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Relaxing into Clear Seeing: Interactive Tools in the Service of Self-Awakening Paperback – January 18, 1998
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In recent years there have been a wealth of books that incorporate Eastern psychospiritual technologies into a Western psychological context. One has only to think of Ken Wilber's reevalution of the developmental spectrum based on the perennial philosophy, or Mark Epstein's applications of Buddhist meditation to Western pathologies. But "Relaxing into Clear Seeing" is one of the first books to take us on a journey in the opposite direction, for it applies techniques drawn from Western hypnotherapy to deepen and stabilize the direct realization of our nondual nature as articulated in Eastern spiritual teachings, most notably Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta.
The author, Arjuna Nick Ardagh, has practiced with some of the great spiritual adepts of our age, including the well-known Indian guru H.W.L. Poonja, and has also studied and taught hypnotherapy for many years. As a result, he seems eminently qualified to offer up a synthesis of this kind. Indeed, Relaxing into Clear Seeing is at once an uplifting and inspiring articulation of the highest nondual truths and a practical guidebook for dissolving our fixations and returning to a state of natural presence and wakefulness (the "Clear Seeing" of the book's title).
Ardagh begins with the essential view common to all mysticism, that, by seeing through our false identification with a separate self, we can awaken to our real nature as awareness itself. Unlike many mystical paths, however, where only the most rudimentary instructions are offered, Ardagh teaches the reader how to use basic hypnotherapy skills in combination with the self-inquiry expounded by the great Indian sage Ramana Maharshi to return to and abide in our inherent awakeness. In fact, he suggests, this awakeness is always available to us, just as the sun is always shining, even when it is obscured by clouds. When the clouds of false identification--with mind-states, emotions, and beliefs, evaporate, we are bathed in the radiance of the sun of our essential nature,
which is the source of all peace, wisdom, and love. With its unique blend of truth and technique, "Relaxing into Clear Seeing" succeeds in bringing the deepest mystical realizations within the grasp of just about everyone. Although it is geared to those who already have some acquaintance with nondualism, you don't have to be a Buddhist or a Hindu to make use of this book. In more than 20 partner exercises, Ardagh shows us how to apply the teachings of nondualism to virtually every aspect of everyday life, including intimate relationships, money, belief systems, and difficult emotions like fear and desire. (The book's breadth is revealed by its chapter titles, which include "The Guru Is In," "The Past Is Not Now," "Desire and Fear," and "Beyond Belief.") By facing our dragons directly in the spirit of truth, Ardagh explains, we can use them as opportunities to experience expanded states of presence and peace.
Because it is so accessible and down to earth, "Relaxing into Clear Seeing" is one of the best introductions currently available to the perennial philosophy, the deeper stream that courses through the world's religions. Not only does it expound this philosophy, as so many other volumes do, it also invites us to experience the truth of this philosophy directly for ourselves. And it features one of the clearest and most balanced discussions of the guru phenomenon that I have encountered, as well as an illuminating exploration of romantic love in the light of clear seeing.
Most important of all, "Relaxing into Clear Seeing" offers spiritual seekers of every persuasion a technology for dissolving apparent obstructions to spiritual realization in order to return to the simple sanity that is otherwise known as enlightenment. Frankly, I could not imagine anyone who would not benefit from this ground-breaking book. -- Mark Jaquier, Common Ground Magazine
From the Publisher
Additional Praise for Relaxing into Clear Seeing by Arjuna Nick Ardagh:
"This book offers deep insight and understanding of the human process that must be entered into and transformed before humanity can advance to it's next stage in evolution. This book is a living process one that will help us get there."
Jacquelyn Small, Founding Director of the Eupsychia Institute. Author of "Transformers, Embodying Spirit and Rising to the Call."
I love this book. It offers all, not just some, a simple and fundamental opportunity to find the only thing really wanted: Truth and Peace "our True Nature. Thank you, Arjuna, for showing us one more time that heaven is earth."
Byron Katie Rolle, Founder of The Center for The Work, Barstow, California. Author of "What to Do When Nothing Else Works."
"Relaxing into Clear Seeing" inspires the very experience of its title. In it, Arjuna offers a wide-ranging, contemporary description of the non-dual view, as well as pragmatic exercises which dissolve one into that always-shining vision. Homegrown in the West, here is a clear seeing of the eternal truth in our own time. An excellent book.
Catherine Ingram, President of the Living Dharma Foundation. Author of "In the Footsteps of Gandhi."
Arjuna comes down through the line of Ramana Maharshi and Poonjaji, threading that core of silence with his own playful, garrulous practical crazy-wisdom. He is widely read and yet liberated from books; he is centered in the essence of the Self and yet generously anecdotal, deeply grounded in daily experience. This book is something new.
Coleman Barks, Professor of Poetry, University of Georgia. Translator of "Rumi: Open Secret, This Longing, Unseen Rain, We Are Three, Delicious Laughter."
The wisdom of the East is profound, but often too different from us to grasp and benefit from. I am very impressed by this book's exercises for making the wisdom more available to us Westerners, especially the use of partner exercises.
Charles T. Tart, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychology, U.C. Davis. Author of "Altered States of Consciousness, Waking Up, and Living the Mindful Life."
