4 out of 4 stars
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Spirituality is a matter of personal preference for all of us, and we perceive it based on our individual understanding and awareness. But have you ever given any thought to your own construct of spirituality? What is your perception of God? Do you believe in a presence that connects all of us? Are you really aware of your mind, body, and way of living? These are the questions that come to mind after reading Richard L. Haight's The Unbound Soul.
Imagine having dreams and visions since your childhood and dedicating your life to find the answers to those insights, and, when you do find those answers, you write a book that can be of practical use for others in their spiritual path. Well, that's what Richard L. Haight did. In his book, The Unbound Soul, he documents the ups and downs of his spiritual journey that resulted in finding the answer to a dream he had early on in his childhood. The readers get to know how his curiosity unfolds in unexpected ways, preparing him for his life's purpose. Besides all this, this book also has some worthy advice on meditation and ideas to improve different areas of our life through healing the dark aspects of our being.
For the sake of better understanding, this book is divided into four parts. The first part deals with the author's visions and the discovery of his life's mission through those. He gives a detailed account of his experiences in Japan, where he takes martial arts training in a style called Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. Subsequently, with the help of his martial arts instructor, he combines this art with the principles of a therapy art, Sotai-ho, to discover an entirely new art that could help people in becoming more enlightened and aware. In the second part, there are details on the multiverse and the nature of the human mind. This part has elaborate details on the meditations and techniques the author recommends to release negative energy; he speaks highly of the Warrior's meditation and the Dance of the Self, and he gives instructions on how to practice and incorporate these two in our daily lives. In the third part, the author puts forward ideas on healthy living through exercise and proper nutrition. Finally, part four elaborates on the distinction between soul and spirit and the cycle of life after physical death. The author concludes the book with his thoughts on what he thinks the whole process of spiritual awakening and our purpose in life is.
First and foremost, I would say that this book is truly well written. The author communicates very complex and new ideas in simple words and without sounding incoherent. There are some concepts that may seem a little baffling to understand and digest, but for me that was a result of being unfamiliar with such concepts and ideas, and in no way it takes away from the accuracy and unambiguity of the writing. Besides, I think, all of us, even the ones who are not interested in spirituality, can benefit from the third part of this book that details on the importance of a healthy body and mind. It can teach you a healthy way of living as it describes in detail about maintaining personal relationships, setting healthy boundaries, being patient and diligent, handling the negativity of others, the value of good food and proper hydration, among many other things. The interesting part is that the author elaborates on the importance of all these things by giving examples from his personal life experiences, which makes it even more engaging to read. I learned a lot from this book, especially from the part where the author points out different identifications and emotions that we harbor and feed in our daily lives. Emotions like shame, guilt, and anger really do create disharmony and can affect our quality of living. So I came to an understanding that reading this book is not just about spirituality or blindly believing in the author's assertions, but it can certainly help in recognizing our primal thought patterns and the negativity we tend to hold against us and others. Of course, we do not need a spiritual teacher to recognize the negativity and instability these emotions and perspectives create in our lives.
Furthermore, the narration in the first person feels like a direct communication of ideas from the author to the readers. The division of the book into four specific parts provides the book with order and aids the reader in better comprehension, as all these parts come together by the end to present a central message. The book concludes with a comprehensive glossary that explains the meaning of different words used within the text. Also, in About the Author section, the author has provided some photographs of his time in Japan to support the authenticity of his background.
I should also point out that there is discussion on many debatable topics, such as reincarnation and presence of a higher source of energy, and not everyone will resonate with the author's views, but the author only explains what he understands to be true from his personal experiences and years of study. Even though I was not able to assimilate every spiritual idea presented within this book, I still gained a lot of wisdom from reading it. Many of the ideologies in the spiritual community are contradictory and make you wonder about its applicability, and I would not argue that all of that can send your reasoning into an uncertain state, but The Unbound Soul can surely help you if you are someone who is committed to study and pursue a better understanding of spiritual concepts.
The writing is very well edited, and I found very few errors. In fact, I do not detest anything about this book. In its own genre, this book certainly deserves a special place. The author explains his spiritual teachings with authority, and this can be a great read for people who are seeking any explanations beyond a physical experience. So I would rate this 4 out of 4 stars for its comprehensive and very well-written content. I would only recommend this read to those who are flexible with their beliefs and are open to gain an understanding of a different set of ideas and ethics. Also, those who are already into New Age theories or matters of spirituality would enjoy this read.
The Unbound Soul
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