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275 of 294 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2000
It's amazing the divergent opinions one gets from reading the reviews of this book. It's also amazing, at least for me, how a second reading can completely change the way I feel about a book. When I read 'The Seat of the Soul' the first time I was completely turned off by the absolutism that is very apparent on many pages of the book. Yet a second reading changed my opinion of this book dramatically. I will cover the positive, and then the negative. One other point I want to make up front - for those who seek 'scientific proof' for spiritual concepts, I am afraid there isn't any under the current scientific model. I read this in many of the reviews.
I believe that Mr. Zukav defines what he intends to cover in the book very well from the outset, which is how to transform oneself from a five-sensory physical being to a multi-sensory 'spirit in a body.' I believe that he also explains what one can achieve in that transformation, which he calls 'authentic power,' remarkably well. Starting from evolution, which he asks us to see as souls experiencing multiple lifetimes rather than survival of the fittest physical beings, Zukav does rehash the basic teachings from Eastern religion, such as karma and reincarnation, but with precision and clarity. His insights are not really new, but they are of reference-level quality - if you should ever meet a person who starts to ponder certain aspects of the soul and were thinking of recommending one book, 'The Seat of the Soul' would be one to consider, for sure.
I liked his using the evolution of science as a metaphor for the evolution of our (hopefully) attaining spiritual consciousness as a species, found on p. 67. Indeed quantum physics has shown, no matter how much the determinists tell us otherwise, that our consciousness does interact with reality and thus creates it, at least in a sense.
Finally on the positive side, Zukav's explanation of how the process in which a person observes him/herself in a non-judgemental way is, next to Krishnamurti's ('The First and Last Freedom' and many other books) 'choiceless awareness,' the best I've encountered, and again all I say is that I do believe that if you follow the process he outlines you will attain higher levels of consciousness. The chapter entitled 'Illusion' is especially good, the way he interweaves that while we do need to learn lessons and know who we are at the deepest possible levels, from a broader perspective it really is an illusion! It is not easy to explain this paradox, but Zukav succeeds well.
Yet as I stated at the outset, the first time I read the book I was totally turned off by the unfortunate absolutism that permeates much of the writing. I agree with the reviewer who asked 'how does he know,' and another review that stated that he is uncomfortable with 'mystery and ambiguity.' This quest for absolute certainty is perhaps my biggest 'beef' with many New Age writers, and it diminishes the insights of 'The Seat of the Soul.'
I will give just one example. I don't think anyone would disagree that in general we get what we put out, but it is not an absolute truth. I have experienced over and over that life gives me *not* what I put out, but rather what I need to learn. I often project a lot of anger, and what I receive is not anger, but rather good feelings, which shows me that my projection is not the way the world is. But by observing it, 'choicelessly,' as Zukav and Krishnamurti teach, at least I transcend it to a certain extent.
I could give many other examples of general truths turned into absolutes, but suffice it to say that Mr. Zukav tends to use expressions like 'in all cases,' 'always,' and other absolutisms carelessly. On p. 53, while discussing reverence in a very meaningful way, he states that a reverent person 'harms nothing.' Excuse me, even vegetarians do harm. I would prefer him discussing this point using terms like ahimsa, which more accurately conveys the idea of 'least harm.'
At the beginning of the book Mr. Zukav claims that 'there is no such thing as an expert on the human experience.' Perhaps he should have heeded his own truth in certain wordings in this otherwise fine book.
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132 of 141 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2000
Zukav's work has captured the essence of how we actually create our own reality. I've always known this to be the truth, but never have I heard it articulated so well. I've read books of this nature most of my life and have never before found one which explains so perfectly how we accomplish this amazing feat. Many authors have repeated the catch phrase "what we believe is what we achieve," but they never say what it is that makes us believe. Being a magician for twenty plus years, I've learned what makes people believe. THE SEAT OF THE SOUL explains this from another perspective. Understanding how we put ourselves into difficult situations is the first step into creating a reality that allows us to become who we really wish and surround ourselves with the world we wish to exist within. I highly recommend this book.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2000
Gary Zukav's "Seat of the Soul" is a treatise on the empowerment of one's soul. Zukav discusses really living one's life rather than seeking the approval of others. He deeply emphasizes developing a reverence for all life. I think the following quote from the book is an eloquent distillation of his message: "When the energy of the soul is recognized, acknowledged, and valued, it begins to infuse the life of the personality. When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of its soul, that is authentic empowerment." Through anecdotes and discussion, Zukav suggests that we become intimate with our emotions, since they affect our intentions. He also stresses that we are here to learn lessons, creating situations for ourselves that bring us face-to-face with what we need to learn most. He writes at length about intuition, compassion, responsibility, and power. "You lose power when you fear" he explains, and suggests that we cultivate feeling what is happening in our bodies rather than follow our thoughts about those feelings. If you are touched by his message and the power of awareness in our lives, I suggest you grab a copy of "Working on Yourself Doesn't Work" by Ariel and Shya Kane. I've read many books that have pointed the way to a great life, but this one went right to the heart of the matter - that trying to fix yourself keeps you stuck in the places you'd like get out of, but getting into the moment will set you free. Enjoy these books!
