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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
This lovely book shares the wisdom of a teacher of silent meditation and Dharma Dialogues on awakened awareness. It is truly food for the soul.

Catherine Ingram describes her personal experiences in seeking and finding peace in the Now. While mindfulness meditation was a major path, a spiritual teacher catalyzed major shifts in her consciousness. Ingram now teaches mindfulness, through silence, through shared lessons, and (even through the pages of this book) through her personal centeredness.

Seven topics are highlighted: Silence, Tenderness, Embodiment, Genuineness, Discernment, Delight and Wonder. Each is illustrated with lovely stories of Ingram and other seekers on the Path.

Particularly helpful for healing are suggestions for acknowledging the presence of an inner observer who is detached even in the midst of crisis and suffering; for treasuring each present moment rather than living in the past or future; and for accepting that we need not torture ourselves with guilt and remorse because each of us has a lifetime of lessons to learn - and each experience offers us opportunities to develop deeper compassion for others who have their own lessons and make mistakes that may impact negatively on us. We can fester in negative reactions to life that is past or in our anxieties about our future life - or we might just let go of the negativity and move on to the ever-present Now.

I was surprised to discover this book was immediately helpful in finding a stronger connection with my own center of quiet awareness.

There is also a pleasant current of practical advice.

I warmly recommend this book for a good read and re-read.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Many spiritual books have given me great food for thought; this one has actually brought major shifts in my perception. It has taken me a large step forward in my presence and in the way I deal with people, which was immediately noticed by my coworkers. I don't want to get too specific and spoil the effect of a fresh reading, but do get this book. It's one of my top three spiritual books, along with *The Power of Now* by Eckhart Tolle, and *Loving What Is* by Byron Katie.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
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.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
PASSIONATE PRESENCE is about ending the tyranny of the mind. Living in the mind instead of in the moment causes one to miss the freshness and wonder of life. We may spend hours each day chewing over our past failures, or, conversely, projecting a rosy future for ourselves. The problem with this scenario is that past and future are concepts. They exist only in the mind. PASSIONATE PRESENCE is about getting out of the mind and into the moment, into the preciousness and completeness of the moment, which, after all, is all we have. The qualities that exude from these pages--gentleness, genuineness and delight--are contagious. Catherine Ingram speaks to us from direct experience, and her experience, we realize, if we are truly attentive, is our experience.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When I think about the teachings in Passionate Presence, the word that comes to me is RELIEF: Relief from the burdening belief that one must make a prodigious effort in order to live an awakened life; relief from the burden of ideas of what an "enlightened" person should be like; and relief from the burden of believing one's "I" stories. Once the reader understands the concept of letting go of beliefs, explained so artfully in early chapters, the qualities and experiences that are described in the rest of Passionate Presence are immediately available.
Catherine Ingram's lovely images and stories entice the reader back to the awareness of the moment. She has crafted an artful companion for one who desires to live in the mystery and beauty of an awakened life.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Remember the song, "All you need is love"? Well, perhaps it's time to step it up a notch. All you need is Passionate Presence, which also happens to be the title of Catherine Ingram's new book. Frankly, I think the world would sleep a little easier if a copy of Passionate Presence found its way into the hotel and motel drawers across the country. In fifty sections of well-written prose, Ingram writes poetry (contradictory I know, but true - you'll see) about "experiencing the seven qualities of awakened awareness". What you get is surprisingly simple, yet penetrating wisdom and a bushel basket of anecdotes that remind you that you just might be a lot wiser and more compassionate than you've been telling yourself, if you'd just read between the lines. In short, pay attention to the "Sounds of Silence". ...
So maybe "All we need is love" after all. You'll get a dose from Passionate Presence. Read it. Live it. And pass it on.
Oh, and I'm thinking about trying one of those Dharma Dialogue Retreats. Sometimes a good retreat is the best way to advance and besides it would give me a chance to ask all my burning questions, like why don't my teenagers read this stuff?!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After reading Passionate Presence, I realized that living in the past & future was such a waste of energy! Catherine's straight-forward advise is something so obvious, but something most of us miss....live in the present. You can't go back and change the past and you spend needless time worrying about the future and what might or might not be instead of enjoying what is right in front of us. I do know that I will spend less time worrying and more time enjoying what this wonderful world has to offer and not take things for granted. Thank you Catherine for providing such a simple but honest eye-opener.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have read and re-read Catherine Ingram's beautiful book. There is a tangible "passionate presence" on every page as Catherine describes the qualities of awakened awarness with grace and wit utilizing stories that illustrate those attributes we all share at our deepest core. This is a very readable book with a depth between the lines that leads the reader to an insight into the beauty of the SELF. I hightly recommend this book to anyone who wants to believe in that goodness that is at the heart of all.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Catherine Ingrim has written an eloquent book about the qualities of awakened awareness. It is direct, loving, and impecabbly authentic in its teachings. I loved reading this book before I went to sleep, having the wisdom of Catherine's words slip into my dream life. These qualities are especially important to practice during this historical time of violence, turmoil and uncertainty. They will help us have the courage and resiliance to get through. Passionate Presence is indeed a comforting companion.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
One of the only books I've read on this subject that seems to come from a real, grounded, truthful place. There is no new-age dogma here, only insights that lead to a place that is already within our grasp, right now. A poetic, meaningful read that transcends any how-to technique, Catherine simply describes what we know to be true in our hearts, yet have never seen so plainly. I recommend this book to everyone....the clarity and truth of her words are very moving and profound, yet so simple.
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