Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart

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9780609607527: Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart

Alchemists sought to transform lead into gold. In the same way, says Tara Bennett-Goleman, we all have the natural ability to turn our moments of confusion or emotional pain into insightful clarity.

Emotional Alchemy maps the mind and shows how, according to recent advances in cognitive therapy, most of what troubles us falls into ten basic emotional patterns, including fear of abandonment, social exclusion (the feeling we don't belong), and vulnerability (the feeling that some catastrophe will occur). Through the simple practice of mindfulness taught in this book, we can free ourselves of such patterns and replace them with empathy for ourselves and others, as well as the freedom to be more creative and alive.

You'll find the very latest research in neuroscience--including the neurological "magic quarter second," during which it is possible for a thought to be "caught" before it turns into an emotional reaction. And you'll discover the fascinating parallels of this science with the wisdom of ancient Buddhism--for Buddhists knew centuries ago that we can end our self-destructive habits.

This remarkable book also teaches the practice of mindfulness, an awareness that lets us see things as they truly are without distortion or judgment, giving the most insightful explanation of how mindfulness can change not only our lives, but the very structure of our brains. Here is a beautifully rendered work full of Buddhist wisdom and stories of how people have used mindfulness to conquer their self-defeating habits. The result is a whole new way of approaching our relationships, work, and internal lives.

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Review:

According to ancient legends, alchemists use a magical philosopher's stone to transmute lead into gold. In Emotional Alchemy, Tara Bennett-Goleman shows readers how they can use this alchemist metaphor to transform emotional confusion (lead) into insightful clarity (gold). And what does the magic stone represent? "Mindfulness," a lifelong practice that can bring readers more joy and contentment than the gold, according to Bennett-Goleman. "Mindfulness means seeing things as they are without trying to change them," she writes. "The point is to dissolve our reactions to disturbing emotions, being careful not to reject the emotion itself."

Those who have never entered this practice will find a concise and articulate teacher in Bennett-Goleman, who leads national workshops with her husband, author Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence). What make this book such an exciting breakthrough is Bennett-Goleman's ability to apply Buddhist mindfulness to Western psychology. She shows how emotional alchemy can be used to address typical habits, such as mistrust, fear of rejection, feeling unlovable. Readers will also find fascinating scientific facts on how emotional alchemy affects brain chemistry and even cancer survival. --Gail Hudson

From the Back Cover:

"A wonderfully clear, compassionate, and insightful guide to freeing ourselves from difficult emotions."
-- Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness

"A wonderfully wise book, one that is down to earth and immensely practical. I know I will be using it as a resource in my own life for a long time."
-- Susan Griffin, author of A Chorus of Stones and What Her Body Thought

"May this very important and enticing book find its way into the hearts of readers near and far so that it can perform its mysterious and healing alchemy for the benefit of all. Tara Bennett-Goleman has done a great service in describing in such inspiring and precise ways how meditative practices can liberate us from the patterns of emotional reactions that, unexamined, lead invariably to suffering and harm."        
-- Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go There You Are and professor of medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School

"A rare accomplishment, bringing the synthesis of Western psychology and Buddhist mindfulness practice to an entirely new level. Much more than theory, it is a wise and pragmatic guide to emotional freedom. Tara Bennett-Goleman weaves together with consummate skill the wisdom teachings of the East, the latest understandings of cognitive therapy and neuroscience, and the innumerable personal stories that bring all of it to life."        
-- Joseph Goldstein, author of Insight Meditation

"Gliding effortlessly from personal reminiscence to the latest in neuroscience, from meditation instruction to the intricacies of cognitive therapy, Tara Bennett-Goleman invites us to be part of her journey. In showing us how to use our minds to heal our emotions, she heals our minds with her heart."
-- Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Thoughts Without a Thinker and Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart

"A very accessible and practical guide to transforming emotions. If you wish to know how your emotional habits can be changed, this book is for you."        
-- Richard J. Davidson, director, Wisconsin Center for Affective Science and W. M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior, University of Wisconsin

"A beautiful blend of spiritual wisdom and psychological insight. Based on many years of intensive meditation and experience as a practicing psychotherapist, the author offers guidance that is relevant for anyone who wishes to be free from suffering or to help others on the way. This book is an engaging invitation to bring the art of mindfulness to emotional transformation and well-being."
-- Frances Vaughan, author of Shadows of the Sacred

"Emotional Alchemy is an amazing feast of knowledge of East and West, traditional and current. It shows how everyday emotions can be transmuted as a means of healing. All the principles of the alchemy of mind explained in one book -- a must-read handbook."        
-- Tulku Thondup, author of Healing and the Mind

"Written with humor, warmheartedness in lively prose . . . a landmark step forward for us all."
-- Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth

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