Home/Main Menu     Site Map

EHE Biographies/Portraits
Record Type: Review   ID: 111

Fire in the Soul: A New Psychology of Spiritual Optimism

Borysenko, Joan

 Just as an exceptional human experience often begins with an anomaly, Borysenko proposes that our wounds and bodily ailments can lead to spiritual transformation (an exceptional healing experience, in this case). Just as an anomaly (exceptional experience) can initiate an EHE process that leads to transformation, Borysenko shows how the same thing can happen when we are beset by tragedy, pain, loss, and devastation. Therefore, this important work supplements and helps to expand the exceptional human experience concept, enlarging it so it can contain human suffering as a trigger, as well as experiences of the unknown and anomalous. Borysenko promotes a response to suffering called "spiritual optimism," which is based on the inner knowledge or knowing she has come to personally that "we are eternally and immortally safe, even though the temporal world in which we live is often dangerous, violent and unpredictable" (p. 9). In this book she maps the process involved in responding in times of crisis and disaster. It is intended not only to serve as a guide but to help the reader find their own source of inner guidance. Although she began as a behavioral psychologist, she has developed "a spiritual psychology in which the wholeness of a person comprises not just their temporal mind but their immortal soul" (p. 5). In this context, exceptional human experiences are those in which one is in touch with his or her immortal soul and they teach us how to keep that contact open. Borysenko calls being struck by arrows of outrageous misfortune "seeds," a term I have used to describe EHEs. Part One is entitled "Basic Beliefs—The Choice of Love or Fear," with chapters on why bad things happen, searching for meaning, the initiatory role played by crises, and what reframing basic beliefs entails. Part Two, "The Transformation of Fear," has four chapters dealing, respectively, with facing fears and transforming them, past life memories and fear and healing, the freeing role of forgiveness, and courage, which involves surrender, hope, optimism. The last part is on "Practices for Awakening to the Sacred" and consists of 5 chapters on meditation; prayer; "Peace and healing"; 10 survival tips for soul-making; and suggestions for staying awake—not forgetting the real world. The list of sources is excellent, covering books, meditation, prayer, poetry, music, and organizations.
Publisher Information:New York: Warner Books, 1993. 237p. Resources: 233-235
Previous Record Previous
in this

List All Titles in This Category (17)

Book Reviews Menu
in this

Click a section below to move around the EHEN website.
Home/Menu       About EHEs      EHE Autobiographies      EHE Book Reviews      EHE FAQ      EHE Network      Email Talk      Experiences Library      Info/Contact      Join Us!      Living EHEs      Parapsychology      Rhea White      Web Links      Web Talk      What's New     

All website graphics, materials and content copyright © 1997-2003
by EHE Network. All rights reserved. For permissions
please contact EHEN's Executive Director, Rhea A. White.

Web Media Management by Palyne Gaenir of ScienceHorizon.

Exceptional Human Experience Network
Exceptional Human Experience Network