Book Reviews

By Jack Falt

(These reviews appeared in Tell~A~Type, the newsletter of the Ontario Association of Applied Psychological Type.)

Natural To My SoulPerhaps you have thought about writing a book that would share your philosophy of life with others, but you never quite got around to doing it. Danielle Gault has written such a book. She uses herself and her family to illustrate her ideas. The book is about the life journey of the soul using the four lower chakras, yoga movements, Ayurvedic wisdom of spiritual gurus, the four elements, and some of Jung's soul psychology. These are woven around the story of her husband and herself, both of whom had been married before and lost a spouse through tragic circumstances. After they were married, they went to India on a spiritual quest.

A major portion of the book takes a chapter for each of the four elements. Depending on the situation, we shift our energy to a specific chakra. Chakras are energy points on the body. The word chakra is a Sanscrit word meaning wheel. For those who can see chakras, they look like coloured spinning wheels. There are seven major energy points [wheels] and many other minor ones. However, we tend to have a favourite one that we use as our main mode of being. It is similar to our having a dominant function or a preferred temperament.

  • Air represents the way we think and how we think about ourselves. This is the heart chakra. When this chakra predominates, we are trying to figure out who we are and the meaning of our lives. If we stay at this level too much we can become detached from the world, looking in on it as an observer, rather than being a participant.
  • Fire is the source of our power. This chakra is at the solar plexus, just above the navel. This is that part of us that energizes us to action. We are in a "get things done" mode. This can create a "fools runs in" scenario if we are not careful.
  • Water is for reflection and the development of our emotions. This is the mid-abdominal chakra, just below the navel. Through it we note our reactions to our thoughts and actions. This stirs our imaginations. Once we become aware [awakened], we can never be quite as naive again. If this part of us is unbalanced, we become secretive and hidden, masking our true selves from others.
  • Earth is our foundation. This chakra is at the base of the spine. It keeps us grounded and lets us know if we are off course. When this part of us is unbalanced, we are not truly aware of our surroundings and we tend to live above the laws of the land.

The three higher chakras are at the throat, the brow,and the crown of the head. These are only briefly mentioned in the book. While each of us has one mode that is stronger than the others, we do need all four [of the lower chakras] in balance and in harmony. We need Air for our sense of identity, Fire for our personal power, Water to understand our needs and the needs of others, and Earth to have a solid foundation. It is Jung's process of individuation. In Jung/Myers terms, it is developing our functions of sensing, intuiting, thinking, and feeling.

I think you will enjoy reading this book. If you are familiar with Eastern ways of thought, you will find yourself at home with the terms used. If these are new to you, the book will be a gentle introduction to a rather different way of thinking. If they are open to these concepts, clients might find reading about someone else's life journey comforting. While the author experienced tragedy in her life, she did come out of these experiences greatly enriched.

Well Tempered LifeThis is the second book by Gault and it continues the themes begun in the first book. The first book focuses more on the author's personal journey, while this one looks at more practical advice on how to implement the ideas. The author brings her psychological training and interest in holistic health together to give guidance on how to live a well-tempered life.

The book is structured around the concept of the four elements: Air, Fire, Water and Earth. As the author describes them. It is my opinion that they roughly correspond to the four temperaments: Air - NT, Fire - SP, Water - NF, and Earth - SJ. The author gives a short quiz to help you determine the dominant element in your life. As a practical example the author uses Elemental Personality Theory (EPT) to show how to handle problems such as unwanted weight gain.

Next the author moves on to introduce yoga and how it relates to the chakra system of the body, giving examples of basic yoga movements. Basic reflexology of the ear, hand and feet are also explained, completing the first part of the book.

In Part 2, the author moves on to combine these ideas in a chapter for each of the four elements. Each chapter describes what each element is like as expressed as a personality, and also looks at the pitfalls of the element. Yoga exercises and reflexology practices are prescribed to bring about about a mature expression of the element. The goal of these practices are: the mature Air element brings about focused attention; the mature Fire element brings about vigilance; the mature Water element brings about focused reflection and imagination; and the mature Earth element brings about discernment.

The author closes by describing her own journey towards a well-tempered life, how she discovered psychological theories and holistic practices that enhanced her life.

This is a book that is quite readable; but I would suggest to get the most out of it, it would be a good basis for a group study project, taking the time to discuss and actually practise the recommendations. At very least, take the time yourself to try the ideas out and think them through to learn how they can be applied to your own life.

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