The Light Inside the Dark: Zen, Soul, and the Spiritual Life

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9780060172190: The Light Inside the Dark: Zen, Soul, and the Spiritual Life

In this landmark guide to the spiritual journey, respected Zen teacher and Jungian psychotherapist John Tarrant brings together ancient Eastern traditions and the Western view of the soul to offer a new understanding and a vivid description of the depths and heights of our inner landscape. The Light Inside the Dark shows us how we can look into our darkest experiences and find the sources of joy there. In leading us on the journey of the interior life--the part of us that lies below the everyday life of work, family, and the physical world--Tarrant distinguishes between soul and spirit and shows how we can overcome the dichotomies of inner and outer, light and dark. To attain the deepest spirituality, he explains, no emotion need be denied: pleasure, anguish, desire, and contentment all form a part of the soul's great quest.

Using real-life stories as well as the teachings of Zen Buddhist masters and the ancient Greeks to illuminate his discoveries, Tarrant shows us how to live fully through difficulty and discover deep happiness in all aspects of daily life.

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Review:

Try smiling at the morning birds while in the grip of profound grief. The effort of just turning up the corners of your lips is enough to send you back to the oblivion of sleep. Escape, John Tarrant tells us, is not the answer; neither is just getting over it. In a lyrical fusion of Jungian psychology and Zen Buddhism, Zen teacher Tarrant narrates the human descent into darkness and, through meditative living, the subsequent ascent to the light. Like a nonfiction version of Dante's Divine Comedy, Tarrant acts as our guide on a journey through myths and stories, crushing experience, and heroic drama, into the maws of despair and out again into the light of compassionate living. Coming face to face with our interior troubles is the catalyst, Tarrant says, for liberating ourselves into the moment. But Tarrant is no glib optimist. The ascent can be as treacherous as the fall and demands constant attention. Second to none in modern Zen literature, Tarrant will bring you smiling into the light, even if it takes a trip through hell to do it. --Brian Bruya

About the Author:

John Tarrant is a psychotherapist and director of Zen training. A student of Buddhism who has trained in several major traditions, Tarrant is a lineage holder in Zen and teaches extensively in both the United States and Australia. In addition , he holds a Ph.D. in psychology and practices Jungian psychotherapy with a special interest in healing and the arts. He is a member of the faculty of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona at Tucson and teaches meditation to physicans. He lives in Santa Rosa, California.

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