Eyes Wide Open:
Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path

Eyes Wide Open:
Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path
by Mariana Caplan, PhD
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Sounds True ©2009
ISBN 978-1-59179-732-6

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Read Article: A Meditation on Discernment: The Crowning Wisdom of Yoga

Winner of Five National Book Awards
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Foreword by John Welwood

The spiritual path is like any other road—it’s going to have its share of potholes and detours. Safe travel requires a quality rarely taught yet critically important in today’s world: discernment. In Eyes Wide Open, Mariana Caplan supports us in cultivating the acute judgment and discrimination that will help us to live a spiritual life with intelligence, clarity, and authenticity.

Is enlightenment less about fireworks and bliss and more about dismantling illusions? How do we fully integrate our practice into daily living? What’s the best way to work with the ego and the
shadow? Eyes Wide Open explores these questions and more, offering practitioners from any tradition—or those just getting started—a traveler’s guide through “the labyrinth of increasing subtlety” that defines a genuine spiritual life.

We evolve spiritually by cultivating discernment that is powerful enough to pierce through confusion on every level of our experience, explains Mariana Caplan. To help us along the way, this fellow traveler now offers Eyes Wide Open.

Read about:
• What is spirituality anyway? Feeding the hungry heart in contemporary Western culture.
• “Spiritually transmitted diseases”—the common traps of modern
spirituality, and how to avoid them.
• The universal theme of the Healing Crisis—and how discernment provides a “life raft” for such times.
• Fully integrated spirituality—balancing body, psyche, and
spirit for potent transformation .

Tikkum.org Review:
Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path
Mariana Caplan, Sounds True, 2009

Mariana Caplan, who teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, has gone through a long journey of spiritual growth. In this remarkable book she shares much wisdom about the pitfalls facing serious spiritual seekers. Teaching us to cultivate discernment, to understand the foibles and distortions we are likely to encounter in spiritual teachers, she urges both a gentle firmness and compassion for others and ourselves on this path. She is alert to the dangers of what she calls “spiritually transmitted disease” — a disease involving the negation of women and dismissal of feminine wisdom; the sexual or financial corruption of some spiritual teachers; fast-food spirituality; the confusions of ego and how it gets protected by spiritual forms that supposedly lead to transcending of ego; group mind thinking; and much else.

Though framed as a warning to keep our eyes wide open, Caplan’s book is actually a deep rethinking of contemporary spirituality that will be as useful for those with a long history of spiritual practice as for those who have kept away from the spiritual world on the assumption that it was flaky or intellectually and psychologically unsophisticated. Though written in an accessible almost “self-help” kind of way, Caplan’s book offers profound spiritual wisdom.

“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, author of Character and Neurosis and The Way of Silence and the Talking Cure