There's a new breed of spiritual seeker emerging in the world, says author and teacher Gloria Karpinski in Barefoot on Holy Ground
. "I call them disciples--awake, aware, committed, and global in their worldview," she writes. Nonetheless, no matter how spiritually sophisticated we fancy ourselves, we are still works in progress, which is why Karpinski compiled this contemporary guide to spiritual growth. Drawing from numerous traditions, she offers a vast holy ground for the new breed of disciples to walk upon. The book's organization can seem disjointed, as when it jumps from "Opening the Heart Chakra" to "Breaking the Should Syndrome" in the same chapter. Yet Holy Ground
is certainly comprehensive, with chapters covering spiritual topics such as love, will, faith, and creativity. In every chapter, Karpinski offers minilectures and numerous exercises. When she delves into "shadow work," Karpinski provides a solid Jungian discussion about facing one's dark side, then slips into her seminar voice, listing 21 signs for "Recognizing the Shadow," including "You need to ridicule anything" and "You have a well-defined list of pet peeves." Fortunately, these shifts in narrative are only mildly distracting, and and the blend of theory and application ultimately serves the reader well. --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Karpinski (Where Two Worlds Touch), a spiritual teacher and counselor, offers a basic introduction to spirituality that will prove serviceable for those with no background in New Age thought but unenlightening for readers with any amount of experience. As this is a beginner's handbook, Karpinski deals with the "big issues": knowledge, revelation, discernment, body, love, will, faith, power, creating, transforming, enduring and serving. Karpinski's scholarship is sometimes sloppy, as when she claims that the Bible calls the Holy Spirit "the Light Body," or when she begins spiritual anecdotes with urban-legendish introductions about how a business consultant, family physician or art therapist told her that a particular inspirational story was true. The book has a glaring lack of primary sources, and too many of Karpinski's true-story examples are culled from daytime television talk shows, with Oprah Winfrey being the guru of choice. On the positive side, Karpinski writes with evident passion, gathering spiritual wisdom from many traditions, religions and teachers, including her own journey. Her application exercises are practical and thorough, even for readers who are not of a New Age bent. Still, the book's weaknesses far outweigh its strengths. In the crowded arena of New Age spirituality primers, this has few original insights to offer.
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