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The Heart of the Soul : Emotional Awareness Hardcover – December 11, 2001

117 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

We are all students in the "Earth school," according to authors Gary Zukav and Linda Francis in The Heart of the Soul. And the time has come to create a whole new lesson plan. For thousands of years we were outwardly focused, as we mastered the tasks of cultivating food and building shelter. Unfortunately, we are still outwardly fixated, obsessively accumulating more wealth, material objects, and power. "What enabled our species to survive so long is now bad medicine. In fact, it is poison," according to Zukav and Francis. What we need now is an inward focus, in which we cultivate the heart and live in alignment with our souls.

As it turns out, The Heart of the Soul is a timely guidebook, with a release date exactly three months after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. "The pursuit of external power produces physical violence and destruction between nations. You can see this in every newscast," the authors write:

Billions of people live in poverty, are hungry, and suffer oppression, and brutality. Changing these circumstances requires our hearts. It requires the ability to feel the pain and joy of others, and to take their needs as seriously as we take our own.
And here is where the heart lessons come in. "As long as there are parts of yourself that reach outward to make you feel safe, valuable, and loved, you need to identify them and heal them." The authors include numerous exercises and activities to help readers feel and understand their emotions in order to "empower the soul" and live a more rewarding and joyful life. The words and intentions are indeed poignant and worthwhile. The numerous boxes, diagrams, and passages in bold print create a self-help structure that some will find simplistic and others will find inviting. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Asserting that "our species is undergoing an unprecedented transformation," Zukav (The Seat of the Soul; Soul Stories) urges people to focus not on "external power" but on "authentic power," and to seek to align their personalities with their souls. People should learn to read emotional pain (manifested in physical symptoms) as energy being released in "fear and doubt" rather than "love and trust," Zukav says. He includes a diagram of "your energy system," which he doesn't acknowledge as the seven chakras common in ancient Eastern religions. In fact, while drawing on Hindu and Buddhist thought, Taoism, Christianity, psychology and many other sources, Zukav credits no previous study or tradition. Reincarnation, detachment, present-moment living and bringing unconscious emotions to the surface are not original concepts, but the author's lack of references implies that they are. Questionable claims "a new human species is being born," for example, or "energy continually flows into the top of your head" are also offered as indisputable facts. Zukav's abundance of vague metaphors and lack of specific personal stories leaves the reader wondering how (or if) the concepts he presents might be applied to everyday issues and events. This book could be another adequate tool in the pursuit of New Age spirituality, but it is hardly the complete and final word the author suggests. Still, with Zukav's track record and Oprah-readiness, expect hefty sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (December 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743205677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743205672
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

GARY ZUKAV is the author of The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics, winner of The American Book Award for Science; The Seat of the Soul, the celebrated #1 New York Times bestseller; Soul Stories, also a New York Times bestseller; and many others. His books have sold millions of copies and are published in twenty-four languages. He is a graduate of Harvard University and a former U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret) officer with Vietnam service. He lives in Oregon with his spiritual partner, Linda Francis.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"You are a soul that is temporarily utilizing your body." ~Gary Zukav

Is the world changing? Have we suddenly discovered a lack of fulfillment in our materialistic endeavors or have we always felt this way but have only recently decided to talk about it?

I have recently met more Multisensory individuals who believe we have a soul and who are striving for spiritual fulfillment. They see more than a world where we experience pleasure from our five senses. They also seem very aware that there is more to life than the American Dream. I myself have found out about the American Nightmare.

We are looking for a deeper life, a life where people care about one another, where we all feel valuable, safe and loved. Compassionate and wise individuals are heaven to meet and can be teachers who present stunning insight and convincing arguments to lead us to believe in our own ability to find authentic power.

To me, the American Nightmare is reaching the American Dream and realizing it is not everything you hoped for and your life becoming a whirlwind of things to do which just don't satisfy the cravings of your soul. Just because you have the big house, the car, the huge kitchen doesn't mean you will be happy. In fact, having too much can detract from your spiritual goals. Materialism can be a heavy burden for the soul who desires a world of freedom, love and joy.

After downsizing my life so I could spend more time washing my soul with encouraging words, I decided it was time to go back to where I first started on this journey and read another book by Gary Zukav.

I like his idea about viewing life as a school and that has become tightly woven into my own earth experience.
Read more ›
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on December 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As a counsellor, I have witnessed more aspects of life over the past thiry years than some people see in a lifetime - poverty, sickness, loneliness, hopelessness, extreme violence, greed, intimidation, the need for power and the relentless quest for a materialistic world at any cost. With that in mind, I can relate strongly to Gary Zukav's latest book, "The Heart of the Soul."
Wealth and power seem like a blessing to some, but unchained and left to run amok, those same desires can also lead to physical violence and the ultimate destruction of nations. When wealth and power control who and what we are, they are no longer blessings but a driven caustic obsession that eats and destroys the core of our being - the human soul.
Of all Gary's books, in my opinion this one is the most poignant, meaningful and impressive, especially when one recalls the tragic events of September 11th. It has come at a critical and appropriate time in our lives. Gary ofers suggestions on healing the soul, recognizing what is truly important in life, and finding peace and happiness within. That is a life lesson not everyone in the world has learned...and, unfortunately, some never will. We all know there is none so blind as those who will not see. This book is highly recommended and there are not enough stars in the rating for this one.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
While not as insightful and useful as "Seat of the Soul", this book does help one to get in touch with his emotions, especially fear and emotional pain. Interestingly, it doesn't offer much help in knowing what to do with those emotions, but being aware of them is the first step toward personality/soul integration. For example, using Gary's guidelines, I am now frequently aware of my disguised "fear and doubt" and therefore have the option of changing those emotions to "love and trust".
This book is an excellent companion to Gary's revolutionary book, "Seat of the Soul".
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Steve Amoia on March 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book was recommended to me by a friend. I had not read any of the author's works before, but was aware of his notoriety. There are not many ex-Green Beret officers who delve into New Age topics such as the soul, energy chakras, and emotional awareness...;-)
This work is very interesting, and for the most part, entertaining. The theme is that we, not other people, are the cause for our positive and negative emotions. How we deal with those emotions contributes to our state of being. The authors then describe how to become more emotionally aware by isolating our feelings into different "schools." The analogy is that life is the ultimate teacher, and that we have to master one school (emotion) before graduating to the next.
The authors appear to have a sincere desire to help others become more emotionally aware; however, the subject matter becomes somewhat repetitive. They discuss a variety of emotions and life events, but how many times does the reader need to be reminded that your emotions are your own responsibility? Or that you need to be aware of them 24 hours a day? Most readers will not need the gentle yet continual cues. That tone took upon an adult-child quality; however, perhaps that is the author's teaching style.
One of his quotes was especially enlightening. And I paraphrase, "Pain is the flower, but the illness is in the plant." Mr. Zukav and Ms. Francis have provided the reader with a thought-provoking work. How one interprets the contents is another matter.
Thank you for the opportunity to review this book.
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