Kaiyum reviews the book by Dhyan Shaida (Catherine Auman) on 100 Ways to Personal and Spiritual Growth.
Yet another book about mindfulness? On the surface, yes, but whoever dips into this book, however briefly, will be refreshingly delighted by Auman’s original, creative and thoroughly compassionate approach to – as the subtitle correctly states – ‘personal and spiritual growth’.
Connection with Osho
Through her writing, Catherine Auman – Dhyan Shaida – displays the clear extent to which she has steeped herself in the breadth and depth of Osho’s Beyond Psychology and The Psychology of the Buddhas. Not, it must be stressed, that this is a book about this ‘psychology’, rather it is a way of expressing the integrity of her style, both professionally as a therapist and personally on her own spiritual path. There is a basic gentleness to her writing, the light touch of the true knower, a ‘less is more’ way of stringing her words together that can only come from deep inner awareness, relaxation and above all, love.
Auman developed her compact style after being approached by a website that was attracted by her combination of reputable therapist and experience with tantra. Later she went on to publish her articles in (inter)national magazines and journals, as well as on her own blog and Facebook page and other internet platforms.
The short articles – 1½-2 well-spaced pages – are attractively playful, almost tongue-in-cheek in the way Auman describes situations and presents possible solutions. The following text, concluding an item entitled Better Than Average Body Maintenance is Required, typifies her down-to-earth reality:
Many people in this culture are completely identified with the content of their minds. They believe that what they are thinking is true and have never questioned it. When you start to develop body awareness, you will know without doubt that there are other ways of knowing beyond the mind. You may come to trust your heart and the wisdom of the body far more than what your mind is telling you.
The essence of these words, familiar to the world of Osho, is one of the numerous themes that can be distinguished in the broad range of articles, and is clearly fundamental both to Auman’s work as a successful psychotherapist and her own life.
The ‘100 Ways’ are split up into 8 main chapters. It’s worth mentioning some of these so as to savour the Zen of Auman’s delicate writing that reaches parts of the being that other writers only dream of:
- It Takes a Strong Vase to Hold the Water
- We’re Still Mammals, You Know
- Mastery of the Normal
- Tantric Fusion
- Finding our Way Home
Targeted at those who are too busy to take up any form of meditation, these short essays provide valuable awakenings – and reminders! – about spirituality, relationships, love, tantric sex and, in general, how to explore, expand and enjoy life more fully. Auman’s intelligent work also provides concrete advice for those with more intractable problems, including contact addresses.
The book, some 265 pages, is well designed, spacious and above all attractive to read. It is of such a high quality that it would be worth a thorough new proofreading to eliminate the numerous minor inconsistencies and occasional blooper.
Auman’s language is highly approachable, though may occasionally – through some of her examples – be less understandable or useful to non-American readers or perhaps just non-native speakers. Although this book deserves to be more widely read, translation would involve some distinct cultural shifts and adjustments.
A good read!
Above all, this collection of spiritually-tinted items is an enjoyable read for those who wish to grow, wish to be reminded or simply want to revel in the loving, caring warmth of a reality that Auman describes in this way:
The point isn’t to live a life of non-doing. Instead, we can incorporate doing nothing into our lives in precious bits of time. We have to give up chastising ourselves for taking that time. We need to question our high standards for productivity. If we don’t, we’re in danger of losing the connection to that which makes life most meaningful.
Review by Kaiyum
Read an excerpt on Osho News
How to Tell If Therapy Is Working
American-born Dhyan Shaida (Catherine Auman MA) began studying meditation and yoga in 1972, astrology in 1980, and explored many spiritual and personal growth paths. She became a sannyasin of Osho in 1985 and lived at the Osho Commune in 1999-2000, studying tantra and meditation. Her distinguished career in psychology includes work in virtually all aspects of mental health. She taught psychology and counseling at JFK University, the University of Phoenix, and The Chicago School for Professional Psychology. catherineauman.com