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Healing the Western Soul: A Spiritual Homecoming for Today's Seeker Paperback – March 1, 2015
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"....Therapists are stuck in the worldview that only what science can prove is real and anything else should be medicated away; New Age gurus espouse the postmodern view that everything is subjective; and patients discount their own emergent Judeo-Christian imagery due to bad early experiences with organized religion. All these preconceptions get in the way of addressing a Western spiritual crisis."
"...Miller's entreaty... to allow for the authenticity of mystical experience in the therapeutic process opens up a powerful route toward healing...." Publisher's Weekly
"....A description of the three stages of the Western Spiritual Path and how these might lead to a more spiritually-fulfilling life contributes to a discussion designed for modern seekers of all faiths who want to get a handle on their lives and purpose." --- Goodreads
"...It analyzes how millions of people from Judeo-Christian backgrounds experience spiritual emptiness and how these seekers often eschew the spiritual intuitions and mystical visions that come to them through prayer, dreams and daily living; and it considers why the religious, psychological and social systems of modern society and even the New Age movement have failed to address these problems." -- The Midwest Book Review
"..Miller says the Western belief smorgasbord known as "spiritual but not religious"--a little Shamanism here, a little Buddhism there, none of it approached from a place of deep, lifelong commitment --doesn't provide the strong sustenance one needs to face either a planet in turmoil or the life crises that come to all of us. Instead, she urges people in the Western world to reclaim their own spiritual roots through the mysticism that lies at the heart of both Christianity and Judaism, and not to see ecstatic experiences as psychotic episodes but as transcendent revelations.." --Energy Times
"...This is the daring counter-cultural revelation that many of our 'helpers' neglect and even disdain the Judeo-Christian mystical experiences of those who come to them..I found myself wanting to send a copy of this book to every postmodern person I know with a note saying - Hey, how about this!" -- Pastor Paul R. Smith, Integral Christianity: The Spirit's Call to Evolve
At a time of global cultural fusion, Judith Miller calls us back to attend to the spiritual forms that we took on consciously and unconsciously in the early years of our development. She insists that our healing has to take place in the tradition we were first at home in, not in traditions and languages that remain exotic to us and consequently lose their power to articulate precisely and to evoke experience with profundity―just as poetry does―in translation. (Dr.Melvyn Hill, Psychologist in private practice, Manhattan)
In our common work, which is experiential and scientific, she dares more than other psychotherapists and spiritual leaders to help people to heal their deepest wounds and find their authentic spiritual grounding. I appreciate Judith’s scientific competence and reliability. And she has a bigger knowledge which is beyond the brain, unspeakable, comes directly from the heart. (Ingo Jahrsetz, Wittnau, Germany, Dr. Phil., President of European Transpersonal Association)
…a pioneering breakthrough for personal and cultural healing in our unprecedented global age. (Ashok Gangadean Ph.D., Margaret Gest Professor of Global Philosophy, Haverford College)
Miller's entreaty to ground spiritual development within our "spiritual DNA" never falls into cultural stereotyping. She acknowledges a Judeo-Christian path as just one route to the Divine, and her encouragement to allow for the authenticity of mystical experience in the therapeutic process opens up a powerful route toward healing to those whose souls yearn beyond the material world. (Publisher's Weekly)
About the Author
Judith Miller Ph.D. is a professor of developmental psychology at Columbia University where she repeatedly receives the "Outstanding Teacher" award from students for her course "Spiritual Development Across the Lifespan." She is also on the faculty of the International Institute for Consciousness Exploration and Psychotherapy in Wittnau, Germany. As part of her teaching responsibilities over the years, Miller has provided clinical supervision to hundreds of psychotherapists and graduate psychology students in both America and Europe. She also is a highly regarded spiritual guide, a popular speaker for lay and professional audiences alike, and a sought-after presenter at national and international conferences.
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In her chapter called "Our Mystical Ground," Dr. Miller writes about our "Western spiritual DNA", telling us that, "[Our] Western spirituality flows from a mystical understanding of the one God. It can also come through unconditional love, forgiveness and compassion, as exemplified by the teachings of Jesus, the Jewish rabbi." She goes on to say that following our Western path will open our hearts--although she points out that this will take much dedicated inner work. But, "By partnering with the Light, we come back into accord with our divine template, which is to heal, grow, and fulfill our unique life purpose...Through the soul we experience our true nature and identity," writes the author. "Soul knowledge can be imminent or transcendent, arising within or from beyond the self." And she goes on to say, "People must understand that our soul connects us to a higher spiritual reality. This connection is innate, not human-made. A person will go through life always adrift, unable to be sure about anything, diminished and unwise, when this connection is not known."
Dr. Miller has structured her book in three basic sections: First she talks of the healing nature of the soul and explains how religion, psychology and the New Age movement have left us adrift "...by denying or misunderstanding authentic Western spirituality." Secondly, she writes of God as experience, rather than concept, and contrasts the Eastern and Western inner developmental pathways, clearing up much of my personal confusion. Thirdly, she gives us the three stages of our Western, mystical path, explaining the experiences we can expect--and the serious challenges we will be called to face.
Overall, I give this wonderful book five stars--and would give it more, had Amazon made them available. I had trouble putting it down, something I usually only experience when reading fiction! I'm so glad I discovered it and I recommend it without hesitation to anyone called to personal healing and soul-development and also to those confused by mystical experiences that may have arisen in their lives.
She describes with great clarity and compassion the need for each of us to return to the spiritual tradition into which we were first born to experience deep healing and transformation. This can be a rather controversial notion, but the truth of the message is borne out in the descriptions of real experiences of real people – including herself - as they encounter and engage both light and darkness along their unique journeys within and toward a direct relationship with God.
Dr. Miller writes with a courageous heart, and what she writes about is nothing less than the work of the soul.
That may be because Dr. Miller’s work combines the spiritual and the psychological, a deep academic knowledge of psychology with long clinical experience in spiritual development and therapeutic practice. She states early in the book her belief that “…spirituality without psychological self-exploration is incomplete. And psychology without spirituality is not very effective.” We get both here, as Dr. Miller takes us nimbly across both fields.
The result is that Healing the Western Soul has a realistic and grounded approach that makes it relevant and practical today. Its scholarly foundation generates a confidence that the reader is in competent, informed and respectful hands. And the anecdotal accounts from Dr. Miller’s work with clients make vivid how individual – yet shared – is the spiritual journey. Beyond knowledgeable, this author seems knowing.
Perhaps best of all: It’s written in a totally accessible and engaging style. It’s a good read!
Homecoming for the spiritual seeker is no easy journey. So many routes. Especially in our time. Healing the Western Soul invites us to look to where we started that journey – with a new openness to its healing power.
It analyzes how millions of people from Judeo-Christian backgrounds experience spiritual emptiness and how these seekers often eschew the spiritual intuitions and mystical visions that come to them through prayer, dreams and daily living; and it considers why the religious, psychological and social systems of modern society and even the New Age movement have failed to address these problems.
A description of the three stages of the Western Spiritual Path and how these might lead to a more spiritually-fulfilling life contributes to a discussion designed for modern seekers of all faiths who want to get a handle on their lives and purpose.