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Journey of the Heart: The Path of Conscious Love Paperback – January 5, 1996

42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Extraordinarily good....A saving grace." -- --Ashley Montagu, author of Touching

After reading Welwood's book, you come away refreshed because Journey of the Heart is a handbook on life. -- Peninsula Times Tribune, February 10, 1991

As our spiritual growth brings new awareness to our lives, it also brings up deeper questions, not the least of which concerns our love relationships. John Welwood explores intimate relationships in depth, with insight and eye-opening wisdom. This is no dry treatise of 'shoulds' and 'oughts'-- it's an 'Aha!' experience every step of the way. -- Body Mind Spirit, June, 1991

John Welwood has created a truly classic text for those seeking a deeply fulfilling relationship. With extraordinary insight and consummate writing skill, he charts a pioneering course in Journey of the Heart. Fortunately, this unique book does not provide the traditional easy answers or quick fixes; it gives instead superb suggestions for joining in the most powerful and spiritual union possible. Journey of the Heart may be the best book ever written about relationships-- a must read for spiritual seekers. -- Personal Pathways, Winter, 1993

What a delight to read this thoughtful, inspiring, ambitious book... This book is a gem...[It] is highly utilitarian, intellectually satisfying and inspiring. It can help us get through the day and glimpse the sacred. -- Common Boundary, January, 1991

Where can we go to find serious and informed reflection on the turbulent and confused waters beneath our search for intimacy, our deep human need for a life companion, a soul-mate, a lover? I have found such a place, in the pages of John Welwood's new book, Journey of the Heart. Alongside so much simplistic nonsense written about relationships, this book stands out as a poetically-written, wisdom-filled guide to a deeper understanding of the desires and directions of the human heart. How rare and satisfying it is to find such a book, which takes seriously the reader's desire for truth and light in the perplexing area of intimate relationships. -- Pilgrimage, September, 1990

From the Back Cover

This is an extraordinarily good book, because it goes to the heart of the matter of human relationships. In a world in which so many live in crowded solitude, and are afraid of intimacy or have difficulty understanding it, John Welwood's Journey of the Heart comes as a saving grace. I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't greatly benefit from experiencing it, for it is a rare, enriching, and exhilarating experience. (Ashley Montagu, author of Touching).

Journey of the Heart is a profound and wonderful book. It is a spiritual text on intimate relationship that is grounded in real life, and an inspiration for anyone who believes that a committed relationship can be a process through which two individuals grow." (Jean Shinoda Bolen, author of Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman), I am impressed with John Welwood's thinking about critical issues in relationships and his attempt to ground relationship issues in a larger, transpersonal framework. I agree with his view that difficulties provide us with opportunities to grow, to expand our sense of self, and to connect with others in deeper ways. I enjoyed and appreciated that he sees relationships in the larger context of reality and attempts to ground the ordinary in the transcendent realm. What makes this book helpful is that he offers practical processes which can be used to help persons in conflicted relationships... He offers a conceptual and practical pathway from the ordinary experience of everyday conflicts and issues to spiritual evolution. I heartily endorse his efforts. (Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want).

A fabulous book, a deep and profound and caring book, from the Heart, and about the Heart. Required reading for anybody interested in true relationship. Highly recommended! (Ken Wilber, author of A Brief History of Everything).

John Welwood's Journey of the Heart is a very timely and helpful book that shows how both women and men benefit from relations based on partnership rather than domination. (Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade).

This book teaches one how to take up an inner position from which one can begin to work on one's most intractable feelings in relation to another person-- so that they become a path of self-development for both individuals. (Eugene Gendlin, author of Focusing).

INSIDE FLAP: Journey of the Heart offers a new approach to intimate relationships-- as a path, an unfolding process of personal and spiritual discovery whose challenges awaken our deepest strengths and resources.

As men and women find that they can no longer rely on old roles and formulas to get along, intimate relationship calls for a new kind of honesty and awareness, a willingness to let go of old patterns and cultivate new powers and sensitivities.

Journey of the Heart shows how we can meet this challenge by learning to use whatever difficulties we are facing in relationships as opportunities to expand our sense of who we are and deepen our capacity to connect with others. By inviting us to bring together life's basic polarities-- male and female, individuality and commitment, love and fear-- relationships teach us to move gracefully with life's mystery and unpredictability. When we appreciate our relationships in this way-- as teachers-- they become both a personal path that refines and transforms us as individuals and a sacred one as well, allowing us to tap into the larger powers of life.