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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2000
After seeing this author on Oprah, I bought this book and read it cover-to-cover. Then I loaned it to my sister, bought it for my friends, and suggested it to other book patrons when in the bookstore. (My sister didn't return the book, so I'm buying another for myself!)
I found the book to bring perspective to the world we live in and our relationship to others, to self, the natural world, and our idea of a divine being.
Reading without the closed mind my Catholic upbringing created, I found the book enlightening, insightful, and a resource I'll refer to again and again.
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2014
Over the course of thousands of years, humanity has evolved tremendously. In that time, we have gained a brand new understanding of the world operates and how we fit inside of it. Although Gary Zukav’s book is over 25 years old, it still maintains some of the best wisdom that humanity has ever compiled. This is an exploration of the soul and the consciousness and how we understand our physical and spiritual forms in tandem. It is beautifully written and still poignant to this day. The forewords by the great Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou are also worth the price of admission. Zukav has essentially mapped out a trek toward enlightenment and it all starts by understanding the connection of the soul and body within yourself. It is no longer about the external power so commonly displayed by humans heretofore.

This spiritual awakening, of course, will inevitably lead to a much brighter and more successful life for yourself. I’ve used 27 Quick Life Transformation Tips: Simple & Effective Methods For Making This Your Best Year Ever to help me on my journey to self-discovery and inner and outer success. It is a book that can literally help you transform your life in short order with 27 tips that have actionable and easy to understand paths. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with this book as much as I’ve enjoyed my time with Zukav’s. Both of these books have opened my eyes to the possibilities that this new age of evolved humanity can bring. It has also opened me up to success in my personal, physical, and professional lives. I am eternally grateful for the knowledge I’ve accrued reading both of these books.

I’m also grateful for the wisdom that Zukav has shared with so many people. His book is a powerful exploration of the “authentic power” that we can attain through the alignment of our personality and our soul. I have never felt more like I was on the right track than after I read this book. I am also thoroughly pleased to have come across 27 Quick Life Transformation Tips. With both of these books in tow, I’ve been able to make a major transformation in my life for the better.
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142 of 155 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2000
This book has changed my life. I recommended it to many people. It is not about religion, it is about the spirituality that we all posess in whatever form we choose to express it. A person can take many things from this book if he or she is willing to open his or her mind to the richness of the message presented here. The most important lesson I learned from this book is that it helped me deal with my father's death, something that I was having trouble doing before I read this book. I am at peace now because by reading Mr. Zukav's book, I understand what it means to have a universal soul, and that my father is not really dead but is part of the universal life force that exists in all of us. It has also helped me to recognize and deal with my food addiction, which I realize now is due to my desire to obtain external power. If you want to find out what external power is, and how the desire for it fuels our addictions then please read this book! The Seat of the Soul is like an owners manual for life.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2000
Gary Zukav's "The Seat of the Soul" is a guide to authentic power and inner peace. While overly detailed at times,which may put off some readers, the core ideas merit serious consideration in a culture where so many people have so much and yet are so unhappy. Changing your attitude can change the quality of your life, and this book can help guide you to a more peaceful existence. Take some of the more exotic details with a grain of salt, or ignore them, as you please; there are many principles outlined in the book that you can apply to your own life regardless.
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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2000
If you're looking for a holiday gift for yourself or someone you care about, one of the books I recommend is Gary Zukav's "SEAT OF THE SOUL." While Zukav discusses many ideas on the topic of living from your truth, some made an especially strong impression on me. The first was that human beings are becoming multisensory - they are learning to listen to their intuition: "It is in this invisible realm that the origins of our deepest values are found." Zukav also explores reverence: "an attitude of honoring life" which includes gving of ourselves, not taking from life as though we don't trust that there will be enough. The other main idea I was touched by was that awareness of our feelings allows us to experience compassion for ourselves and for others. Zukav emphasizes the need to take a step back from what's going on in our lives and observe ourselves. This idea rang loud and true for me: "If you are not aware of your intentions, the strongest one will live."
