Simple Gifts of Contentment
The forces of modern life urge us to achieve and acquire more, pushing us outward in our quest for contentment. World-renowned Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson and psychotherapist Jerry M. Ruhl guide us inward, to a deep understanding of true, lasting happiness.
Instead of relegating joy and satisfaction to another time, a different place, a better circumstance ("just as soon as I finish this project / land that perfect job / find a new relationship"), Johnson and Ruhl encourage us to negotiate and embrace "what is." Instructive and wise, this gentle guide contains all the tools we need--including illustrative stories, myths, poems, and practical exercises--to seize true contentment in the here and now.
This slim volume by noted Jungian analyst Johnson (Lying with the Heavenly Woman) and psychotherapist Ruhl (who also coauthored Balancing Heaven and Earth with Johnson) doesn't purport to have all of the answers to today's psychological ills, and therein lies its strength. While acknowledging the myriad possible reasons for our discontent, the authors present a winning argument for why we should cease to seek a fix or an answer and find deeper satisfaction in things as they are. Society may tell us to keep looking for the next purchase, person, job or feeling to fill the void, but, as the authors point out, "contentment comes from the inside." In addition to the examples Johnson and Ruhl draw from Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Taoist and other traditions, they present an extended discussion of the themes of spiritual blindness and insight in King Lear to illustrate the inward and outward examination necessary for growth. Their contemplative strategies for achieving happiness take into account the pace and complexity of modern life, and are not merely a call to simplify and reduce. Closing with a discussion of "gifts" that can be difficult to recognize (confusion, paradox, ordinariness, detachment), this small book is surprisingly weighty. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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July 01, 2000
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