Can meditative practice assist and promote the healing relationship between psychotherapist and patient? The notable contributors to this book draw on a wide range of Eastern and Western disciplines - psychoanalysis, Gestalt, Aikido and various Christian, Hindu and Buddhist contemplative traditions - to show that it can. The text proposes a meeting between the Western psychotherapy (grounded in working with personal problems and the need to carve out a strong awareness of self), and Eastern tradition, which emphasizes a larger kind of awareness and equanimity as a continuosly available source of clarity and health for those who know how to find it. They show that joining psychotherapy with meditation can mutually awaken the hearts of both therapist and client, sparking them both to open more fully.
Awakening the heart through psycho-spiritual work
Awakening the Heart is a collection of writings that present new perspectives on psychological health and healing, growing out of the cross-fertilization between Eastern meditative traditions and Western psychological practice. Among the influential psychotherapists, healers, and spiritual teachers contributing to this book are Jack Kornfield, Ram Dass, Jacob Needleman, Erich Fromm, Sasaki Roshi, Chögyam Trungpa, and myself. All the contributors have practiced one form of meditation or another, and represent a wide range of different Western and Eastern disciplines, such as Gestalt, Christian contemplation, Aikido, Hindu devotional practice, and various Buddhist traditions. Most of them are psychotherapists as well. Their complementary perspectives illuminate the process of awakening the heart through psychological and spiritual work which is the central focus of the book.
This is the first book to concretely explore how meditative and contemplative practices can provide a larger context for the healing relationship. The writing in the book is primarily practical and personal, rather than theoretical or technical. It presents a very human picture of therapy, one that is not often found in traditional psychological literature. In exploring the interface between psyche and spirit, between Eastern and Western psychology, between personal and spiritual development, Awakening the Heart has proven useful not just for therapists and those interested in therapy, but for a wide range of people interested in knowing more about themselves, their relationships, and the fathomless quality of human experience.