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Embracing the Heart, Engaging the Mind: Universal Stories of Resilience



People do not live to be two or three thousand-years-old, but their stories do. Stories bring us as close to immortality as we can experience in this life.

Embracing the Heart, Engaging the Mind: Universal Stories of Resilience (with commentary) offers an array of 65 teaching or wisdom stories from around the world that have been passed down from generation to generation. The stories come from a variety of cultures and traditions including Rabbinical (Jewish), Sufi, Zen, and Christian. They come from Europe, the East, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas.

Each story is followed by commentary which is mostly psychological in nature with some social and spiritual observations. A few of the stories have an historical basis and are modern; however, most are traditional and date back centuries.

The Introduction begins, “In the beginning, before there were psychologists, consultants, and experts, there were stories.” The theme of the book is developing psychological resilience, that is, not only surviving but thriving in spite of facing life obstacles. Some would refer to the theme as positive psychology. Psychological resilience deals with developing personal strengths rather than focusing upon psychological disorders.

One who is cited in several stories is a Middle Eastern character, Joha, who is sometimes referred to as Nasrudin. He is a likable fellow of humble origins who is sometimes viewed as naive but can offer creative perspectives and solutions. In one story, Joha sets out on a quest to find the perfect wife. When he finally finds her, he is dispirited to discover that she rebuffs him in that she was seeking the perfect husband.

Overview The stories and commentary are organized into nine chapters. In addition, there is an addendum which delves more deeply into the psychological literature on resilience and offers recommendations as well as additional resources.

Chapter I: Assessing Treasure deals with prioritizing what is of value in life. It is more about courage, hope, and compassion than diamonds and gold. Chapter II: Touching and Transforming Relationships addresses building and nurturing relationships. It offers practical solutions and it contains a pinch of the spice of romance. Chapters III, IV, and V may be viewed from the perspective of The Serenity Prayer. They deal with Accepting Reality, Choices: Changing What You Can, Judicious Decisions which concentrates upon the wisdom to discern the difference.

Chapter VI: Folly comments upon learning from folly. In some families, Folly and Wisdom are twins. Chapter VII: Addressing Anger concerns how we deal with our anger. Anger is an emotion that everyone must address. The stories and commentary offer constructive avenues for channeling a potentially destructive emotion. Chapter VIII: Resourceful Solutions offers stories of wisdom that a mentor or sage might share. Chapter IX presents a brief review with conclusions.

Embracing the Heart, Engaging the Mind is addressed to a multidisciplinary audience and for those who want more substance than “pop psychology” offers without the tedious jargon of academic writing. The book provokes thought but is written in a casual style that most readers can enjoy.

The author is a licensed psychologist who has engaged in private practice for the last 25 years. He previously taught psychology at the university level. In addition to a masters and Ph.D. in psychology, he holds a masters degree in theology. He has published numerous journal articles and interviews.

Author: Dunn, Joseph Richard

Topic: Psychology
Media: Book
ISBN: 578011565
Language: English
Pages: 208

Additional information

Weight 0.59 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.44 in


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