Most helpful critical review
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2011
Catherine Ingram spent decades on a spiritual journey, learning from spiritual teachers, meditating, practicing Buddhist traditions, and studying dharma but eventually found herself in an existential depression that lasted for years. It wasn't until she met her Indian teacher Poonjaji, who exemplified the silent awareness of being, that Ingram's perceptions shifted allowing her to experience lasting peace.
The seven qualities to awakened awareness of which Ingram writes--silence, tenderness, embodiment, genuineness, discernment, delight and wonder--came to her in a dream and form the basis of this book. Through personal anecdotes and stories, Ingram illustrates how these qualities can help guide us in responding to life's vicissitudes.
"We search everywhere outside ourselves to try to find ourselves. We collect experiences, relationships, knowledge, and objects. We hope for recognition from others to validate our importance. But while we may have found pleasure or rewards in various ways, we have often overlooked our greatest gift, hidden in plain sight-our own passionate presence....We are each endowed with clear perception that becomes dormant or obscured through the conditioning of fear, loss, and belief. When we deeply relax in silence, our awareness effortlessly shines with a transforming brilliance. We live as sensible and practical people, but with a twinkle in our eyes." - Catherine Ingram
Passionate Presence will not teach you how to find the twinkle in your eyes or realize the inherent treasure that is you. Ingrim correctly describes the book as a "reminder." A reminder of eternal truths to those who have misplaced them, and a glimpse of beautiful possibilities for those new to the path.
Unfortunately, I found the book's content simplistic, sort of a soft cooing accompanied by a thoughtful stroke or two to my upper arm. At times I felt the author's negativity and disregard for things of the past, such as the hard lessons brought about by bad choices, showed lack of appreciation for their contribution to our present spiritual state of awareness. As though our past strivings were meaningless or somewhat distasteful.
Ingram's writing style is natural and easy on the eye, and the stories are pleasant and uplifting in a vanilla sort of way. But my mind wandered while reading it and I had to force myself to finish the book, because there simply wasn't enough meat and fat in this meal. Just a lot of carbs.