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Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path Paperback – October 1, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

" She unapologetically tackles the most difficult, controversial, nitty-gritty issues without hedging, flinching, or smoothing over any of the rough edges."
—JOHN WELWOOD, author of Toward a Psychology of Awakening

" Essential reading for those on the spiritual path, and for those who want to see effective spiritual paths developed in our culture."
—CHARLES TART, author of Altered States of Consciousness

About the Author

Mariana Caplan

Mariana Caplan, PhD, received degrees in cultural anthropology, counseling psychology, and contemporary spirituality. However, she attributes the majority of her education and inspiration to years of research and practice in the world’s great mystical traditions, and to living in villages in India, Central and South America, and Europe. She is a counselor, professor of yogic and transpersonal psychologies, and the author of six books in the fields of psychology and spirituality, including Halfway Up the Mountain and To Touch Is to Live. Mariana resides in the San Francisco Bay area and teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
 

Mariana Caplan has received the following awards for Eyes Wide Open:

  • 2010 Gold IPPY - New Age (Mind-Body-Spirit)
  • 2010 Gold Living Now Award - Enlightenment/Spirituality
  • 2010 Silver Nautilus Award – Spirituality

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Sounds True; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591797322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591797326
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jed Shlackman VINE VOICE on October 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book offers an impressive look at what spiritual aspirants encounter as their spirituality matures through the lessons of human experience. There are many ways we can be misled or mislead ourselves as we pursue spiritual endeavors and "enlightenment." Caplan cautions us about these pitfalls and encourages us to confront our shadow material and our ego so that we can become more integrated. Spiritual materialism, and using spiritual practice to bypass facing our unresolved issues and human intimacy are some of the examples of how people can misuse spirituality.

This book also helps bridge the duality and non-duality perspectives and draws on transpersonal psychology, shadow work, Buddhist philosophy, developmental psychology, and other sources to help bring together psychology and spirituality to support integrative approaches to spiritual development.

Fans of Ken Wilber may appreciate the integral approach of Caplan, as there is a depth to this exploration that is lacking in a lot of "new age" spirituality and popular spiritual and psychological approaches. This is not to condemn those other approaches - they are certainly valuable and can assist spiritual growth, yet they are incomplete and lack the balance needed to guide aspirants even further along their spiritual journey. It's easy to get a false sense of mastery or enlightenment at various stages of our spiritual path - Caplan's book gives us cautions and insights to help us maintain our commitment to continued self-examination and discernment.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While at one point in my life I would give praise to any book that made me feel good or validated my New Age point of view, or that of my "teachers," I am now a much more discerning, and wary, reader.....and person. After much disgust over the last few years at the market saturation of anything that sounds even remotely spiritual and satisfies the western desire to get-rich-or enlightened-quick mentality, I decided to give Caplan a read. I wasn't a huge fan of Halfway Up the Mountain, but it had so much good information and ideas in it, and fell into my hands at a critical time in my life.

Halfway through the book she references herself in relation to Halfway Up the Mountain, stating that after she wrote - and taught - on the concepts in that book, she could still see herself doing all of the things that she warns against in that book. While I'm not into the whole idea that enlightenment, awakening, of self-development is some never-ending process that is all about the journey not the destination, I really do appreciate a person who is open and mature enough to see themselves as they truly are. A very real person.

While many spiritual dogmas tell us to deny, wage a war against, or squelch our egos, Caplan takes a much different approach that is more in line with how we actually function as humans, a non-essentialist view of the ego itself, and a very illuminating analysis of the current state of western spirituality.

A great resource and absolutely perfect for anyone who feels called to explore all of their dimensions but who has been turned off by old and new age spiritual leaders, movements, and practices. I don't want to put words in Jed McKenna's mouth (if said mouth actually does exist :), but I would say this book would fit as a good guide for the person who wants to really be a mature adult and is ready to open their eyes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am glad that the author wrote this book. There isn't much out there like it, that I'm aware of. Jed McKenna takes on "faux spirituality" in his Enlightenment Trilogy, but it was nice to read a less sardonic version that was well researched and organized.

Things I love:

- The organization of this book deserves a special mention. Each chapter is carefully and accurately named, with subdivided sections and numbered lists. This makes the book very easy to follow, possible to read out of order, and a pleasure to read in bite sized chunks.

- The glossary of Sanskrit terms, coupled with definitions wherever they are first mentioned, makes for a much easier read, and less misunderstandings than books where this isn't provided.

- The author's range of experience and education. She is definitely not a hack and I appreciate that she has a diverse background, and is not biased toward anything in particular.

- Her willingness to state unpopular opinions about spirituality. Who really wants to stare this type of statement in the face (paraphrased): "There's nothing special about you that's going to lead you to enlightenment anytime soon, or sooner than anyone else."

- I can relate to just about everything she's saying, and it rings true for me.

Things I question:

- Is the author self realized? I always take pause when receiving any information on self realization from someone who is not, even when it's about discernment. Can she really know that what she is stating is the truth?

- Is it really true that a lifetime of sadhana (spirtual practice) is required for spiritual progress (if there is such a thing?
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