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Soul without Shame: A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within Paperback – December 1, 1998
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With Foreword, introductory quote, and chapter-end quotes by noted spiritual teacher A.H. Almaas, the reader is alerted to the fact that the author is a student of the Diamond Approach, yet the work stands perfectly well alone without previous introduction to the Ridhwan School. Focusing on the development and structure of the superego, Brown explains how its supposed moral guidance is more than suspect, exposing it as the harsh, purely mental, often untruthful critic it is. Assisting the reader through steps designed to encourage recognition of the endless tirade of blame, criticism, and comparison heaped upon the self by the superego, he provides 30 simple practices to increase self-awareness, decrease incessant judgment, and release this overrated mental projection's stranglehold on heart and soul. --Randall Cohan
From Publishers Weekly
Brown, a disciple of the Diamond Way Approach, a "modern spiritual path based on self-understanding," encourages readers to rediscover their life spirit by silencing their inner critics in this dense and rather ponderous guidebook. Chapters alternately muse on soul characteristics such as compassion and explain how the self-defeating superego, which the author calls "the judge," can be identified, understood and finally disengaged. Inexplicably, Brown never refers to the many classic and contemporary thinkers who have written brilliantly on these topics (a bibliography lists only eight books, four by Diamond Approach founder A.H. Almaas, who also provides the book's foreword). Reading this book is thus a little like sitting at the Indy 500 and watching someone try to reinvent the wheel. Painstaking explications of commonly understood concepts, frequent restatement and a hectoring tone ("The fact is, you do not recognize yourself as soul. You do not know the source of your own aliveness") make for laborious reading. Some of Brown's insights?particularly about the ways bodily awareness can both signal and halt the self-judgment cycle?are helpful, but fuzzy generalities far outnumber practical suggestions, while stories that might ground the book in actual experience are often unintentionally funny: "Frank observed the hairs sticking out of his nostrils and wished his fingers didn't enjoy scraping the inside of his nose so much."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Brown explains how the inner critic is a collection of opinions, standards and behaviors that we learned when we were little, mostly from our parents. The critic functions as an internal parent, advising us what's right for us, morally, socially and personally. For example: "Work hard, don't cry, don't show anger, be careful of such-and-such people, be a nice girl, be a big boy." Whenever we are doing something that this internal parent considers "wrong", it becomes a critic that uses shame, blame, humiliation, threats and fear to get us back in line.
While this internal critic was helpful when we were young and kept us out of trouble, as adults its control has become largely unnecessary and, in fact, is now stifling us in our everyday life. We have sufficient wisdom, intelligence and plain common sense to lead our lives, but our inner critic continues to run much of the show. It keeps us small, tells us we're screw-ups, scares us away from anything new, threatens us with ridicule by others and warns us not to make waves. And the disconcerting thing about it is that we think this is us, giving ourselves good, truthful advice, while it's really a repetitive and constricting ghost from the past. What's more, the inner critic uses our own vitality to power its constant judging and commentary, sapping us of the strength we need to live our lives fully.
Brown describes the origins of the inner critic, its effects on one's life, and in chapters 18 and 20 details the most revolutionary part of the book: defending against the inner critic. Readers may be a bit shocked at the strength of the language Brown uses to tell the inner critic to shut up and get out. But upon trying the exercises we can feel how our strength, usurped by the inner critic, once again becomes available to us so we can stand up to the criticism and act freely in our lives, guided by our own capacities.
Soul without Shame is a precise and multifaceted manual to understand and become free of the inner critic's limiting action in our lives. The recurring scenes between Frank and Sue give a direct illustration of the main points the book makes, as do the many case studies. Altogether, this book is for anyone who wants to know more about that critical voice in their head and learn how to live life more fully.
The bad out of this book is REALLY weird to me, though. In between each chapter is a story of this couple as they learn to deal with their "inner judge" and how they deal with each other's "judge". The stories were alright, it brought it to a practical level, but every now and then it would get strange. Like the woman remembering when she was a baby and crying and her parents not coming and getting her. I have my doubts that that is even possible, but mainly it is just there were parts that I could not identify with at all.
But as with most books of this sort you have to take the good and leave the bad, and the good here is well worth it.
BOOKSELLER: 5 STARS -- PRISTINE used copy & good delivery time.
This book is well-written, interesting, dense, sometimes humorous. Provides supportive and positive content with excellent guidance, real-life examples, resources, index, and more. Includes writing exercises for self-inquiry and insight. One can read from beginning to end, or open to the chapter you most resonate with 'now' and reflect on the content. The author reminds us that there is always hope. Self-change is a challenging journey, two steps forward & one back is not unusual. This book will offer guidance and encouragement along the way to keep going. Discovering that the inner 'critic' originated to protect -- not hinder -- was valuable information; the author provides effective tools toward understanding and sublimating this 'critic' when it has ceased to support our best growth and thriving. With revised perspectives and practice, and maintaining faith that change can happen, self-love and acceptance remain possible at any age; the results will transform all aspects of life and relationships.
Related helpful books:
The Wisdom of Negative Thinking -- Tony Humphreys, PhD/The Crossing Press, CA (2001)
Always Change a Losing Game -- David B. Posen, MD/Key Porter Books Ltd, Canada (1994)