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Freeing the Soul From Fear, Robert Sardello's third book, shines a relentless light on fear, but it is mainly about love. Sardello, whose perspective grows from a 20-year practice as a depth psychologist, maintains that the real power of fear lives in our wish to avoid it. He carefully explores the fragmenting effects of fear and describes how we might meet fear with its only antidote-- love.
Freeing the Soul From Fear is based on Sardello's premise that soul is not an entity but a capacity, and freeing it involves "participating in fear, not naively, but with the greatest intensity of consciousness and attention we are able to muster." He recommends developing a more sensory awareness of the world, and becoming familiar with the "field" between us and others. He proposes that by awakening our senses to what occurs in the field, we can invite soul back into our living being and find the courage to face our fears.
His previous book, Love and the Soul, asks, How can I love you in a way that frees you? Questions raised in this third book range from interesting (How do we love the unpleasant aspects of another person?), to difficult (What does consciousness consist of?), to those that are nearly impossible (Why are we here?).
A chapter on artistic living reminds readers that bringing the arts into our lives integrates the physical with soul and spirit. Musicians, writers, and artists, who work toward truth in a bodily way, show us that our feelings are not our possessions: the colors and sounds of an average day are loaded with feeling. Poets show us how to "jump into the abyss of not knowing, and there let language come to us and speak through us."
Included in the book are exercises designed to counter the constricting effects of fear. The main tools required of the reader are imagination and a willingness to re-imagine work life, relationships, our experience of the speed of time, and our perceptions of anxiety.
If there is a problem with Freeing the Soul, it is that it asks so much of us. For instance, to abandon the idea that we should find new ways to speak to soul, and instead to make ourselves available for soul to speak to us. Then again, perhaps we are only asked to live out of our inherent spiritual nature. As the poet Antonio Machado wrote, After living and dreaming comes what matters most: waking up."
Sardello chaired the psychology department at the University of Dallas and co-founded the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, where he worked closely with James Hillman and Thomas Moore in the 1980s.
A book jacket quote from Thomas Moore reads: "Robert Sardello is one of the most creative thinkers I know. He writes from a combination of breathtaking originality with heartfelt compassion."
Robert Sardello co-founded the School of Spiritual Psychology, which offers courses throughout the U.S., Canada, and England and can be reached at 336- 279-8259.