Reading this book deepened my sense of what it means to give. Since this is the season of giving, it's a great time to give this book. If you're attracted to the possibility of living more fully by developing your awareness, I recommend another gift - "WORKING ON YOURSELF DOESN'T WORK" by Ariel and Shya Kane. It is a gentle and profound book about the power of the present moment to transform ordinary lives into exquisite ones. I highly recommend both these books.
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71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 1999
What Zukav is talking about is spiritual evolution, not biological evolution. You cannot apply science to spirituality (unless you are a researcher at MIT). Certainly the word "evolution" has evolved beyond Darwin's interpretation. Surely no scientist believes that the "rules" of evolution are engraved in stone.
John M (12-20-99) complains that Christians are always trying to exert their influence, but science does this as well. Don't get me wrong. I advocate science, but science is insignificant in the face of "the mystery." For example, science would like us to believe that it can explain everything about the world, never mind that funny event called the Big Bang where the world appeared out of nothing!
Likewise, science would like us to believe that our consciousness is a product of biological evolution. But suppose that biological evolution is not a product of random events. Suppose what we call "evolution" is being driver by something (call it The Tao, God, "awareness," an organizing principal, whatever) that pushes for higher levels of complexity and thus higher levels of consciousness. In this sense, a monkey is more evolved than a horse and people are more evolved than algae (paraphrasing Piske, 12-5-99).
Of course, I'm using consciousness in people are conscious"). But suppose that every seed is a potential stream of God-consciousness pushing for higher awareness. A beautiful orchid is God being conscious-- as a beautiful orchid--nothing more. That is good enough. As for us, somewhere along the way, we started thinking that our ego and not out spirit was the primary essence of our life.
What Zukav is talking about is reclaiming our spiritual nature. The ego has done its job. It has helped us dominate our environment. But it should no longer be the central theme of our existence. Zukav's theme of authentic power and multisensory humans is the best I have heard to explain what the next stage in our evolution should be.
Zukav's evolution is different from scientific evolution. It won't take millions of years of physical changes. We already have what we need. This is easy to understand once you get past thinking that we are here to "eat" the world. We only need to realize that we are evolving spiritual beings. This has nothing to do with religion and religious organizations. It works at the individual level when you realize that you are part of the "awareness" of the universe and fully participating in its creation now. The findings of the new physics tend to lead us to that. The world is indeed mysterious and fascinating.
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135 of 153 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2000
Zukav is right--five-sensoried people are not going to understand his book and do not possess the spiritual maturity to handle the higher truths he asserts in his book. Oprah Winfrey, whom I consider one of our nation's leading spiritual teachers, is a genius for promoting Gary and his brand of spirituality.
Granted, the writing is confusing and at times incoherent. I would have liked some examples, illustrations of his ideas. But one must get beyond the weak writing to grasp the higher truths presented in this book. Granted, I don't align my own beliefs with everything he says in the book, but the gist of what he says is real and brilliant.
I dare say his severe critics are people who think in black and white and cannot see shades of gray. They swallow religious dogma without question and have a mind set that does not permit one to delve within and come up with their own soul's beliefs. They are not intuitive beings. Do those critics ever stop to think that Gary is, as someone said in a review, in conference with a Higher Power! He tells you all the way through the book that people with multi-sensories have an ability that others don't have. Yes, he is in touch with a higher power...the God within his soul! That's where he got his truths. And you except him to reference his facts? Did you expect MLA documentation at the end of the book? Who is he going to quote? Zukav's book does not need to be based in any religion that the world knows. The soul has no religion. The soul speaks truths that are not based in myths the world has created.
From reading the Dancing Wu Li Masters, we understand there is scientific proof that the universe changes by the way we interact with it...which means we affect the way the universe operates on the quantum level... which means we create our own universe. And therefore, we can, on the spiritual level, evolve into higher beings by the way we interact with ourselves, our fellow humans, and the environment. Zukav attempted to take the knowledge he learned in the Dancing book and apply it to the spiritual world. For those who need for SOS to be based on SOMETHING, then it is based on the Dancing book. It is the Dancing book retold in spiritual terms. And if you don't get it today, someday you Gary says, we won't judge you...just treat you with compassion and "reverence."
I am baffled at those who read the book and missed the beauty of the messages in it. Love, purity, honesty, reverence, compassion....carved on a another set of tablets from the burning bush of the soul...thanks to Gary Zukav.
One word to Gary if you are reading these reviews: please keep writing and give us examples and details. Thank you for the book.
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