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Balancing Heaven and Earth: A Memoir of Visions, Dreams, and Realizations Hardcover – January 20, 1998


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Balancing Heaven and Earth: A Memoir of Visions, Dreams, and Realizations + Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth + We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First edition (January 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062515063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062515063
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Johnson was 11 years old and close to death after a car accident when he experienced the "Golden World," an "antechamber of heaven" where he felt "purely tranquil" and experienced "joy beyond bound." Recurring physical hardship due to the loss of his leg triggered a second illuminating experience several years later that motivated him to embark on a quest for self-knowledge. Johnson eventually embraced Christian mysticism and became a Jungian analyst. Here, the author of We (and of the companion volumes She and He, as well as seven other books) credits following the "slender threads" of fate for his well-being. Johnson expresses the belief that there is "one, and only one, appropriate action in any given moment of time"?an action that "balances" spiritual needs with more mundane concerns. Despite his faith in divine will, Johnson often seems at odds with organized religion, some aspects of which he criticizes as "nothing but institutional mother complexes, with selfishness and ego regression running rampant in the name of spirituality." Throughout, Johnson and Ruhl, the director of the C.G. Jung Society of Colorado, in addition to offering an inspiring memoir, weave in explanations of psychology, synchronicity theory and dream analysis to create a useful personal guide to Johnson's brand of self-realization.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Robert A. Johnson, a noted lecturer and Jungian analyst, is also the author of He, She, We, Inner Work, Ecstasy, Transformation, and Owning Your Own Shadow.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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A year went by and I read almost all of his books during that time.
Marie T. Dozier
Johnson weaves together dreams, introspective experiences and everyday life, telling his personal story of life's journey and the quest for meaning.
R. Abrams
It demonstrates the unique understanding that can be developed by pursuing life from a Jungian perspective spiritually.
Curtis Climer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Robert Anderson on August 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Beginning at the age of 11 and occuring several times more throughout his life, the author found himself in an altered state where he was able to view Heaven, or "The Golden World" as he called it. The title of this book then, "Balancing Heaven and Earth", chronicles his spiritual journey which was characterized by the need to balance or integrate the nearly undescribable bliss of heaven with the author's ordinary existence.

Looking back on his life while near the end of it Johnson examines and chronicles his life and spiritual journey for us, including his experiences growing up as a poor kid without a leg, his meeting with Carl Jung and subsequent career as a Jungian analyst, writer and speaker, and his adventures traveling around the world. Especially interesting are his tales of India.

Johnson's "voice" comes across as grandfatherly and warm. He doesn't claim to have achieved enlightenment, doesn't claim to know all of the answers, and he clearly isn't attempting to recruit followers, or build up his ego, resume or bank account. He writes simply and elequently, and avoids the complex, philosophical jargon that render many writers (such as Ken Wilber) somewhat inaccessible to simple lunkheads like me. (Note however, that a basic understanding of Jungian psychology will add to one's understanding).
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By R. Needham on June 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is less a review than a hymn of gratitude. For me, this book is one of the "slender threads" Johnson talks about, a serendipitous opportunity that, grasped, changes your life. If you, like he, have experienced "the Golden World," you are likely to sob as I did at his description of it and his yearning to return to it. Johnson is an old soul, an introvert, a solitary by nature, who wrestled with his destiny for decades.
His memoir gives me hope for my own struggles, and I believe this will hold true for many, many readers. I have rarely been so moved by a book; perhaps the only other I have found so affecting was Matthew Fox's collection of Meister Eckhard's thought.
If you are seeking the light in any way or form, don't miss it.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By RMBACON@FEA.NET on May 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a student of depth psychology, particularly Jungian, I have read all of Johnson's work and this most personal work is the one that has affected me the most deeply. By revealing the details of his life's journey, Johnson gives the reader insight into how it looks to "follow your bliss." Sometimes the call we receive is not an easy one and Johnson poignantly shares his struggles with this as well. But remaning true to the "still small voice" and allowing his ego to be used in service to the Self (God) has resulted in a life that is both rich in texture and joyful in experience. This book is a treasure and one to be savored at that!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kara on April 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I truly wish I had read this book before I read Johnson's other works, as I think this very personal account of the author's spiritual and intellectual journey have shed a lot of light on how he came to believe the things he wrote in his more academic writings. This man's connection to the unseen world, his openness, his ability to see truths about himself, about humankind and about the nature of the Divine are a wonderful foundation for reading and understanding books like He, She and We. This is his latest book, but I recommend to anyone interested to read this one first. It will leave you hungry for more.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Anna Palumbo anna_palumbo@hotmail.com on April 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My soul (as my mind percieves it) has not yet found the thread of enlightenment. I accept the path to stumble, fall, rise up and down and to reach into the oblivion of understanding. I have seventeen short years behind my eyes, and strive to become an old woman. I thank Robert Johnson and his writings in "Balancing Heaven and Earth", as it is of great comfort to known although I am alone in my personal journey, I am not alone in my attempt to find a middle path between the extremes of human despair and joy, and the truths behind it. I have often gazed upon the world in realization that I do not, in fact, understand it in the least! I cannot comprehend the forces behind the companies which constructed the buildings and the societies that mesh and become urban life (although the boundaries between urban and sub-urban, country, city, town and household have been blurred beyond recognition). Yet it is of comfort to me to have the opportunity to read Robert Johnson's biographical writings...as I have great respect for him. I shall further indulge in his other works!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nettie M. Spiwack on November 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I'm asked for the most influential books in my life, this is the one that tops my list. As someone who reads 50-200 books a year, that's a big list. I've given it as gifts, quoted it in sermons, referred to it as a spiritual counselor, used it for my own growth and have come back to it over and over since it was first published. I happened upon these reviews while ordering Johnson's latest CD, Golden World, which I'm thrilled to know has been produced. I've read all his books and agree with other reviewers that this is the best, or at any rate, the one that has provided a helpful road map for my life and experiences, and hence, for the many whom I also touch. For those of us, and there are numerous souls, who have had extraordinary tastes of the Golden World (and its inhabitants), "balancing heaven and earth" for the rest of one's life is a daily task; sometimes grace, often a struggle. His words in this memoir (my paraphrase): "there have always been those whose job it is to tend the borders between the worlds" gave me context when I first needed it. His book "We," while it didn't save me from romantic errors (and he writes: "the genie"--e.g. romantic love--"can't be put back in the bottle,") did, again, provide a context for healing and future lessons ("the depression is always in direct proportion to the inflation that preceded it.)His experiences with Krishnamurthi, recounted in this book, gave me important lessons as a teacher, e.g."don't try to give an old man's wisdom to a young person," and his lessons on sainthood have been extremely important as well. If you are living the inner journey, have any sort of spiritual life, and especially, if like Parsifal, Johnson's oft-referred to mythic model, have suffered the agony and the ecstasy of a visit to the Grail Castle and then "lost" it, this book is for you.
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More About the Author

Robert A. Johnson, a noted lecturer and Jungian analyst, is also the author of He, She, We, Inner Work, Ecstasy, Transformation, and Owning Your Own Shadow.