Our Many Selves Paperback – Jun 1971
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
By Phyllis Beckman - Published on Amazon.com
In this no longer published book, the author develops the ideas that she encountered in her early interest in the great philosopher Gurdjieff through the writings of Ouspensky and their disciple, Jungian analyst Maurice Nicoll. This background, plus the theological training which enabled her to be on the staff of The Church of The Savior in Washington, D.C. in 1971 when this timeless book was written, give the richness of an open mind and an open heart to her valuable insights into the human struggle to become whole. Her dedication of the book to her twin Dick, `whose divided self keeps me close to suffering' brings a personal urgency to her study. The premise that we all consist of many selves is illustrated by her own life as well as numerous references to authors, poets, psychiatrists, religious and politicians. Intended to be a working book, one is given exercises and time frames and encouraged to share with a partner or a group to be optimally effective. I return to the exercises, and the book again and again, as my many selves evolve and merge. O'Connor quoting Thomas Kelly, `There is a divine Abyss within us all, a holy Infinite Center, a Heart, a Life who speaks in us and through us to the world...we have not counted this Holy Thing within us to be the most precious thing in the world. We have not surrendered all else, to attend to it alone...'Viktor E. Frankel, quoted from his book, The Doctor and the Soul. `I asked both my fellow prisoners whether the question was really what we expected from life. Was it not, rather, what life was expecting from us?' I believe that if we love the Lord our God (divine Abyss, holy Infinite Center, unnamable Name) with all our heart, soul, and strength (single-minded surrender), we'll discover what life expects from us and we'll be enabled to love our neighbor as ourselves. No small thing, as Elizabeth O'Connor has so aptly demonstrated in this fine study of human nature.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Peyre T. Lumpkin - Published on Amazon.com
I have just finished reading this book "again." I found it while unpacking some boxes that I had stored. On the front page, in my father's handwriting, are the words, "To my son, from Dad, November 7, 1974" - that was 35 years ago and he is deceased now, but I thank him for giving me this precious jewel so long ago. At age 20 I read it without much comprehension, but this time was different. Although it is a workbook designed to be used in a small group or with a partner I found it quite impressive standing on its own. O'Connor covers a lot of ground but her writing, and those she frequently quotes, on the subjects of the fractured self, the different ways we avoid recognition of our many selves, the suffering we endure as a result and the practice of "self-observation" are just as relevant in 2009 as they were in 1974. The first part of the book explores the meaning of the fractured self, and I love how she uses quotes and essays from the widely known and the obscure to lay the issue at our feet. The readings were at times so powerful, and sometimes so difficult, that I found myself reading them over and over again. Next, she addresses how and why we suppress those disparate parts of ourselves we find unacceptable. As I worked through these chapters and exercises honestly, and in humility to the extent I am capable, I began to have a new understanding of my "self," and that these unaccepted parts are not gone merely because I have suppressed them. They appear on the faces of other people as I "project" those unwanted feelings and desires on those around me, and that sometimes what I project (disown) onto others comes true. The last part of the book focuses on human suffering and the various mental gymnastics we engage in to avoid acceptance of our suffering and what causes it. She then turns to the practice of self-observation as a way to move from destructive suffering to a more creative suffering. Now I see clearly how the role of "the observing self" and the practice of self-observation are essential to uncover the mental messages we have all recorded to some degree over our lifetime. Those messages, when re-played unconsiously, cause everything from depression and anxiety to post traumatic stress disorder and possibly other mental illnesses. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to those who want a Christ centered approach to the exploration of their soul that will enable them to dig beneath the debris of the fractured self caused by unaccepted pain and loss and show the way to healing and wholeness. This book is timeless.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By TAI CHI - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book and am buying another copy for my daughter. It is extremely "self revealing" and helpful. I loved it!!!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By M. C. Corcoran - Published on Amazon.com
I was given this book about 30 years ago. The quotations from many and varied sources were fascinating. Later I re-read the entire thing in a book group I had, and am now going through it for the 5th time. It is always new, with deeper insights, and gets more fun as one can relate better. I have purchased over 50 copies and given them away over the years. I even gave away my autographed copy a friend got in Washington, D. C., but that was an accident. I can't adequately explain how influential it has been in my life and the lives of those with whom I work.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Kerri Dillinger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended for me, so I looked for it and found the best quality at best price on Amazon. It is an older book, but it has some timeless thoughts & wisdom for learning to understand the different parts of yourself. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in self-discovery or those interested in psychology.