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Teachings on how to make peace with ourselves, and the world
on December 29, 2000
David Richo formerly practiced as a Catholic priest, and in this book he displays the true, original meaning of the word "catholic." His learning is truly ecumenical--he draws on his readings of the poets, Greek and other mythologies, Hinduism, Zen, and his experience of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the path into the dark parts of our human nature. Unlike many Catholic clergy whom I've met over the years, he is definitely not afraid of his shadow! Or yours or mine....he sees the shadow as containing great power and beauty, if we can only stop avoiding the teachings contained within it.
The book contains essays which lead you down the path of doing "shadow work," with each essay followed by a section of journal exercises and topics to think about. These "to do" sections help the reader to work with the ideas in the book, rather than just read about them. Not all the exercises will appeal to everyone, but there is such a wide range offered in each section that there is surely something for every reader.
My only problem with the book was that at times it was repetitive and wordy. However, Richo offers so much that is wise and profound that I readily forgave him and kept reading.
One of the things I found most helpful in this book was his excellent chapter on the positive shadow, an idea with which I was unfamiliar. The positive shadow needs attention just as much as the negative, and providing that attention is pleasant work--thus it balances out the sometimes toilsome aspect of dealing with one's darker side.
This is not a book to read and set aside. It's meant to be worked. The more people do this work, the more compassion and harmony there will be in our world.