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


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sounds True; 1 edition (October 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591797322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591797326
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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, 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.

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Customer Reviews

She provides plenty of anecdotes and observations to this end.
Zoeeagleeye
Mariana Caplan has written a much needed book for the spiritual community which can guide seekers on how to stay on the right path.
Steve Burns
I feel like this book can help you open up to your true feelings.
David Nox

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful 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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ppbp on October 30, 2009
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By happydogpotatohead VINE VOICE on July 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you've ever wondered why some people who seem spiritual fall into terrible errors, or if you've ever wondered why some spiritual teachers can talk the talk better than they can walk the walk, or if you're personally trying to follow a spiritual path and have those days where you catch yourself doing something that makes you feel like a complete hypocrite - you probably need this book.

Ms. Kaplan works with the reader to illuminate how we can stop dichotomizing our spirituality and our humanity, and how we can tell when a spiritual teacher has gone off track due to that dichotomy. Her focus on discernment is tempered with compassion. The only criticism I would have is that the writing can be a little didactic at times, but the subject matter and the focus is such that this is only a minor complaint. The book is definitely worthwhile for anyone who wants to seriously follow any spiritual path.
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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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