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New Self, New World: Recovering Our Senses in the Twenty-First Century Paperback – August 10, 2010
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“An exceptionally important book.”
—Andrew Harvey, scholar, mystic, author of Son of Man, The Return of the Mother, and The Way of Passion
“New Self, New World is an extraordinary work—an awesome display of wisdom distilled from the world’s great wisdom traditions and the majestic individuals who have experienced them. This book is about achieving the highest dimensions of which humans are capable. Highly recommended.”
—Larry Dossey, MD, author of Healing Beyond the Body, Reinventing Medicine, and Healing Words
“Shepherd has written a masterpiece. New Self, New World calls us back to source, artfully reminding us of the divine magnificence that we have long forgotten in our disembodied culture. As I read it, I felt my shoulders drop as my heart became more available to the moment. Read this book, and remember your self.”
—Jeff Brown, author of Soulshaping
“New Self, New World is an exciting investigation of the human psyche, which is commonly male-oriented, and the deep-seated problems that result when deprived of its female counterpart. Using conventional spiritual concepts, such as the Holy Trinity, Shepherd provides a workable guide to achieving inner fulfillment by accepting the so-called ‘weak’ elements of our dual nature.”
“At its core, this book is a cultural discourse about reconnecting to the wholeness of being human: to integrate the innate intelligence of the body into a functioning paradigm of human experience and evolution. The idea that we ‘live in our heads’ and are mostly disconnected from our body is not new. What is new is how this author extensively examines the historical, philosophical, scientific, mythological, spiritual, and social paths that have embedded this dissociative worldview as reality, to the extent that we are completely unaware that we are merely actors on a ‘headstrong’ stage of our own making… not since Ken Wilber introduced the Western world to the integral movement of East-West psycho-spirituality, has there been a catalyst for a paradigm shift that is so relevant and radically reinventive.”
—New Consciousness Review
“This ambitious and wide-ranging book grew out of workshops [Philip Shepherd] has led for more than two decades… Shepherd believes that the culture that influences our ideas and experiences tells us the big lie day by day: ‘the roots of the self do not lie in the world around us, nor even in the body, but are preserved intact within the blood-brain barrier.’ This fiction of self-achieved independence comes at us from all directions when everything in science and spirituality enables us to embrace the universe as an interdependent reality.”
—Spirituality & Practice
“Philip Shepherd has written a book which lays the foundation that could lead us humans to a much higher dimension than we now exhibit in New Self, New World: Recovering Our Senses in the Twenty-First Century. The book constantly harps against the very things that stand in our way of achieving this heightened state: the self-centeredness that seems to dominate our mind and materialism that seems to become more acute with each passing day… The book provides exercises for the body, mind and being that will help begin the process of reaching the potential which we are capable of attaining.”
“Shepherd demonstrates how we come into our true humanity only when we unite with our core-the deep, innate intelligence of the body. Our consciousness is not centered in the head any more than the universe is centered around the earth… At once a spiritual handbook, a philosophical primer and a roaming inquiry into human history, New Self, New World cracks open the possibilities of human experience and, with clarity, inspiration and compassion, lays the groundwork for personal renewal.”
—Autumn Blues Reviews
“Philip Shepherd presents a fascinating examination of myth, consciousness, logic, and existence as our society grows increasingly more fearful and anxious. For anyone wanting a new perspective on achieving wholeness or a new sense of living a more present life, New Self, New World is a book worth reading. … exceptionally well-written and insightful.”
“Changing with the world is key to making sure it doesn't change you. New Self, New World: Recovering Our Senses in the Twenty-First Century is a new age spirituality book from Philip Shepherd that offers wisdom on how to better face the world, shifting ourselves and controlling ourselves as the world turns. With much philosophy, Philip Shepherd offers much to ponder about our changing world and what it means to be human. New Self, New World is an ideal read for spirituality and self-help collections.”
