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NaaahTen Minutes to RelaxThank You for Being Such a PainThe 10 Best Anxiety BustersThe 5 Reasons Why We OvereatThe 7 Secrets of the ProlificThe Anger WorkbookThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe Art of Becoming HumanThe Art of Exceptional LivingThe Beginner's Guide to Healthy EatingThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Betty Ford Center Book of AnswersThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Breakout PrincipleThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Chronic Pain SolutionThe Complete Vegetarian HandbookThe Consolations of PhilosophyThe Core Question: Who Am I?The Crowdsourced Performance ReviewThe Emotional Eater's Repair ManualThe Emotional RevolutionThe End-of-Life HandbookThe Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2005The Essential KamasutraThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Five Things We Cannot Change ...The Game of TruthThe Gift of FearThe Gift of ShynessThe Good Vibrations Guide to SexThe Guide for International Intercultural Couples and Families Intercultural MarriageThe Happy Hook-UpThe Healing JourneyThe Healing Journey for CouplesThe Healing Journey Through GriefThe Healing Power of PetsThe Identity CodeThe Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive OrgasmThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Introvert AdvantageThe Intuitive WriterThe Irritable Male SyndromeThe Jewel Tree of TibetThe Joy of MeditatingThe Last Self-Help Book You'll Ever NeedThe Light of DiscoveryThe Little Book of Healthy TeasThe Little Yoga BookThe Magic of Thinking BigThe Making of Dr. PhilThe Male Stress Survival GuideThe Money WorkbookThe Mood CureThe Mozart EffectThe Myth of Self-EsteemThe New Cancer SurvivorsThe New Rational TherapyThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe OCD WorkbookThe Passion PlanThe Pilates Workout JournalThe Pill Book Guide to Natural MedicinesThe Places That Scare YouThe Pocket Life CoachThe Porn TrapThe Power of FocusThe Power of Full EngagementThe Power of Negative ThinkingThe Power of PlayThe Power of Self-CoachingThe Pursuit of PerfectThe Quest for Peace, Love, and a 24'' WaistThe Real Rules for GirlsThe Secret of LifeThe Secret Strength of DepressionThe Self ImprovedThe Self-Compassion Skills WorkbookThe Self-Help SourcebookThe Sex Addiction WorkbookThe Spa DeckThe Stoic Art of LivingThe Stress CureThe Stress Less WorkbookThe Stress Owner's ManualThe Stress Reduction Workbook for TeensThe SuperStress SolutionThe Ten Minute Sexual SolutionThe Therapy for the SaneThe Truth About Chronic PainThe Ultimate Guide to Sex and DisabilityThe Van Gogh BluesThe Way of StretchingThe Way of the JournalThe Way of TransitionThe Weblog HandbookThe Why CaféThe Worst-Case Scenario Survival HandbookThere's a Spiritual Solution to Every ProblemThings Might Go Terribly, Horribly WrongThink Confident, Be ConfidentThink NakedThink SmartThinking for a ChangeThis Is HowTotal PilatesTrain Your Brain to Get HappyTrain Your Brain to Get RichTransformation Trauma in the Lives of ChildrenUltimate SexUnderstanding the Borderline MotherUndoing DepressionUnhappy TeenagersUnlock the Genius WithinUntangling the WebVirtual AddictionWaking Up to What You DoWay to Be!What We Say MattersWhat Women WantWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Holding You Back? When a Family Member Has DementiaWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen in Doubt, Make BeliefWhen Perfect Isn't Good EnoughWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhen Things Fall ApartWhen Words Are Not EnoughWhen Your Body Gets the BluesWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWherever You Go, There You AreWhy Can't I Change?Why Is It Always About You?Why Smart Executives FailWorried All the TimeWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting as a Sacred PathWriting in FlowWriting to HealYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!Yoga 4 TeensYoga as MedicineYoga for EveryoneYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Regular Guys DVDYoga for the Young at HeartYoga on DemandYoga Weight Loss for DummiesYou Are Not AloneYou Are Not Your IllnessYou Can Think Yourself ThinYou'll See It When You Believe ItYour Body Speaks Your MindYour Brain on FoodYour Child, Bully or Victim?Zen Sex
This is a surprising little book. Written by Mark Zyga, who tells us that "he has been working with individuals as a practitioner and hypnotherapist for over 14 years. He has also been teaching part time for almost 30 years in a variety of universities, as well as more esoteric and fun activities such as yoga, meditation and sailing to name a few."
