The Cycle of Life explores the patterns that unfold over the course of our lives, as we set out to find our place in the world, in our efforts to live authentically, and in our search for home-that place within ourselves that can so easily be neglected or disregarded in this fast-paced modern world.
In the first half of life, the task of the young traveler is to depart from home, to adventure out into the world to find his or her own individual path. However, in the second half, we find ourselves on what often amounts to a very long journey in search of home. In many a tale, the hero, for instance Gilgamesh, sets off on his road to find life's elixir, while other stories, such as the Odyssey, revolve around the hero's long and arduous journey home. Many are also familiar with the journey of Dante, who at the very beginning of his Divine Comedy finds himself "Midway along the journey of our life.”
The archetypal journey of life is constantly reenacted in the never-ending process of individuation. We find ourselves returning to this venture repeatedly, every night, as we set out on our voyage into the landscape of our unconscious. Many dreams begin by being on the way, for instance: I am on my way to ... I am driving on a road that leads into the desert ... I am walking through one room after the other in a long corridor-like building ... I am walking towards my office, but it looks different than in reality ... I walk on the pavement and on the opposite side of the street someone seems to be following me ... I go down into an underground parking ... I am in my car, but someone I don't know is driving ... I have to go to the place from where I came ...
and Western approaches.
Integral Psychology connects Eastern
and Western approaches to psychology and healing. Psychology in the East has
focused on our inner being and spiritual foundation of the psyche. Psychology in
the West has focused on our outer being and the wounding of the body-heart-mind
and self. Each requires the other to complete it, and in bringing them together
an integral view of psychology comes into view.
The classical Indian
yogas are used as a way to see psychotherapy: psychotherapy as behavior change
or karma yoga; psychotherapy as mindfulness practice or jnana
yoga; psychotherapy as opening the heart or bhakti yoga. Finally, an
integral approach is suggested that synthesizes traditional Western and Eastern
practices for healing, growth, and transformation.
“Very few books go
deeply into the spiritual area that Wilber calls the Subtle, but this one does
it brilliantly … It opens up the spiritual heart of the person in a way that
makes the further journey into the more abstract realms easier and less
stressful.” — BACP North London Magazine
“The discussion of how
the three primary yogas—jnana, karma, and bhakti—can be applied
within Western psychotherapies is excellent. The account of mindfulness practice
is first-rate, as, too, is the discussion of bhakti practice and the
opening of the heart. The author has a great deal to contribute to an important
area of inquiry.” — Michael Washburn, author of Embodied Spirituality in a
“Cortright’s synthesis of Eastern and Western spiritual
and psychological perspectives is insightful, well developed, and often
profound. I have been stimulated to think about psychotherapeutic problems from
a larger perspective.” — John E. Nelson, M.D., author of Healing the Split:
Cobb teaches us to look at the world as a record of the soul's struggles to awaken and as the soul's poetry. From this perspective, the real basis of the mind is poetic. Beauty, love, and creativity are as much instincts of the soul as sexuality or hunger. Cobb shows us how artists and mystics can teach us the meaning of love, death, and beauty, if only we can awaken to their creations. The exemplars here are Dante, Rumi, Rilke, Munch, Lorca, Schumann, and Tarkovsky.