Monday, February 17, 2014

The Path to Love: Spiritual Strategies for Healing by Deepak Chopra [Dedication to Shirley Temple Black]

This blog post is dedicated to Shirley Temple Black. Please see full dedication, below.

The Path to Love by Deepak Chopra.
This book is available in hardcover,
paperback, audio and e-book.
Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

     I have selected this book, The Path to Love: Spiritual Strategies for Healing by Deepak Chopra, in honor of the month of love, February, in which we celebrate Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day occurs every year on February 14th. Many people view this day, spent celebrating love, thinking that it is for couples, for romantic love. 

     When we think about it, though, we remember being children and giving our mother, father, teacher, and classmates Valentine cards. We may also think of fraternal love. We might consider the love soldiers have for each other as a "band of brothers." There is the love of the "Good Samaritan," and love of family. If we think of self-love, we may only disparage it as an egotistical attitude in opposition to something that is more noble and selfless (love of others)--and then, of course, we discount self-love.

The inner path.
     Deepak Chopra is not talking about the arrogant, self-centered, and egotistical brand of "love." Deepak Chopra tells us that being on the "Path to Love," is something that every spiritual master including "Buddha, Krishna, Christ, or Mohammed," gives to the world. A message of love.

The path is not the destination.
     As the book opens Deepak Chopra spends a few minutes assuring us that we are completely loved and that we are completely lovable. He tells us that the reason we do not feel loved or lovable, "is that [we] do not identify with [our] spiritual nature" (p.2). Yet, all is not lost, he tells us; we can restore this part of ourselves that makes us whole and complete. And here is where Deepak gets to the point. "A spiritual path has only one reason to exist: it shows the way for the soul to grow" (p.4).

     Hence, the name of the book. Deepak Chopra focuses on "The Path to Love," guiding us, showing us strategies, techniques, and approaches to heal ourselves. These strategies, techniques and approaches help us to find our way through the thickets of mistakes that so many people have made, out to the other side--allowing us and our soul to live in the light and to grow. He points out that "all relationships are ultimately a relationship with God" (p.6), whether you are one of a "band of brothers," half of a marital relationship, part of a family, or whether you are single.
Rumi and The Path to Love.

     Deepak Chopra explains that he created this book with an eye to making it practical and inspiring. He has included exercises in each chapter (called, "Loving Practice") to help the reader "ground" themselves in the insights that are discussed in the text (p.6). After this, he includes a little "love story" that personalizes the examples and provides interest to the reader. Throughout the book, Deepak uses quotes from Rumi, Walt Whitman, William Blake, William Wordsworth, from the Bhagavad-Gita and the Bible (Song of Soloman) and from Rabindranath Tagore as a way of bringing a little beauty to his instruction.

You stand at a crossroads. You can go out again and search for love from some new source, you can make do with what you have, you can turn to satisfactions other than love, or you can be totally honest and give up the search for externals altogether...In reality we are the gift and we are the giver. Duality is and always has been an illusion. There is no one out there waiting for you. There is only you and the love you bring to yourself. In spirit you are united with all other souls, and the only purpose of separation is for you to rejoin that unity (p.26).

     What food for thought! So, loving yourself is not an attitude to be disparaged. I have had a lot of trouble with this one. I remember my mother telling me to "stop loving yourself--it's just selfish to do that--you shouldn't love yourself, only others."

     I can't be angry with her because I know she really wanted me to be a person who was magnanimous and giving and loving. Although well-intentioned, I think she was just a bit misguided. Parents often make mistakes without even knowing they are doing so. I'm a parent, too, and know that I have made my share of mistakes as a parent. So...coming from this perspective, it is much easier to be understanding and forgiving.

The Path to Love.
     Loving oneself is only one aspect of my favorite quote, though. We (all) stand at a crossroads. Do we choose to look for love in another person...yet again? Do we drift from partner to partner looking for someone to love us? Do we become addicted to exterior things (alcohol, food, work, sex, gambling, drugs, video games, exercise, beauty, etc.) while looking for surcease for our wounded soul? And then there is the realization that "Duality is and always has been an illusion" (p.26). My, my, my. So much to think about.

     This book isn't a psychological approach to make our lives better. Deepak approaches these issues with what he calls "Spiritual Strategies." And they are. My point here, is that so often psychological approaches leave out the spiritual, attempting to heal the soul through clinical methods. And while a clinical approach may help, it is wonderful to see spiritual strategies utilized and not ignored.

        Secondly, as I began reading this book, I found it a little difficult to read. Not because of the book, itself, but because of what I brought to the table, my baggage. I found myself having to confront things within myself that I find unattractive--things I would rather not see. But, Deepak has a way of helping us to confront those aspects of ourselves that need to be looked at, assessed, and perhaps changed. I know that I shall have to read this book again after I have taken some time to incorporate the ideas I've read. After having finished reading the book for one week, I find that already I feel better about myself for confronting the negative aspects of my personality.

     Third, Deepak doesn't pull any punches when it comes to letting the reader know what they need to confront. Nor does he fail to give us inspiration and hope that our lives can be better for our efforts at following "The Path to Love." Without this inspiration and hope, I certainly would have given up the book. It is easy to see why some people give up on themselves. If you read this book with an open mind, I think you have the possibility to make your life better.


My rating for this book.
     Another easy book to rate. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Deepak Chopra, to anyone who seeks to make their life better, and to anyone who needs to learn how to love themselves better. Nothing in this book would cause me to limit recommendations due
 to age or to those of a sensitive nature.
Deepak Chopra.

Pages: 354
Publisher: Harmony
(December 18, 2007)
ISBN: 060980135X
Sold by: Random House LLC
Language: English

Text-to-Speech: Not Enabled
X-Ray: Enabled
Lending: Not Enabled

     This week's blog post is dedicated to Shirley Temple Black. On February 10, 2014, Shirley Temple Black died of natural causes at her home in Woodside, California. Shirley Temple Black was a film and television star popular in the 1930s and 1940s, retiring from films in 1950 at the age of twenty-two. Temple met and married John Agar (who became an actor), and in 1948, the two starred in Fort Apache. After divorcing John Agar, Temple met and married Charles Alden Black, remaining married to him until Charles Black's death in 2005. After her marriage to Black, Temple became active in politics, eventually acting as an ambassador for the United States. Shirley Temple Black was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, among them were the Kennedy Center Honors and a Screen Actor's Guild Lifetime Achievement Award; notably, Shirley Temple Black ranks number eighteen on the American Film Institute's List of the Greatest Female American Screen Legends of All Time.
     Our condolences go out to all of Shirley Temple Black's family and friends and to all who loved and admired her and her work. We still love you Shirley!

     Thank you for joining me this week to discover a new book for your reading pleasure. I hope you have enjoyed this post. If you have, please share with others and let them know about it.

Until next time...
White Rose.
...many happy pages of reading!



_________________________________________________________ - The Path to Love (book cover image); - The inner path; - The path is not the destination; - Rumi and the Path to Love; - Love; - The Path to Love (quote); - Love doesn't need reason; - 4.5 Stars out of 5; - Deepak Chopra; - White Rose.