Described by the author as a key to the entire corpus of his work, The Commanding Self describes the mixture of primitive and conditioned responses, common to everyone, that inhibits and distorts human progress and understanding. This book is designed to offer a way to transcend the limits imposed by this "commanding self."
While complete in itself as an anthology of hitherto unpublished work, the book serves to illustrate and amplify Idries Shah's preceding books on the Sufi Way. Based on tales, lectures, letters, and interviews, it offers both an introduction to Sufi thought and further study for those already acquainted with Shah's writings.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Idries Shah's book, `The Commanding Self' stands out in sharp contrast to the "Me Generation" popular fads of the last two decades. It is written from a very different standpoint than that underlying the numerous books, seminars, videos, support groups, subliminal tapes and so forth that promise (though always at a price) an easy road to "self-help" and "self-development."
The message in "The Commanding Self' is not that we can develop and improve ourselves by these or any other similar means. It is not that we need to develop ourselves or create a more positive image of ourselves or learn to feel better about ourselves. It is not that we ought to learn better to express ourselves. It is not either that we ought to learn to love ourselves.
To the extent that `The Commanding Self' can appropriately be said to have a "message" at all, the message about the self is one that is quite shocking to our contemporary popular psychology. It is that what we take to be our...
Westerners are very sophisticated when it comes to knowing the difference between "the real thing" and a fake if we are talking about material goods. But in the area of knowing what IS and what IS NOT real spirituality, we still have a long way to go. This book, "The Commanding Self" will give the reader a tremendous opportunity to examine his/her own assumptions about what is spirtuality and to experience one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century. Idries Shah is so practical, so funny, so filled with insight, that one can almost feel one's brain expanding while reading this book. His style incorporates lecture, question and answer and the magic of the Sufi teaching story. Just when you think you have wrapped your brain around a concept that Shah eloquently explains, he illustrates it with a teaching story and allows you to "grok" it in yet another way. I have read this book many times, and feel I have only scratched the surface of understanding...
Suggests ways to deal with the psychological barriers to spiritual progress. Shah emphasizes the need for people to discern their own emotional ebb and flow and come to an understanding of it, so that they operate it, and not it them. In particular, The Commanding Self helped me to develop honest and useful responses to issues of vanity, ambition, personal recognition and worldly success.
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