—Midwest Book Review
About the Author
Philip Shepherd trained extensively with energy-work pioneer Denis Chagnon. He is the author of two internationally produced plays and a documentary for CBC television. The editor of The Compleat Art Critic, he lives in Toronto.
Foreword contributor Andrew Harvey is a renowned mystical scholar and founder of the Institute for Sacred Activism. He lives in Chicago.
Top customer reviews
What's the book about? The nature of human consciousness, embodied as it is. How you live in your body creates the world in which you live.
As author of The Woman's Belly Book: Finding Your True Center for More Energy, Confidence, and Pleasure, I'm delighted with the way Shepherd champions our "pelvic intelligence." In Part IV: The Body as History, he traces how, through the millennia, our bodily sense of self has migrated from belly to diaphragm to skull. In this and other ways, Shepherd's book complements and expands on Morris Berman's classic, Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West.
Elaborating its central premise, the book presents Shepherd's take on, literally, everything. I'd say that he offers a remarkably clear lens through which to view the world -- except that his purpose is to remove everything that partitions us from reality itself. With passion and compassion, he invites us to engage with the world directly, immediately. The invitation, the way he phrases it, is just about irresistible.
The book illuminates a process of reconciliation between self and world, thinking and being. That reconciliation generates the evolution of consciousness that we, as individuals and as a species, need for our well-being in every dimension. Rich with insight and revelation, the text provides ample opportunity for experiential learning and practical application.
Warning: Reading this book is potentially revolutionary. I've come away with the impulse to allow everything -- from artwork to housework to academic scholarship -- to be ever more soulful and satisfying.
If you're interested in women's spirituality as I am (Rite for Reconsecrating Our Womanhood and Rite for Invoking the Sacred Feminine), then you might appreciate the ways in which Shepherd elevates what he calls the "female element" of consciousness. Consider this passage:
[T]he whole journey of the soul is an evolution into cosmic motherhood--a state of grounded sensitivity that looks to the world with love, listens to its need and its calling with compassion, and acts, often heroically, always selflessly, on its behalf. (p. 405)
The Sacred Feminine is never very far from the pages of this book.
If you practice Asian healing arts such as qigong, tai chi, and acupuncture, then you're already familiar with "pelvic intelligence" in relation to the lower tan tien (Chinese) or hara (Japanese). You may appreciate, as I have, how this book brings the knowledge of body-mind-spirit wholeness -- elegantly explicit in Asian traditions -- into the Western concept of human being as, at the same time, it explodes that paradigm. In this respect, the book draws on Karlfried Graf von Dürckheim's Hara: The Vital Center of Man and complements Peter Wilberg's Head, Heart & Hara: The Soul Centers Of West And East.
Did I mention "revolutionary"? Here's one provocative passage:
Of course, there is no true authority in the world; there is only companionship. Authority is an abstraction we create in order to govern what has lost touch with the guidance of Being. That is as true of our social patriarchies as it is of the unipolar patriarch within. (p. 252)
New Self, New World provides excellent companionship on the journey of a lifetime.
What I could not abide with the book is that it is a 490-page tome that sounds more like a dissertation defense than a book with heart...and after all, isn't that just what the book says? that we don't have enough heart? Neither does the author, apparently, in writing the book.
The only reason I read as far as I did is because I kept hoping I'd get to a point where we'd heard enough about what's wrong with our culture and move into what we can do about it. Instead, it was ponderously repetitive, unbelievably repetitive, as though the readers are children who need to have the message drummed into their thick skulls ad nauseum. Very little space was devoted to how to actually "recover our senses," which is the subtitle of the book. I think if you are one who picks up the book in the first place, you're probably enlightened enough to realize our culture is seriously out of kilter, and you would be owed the respect of the author to devote more space to learning how to change ourselves from within to ameliorate the problem than focusing endlessly on the problem itself.
Don't buy this book. Look for the interview with the author in the April 2013 issue of The Sun instead.