Path to the Soul

Ashok Bedi, Author Weiser Books $16.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-57863-187-2
Bedi, a Wisconsin-based psychiatrist and Jungian psychoanalyst, offers a Hindu spin on therapy, challenging readers to rethink childhood conflict and marital strife in terms of karma and dharma. Bedi's discussion of chakras--the seven energy centers said to exist in each person--illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of his approach. The first chakra, located in the perineum and ruled by the god Ganesha, governs people's sense of emotional security. For example, Paul, a client of Bedi's, has unstable romantic relationships. Bedi traces his problems to the first chakra, and suggests that Paul's recovery necessarily involves ""correcting imbalances"" among his chakras. That's an intriguing theory, but Bedi is so vague and his prose so confusing (""When he first came to me, Paul was stuck in the pignali nada of the root chakra, which manifested as untempered masculine enterprise"") that readers may never quite understand just what the chakra has to do with their love lives, or what they should do about it. Meditate on the chakra? Draw a picture of the chakra? Pray about the chakra? When Bedi does give straightforward guidance, it is banal: when trying to overcome problems in relationships, for example, people should ""identify"" the qualities in others that they like and dislike. Bedi's claim that Hindu spiritual disciplines can augment traditional therapy is suggestive, but readers will have to go elsewhere to deduce the mechanics of integrating the two. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/18/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-60925-446-9
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