Yoga and the Quest for the True Self Paperback – Sep 5 2000
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Despite skeptical jibes from his well-meaning friends, Stephen Cope set off for a four-month yoga retreat in rural Massachusetts. Ten years later, he is still there. A psychotherapist left in the lurch after a long-term relationship, Cope was experiencing the same deep questioning of life that he had witnessed so often in his practice. His self-prescribed antidote was to pursue a life of contemplation and inner discovery that he had felt drawn to for some time. Yoga and the Quest for the True Self is Cope's chronicle of self-discovery. Cope is at turns frank in describing his own obstacles and epiphanies, brotherly in relating anecdotes of friends and patients on similar quests, and clinical in his trenchant psychological summations of why we find ourselves estranged and how yoga and meditation bring us back to clear awareness. Like Mark Epstein's Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self is a milestone in the melding of Eastern and Western methods of personal transformation. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Yoga, according to first-time author and longtime yoga teacher Cope, can cure the sense of separation that dogs many people in our culture: "a separation from the life of the body; a separation from the hidden depths of life, its mystery and interiority." Here, Cope, a psychotherapist who left a practice in Boston to live, study and ultimately teach at the Kripalu Yoga ashram in Lenox, Mass., navigates yoga for Western seekers. Drawing on his own experiences and the stories of many friends and yoga students, Cope holds up ancient yogic concepts of the self against evolving theories of modern psychotherapy. Rather than attempting a reductive comparison, Cope suggests that various ideas experienced during yoga practice can enhance the goals of Western psychotherapy. Readers familiar with Jack Korn- field's A Path with Heart or Mark Epstein's Thoughts Without a Thinker may find Cope's approach noncommittal. He tells stories of liberation and release without ever quite conceding that yoga and psychotherapy are two profoundly different worldviews. Although ineluctably drawn to yoga practice and the ashram, Cope's point of view is resolutely Western and psychotherapeutic. Still, Cope's psychotherapeutic orientation and genial win-win approach lights up a notoriously arcane subject for Western readers. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Stephen Cope writes from a perspective that I feel really speaks to the Western spiritual seeker. He combines his experience and knowledge as a psychotherapist with his knowledge of Yoga and other spiritual paths.
While Yoga is a path of union, it appears only too clear that without removing the layers of psychological baggage, union with the divine cannot truly mainfest in ones life. All of the spiritual insights and epiphanies will never be more than a transparent veil placed thinly over the unresolved baggage. Insights without fertile ground to take root will soon fade or be used as another vehicle for ego building.
The author makes clear that the mature path of Yoga is not one of renunciation, or a solitary journey, but explains that "as spiritual practice matured in India there arose a radical new understanding of the paradox of action and inaction. This was the doctrine of inaction in action, and goes further to explain that Krishna teaches in the "Gita" to "Act in the world in alignment with your true vocation, your true self etc....." Clearly not a path of renunciation or a solitary path but one that involves action IN the world.
I found this book really spoke to me as a person on the spiritual path in a way that is truly transformative and not just a bunch of religious dogma. Using his own personal experiences and the experiences of other seekers throughout the book, he has woven a beautifully written guide that is really eye opening and practical. It clearly put into perspective many things that I have either personally struggled with or wondered about.Read more ›
Both a memoir and an intelligent, compelling discourse about the transformation of self to Self via yoga. Answers the question: Why would any lively, sentient being hie off to an ashram, monastery, or convent. Cope explores the complex psychodynamics of the spiritual journey without talking over or down to readers. His writing is positively lyrical in places.
Superb Appendix provides a detailed, well-written guide to yogic practices and disciplines.
You don't have to be smitten w/the Eastern-based spiritual traditions to appreciate this book. It's an essential read for anyone interested in why, when, and how people choose "a path."
Most recent customer reviews
I'm a third of the way through and can't put this book down. It speaks to me at a time when I'm making life decisions, and wondering if these decisions will benefit me or if... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jackie Phinney
Excellent product, exactly as described. Arrived well packaged in short order.Published 13 months ago by Robert Ross
Once again I was not dissapointed with this Stephen Cope book .
I had already read two of his earlier works The Wisdom of Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita like them Yoga The Quest... Read more
This book was so much more than I hoped - and I had very high expectations. Being a yoga therapist, some processes that clients experienced where a mystery to me, this book... Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2014 by Stephanie McCracken
Stephen Cope has (once again) successfully translated the often-confusing and overwhelming ancient wisdom of Yoga and brought it into applications of the 21st century. Read morePublished on Oct. 20 2013 by Heather Faulkner
The practice of yoga IS the quest for the true self. It is a way of finding out who we are. It is a profound and private journey away from the distractions of our social,... Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2002 by Jay Alan Akin
Stephen is not only a skilled yogi, teacher and therapist, but a great writer. This book is a must for anyone on a spiritual path or even just as someone who enjoys yoga. Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2002
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