - absence of meaning and purpose; strange new fears; and devotion to something greater than one's self - will appreciate her final words. Suffering produces spiritual rewards.
Not everyone will appreciate Myss' book. I would like to send the audio version to my 87-year old aunt who is devoutly Roman Catholic, but I don't think she would like it. My Southern Baptist aunt would probably disown me. My daughter would appreciate it - but she's a fan of Bishop Pike. For a change, Myss has written a book older folks will appreciate more than younger ones.
I know something about the sacraments having been raised with them. I've also acquired a great deal of knowledge about the Chakras in the past 40 years (via reading and Hindu friends). I have studied the Kabbalah (it is far more complex than Myss' book indicates). Like Joseph Campbell whom she apparently see as a model, Myss sees a larger truth underlying religious structures and/or tribal systems of belief.
Myss is billed as an expert on energy medicine. In the early 1980s, I had the pleasure and privilege of being in Louis Hay's home. I can testify that "whatever your mind can conceive and believe it will achieve." Whenever I have an ailment, I whip out Hays' healing books (Myss cites one of them). Healing takes many forms. Doctors mostly facilitate the process or mess it up. The power of positive thinking, prayer, the laying on of hands, and laughter all work to heal the body-mind-spirit. What Myss shares is not new, but if you haven't heard about it elsewhere you can learn more here.
This is a good book. I've heard, read, and/or experienced most of what Myss describes so I can testify to the truthfulness of it. If you are ready to move beyond tribal boundaries and become whole this may be the book for you.
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on November 26, 1999
This was my first Caroline Myss book and I have since read--and heard--most of her others. I have put off writing a review until now, frankly because I wasn't sure if I could convey the tremendous impact her words and teachings have had in my life. (Actually, I think I just did!)
You may not agree with every single point she brings up and out, but that is part of it's strength: She makes you think, probe, ponder, contemplate and eventually assimilate her truths, along with so many others that speak the same, into your own life.
Caroline is a teacher in the finest sense: Her books, views, thoughts and musings compel one to seek their own truth, to heal one's self, not the easy way, but the BEST way--by tapping into the energy of Spirit and Love all around us. In this sense, she is a provocative Master.
One suggestion: If you have trouble getting through her books, her audio tapes are very good and truly relay the passion and commitment she feels in her life, her teachings.
Read her books, use what works for you -- and never be the same again.
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Carolyn Myss writes about health and illness within the individual human energy system, but dosen't take energy thinking far enough--that's why some of her arguments break down. Her basic thesis is that we bring illness on ourselves by neglecting to deal with soul or emotional issues, that is, by not leading an "authentic" life. Clearly this can be true, for instance in certain forms of cancer or heart disease.
But when thinking about any sort of system, human or otherwise, you must consider the smaller energy systems which compose it, as well as the larger systems in which it is embedded. Each system "level" has its own sort of consciousness and imperatives to follow. The "level" at which our conscious egos work is only one piece of the complex puzzle of reality which composes and enfolds us.
Thus, from a systems perspective, disease can follow dysfunction on ANY level, from the cellular to the social or environmental (and maybe even the galactic). One example would be cancers caused by pesticides--here, the human collective's disrespect for the planetary environment results in the illness of individuals. There need not be a particular biographical factor in the genesis of such a cancer, for as individuals we are all subject to consequences following our collective actions.
Similarly, disease can spring from breakdowns on the cellular level of biological systems--thus, plants and animals fall prey to illness in the wild (as they also do from human-caused habitat destruction and pollution). Would Myss say that these non-human creatures were responsible for their illnesses because they did not do their soul or emotional work?
To say that biography is the only (or principal) factor in illness is taking a one-dimensional view of disease and the systems it disrupts. Things are more complicated than that. Yes, in much of our life we do have a choice and do indeed create our realities. But there are other things that come to us unbidden: floods, tornados, accidents, and yes, disease. To imply that we create that suffering to me seems uncompassionate. It is also a form of arrogance--assuming that we can control everything that comes to us in life.
Furthermore, there is the question of people who are born with congenital illnesses. Myss, who believes that before we are born, we enter into a contract about what life challenges to take on, would probably say that such people choose the challenge of such illnesses as part of their pre-birth "contract." But I think that many people with such illnesses would find that hypothesis offensive.
Myss also oversimplifies in her comparison of the Christian sacraments, the Hindu chakra system, and the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. These ways of seeing the human spirit-path are similar only on the surface--it would take years of study and personal practice of each of these traditions to understand each one, much less to undertake a "compare and contrast" exercise. Yes, there is a "perennial philosophy" that underlies the world religions, but there are also many fundamental differences as well.
Focussing on the chakras and the human energy system is indeed a start for understanding the energetics of human disease. But for an even more in-depth understanding of energy healing I would recommend reading some of the books out on systems thinking, especially as it pertains to biology. Also, any books which explore sub-systems within the human psyche (depth psychology) pertain to this field, as any ego-self wishing to heal will have to do business with the "others" which exist within and which have their own energies and axes to grind.
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on November 11, 2000
This book allows you to have faith without walls. The book Encounter with A Prophet removes the walls. I recommend both books.
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on June 13, 2006
I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a Caroline Myss fan. This is not based upon my past religious upbringing, but rather on her approach to an attempted synthesis between the Jewish, Christian and Hindu teachings on metaphysics and energy systems. In short, I think she missed the mark and tried to force fit areas together based more on her assumptions about reality than a natural meshing together of concepts.

