Sunday, March 29, 2015

Self-Observation by Red Hawk.

I both love and hate this book. 

First the good points- the author seems to be speaking from experience, and seems to have given his own unique account of many Fourth Way concepts, as well as the main focus on Self-Observation. The practical advice to use the body/sensations with self-observation is useful, and his principles are good, common sense material. Someone who had read all of the original Fourth Way material would likely get something from this book. 
The insistence on not changing any of the observations is great advice also, essential, and not really spelled out in much Fourth Way material.

Now, the bad- there's just too much theologising and waffle throughout the book, even though it is small. Talk of the Earth being a school or kindergarten for the soul, with people here to 'learn lessons' is trite. Talk of the soul being an 'angelic being' from the 'angelic world' which descends 'into the body' is pure theory, and might suit some, but is certainly not Fourth Way material. After each chapter, the poetry, although original, was completely unrelated to the prior chapter(?!) And lastly, and probably a little concerning from my POV is that the author equates Self-Remembering with self-observation while being attentive to sensations in the body. This isn't Self-Remembering. This is still self-observation. Just observing body sensations or going around throughout the day while being centred in the body or on some 'point' (such as the belly) still isn't self-remembering-- it's useful no doubt, but won't bring about a complete gaining of impressions of the _whole_ self. There's really no distinction here between these methods and any mindfulness practice one can pick up from a community centre meditation seminar. A little more directed practical advice and/or exercises on the topic could have come in useful. 

Overall, still worth a read for those interested in the topic.. and I maintain my 4/5 rating.

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