Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Am I Going Mad?" by Marlyse Carroll

More than anything, Australian author Marlyse Carroll's book Am I Going Mad? offers a very nice overview of psychology, incorporating lots of the ideas of Jung and criticising the western mania to label things as “sick” when they are merely different or a little difficult. Marlyse points out that the spiritual journey has always been a difficult one, with many phases along the way, but in recent years we have been encouraged to think that somehow any divergence from the norm is somehow “sick.”

She tells lots of wonderful stories – some of them quite distressing and outrageous – based on her own experiences. These are often quite archetypal in nature, reflecting the universality of the Jungian journey. She also recounts some wonderful experiences, like learning to dance as a simple expression of the soul.

The overwhelming message of the book is that fundamentally Jungian one of embracing the shadow self.

The whole book is describing the intense spiritual journey in a very honest way, highlighting the challenges and the pitfalls, and assuring the reader that they are all worth it. Carroll is actually a solid and scholarly writer, and this book is quite serious in its intent. She draws from many of the best spiritual, psychological and scientific thinkers to present this overview, and it is really quite an impressive effort.

She sites mystical consciousness (as opposed to mental illness) in Jung’s described space of the transpersonal. At least, I think I got that right - like I said, this is weighty stuff.She also incorporates ideas of kundalini, using the chakras to illustrate the stages of a person’s journey towards true selfhood.

Chapter headings include:


"How do we know when we experience an archetypal encounter?"

· "Science and spirituality" ( how many physicists are almost mystics, and how the two subject areas almost meet at the other end)

· "Nothing ever happened!" (how so often we stop halfway along the spiritual journey, sometimes totally rejecting it because we are tired or afraid or it has shaken things up too much. Jung recognised this as a common event).

· "Use wisely the extra physical energy now at your disposal."

From the author's website:

Finally, a book that sheds light on the dark side of spiritual evolution...

A book that bridges science and spirituality in an entertaining way!

This work has mostly taken place through the INNER PEACE Institute for Wellbeing, a non-sectarian educational organization based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1995 by my husband Michael Carroll and I, its aim is to teach meditation, spirituality and wellbeing.

Practical information relating to the subject of spiritual evolution and its crises.

Monday, June 6, 2011

M. Scott Peck's 'thought of the day'

I am reading M. Scott Peck's self-help classic "The Road Less Travelled" for my chapter on pop-psychology. I was pleased to see that he is being quoted in a train station - for the inspiration of commuters, I suppose.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The influence of Emanuel Swedenborg on the Literature of Self-Help

Swedenborg and Self-Help: The Influence of Emanuel Swedenborg on the Modern Literature of Self Improvement

Speaker: Walter Mason

FRIDAY 24TH JUNE 2011 at 7.45pm
Swedenborg Centre, 1 Avon Road, North Ryde
Cost: $7; concession $5 (including refreshments)

While most imagine that self-help books are something new, emerging fully-formed at some mysterious point in the late 1960s, they are, in fact, a venerable literary form with their roots stretching back into the 18th century. Many of the earliest self-help writers were students of Swedenborg's writings, and his ideas have filtered into our culture via the medium of popular self-help, from "How to Win Friends and Influence People" to "The Secret."
In this talk Walter Mason, who is completing his doctoral dissertation on the history of self-help literature in Australia, will discuss the people and ideas that have connections to Swedenborg and that have gone on to make up part of the rich history of popular non-fiction in the West.

Swedenborg Association of Australia Inc.
North Ryde Group - Telephone: (02) 9888 1066