No matter how many self-help books we read, workshops we attend, spiritual endeavors we pursue; no matter how often we cuddle our inner child or redesign our outer adult, many people keep returning to a gnawing angst and vague unhappiness, according to T. Byram Karasu, author of The Art of Serenity
. One of the problems is that many of us define happiness in paradisiacal, childish terms, causing us to feel like we're missing out. "Happiness in adulthood, however, requires realism, reciprocity, and coming to terms with one's mortality," he writes. And, of course, it requires us to cultivate the art of serenity.
Like M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, Karasu brings a psychological background to the area of spiritual growth. (Karasu is the chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as well as the editor in chief of the American Journal of Psychotherapy.) Sometimes blending spirituality and psychology muddies the waters, but Karasu has a solid understanding of how the two worlds intersect and has created an outstanding and completely accessible guide to lasting inner happiness. The door of joyful serenity can only be opened by a "combination key involving both soul and spirit," he explains. And it all culminates in the love of God. Using real-life cases from his psychotherapy practice, Karasu illustrates how the principles of soul work and spirit work are applied to daily lives. From lovers' jealousy to workplace angst, from friendships to solitude, Karasu offers original, lasting advice and insights. Read this one and put it on your shelf by your other spiritual classics--it's sure to be a lifetime companion. --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Drawing on, among many other traditions and influences, folktales, mythology, Eastern philosophy, Sufi poetry and Judeo-Christian theology, Karasu, a scholar, lecturer and the editor in chief of American Journal of Psychotherapy, fashions a spiritual guide to help suffering people find genuine happiness and "an extraordinary and permanent joyful serenity." His message is a simple one: such serenity comes from loving others, loving one's work and belonging to a community, and from being able to believe in unity, the sacred, and the possibility of transformation. These feelings find their ultimate meaning and inspiration, he says, in "believing in and loving God." Moving through these themes in compassionate chapters full of anecdotes, literary references and stories from his own patients, Karasu shows how they resolved their issues and learned to live with joy. More philosophical than practical, Karasu's moving book will appeal to those seeking a profound journey, rather than those who seek concrete steps for better living.
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