I am educated both as a scientist and in the area of psychology, including sacred psychology across world traditions. It was very difficult for me to even listen to the logic underlying the author's arguments. However, by synthesizing these disparate traditions in a credible sounding manner, she has tapped into a very large market of people searching for meaning.

I am not saying that this book is completely without merit, but I would take much of it with a grain of salt. I also think there are better books out there that are better researched, more thorough and less contaminated with a lot of the authors own assumptions about reality. Two examples to look at while you are evaluating this book are FORGOTTEN TRUTH by Huston Smith and a BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYTHING by Ken Wilber.

There is a saying that most people would rather be entertained that educated. I think this basically sums up my experience of this book, except I didn't find it very entertaining either. I know that many loyal readers of Ms. Myss will disagree with me, but this is my honest opinion of her work.
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on March 20, 2013
I know a number of people who love this book and have found it moving. I appreciate what Myss is up to with her exploration of the chakras and the connections between ancient spiritual traditions and epistemologies that have previously not been examined alongside each other. Unfortunately this text is riddled with generalizations and unfounded opinions, some of which are directly contradicted by medical, public health, psychological, and historical research. I am a spiritual person and am open to the mysteries of the mind-body connection, but I found this book frustratingly flaky and at points even offensive because of its arguments that individuals are responsible for illnesses that they could not possibly have acquired by any fault of their own. It doesn't help that Myss' credentials are questionable. This book is better read as a memoir or one individual's perspective on health and healing.
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VINE VOICEon December 5, 1999
There are so many obstacles to keep us from fully living our lives.

Caroline Myss helps us to evaluate exactly where we are heading, whether in a downward, negative path or a more straight forward peaceful path.

Our emotions play a big part and will let us know something has gone array. When we start feeling negative towards ourselves and others, we need to go inward and ask ourselves what's going on? Our bodies also react or respond to the ways we treat it, if we overabuse it, it will get dis ease.

Anatomy of the Spirit is a good tool to help us evaluate ourselves. By using the seven stages that she is offering, one is given a head start. We do not change ourselves overnight, it takes years and years of going into the depths of our being, this is an ongoing journey.