Journey of the Heart takes a sweeping and penetrating look at the most challenging areas of relationship-- passion, vulnerability, need, commitment, disillusion and heartbreak, conflict and communication, male/female differences, sexuality, and marriage-- to show how the greatest difficulties also provide the greatest opportunities for growth, new awareness, and a deeper connection with ourselves, with others, and with life itself.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (January 5, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060927429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060927424
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As a psychotherapist, teacher, and author, John Welwood has been a pioneer in integrating psychological and spiritual work. Welwood has published several books, including the best-selling Journey of the Heart (HarperCollins, 1990), as well as Challenge of the Heart (Shambhala, 1985), and Love and Awakening (HarperCollins, 1996). He is an associate editor of the Journal for Transpersonal Psychology. He leads workshops and trainings in psychospiritual work and conscious relationship throughout the world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By J. Lyda on March 21, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, and it's follow-up, 'Love and Awakening,' are wonderful books. The important take-away for me is that conflict in an intimate relationship is a reliable pointer toward my own 'stuckness' and emotional defenses. As such, conflict is a guide on my path of inner work to soften and become more loving. When viewed this way, relationship 'problems' can be welcomed as opportunities for growth and intimacy. That profound shift takes us away from 'what is wrong with my partner?' to 'what is happening in my heart?', a shift which opens the door to so much possibility. Of course, it takes commitment by BOTH parties in a relationship to use this paradigm to bear fruit. Just the same, there is something in this book for anyone who is looking for more love and intimacy. Wellwood's gentle and compassionate way of writing add to the books power.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Steve Seto on August 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read Journey of Heart well over a dozen times and I always come away with deeper insights and awareness into myself and how I interact in relationships. For the past 5 years, I have given a copy of this book to all of my friends, relatives and even strangers. Reading this book can be truly transformative. Unlike many other books in this field, it does not presribe a set of techniques. Welwood beautifully articulates the various aspects of romantic love - passion, conscious commitment, conditional and unconditional love etc. He weaves them together and demonstrates how this relates to our authentic spiritual development. Journey of the Heart will stand as an all-time classic as we pioneer into the evolution of conscious relationship. Only the Levines' book Embracing the Beloved explores these issues with such depth and sincerity.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Patrick D. Goonan on May 3, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read this book several times and never cease to come away with a new understanding. It has depth, compassion and useful information for moving through some of the modern relationship dilemmas that cause so many of us suffering.

John Welwood is a Ph.D. psychotherapist with a deep knowledge of world religions, especially Buddhism. He also has a lot of life experience and has written many books on a variety of topics including other relationship books.

One of the things I most like about this book is the author's ability to apply both modern psychological thought and Eastern philosophical wisdom to modern day problems. He does this in an easy to read fashion with a compassionate tone. He does not come across as omniscient, but rather as a fellow traveler on the relationship path of spiritual growth.

I believe relationships are probably the best or at least one of the best self-growth paths anyone could ever follow. John Welwood shows us how to hold them as such in this marvelously insightful book.

I also recommend his book called "Toward a Psychology of Awakening." This book is subtitled "Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path of Personal and Spiritual Transformation." This would make a nice accompaniment to the book above, but the content is heavier and so is the style. However, it is packed with great information and it represents some of John Welwood's best writing.

I particularly like Welwood's insights on "spiritual bypassing" or escaping our psychological and emotional work by overly emphasizing the transcendent and dismissing the wisdom of embodied experience.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lucia Cargill, Ph.D. ( on June 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
John Welgood expertly, encouragingly teaches us to be whole individually, to be connected spiritually with one another, and to be "in relationship" with our partners in a spiritual sense, trusting in love and the process leading to growth, healing and development that necessarily occurs by the nature of being human and our contact with our higher power which can be explored and experienced on the path of human intimacy.
He speaks of the razor's edge in relationships and staying on the periphery of emotion to observe it rise and fall in the Zen art of watchfulness. And, he cajols us kindly to be patient with each other, holding our love before any issues, situations or circumstances, letting go of critical voices that insist one chooses one path or another, rather than maintaining an open, loving presence.
Perhaps being perched on this edge is best characterized by the word surrender, but he admonishes us this patient waiting, presence with our beloved, and watching of life does not mean submission to another person. Deeper surrender individually and mutually leads us to true intimacy and nips the problem thorns we all encounter.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Glenn on October 5, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read Journey of the Heart twenty years ago--and to this day it is the best book I have read on the topic of love and relationships. Welwood's succinct, penetrating insights into these topics, and into relationship as an actual spiritual path (in the same way that yoga is a "path") helped shape my views in a profound way. Can't recommend it enough.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book 10+ years ago after a marriage that didn't happen. It would have helped to have read this book during my engagement, although the outcome would have been the same. I see this book as a kind of "relationship bible", as it really gets to the heart of what love, intimacy, and relationship are all about --- creating safe space for one another to blossom into all of who they are created to be. I await the time in my life when someone will be able to "go there" and live this sacred path of relationship with me. This book helped me conceptualize years ago what I have longed for, and shows me what I need to look for in another -- someone who can "dance on razor's edge" ... then dance to a new dance, going to ever increasing heights and depths of love in human experience.
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