Book Reviews — 14 March 2014

Kaiyum reviews two of Avikal’s book.

Avikal is founder and director of the Integral Being Institute, active in Europe, Asia and Australia. In his newest books published by O-Books – Freedom to be Yourself and Without a Mask – with the respective, revealing subtitles Mastering the inner judge and Discovering your authentic self – Avikal provides far-seeing insight into his world of training and personal development. Avikal lives in Sydney, Australia.

Avikal review

Essence
The core of Avikal’s work – Essence – is a development, his own interpretation and structure, of work inspired by Osho, Almaas and numerous other great teachers who perceived the truth that in order to survive as human beings, we lose touch with our authentic God-given, spiritual selves and create layers of protection mechanisms. Avikal focuses on protracted periods of personal development centred on re-discovering the authentic self.

Survival
In doing this work of ‘Inquiry’, you delve deeper and deeper below the surface of the lies that ensure physical survival. As Osho puts it:

Your heart is crying and weeping but you keep smiling. You try to hold on to your image. You cannot be natural, you cannot allow your heart, your body, your mind to function in a natural way. You keep manipulating them. You choose what can be expressed and what must be repressed. That repressed part becomes your unconscious.”

‘Inner judge’
In Freedom to be Yourself Avikal focuses on discovering, exploring and neutralising the ‘inner judge’ (his name for the ‘superego’). By mastering this inner judge, you give yourself complete permission to Be, free of the influence of the inner critic. It was a protection mechanism that developed to support survival, but the child has grown up and can learn to live independently and authentically.

Behind the mask
The book describes in excellent detail and with patient clarity the masks, the function of the judge, steps to be taken to gain freedom from the judge and the challenges of being yourself. Crucial to this last point is the part played by sexuality and personal relationships. Avikal also considers the spiritual implications of the inner judge and the ultimate stage of ‘I am’ – pure Being, pure Oneness with existence.

Presentation
The book is pleasantly presented, with a spacious layout, attractive typeface, variety in paragraph length, lists and a thoughtful mixture of explanations, questions, exercises and meditations. This is a book for therapists and those already on the path of self-discovery.

Authentic Self
In Without a Mask, Avikal deepens the process of (re-)discovering the authentic self. He asks potent questions such as:

  • Who is behind the mask that we have learned to wear in order to survive and function in this world?
  • Who are we really, behind familial and social conditioning?
  • Is it possible to be spontaneous and authentic?
  • Or is it just an infantile desire to leave behind and set aside along with our dreams?

Just as in the other book, Avikal offers understanding and techniques for recognising the authentic Self. He lets the reader glimpse the ocean of potentiality behind the personality mask. As the great mystic poet Rumi says, “Behind every atom of this world hides an infinite universe.” And it is our task to seek the truth behind the mask.

Avikal cuts to the core with incisiveness clarity and simplicity:

“Who is reading? Who is aware of how their bodies feel? Who feels warm or cold? Who is thinking about what they’re reading?”

Yes, the same basic questions all the great Masters have asked throughout the ages. And Avikal places them in a modern context and confirms:

“… you can live totally in the here and now only if YOU are totally present. And only by being fully present can you also discover who you really are, beyond the name you carry, the conditioning you have received …”

Clear, modern approach
This is the age-old theme but presented in a fresh and powerful package suited to today’s world. The book deals with the how, when and why of ‘the great betrayal’ – the creation of the mask and the need to survive. Avikal elaborates on self-image and identification with limitations but moves on sure-footedly to discuss the importance of remembering who we really are and the part played by attachment – and the need to let go. Individualism and individuality are important themes, along with the (perceived) need for external approvement that detracts from intrinsic value. Avikal goes into numerous associated themes with just the right amount of depth, building up to a chapter of personal descriptions of how ten seekers found their truth and their path. Meditations and exercises help the astute reader/seeker to expand his awareness and accelerate his progress towards finding – and living – the authentic Self.

Presentation
Just as with the first book, Without a Mask is attractively presented. The language style continues to be clear and comfortably erudite. The proof-reading, however, is not as thorough but the occasional ‘typo’ should not disturb most readers.

Worthwhile
These books can be read independently of each other, yet complement each other in a powerful synergy. Both therapists and those seeking to enrich their lives will benefit from Avikal’s clear vision.

Review by Kaiyum, Osho News

Both books are available via amazon.comamazon.co.uk

Read the interview Avikal gave to Osho News: Essence Work

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