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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
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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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.
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.