So it's one step at a time and sometimes two or three steps backward. Andrew Weil is another wonderful and knowledgeable author and his book Spontaneous Healing Spontaneous Healing : How to Discover and Embrace Your Body's Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself is well worth the effort in changing some of our destructive tendencies.
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on May 26, 2000
Have you ever walked into a house and gotten a funny feeling that something was wrong? Some kind of "bad energy" left over from an argument or perhaps someone had died? Ever get a "wierd vibe" from someone? Caroline Myss's continuing exploration into the human energy fields is a wonderful validation of what many have already experienced but were never able to clearly conceptualize. It's a relief when someone can do that for us (Hey, I'm not crazy!). Once over this stalling point, we can move forward and explore these areas of human experience more constructively.
Caroline's main thrust in this book is the energy flow through the body and how it relates to physical health, and a detailed description of the quality of the energy at each chakra level. She uses the Jewish Tree Of Life and the Christian sacraments as symbolic representations of the qualities at these vibrational levels. Caroline describes in general how the energy flow at the various chakra levels can be disrupted and the subsequent consequences to health in that part of the body.
Anyone who is interested in the healing arts, especially the fields of energy medicine, will find this book invaluable.
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on October 30, 2012
This has got to be one of the worst "spiritual" books I have ever read. Alarm bells first went off when I encountered the in-depth introduction, foreward and preface. These were mainly self-promoting sales pitches filled with vague, nebulous waffle and unverifiable anecdotes and anonymous case studies. Much like the rest of the book actually. I tried to put any negative judgements aside to give the thing time to justify its existence on my bookshelf, but the pseudo-scientific, toe-curlingly embarrassing mumbo-jumbo just got steadily worse.

I finally gave in and decided I could read no further when the author decided to introduce her new terminology for the effect past traumas might have on a person's current situation, which she termed as "Woundology". The last vestige of her credibility departed with that howler. Well, not exactly the very last vestige, I suppose. Her evident lack of mental horsepower caused me to question how on earth she could ever earn the PHD, which is boldly advertised on the cover of her book.

A quick investigation reveals that Caroline Myss, obtained her PHD via a correspondence course with the Hawaii-based branch of a non-accredited Australian "educational" establishment. In other words, it's a fake PHD in (of all things) Energy Medicine. The PHD title has now been dropped from her website and also from her publisher's profile page.

I was going to resell the book on Amazon, but couldn't in all conscience pollute anyone else's mind with it and felt that such twaddle shouldn't be spread any further than it already has been. Therefore, I ceremoniously tore it into seven pieces (symbolically representing the seven chakras, of course) and dropped it into the kitchen bin. I felt much better, so in at least one respect this lowly tome can be said to have had a therapeutic healing effect.
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on March 1, 1999
This is an interesting book that will certainly evoke very different responses in public. For someone who has only embarked on a spiritual journey the book may be just too much to absorb at once. I recommend reading the preface at least twice, in which the author says, "it is only through years of practice that you will fully develop your own intuitions". Well written and clearly formulated, the book's contents are perhaps too concentrated to be immediately convincing. The case stories are a bit simplified and therefore the conclusions drawn from some of them appear too simple to evaluate. It seems as if the author had to quickly lash out most of the knowledge she acquired, and as if the book was written honestly and passionately. She appears very self-assured and not the least in doubt on the anatomy of the human spirit.
A lot of emphasis is put on personal responsibility for our own health and well-being, which is good, and certainly necessary in today's society. This creates, however, a danger of forgetting that this responsibility goes both ways. At present time, there are a number people employed to take care of that responsibility, but who neglect it to a point where what they do is a kind of parody of what it should have been. We have to heal ourselves before we can do anything else, but we must also make an effort to make this society do the same. (Not meant as a political manifesto, just a warning to potential readers. People take often things so literally, that I am afraid they might interpret this book as " become aware, heal yourself, be forgiving and kind and everything will work out fine, for just about anybody". This is not what the book's message is, but I am afraid that some people, who cannot imagine that it might take a lifetime to achieve something that appears like a formula on 300 pages, might just do so.)
Warning for the people who are just recovering from any kind of abuse or trauma: Even though the author justly states that one should not perpetuate oneself as a victim, she seems to be ignorant of the depth of struggle the abused people have to go through, the length of time it takes for such people to heal, and even the dramatically different levels of energy that divide the abused from the unabused. While justly criticising self-victimising, she does not register that for most of those people it is only a stage that they eventually get through. She shows surprisingly little compassion. She also appears, quite naive in what she proposes. I laugh at the idea that the seriously "wounded" people can just brush it all off with a shoulder shake. It can all be done, but it takes time. A long time. At the end a long recovery process, or well after it, a former abuse victim might read this passage and nod approvingly, nut not necessarily. In the middle of a process, it will only hurt the people who have already been hurt more than the rest of us can imagine.
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