"Relaxing Into Clear Seeing" helps us do just that. Arjuna knows the way, and has a way with words about it. Bringing together the non-dual teachings of Vedantic Self inquiry with the Buddhist tools of awakening and with Western psychology, he puts forward the radiant essence of the perennial philosophy. I recommend it to anyone interested in awakening the mind, knowing and opening the Heart, and living with wisdom and ease today.
Lama Surya Das, Western Tibetan Teacher. Founder of the Dzogchen Foundation, Boston MA. Author of "Awakening the Buddha Within."
Arjuna has accomplished a clear, heartfelt invitation that heralds a turning point in the availability of awakening to mankind. The text is easy to read and comprehend, allowing for direct experience. A beautiful contribution.
Isaac Shapiro, International Spiritual teacher. Author of "Outbreak of Peace."
For far too long, awakening has been considered the exclusive domain of Saints and sages far removed from conventional life. This book contributes significantly to exploding that myth, showing that teachings of liberation can be made accessible to people from all walks of life. Drawing extensively on different spiritual traditions, the book points to freedom from clinging and anguish born from lack of clarity.
This book also contains practical exercises and skillful teaching to enable readers to discover That which is beyond all measure. Clear Seeing is suitable for anyone genuinely interested in discovering the true expression of a realized life.
Christopher Titmuss, Co-founder of Gaia House, Devon, U.K. Author of "The Profane and the Sacred, Freedom of the Spirit, and Spirit of Change."
"Relaxing into Clear Seeing" is a master work. There is an ancient script which states from out of the wisdom of the East will come that which will bring sunshine to the wisdom of the West. When the two combine will come brightness to the world. Brightness = light. Light to mind = enlightenment. With enlightenment will come man's evolutionary advancement from homosapien to homosuperior. Homosuperior is holistic man ("holy"if you can assimilate that word) who is both a mystic and scientist. This book by Arjuna Nick Ardagh leads the reader down a path in which sunshine brightens.
Ormond McGill, Dean of American Hypnotists. Author of "Hypnotism and Meditation, and Hypnotism and Mysticism of India."
I found the tools offered in this book allow my clients to recognize through immediate, direct experience the beauty, power and simplicity of their own natural state. With this recognition all suffering dissolves. The Living Essence approach cuts through all other systems of healing, all stories, all creations of the mind, all identification with the past and suffering, and takes you directly to the source of healing, joy and creation: your own natural state, which has only been covered over. Through the tools in this book the natural state is restored.
Donna Hamilton M.S. M.A., Health Educator, Hypnotherapist. Founder of the Institute for Natural Discovery.
Many books about awakening are long on philosophy but short on practicality. In this groundbreaking new book, Arjuna brings the powerful technology of his Living Essence work to bear on the mystics journey with considerable power and effect. I recommend this book to anyone serious about their quest for enlightenment.
David Quigley, Developer of Alchemical Hypnotherapy.
Insightful help to those on a spiritual pathway. Gerald G. Jampolsky, Founder of the Center for Attitudinal Healing. Author of "Love is Letting go of Fear."
Top customer reviews
The book didn't have the impact for me like the words of Ramana (who is often quoted in the book) Maharshi or Nisargadatta. Arjuna claims to be a disciple of Poonjaji who was Ramana's famous student and has several photos in the book of himself and Poonjaji.
To that end, his book is about self-empowerment (my word and an apparent anomaly ... a nondualistic reference!), attentive exploration and inquiry.
He presents a number of optional tools (which are to be discarded when they have served their purpose) to aid one to "unobscure" the Self and to deepen and stablize the awakening of "the view". He speaks to those who are attracted to Truth within their present responsibilities of family and job.
I found this to be a very practical and clear book.
"Relaxing into Clear Seeing : Interactive Tools in the Service of Self-Awakening" is not bad as a book, but as a spiritual work it is irrelevant.
Nick is more an entrepreneur than a spiritual man. He jumped from Osho to Papaji when the market was right. Nick has simply been employing his hypnotic selling techniques for fun and profit in different ways over the years. It's laughable, even commendable, how so many fine upstanding members of the spiritual community fell for Nick's class act: Stephan Bodian, Mark Jaquier, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Jack Kornfield, Ken Wilber, Peter Russell, Stephen and Ondrea Levine - because the truth has come out now that Nick has publicly declared that it was all, in fact, an act. Nick no longer gives satsang, no longer is seen as enlightened. Yet another Papaji disciple to bite the dust. But Nick is still standing - just like Sir Elton and George Michael - because Nick is the consummate performer.
Nick's document mixes manipulative hypnotic techniques with Hindu philosophy aimed ostensibly at freedom. The result of the book which alternates Nick's case history sessions with his gurus satsang stories is sheer self-adulation. It's not so easy to see it in the carefully chosen transcript, but anyone who can a get a video of these "Nick satsangs", will see someone so desperate to get people to make him look successful that he actually goes as far as to mouth the words that he wants them to say. Hypnosis is not always subtle.
Please, unless you are some wicked svengali intent on power, fame and fortune, do not use these techniques. Do not believe everything that is printed.
If you want to find the real thing then get yourself out and tread the paths through hilltops and streets until you find a real guru. For exotic, check out a Tibetan lama or if you prefer Western urban then try Barry Long, Wu Wei Wu, Dave Oshana or the Barefoot Doctor.