4 out of 4 stars
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The Unbound Soul: A Visionary Guide to Spiritual Transformation and Enlightenment by Richard L. Haight is a fascinating story, but not just an ordinary one. It's a story of spiritual growth, life mission and holy visions.
In his book, Richard L. Haight presents us with an incredible life story beginning in his childhood. That is when he first experienced a vision, which he calls inspirience, due to its internal character. He goes on to describe his journey of unfoldment, including practicing martial arts, taking a life-changing trip to the Amazon and meditating. The Unbound Soul isn't just a memoir, as it arms the reader with powerful unfoldment techniques, like the Warrior Meditation. Unfoldment is, as the author explains, “a process of tuning to Isness, the truest you.” It is “an undoing and unbinding process that reveals the very core, which is Isness”.
Isness is another term coined by the author. It is meant to represent the presence he encountered in his vision. The author explains that “because the word “God” carries with it so many negative associations, and since this presence is beyond the binds of all definition, the word “God” just felt inadequate to me. I tried to come up with a term to more accurately portray its limitlessness. The best one I could come up with was the least defined. It simply is with no qualifiers, and so I began calling it “Isness” for lack of a better term”.
Richard L. Haight is a wonderful teacher. As difficult as the chapters explaining the actual process might be, the author does not spare accurate examples and metaphors to make it easier for the reader to understand. I especially loved the cat analogy, where he talks about focus and agitation. In this edition of the book, the author even included answers to some questions made by the readers of the previous editions, just like a good teacher would.
Another thing I loved about the book is the language. It’s precise, but rich, almost poetic at times. The word choices, the phrases used, and the natural flow of the text make it a pleasure to read, even if the topic isn’t of much interest to you. The author uses a wide range of beautiful vocabulary, but none of it feels forced, as if searched for in the thesaurus. Also, the book is incredibly well-edited, I might even say impeccable.
I must admit, I didn’t really expect the book to be so demanding. If I were to point out one thing that would discourage me from reading it, it would be just that. There were quite a few parts that took a while for me to grasp. All in all, it’s not an easy read and not an easy topic either. I would recommend reading the whole book first, and then doing what the author suggests: anytime you feel the need to pause and ponder, or clear your mind, do just that. This is a book not to be read for the sake of reading it, but to be digested, understood, and maybe even implemented into the reader’s life (should they choose to do so). Also, there are some themes that might seem controversial, e.g. the visions the author claims to have experienced, or the fact that his teachings apparently apply to any denomination, making it easier for more readers to identify with. However, those are details that might not necessarily bother each and every reader.
I would recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in spirituality, and maybe also to people who are into personal growth. On the other hand, The Unbound Soul is definitely not a good match for anyone who’s very strict with their beliefs, or who simply doesn’t really care about the spiritual side of human existence.
All in all, for the aforementioned reasons, I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. If not for anything else, I’d rate it like that for the wonderful and weightless writing style. To finish with a bit of food for thought, I give you one of my personal highlights: “We should not confuse innocence with ignorance. Innocence is open, whereas ignorance is closed”.
The Unbound Soul
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