The who am I? question, as readers of metapsychology are aware, is one of the central questions of metaphysics. In an earlier review of a philosophy book by Warren Bourgeois I wrote:
The problem: What is a person? Many theories have been offered over time to answer that question:
· The soul theory--your essence is your soul or mind, understood as a nonphysical entity distinct from your body. Descartes came to think of the mind as the vehicle of continuity because of his observation that if an individual loses several body parts he/she is still the same person. What is the same? The person's mind (or soul).
· The psychological continuity theory--you are essentially your memories and ability to reflect on yourself (Locke) and, more generally, your overall psychological configuration.
· Materialism--you are essentially the material that you are made out of--a collection of molecules, largely water molecules, and carbon based.
· Narrative -- you are your story; personal persistence is a function of a narrative structure, your story of being-in-the world with all of its complexities and relationships with others.
· The no self view--your self is an illusion. The "I" is a grammatical fiction (Nietzsche). There are bundles of impressions but no underlying self (Hume). There is no survival because there is no person (Buddha).
The significance of the problem: the way we answer this seemingly simple question will have an impact on life and death, on distribution of scarce resources, and on the way we define the good life.
Zyga's book is a self-help book, and not a philosophy text; the book is, he tells us, the outcome of a personal journey of adversity and intellect, and "a desire to help and assist others in their personal process with achieving desired change in a positive direction". There are thirty-two short chapters with an exercise [or "reflection"] at the end of each to be completed by the reader. At the heart of the book are three compendia which summarize the material covered in each of the three sections:
1. Stepping into awareness;
2. The art of understanding self;
3. Manifesting authenticity.
For example, at the end of chapter two, where a simple distinction between "knowing" and "truly knowing" has been offered the reflection is: "Can you see the difference between "knowing" and "truly knowing"? [His concern is not so much the epistemological distinction between believing and knowing, but he seems to be using these terms to sort out what a person believes about herself before and after some careful reflection.]
Chapter fifteen has the first of the three compendia providing a nine point summary:
1. We all have our core question as to the nature of who we are and what will fulfill us in life.
2. The question is generally complex, but more easily identified when we look at it as a question we can break apart…
3. Your life is reflective of people close to you, family, God, culture, and traditions, and it is important to take these external references and OPS (Other people's stuff) associated with these external references into consideration when you are trying to become self-aware and find your true self.
4. - 9
There is a great deal of folk wisdom in the book and it is summarized in the three compendia. "Spirit" and "spirituality" are terms used often and I think the author means by them our sense of inner self, our will, and not a specific metaphysical doctrine. There is a chapter on self-direction and one on self-esteem both of which are informed and informative.
Self-esteem in each and every person is a combination of
how a person feels about himself or herself and, possibly
more important, how one thinks the rest of the world sees
him or her. This is a common human trait that arises early
in life when your behaviors and personality are formed. The
shadow side of self-esteem is ego or more aptly put, being
egotistical. We need an ego to get through life, but when
the ego is out of control, the unhealthy or shadow side
appears and begins to hide the nature of your true essence.
THE CORE QUESTION is well-written, sincere, easy to read, and offers a gentle approach to self-analysis without getting bogged down in technical jargon. It strikes this reviewer as part self-help book and part memoir.
© 2015 Bob Lane
Bob Lane is an Honorary Research Associate in Philosophy and Literature at Vancouver Island University in British Columbia.