In this courageous, leading-edge book, author Jeff Brown takes us on the spiritual ride of a lifetime. In Part One, we join him on an engaging, often hilarious, and compelling personal journey.... through decades of tasting from a banquet of spiritual approaches. Through his direct experience, fierce exploration, and scintillating discernment, Brown exposes the fragmented, ungrounded and dissociative notions of spirituality that have imprisoned our consciousness and obstructed our awakening since time immemorial. In his cuttingly straight style, he reveals that much of what we have been calling "spirituality" is actually a patriarchal, emotionally bereft construct that perpetuates our self-avoidance. He then proves to us--point by brilliant point--that true spirituality is a whole-being awakening, one that wonderfully embraces our entire human experience. In many spiritual practices, emotional healing processes (blockage clearing, issue resolution, the working through of the shadow) have been bypassed and trivialized, as though the 'real' spiritual realm exists independent of our feelings. Brown makes no distinction between these realms, revealing that emotional maturity and spiritual maturity are synonymous, and that any spirituality that desacralizes our selfhood is not enlightenment at all. It is a bypass of that which is fundamentally human: our feelings, our stories, our bodies, our relationships with each other and the earth that houses us. In his words, "Detachment is a tool- not a life. If you can't find your transformation in the village, you haven't found a thing."
In Part Two, Brown engages in a riveting dialogue with an ungrounded seeker named "Michael." Their dialogues unfurl in warmth, humor, playfulness, personal story, threaded with challenging confrontation and cutting truth. Hands-on exercises are dispersed throughout--providing readers with a direct experience of a new, inclusive model. Here the author lays down the tracks for a more balanced, heartfelt and relational spirituality- one that leaves us "enrealed", integrated, and purposeful. Not awakened, but awakening. Not escaping our humanness, but finding our meaning and spirituality deep within it. Out of the ashes of old ways of being, a bright new paradigm comes into view. An inclusive, self-honoring, and healing spiritual perspective that will be a welcomed relief for any seeker.
In the author's words, "It's one thing to briefly detach from story in the hopes of gaining a different perspective--it's quite another to deny our storied roots altogether. What will we stand in, then? At a time when our personal stories have been shamed and shunned in the spiritual community, it is all the more imperative to revive them and makes luminous their sacred, transformative properties. The past is not an illusion, as many would suggest. It is the ground of our being, the karmic field for our soul's transformation- the mystery that threads right through our history. Story is where we come from. Story is what roots us in the present. Story is how we arrive at the next place intact. A spirituality without story is like a body without breath. Dead to the world." What we need now are models that lead us back into our hearts, into relatedness, into a deep and reverential regard for the self's journey through time. In this magnificent book, Brown endeavors to hearticulate one such path, reminding us that heaven on earth begins and ends deep within the recesses of our enlivened humanness. At long last, we can lay down our weary heads, burdened by the impossibility of transcending our human experience. Back to our roots, back into our bodies, back into all that makes us marvelously human. Home at last.