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Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing Paperback – August 26, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 484 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What sets Anatomy of the Spirit apart is Carolyn Myss's ability to blend diverse religious and spiritual beliefs into a succinct discussion of health and human anatomy. For example, when describing the seven energy fields of the human body, she fuses Christian sacraments with Hindu chakras and the Kabbalah's Tree of Life. Fortunately, Myss is a skilled writer as well as researcher, able to ground her extensive spiritual and religious discussions by using real-life stories and a tight writing style. Those who are squeamish with the notion of biography affecting biology will find this book a struggle (in one chapter, Myss links pancreatic cancer with a man's refusal to unburden his life and start fulfilling his dreams). Many, however, hail Myss for creating a valuable contribution to the ongoing exploration of spirituality and health. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

One of the hottest new voices in the alternative health/spirituality scene, Myss is a "medical intuitive" whose work with Dr. C. Norman Shealy resulted in their coauthored book, The Creation of Health. In this engaging volume, Myss describes our "spiritual anatomy" and how its dysfunctions affect the physical body. Going beyond the spirit/body connection, she presents a complete program for spiritual growth, drawing on concepts from three major religions. Linking the seven chakras of Hinduism to the seven Christian sacraments and the Jewish mystical Tree of Life, Myss details the struggles associated with each chakra and its correspondents. To Myss, our primary foundation, or first chakra, for example, corresponds to baptism and the mystical Jewish concept of Shekhinah. This chakra's energy, according to Myss, is concerned with our "tribe," be it our family, country or other group we identify with, and it activates our need for loyalty, honor and justice. Misplaced loyalties or conflicts will most likely manifest in the lower part of the body, in afflictions like lower back pain. The author intersperses her text with case studies and keeps her discussion close to real-life concerns. Her tone can be gratingly authoritative at times ("all human stress corresponds to a spiritual crisis"), and it's questionable whether the alleged correspondences are as firm as Myss posits. Still, there's wisdom here, in words that eschew New Age jargon and that make otherwise esoteric material accessible to a general readership. This book has breakout potential. One Spirit Book Club main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (August 26, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609800140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609800140
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (484 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on August 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
In the last part of ANATOMY OF THE SPIRIT, Caroline Myss unites her discussion of three belief systems (Roman Catholic Sacraments, Kabbalah Tree of Life, and Hindu Chakras) within the concept of living in the present moment. Many who have trod the spiritual path Myss describes and faced the Three Big Crises - absence of meaning and purpose; strange new fears; and devotion to something greater than one's self - will appreciate her final words. Suffering produces spiritual rewards.
Not everyone will appreciate Myss' book. I would like to send the audio version to my 87-year old aunt who is devoutly Roman Catholic, but I don't think she would like it. My Southern Baptist aunt would probably disown me. My daughter would appreciate it - but she's a fan of Bishop Pike. For a change, Myss has written a book older folks will appreciate more than younger ones.
I know something about the sacraments having been raised with them. I've also acquired a great deal of knowledge about the Chakras in the past 40 years (via reading and Hindu friends). I have studied the Kabbalah (it is far more complex than Myss' book indicates). Like Joseph Campbell whom she apparently see as a model, Myss sees a larger truth underlying religious structures and/or tribal systems of belief.
Myss is billed as an expert on energy medicine. In the early 1980s, I had the pleasure and privilege of being in Louis Hay's home. I can testify that "whatever your mind can conceive and believe it will achieve." Whenever I have an ailment, I whip out Hays' healing books (Myss cites one of them). Healing takes many forms. Doctors mostly facilitate the process or mess it up. The power of positive thinking, prayer, the laying on of hands, and laughter all work to heal the body-mind-spirit.
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Format: Paperback
This was my first Caroline Myss book and I have since read--and heard--most of her others. I have put off writing a review until now, frankly because I wasn't sure if I could convey the tremendous impact her words and teachings have had in my life. (Actually, I think I just did!)
You may not agree with every single point she brings up and out, but that is part of it's strength: She makes you think, probe, ponder, contemplate and eventually assimilate her truths, along with so many others that speak the same, into your own life.
Caroline is a teacher in the finest sense: Her books, views, thoughts and musings compel one to seek their own truth, to heal one's self, not the easy way, but the BEST way--by tapping into the energy of Spirit and Love all around us. In this sense, she is a provocative Master.
One suggestion: If you have trouble getting through her books, her audio tapes are very good and truly relay the passion and commitment she feels in her life, her teachings.
Read her books, use what works for you -- and never be the same again.
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Format: Paperback
Carolyn Myss writes about health and illness within the individual human energy system, but dosen't take energy thinking far enough--that's why some of her arguments break down. Her basic thesis is that we bring illness on ourselves by neglecting to deal with soul or emotional issues, that is, by not leading an "authentic" life. Clearly this can be true, for instance in certain forms of cancer or heart disease.
But when thinking about any sort of system, human or otherwise, you must consider the smaller energy systems which compose it, as well as the larger systems in which it is embedded. Each system "level" has its own sort of consciousness and imperatives to follow. The "level" at which our conscious egos work is only one piece of the complex puzzle of reality which composes and enfolds us.
Thus, from a systems perspective, disease can follow dysfunction on ANY level, from the cellular to the social or environmental (and maybe even the galactic). One example would be cancers caused by pesticides--here, the human collective's disrespect for the planetary environment results in the illness of individuals. There need not be a particular biographical factor in the genesis of such a cancer, for as individuals we are all subject to consequences following our collective actions.
Similarly, disease can spring from breakdowns on the cellular level of biological systems--thus, plants and animals fall prey to illness in the wild (as they also do from human-caused habitat destruction and pollution). Would Myss say that these non-human creatures were responsible for their illnesses because they did not do their soul or emotional work?
To say that biography is the only (or principal) factor in illness is taking a one-dimensional view of disease and the systems it disrupts.
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By A Customer on November 11, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
This book allows you to have faith without walls. The book Encounter with A Prophet removes the walls. I recommend both books.
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Format: Paperback
I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a Caroline Myss fan. This is not based upon my past religious upbringing, but rather on her approach to an attempted synthesis between the Jewish, Christian and Hindu teachings on metaphysics and energy systems. In short, I think she missed the mark and tried to force fit areas together based more on her assumptions about reality than a natural meshing together of concepts.

I am educated both as a scientist and in the area of psychology, including sacred psychology across world traditions. It was very difficult for me to even listen to the logic underlying the author's arguments. However, by synthesizing these disparate traditions in a credible sounding manner, she has tapped into a very large market of people searching for meaning.

I am not saying that this book is completely without merit, but I would take much of it with a grain of salt. I also think there are better books out there that are better researched, more thorough and less contaminated with a lot of the authors own assumptions about reality. Two examples to look at while you are evaluating this book are FORGOTTEN TRUTH by Huston Smith and a BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYTHING by Ken Wilber.

There is a saying that most people would rather be entertained that educated. I think this basically sums up my experience of this book, except I didn't find it very entertaining either. I know that many loyal readers of Ms. Myss will disagree with me, but this is my honest opinion of her work.
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