4 out of 5 stars
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The Unbound Soul by Richard Haight is a challenging book to read in more ways than one. First, it challenges us to look deep within our inner selves to root out memories and attitudes that are dysfunctional. Secondly, after the autobiographical story in the first fifty pages, this is not an easy read, although it is quite worthwhile.
Mr. Haight’s childhood was impacted by a disability, which made reading in his younger years a struggle. His challenge was exacerbated by a school district which did not address his disability. Mr. Haight’s account of when he was a child is filled with memories of visions which assisted him in overcoming his challenges. These visions continued throughout his career as a teacher and a writer in adulthood.
The retelling of Mr. Haight’s past introduces us to the concepts “Isness”, “the power of consciousness” and “unfoldment”. Introducing these terms, while sharing his life story, assists the reader in understanding these concepts. Mr. Haight’s accounting of his maturation from when he was a child through his early adult years is most inspiring.
The book then moves into deeper and more challenging concepts to understand. Mr. Haight makes a distinction between “mind” and “consciousness” and recommends that the reader work to “Undo mind” and open the door to the oversight of consciousness in one’s life. As one progresses in this quest, he or she moves towards “Isness”, a term Mr. Haight admits he created to identify the state of one’s soul's attempts to reach a state of perfect forgiveness, of a nonjudgmental nature and of unconditional love. (This was a challenging concept to understand and I hope I have depicted it accurately.)
The Unbound Soul then suggests a series of actions, self-reflecting meditations and physical activities, which will lead the reader away from a “state of mind” and towards a “state of consciousness”. The conflict between mind and consciousness is assessed several times throughout the book.
This a challenging read which calls for action such as the use of the Dance of the Self described in Chapter fourteen. There is much to be gleaned in the book but I had to read several segments more than once to fully understand the message being portrayed.
Below are some useful concepts which I found to be helpful:
• Seeing the world through the author’s eyes challenged me to inspect my own vision of the world.
• Consistency is the key to success in any kind of meditation as it is, let’s say, in physical training.
• Setting aside my perception of myself in order to let inspiration take hold is an honest way of looking into myself.
• An individual rooted in unconditional love has a spirit that can overcome malicious intent.
Concerns and rating: I was troubled by some of the comments about other religions, particularly Christianity. The author references a rigid religious upbringing and this seems to color his understanding of issues of faith. Instead of trying to demonstrate the superiority of awareness, as he identifies it as Isness, the writer could have focused on how his ideas could empower other faiths. In this reviewer's mind, Mr. Haight left this task to the reader and missed a golden opportunity to write an impactful book. Due to this “miss” and the, at times, difficult read, which the book was, I will give it four out of five stars. As I have stated The Unbound Soul does have some useful ideas worth contemplating for all of us who seek the truth.