Mind Matters — From Snow to Self

Snow Day! Cardinals flit to the feeder as clients call to cancel appointments. The afternoon becomes a weathered window of opportunity to peruse a stack of books left languishing in a corner.

Hopefully you can benefit from my gleanings so that you can read for yourself a book or two.

Winter is a time for hibernation, not only for the seed in the ground and the bear in the cave, but also for the human psyche—if we allow it to be so. Thus, my first choice on the roster of books to review is Robert Sardello’s Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness. This book is a psycho-spiritual antidote to a celebrity and profit-driven culture.

Sardello reminds us that, while our “ever-fruitful companion—presence” that leads us to our true selves is Silence, we run away. “Our choosing to live in the noise of our thoughts and emotions—within the incessant clamor around us—happens almost without our recognition. But we are uncomfortable with the Silence. It does not go with our hectic lives, with what must be done every day, and with our felt need to accomplish something … we have neglected the core of our being. … Anxiety enters.”

Far unlike many self-help books, Silence has no glib quick fixes. Instead, Sardello enjoins the reader to take time to slow down into silence in relation to the book itself. He also provides imaginal exercises to help in letting go of themes and issues in our lives that stop us from living more authentically—silently, in fact.

Another book which requires reflection is James Hollis’ Hauntings. A prolific writer, Jungian analyst Hollis gives a compendium for how to “dispel the ghosts who run our lives.” We think we are independent, especially when we cut ourselves off from our family of origin. Yet, it is in the burial of our past where the ghosts most linger. Just as Sardello reminds us to stop running from silence and into cultural chaos, Hollis may say, and in that silence, we may find the ancestral mythology which runs our lives unless and until we become conscious of it.

The invitation is now here—you don’t need to find a deep snow day to find your own deep self.