My wife bought me this book last year and I finally found time for it. Her take – largely correct – was that it aligns with my long-standing practice of cultivating self-awareness, introspection, and personal growth. It does, and it is largely why I enjoyed the book. It waded a little too far into new age topics and ideas for my liking, but that did not detract from the book’s ability to challenge and introduce new ways of understanding what it means to live a full, authentic, and powerful life.
Gary Zukav’s book, The Seat of the Soul, immediately sets a tone of pitting the old versus the new. For him, humans have existed as five-sensory beings, interpreting the world through the physical. The time has come, he says, for a multisensory being that aligns with the greater energy and wisdom of the universe. The old model no longer fits. It was born of a survival instinct that was once necessary and that shaped our long-held norms and behaviors. As multisensory beings, we must be more connected to, and interpret life, with a sense of interconnectedness that allows for more profound awareness For Zukav – and I tend to agree with him – the energy of the soul existed long before we arrived and will continue after we leave earth.
After introducing some basic concepts, Zukav explores topics through groupings he calls creation, responsibility, and power. In short, after examining how we have arrived where we are, he explains how we are capable of more, what that looks like, and why it is important we manifest it. This new way of moving through the world, according to Zukav, allows us to better utilize our potential and capabilities to create a more compassionate, peaceful, and aligned world.
On a very personal note, I was excited to see an early section devoted to the idea of intention. I have long held as a motto that intention makes everything happen. I even write an annual review on a separate blog with that as the title, as I prefer the idea of intention to resolution. For me – and Zukav, apparently – intention has more responsibility and ownership to it than a resolution. The latter is a wish without the power of creation attached to it. By contrast, intention means that if I want something manifest in the world, it is on me to take the action. Conversely, if I do not endeavor to manifest that which I want, it is because my power of intention was focused elsewhere.
One of the book’s gifts is how it reveals, without having to try too hard, a guide for living life with a powerful authenticity people conveniently label “confidence.” Not to be confused with bluster or bravado that easily melt when challenged with real thought, this authenticity is a knowing, like being in on the joke. When you know the punchline, you can shed a lot of impediments to living a fuller life. And when people see that, they want it. But that’s the joke. They have it, and all they must do is open themselves to seeing things a little differently to begin accessing it.
The book would be considered “new age” by many. Indeed, a quick internet search yields plenty of derision for being a guide by and for hippies. I understand those sentiments. The idea of past lives runs throughout the book. I have always struggled with this idea and have never accepted it, at least not in the “I used to be a great (insert whatever here) in a past life.” Given the math, if any of us existed on this plane in history, we were most likely poor and living in squalor. Still, the idea that life contains, for each of us, uncomfortable lessons whose learning will avail a deeper sense of meaning is one with which I connect.
In addition. Zukav, in conveying his teaching, uses multiple examples and descriptions when maybe only one would suffice. Once you grasp the idea, you can skim onward – and this happens frequently. In short, the book could be shorter and achieve the same ends.
Overall, it is worth your time, if only to introduce ways to live with a deeper sense of existence. It suggests ways to move, incrementally, from the muddled chaos of the present day to a higher sense of authenticity. Like many great learning opportunities, take what works for you, leave the rest.