4 out of 4 stars
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The Unbound Soul: A Spiritual Memoir for Personal Transformation and Enlightenment written by Richard L Haight is part memoir and part how-to book.
He takes you through the experiences which led him to his position as a teacher and spiritual coach. Beginning with his difficulties early in life, which include loneliness, isolation and learning difficulties, he describes his spiritual journey in an easy to read and vivid way. Later the book becomes a teaching tool for his meditation technique, “Observation Meditation” and goes into detail with many tips for a healthy holistic lifestyle.
Overall, I found the book an engaging, but it is dense in certain areas and requires you to take your time and consider what you are reading. I highlighted many concepts, and sometimes I read a page two or three times before I was ready to move on.
Mr. Haight’s stories of inspiration (including a striking description of a dream in which Christ speaks to him, tales of insight during deep meditations, and his Ecuadorian drug inspired vision quest) will make you re-think your own relationship to religion. His history of studying martial arts in Japan and working with spiritually enlightened teachers should be interesting reading for anyone who believes the body and mind have a spiritual connection.
In my opinion, the chapter Caring for the Physical Body is worth the price of the book. Though the book is ostensibly about awakening the mind and spirit, many people would benefit from the information he provides on exercise, diet, wild foods, and hydration. The information is simple and doesn’t require you to run out and buy supplements or adopt any particular fad diet. As Mr. Haight states: “To be healthy we must realize that just as consciousness is connected to everything, so is the body.”
Of the few negatives I could list, I would have appreciated more detail on how he came up with his numbering system on the frequency of feelings and thoughts. I have heard this concept that thoughts and feelings have energy associated with them, but quantifying a level is new to me. I could see where this would put some readers off as being too subjective. Also, his idea of ‘identifications’ (thoughts and feelings which we adhere to as part of our personality, and which keep us from true enlightenment) as separate energy fields that seem to have the ability to move and grow, was not comforting.
However, I enjoyed his take on meditation and have practiced his ‘Observation Meditation’ a few times since reading about it. I feel this is a wonderful addition for people like me, who already have had training in this area. At the same time, the material is easily accessible to those new to self-improvement. There is a glossary in the back of the book, which will help anyone who struggles with the terminology.
The book itself was formatted well and had only a few grammatical errors which were easy to overlook. I rate this book a 4 out of 4.
The Unbound Soul
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