The Art of Living Consciously: The Power of Awareness to Transform Everyday Life

Nathaniel Branden, Author Simon & Schuster $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-684-81084-3
Psychologist Branden has written several books on the topic of self-esteem, including The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. Here, he promotes ""living consciously"" as an aspect of healthy self-esteem--of trust in one's mental abilities and respect for reality. Branden begins with an explanation of rationality and reality and of the many ways in which recognizing them often becomes repressed or confused early in life. This misrecognition, he says, leads to unconscious behaviors as children adapt to the irrationality around them. Branden relies heavily on the technique of sentence completion to help readers bring their real thoughts, feelings and observations into consciousness. The sentence ""stem"" he uses most often is, ""If I brought five percent more consciousness to my life..."" Branden applies this technique to the specific areas of relationships, parenting and work in a section that is much too brief given its importance. But he often seems to be writing more for an audience of colleagues who already agree with his theories than for inquiring readers. How else to explain his pointless attack on definitions of spirituality that may differ from his own, or the two personal stories that inadvertently exhibit his own unconscious behavior (one of which entails his rudely pointing out to someone in a sensitive social setting their own allegedly unconsciously motivated behavior). While more consciousness always helps, seeming to appoint oneself as a kind of chief-of-consciousness police doesn't. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1997
Release date: 04/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-684-83849-6
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