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The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self Paperback – January 18, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Scholarly…fascinating.” (Omni)

“Successfully presented, with the freshness of a personal response…interesting and very instructive….” (--The Journal of Analytical Psychology)

“[Bolen] charts a path that will lead many readers to the heart of their own emotional and spiritual pilgrimages.” (--San Francisco Chronicle on Crossing to Avalon)

“[W]ise and challenging...an absorbing, often uncannily perceptive, and useful companion for the soul journeys of our time....” (--Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple on Crossing to Avalon)

About the Author

Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, is a psychiatrist, a Jungian analyst, and an internationally known author and speaker. Her books include Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman, and many others. She is a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and was a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco. She lives in Marin County, California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; 25th edition (January 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006078220X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060782207
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M. D, is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and an internationally known author and speaker. She is the author of The Tao of Psychology, Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman, Ring of Power, Crossing to Avalon, Close to the Bone, The Millionth Circle, Goddesses in Older Women, Crones Don't Whine, Urgent Message from Mother, Like a Tree, and Moving Toward the Millionth Circle, with over eighty foreign translations. She is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a former clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, a past board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women and the International Transpersonal Association. She was a recipient of the Institute for Health and Healing's "Pioneers in Art, Science, and the Soul of Healing Award", and the Asssociation for the Study of Women and Mythology's Demeter Award for her lifetime achievement in women's spirituality. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She was in two acclaimed documentaries, the Academy-Award winning anti-nuclear proliferation film Women--For America, For the World, and the Canadian Film Board's Goddess Remembered. The Millionth Circle Initiative (www.millonthcircle.org)was inspired by her book and led to her involvement at the UN. She is an advocate for a UN 5th World Conference on Women (www.5wcw.org), which was supported by the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly on March 8, 2012. Her website is www.jeanbolen.com.

Event schedule: http://www.jeanshinodabolen.com/schedule.html
Most current and past newsletters: http://www.jeanshinodabolen.com/newsletters/index.html

2014 New Publications: 30th Anniversary Edition of Goddesses in Everywoman, 25th Anniversary Edition of Gods in Everyman (both from HarperCollins, July 2014), and Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman (Conari Press, an imprint of Red Wheel Weiser, September 2014).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
Quantum physics has defined a basic unit of matter that makes up all things, both organic and inorganic, which is pure energy. The same unit of energy that is a part of your body today may, only days before, have been a part of a bird flying over Beijing or an Ethiopian villager. This "new" knowledge from modern physics sounds very much like the Tao--in Eastern phillosophies, the "unifying principle in the universe to which everything in the world relates." The tao (lowercase) is the life path that is in harmony with the universe, the "path with heart." Jung believed that all people and all animate and inanimate objects are linked through a collective unconscious. Synchronicity, he said, was a connecting principle that manifests through "meaningful coincidences." Bolen proposes that synchronicity is the Tao of psychology; it relates the individual to the totality. She makes good use of anecdotes to explain Jung's layers of consciousness, the Jungian analytical tools of amplification and active imagination, and the difference between causality and synchronicity. Bolen has a gift for making clear Jungian concepts that seem obtuse or hazy in the hands of other writers.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. Pollock VINE VOICE on December 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Bolen describes the nature of synchronicity (Jung's concept of meaningful coincidence) and its relationships with the Tao (the Way), ESP, the occurrences of life, flow, and many diverse wisdom teachings. Her language is straightforward, her book very readable. Within its few, tiny pages, it says quite a lot. The author makes a very interesting observation that there is a strong correspondence between ones inner state and one's outer circumstances. Which is the cause and which is the effect? Maybe, per her book, each is both. This leads her to conclude that we can change both simultaneously. On page 61, she writes: "Synchronicity holds the promise that if we will change within, the patterns in our outer life will change also. If the people and events of our lives are here because we have drawn them here, then what happens in our lives apparently by chance or fortune is not really accidental."

This parallels Jung's view that the therapist and patient become a dyad and progress together. Dr. Bolen quotes Jung on page 51, "'The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: If there is any reaction, both are transformed.' In some instances, each personality at that exact moment in time may be unusually susceptible to the particular "chemical" action of the other." This reciprocity is exemplified in romance. From pages 55-6: "When, in everyday life, a person "falls head over heels in love," the loved one has provided the "hook" that attracts the archetypal projection ...What is seen is an archetypal image that is a projection; put another way `Beauty is in the archetype of the beholder'...That person is then reacted to emotionally as if he or she were one and the same as the image.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By BPG on January 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Just as synchronicity brings meaningful events together, this book unites some very meaningful topics: coincidences, psychology, Jung, Taoism and the I Ching. Dr Bolen weaves these phenomena together in a highly readable format. If you've ever believed that there is more to coincidences than meets the eye, then reading this book is perhaps the next meaningful coincidence awaiting your life.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Patrick D. Goonan on September 25, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great little book on synchronicity i.e. meaningful, but non-causal relationships between events both outer and inner. Dr. Bolen knows her stuff and in this text she manages to pack a lot of interesting information on Jung's notion of synchronicity and her own reflections on its relationship to the Tao and paranormal phenomenon.

This is a quick, educational, entertaining and very thought provoking read. While the book is short, there is a lot of good information. It is also easy to read and very understandable. You need to be a Jungian analyst to follow it unlike many other books on Jung's thought.

This book is also written from a personal perspective. I liked this aspect of it and for me it added value. I can't imagine anyone with an interest in Jung, Tao or the paranormal not finding this book interesting reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Froxfield_Reviewer on March 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
..and very informative - if you want to know about synchronicity this book will explain it to you in clear terms. Written by a Jungian Psychiatrist, it is excellent. I have just finished it and am about to reread it. It is worth reading for the outline on Jungian Archetypes alone. Marvellous.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kathi on September 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the introduction to this 25th anniversary edition of The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self, Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. describes her own book "for many intuitive readers an easy-to-grasp introduction to Jung and an intelligible introduction to the Eastern philosophical concept of underlying oneness which is the Tao." I agree completely and am delighted that this quick read (103 pages) integrates two of my favorite subjects with examples from her life and that of her clients. Every time I re-read this I become more aware of the "meaningful coincidences" in my own life.
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