Eyes Wide Open:
Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path
Paperback Book / K1381
U.S. $18.95 / 328 pages
Pub. Date: October 2009
A clear and refreshingly honest look at contemporary spirituality—exposing the myths, understanding its realities, and moving forward with discernment—by writer, psychologist, and lifetime spiritual seeker Mariana Caplan.
Download Press Kit for Eyes Wide Open (updated) (PDF file), which includes:
- Press release
- About the Author, Mariana Caplan
- Author Q&A
- Overview of Contents
- Notable Quotes
- Ten Spiritually Transmitted Diseases
- Twelve Attitudes for a Discerning Journey on the Spiritual Path
Go to Mariana Caplan’s website: www.realspirituality.com
Browse inside Eyes Wide Open at Google Books
Advance Praise for Eyes Wide Open
“A daring, brilliant, ground-breaking look at spirituality in the modern world. With deft elegance, Caplan shows us that psychological transformation and spiritual awakening are inseparably one process. Detailing with brutal honesty the myriad spiritual pathologies we contemporary spiritual seekers engage in on a daily basis, she reveals the profound and life-changing awakenings that can occur when we expose and dismantle our neurotic, narcissistic exploitations of the great traditions.”
—Reginald A. Ray, author of Touching Enlightenment and Indestructible Truth
In Eyes Wide Open Mariana Caplan has given us a brilliant and clear understanding of the discernment needed for traversing the spiritual path. Spiritual seekers of all types will find this book immensely useful.
—Lama Palden, founder of Sukhasiddhi Foundation
“Discrimination is one of the most important qualities needed on the spiritual journey, and yet it is most difficult to develop. Here are simple, clear guidelines to help us separate truth from falsehood, and avoid many of the pitfalls that await the traveler. This is real, grounded wisdom needed by all contemporary seekers: a book to read and re-read.”
—Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee Ph.D., Sufi teacher and author
“Mariana Caplan is an authoritative pioneer in the study of “the pathologies of the path,” and this book will be of interest and benefit to seekers and teachers alike. The outcome of a combination of personal experience, sheer intelligence, honesty, long years of research, and contact with original and unconventional teachers, Eyes Wide Open is both well-written and entertaining.”
—Claudio Naranjo, MD and Ed.D, author of Character and Neurosis, The Way of Silence and the Talking Cure, Healing Civilization and many other books, is the director of the CN Foundation in Spain, dedicated to the promotion of a global transformation of education.
Q. Why did you write Eyes Wide Open?
A. I had not published a book in some years, and my experience since Halfway Up the Mountain and Do You Need a Guru?, has continued to unfold. To study the movement of contemporary spirituality and to share those insights with receptive readers, is a deep pleasure and gift in my life. I love to communicate with others. I wanted to share my main insights and explorations from the past seven years since my last book was published, and hopefully my readers would be nourished.
Q. What is the core message and why is it especially important in today’s American culture?
A. The core message is that we must learn to be keenly discerning when we approach the path of psychological and spiritual transformation, so that our efforts will be effective and our journey fruitful. Discernment needs to be cultivated and learned, and we all have the capacity to develop discernment.
Q. Earlier this year you wrote and produced a play in San Francisco called Zen Boyfriends — What is the Sound of One Heart Breaking? How does this relate to the concepts in Eyes Wide Open?
A. The play presents many of the ideas in the book through humor and music. The ideas are very similar. The book expresses it in more depth, the play is hysterically fun and funny. It was a wonderful experience to present these ideas through humor, and yet it is so important to articulate these ideas in a deeper way.
Q. How is Eyes Wide Open relevant to yoga practitioners?
A. Patanjali wrote in the Yoga Sutras that discernment is the “crowning wisdom” on the spiritual path, and that with it one can pierce all veils and levels of illusion. Yoga is one of my greatest passions, and the book is full of reflections on yoga and the Yoga Sutras that I have contemplated through many years of study of yoga philosophy and practice of asana. When we place our asana practice in the context of yoga philosophy, our practice can deepen and expand into unimagined depth and wholeness. This book should be a great support for yoga practitioners, as these principles are a tremendous help in my own life and practice.
Q. What is emerging or unaddressed in the field of psychology today that makes your book relevant to this audience?
A. So much is emerging and has emerged, in the field of psychology that is still not fully integrated in mainstream psychology, yet is so critical to effective psychological transformation. The book attempts to address in a very clear and grounded way, why it is critical to include the dimensions of the spiritual and of the body in psychological thought and treatment, and discusses ways that we can do this within ourselves. Western psychology is only just over 100 years old, and yogic and Eastern psychologies have existed for thousands of years. By sharing these insights and their relevance to Western psychology, I hope to do my part in articulating the importance of Western and Eastern approaches to human integration.
Q. You wrote, “I, personally, can no longer relate to the idea of enlightenment, and it is not simply because I am not enlightened.” Do you think people tend to think of themselves as more enlightened than they really are? Is enlightenment really possible, or even the point of the spiritual path?
A. I really think that for most of us, enlightenment is beside the point. I’ve met tens of thousands of practitioners around the world, and only the smallest fraction of them could be considered enlightened to any small or large degree. Yet many people have great wisdom, a deep capacity to share, a wish and ability to serve. I think aiming for spiritual maturation and spiritual integration are more effective goals. Whatever enlightenment is, if we are destined to be enlightened, we will not be able to avoid it, and spiritual maturation and integration are realistic and brilliant possibilities.
Q. What issues are you working on spiritually or philosophically these days? What questions are you currently asking yourself?
A. I am working understanding and embodying the principle of “self-responsibility” and how integral that is to my own spiritual and psychological maturation. My appreciation for the profound subtleties on the spiritual path—both in the traps and in the profound possibilities—continues to deepen. I want to take full responsibility for my life, work, and relationships, and to try to find ways to be more and more useful to others.