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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart Paperback – January 22, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

According to ancient legends, alchemists use a magical philosopher's stone to transmute lead into gold. In Emotional Alchemy, Tara Bennett-Goleman shows readers how they can use this alchemist metaphor to transform emotional confusion (lead) into insightful clarity (gold). And what does the magic stone represent? "Mindfulness," a lifelong practice that can bring readers more joy and contentment than the gold, according to Bennett-Goleman. "Mindfulness means seeing things as they are without trying to change them," she writes. "The point is to dissolve our reactions to disturbing emotions, being careful not to reject the emotion itself."

Those who have never entered this practice will find a concise and articulate teacher in Bennett-Goleman, who leads national workshops with her husband, author Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence). What make this book such an exciting breakthrough is Bennett-Goleman's ability to apply Buddhist mindfulness to Western psychology. She shows how emotional alchemy can be used to address typical habits, such as mistrust, fear of rejection, feeling unlovable. Readers will also find fascinating scientific facts on how emotional alchemy affects brain chemistry and even cancer survival. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

"We all desire happiness and do not want suffering." The Dalai Lama introduces Bennett-Goleman's first book with this trademark refrain, adding the deceptively simple Buddhist truth that much suffering is caused by our "disturbing emotions." Bennett-Goleman, a psychotherapist and longtime student of Buddhist meditation, draws on decades of experience to elucidate how the Buddhist practices of nonjudgmental awareness or mindfulness and the cultivation of compassion can unclasp the grip of the most addictive and deeply entrenched emotional patterns. What sets Bennett-Goleman's work apart from other contributions to the emerging field of Buddhist-oriented psychotherapy is her particular expertise in "schema therapy," which applies the consciousness of thought patterns that characterizes cognitive therapy to the deep-seated emotional habits that are formed in childhood. Thus she shows readers how our habitual fears and defenses get triggered again and again in our relationships, mechanically perpetuating old pain and obscuring reality. The author offers anecdotes from her clinical work and from workshops she conducts with her husband, Daniel Goleman, author of the megabestseller Emotional Intelligence. While Bennett-Goleman will undoubtedly benefit from the huge interest in her husband's book and from the burgeoning market for applied Buddhist wisdom in general, her distinct power flows from her sincerity. She is not given to neat formulations, yet her stories have the persuasiveness of experience, of transformation drop by drop. "In Western psychology it is often said that one needs a strong ego," writes Bennett-Goleman. "But in the Buddhist sense what we need is strong confidence." Many readers will trust the path that she forges here. (Jan.) Forecast: Foreign rights to this title have been sold in Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain and Latin America, Sweden, Taiwan and the U.K. Given the excellence of the book, a planned major push from Harmony, and the obvious benefit of a title and author name approximating those of Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence, hefty sales and major interest are likely
Copyright 2000 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: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (January 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609809032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609809037
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The emotional impact of delving into "schemas" as defined by Goleman was huge.
While intellectually I was aware of childhood influences on my adult being, Goleman's work puts those experiences, and our resultant coping mechanisms, or schemas, into a solid framework.
I had never given thought to how deeply rooted the schemas of abandonment, deprivation, subjugation, mistrust and unlovability were in my own life, or in the life of my signficant other.
Descriptions and vignettes presented by the author brought me to shaking and shuddering tearfulness as long-dormant emotions rose to the surface. At the same time, I could see my partner's schemas at work on both her and on our relationship.
For the first time outside of a pure academic exercise, I highlighted the book as relevancy to my life swirled inside of my head. I later actually wrote out 12 single-spaced pages of notes about these revelations to later share with my partner.
I sent her the book (since she's now moved 1500 miles away. . .) with the promise that we shall discuss in detail once she finishes. Behaviors as individuals and as a couple NOW make sense. What was inexplicable and frustrating before now have a plausible framework.
Most importantly, the author's strategy and techniques for employing "mindfulness," or the way to see things as they are, is very useful and sensible. The ability to recognize the power of our schemas and then help to turn maladaptive schemas away from controlling our lives is totally understandable and useful.
She adroitly blends in various underpinnings for her theory ranging from the latest psychological therapy techniques to the quieting powers of reflection as exercised within Buddaism and other far eastern religions.
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Format: Hardcover
Alchemy is the process of transformation. It describes "the process of integrating mindfulness with emotional work." "Mindfulness means seeing things as they are, without trying to change them." (p. 6) Tara is an excellent guide. Mindfulness grows on you as you ponder through the numerous personal and therapy stories and descriptions. You really learn to appreciate and taste the contemplative, compassionate, accepting, equanimous, present-focused, light-hearted and liberating mindfulness permeating throughout the book.
At the recommendation of Fr. Anthony de Mello, 10 Catholic priests, including myself, and 8 Sisters (doing a full-year's Sadhana) had the privilege of following S. N. Goenka, for intensive Vipassana or Insight Meditation retreats at Igatpuri, near Bombay, in India, in 1976. The focal point was on sharpening our awareness of breathing, thoughts, body sensations, feelings and accepting whatever IS without judging.
Tara has followed Goenka and many other masters. She suggests many easy-to-follow exercises for awareness and integration. You pick up such awareness by osmosis in reading the book and practising the exercises.
Dalai Lama wrote the Foreword. Though Buddhists like Goenka, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dalai Lama and many Zen and Tibetan masters have done much to popularise "mindfulness", you don't have to believe in Buddha to practise such mindfulness.
About 3 decades ago, Beisser, summarized the essence of Gestalt Therapy as "The paradoxical law of change": "When you accept what IS, change occurs." That is mindfulness. Charles T. Tart, Andrew Weil and many others have all written on mindfulness without a religious context..
Tara not only conveys the spirit of mindfulness here.
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Format: Hardcover
Years ago I attended one of Tara and her husband Daniel's weekend seminar on meditation. I remember feeling a lightness and ease in myself after this seminar. I found a similar experience with reading Tara's book, Emotional Alchemy. Through Western psychology and Buddhist mindfulness Tara guides the reader in self discovery. According to Tara "Mindfulness means seeing things as they are, without trying to change them." I had not previously heard of the practice of mindfulness, but it rang true for me. I feel I will revisit Tara's book again and again as it is a great resource for personal transformation.
I you enjoyed this book, I highly recommend reading another book called "Working on Yourself Doesn't Work" by Ariel and Shya Kane. The Kane's approach to modern day enlightenments is based on simple awareness where mechanical behavior can transform enabling you to lead an authentic life, one with meaning and satisfaction. Thanks to all the authors of these two wonderful books!
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Format: Hardcover
I had the pleasure of editing this book for Harmony, and I've never been more helped and enlightened by a book I've worked on than I have by EMOTIONAL ALCHEMY. It is so rare to find a book that combines original insight with an actual practice that can bring the insights to you in an immediate and personal way. It is even rarer to find such a book that is beautifully written, full of stories and wisdom woven seamlessly together. Rarer still is to find an author as authentic, caring and generous as Tara--so true to her message. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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