Skip 
Navigation Link
Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest NewsLinksBook Reviews
10 Minute Solution: Butt Lift10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training101 Ways to Meditate29 Gifts3-In-1 Total Body Fitness with Desi Bartlett30 Minute Ab & Butt Blaster5 Day Fit Yoga5 Mega Miles with Toning Band7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups8 Keys to Body Brain Balance8 Keys to Practicing MindfulnessA.M. EnergyAccessible Yoga for Every Body DVDAfter the Ecstasy, the LaundryAge-Proof Your MindAgeless Mobility: Pain-Free Wellness For LongevityAlmost MeatlessAM/PM YogaAnswers for AristotleAnywhere, Anytime, Any Body YogaAthlete's Guide to YogaAuthentic HappinessAwakening Self-EsteemBack in Action: Yoga for a Healthy BackBalanced AssetsBedroom Body: Booty Burner, Core & Pelvic Floor WorkoutBeginners Meditation & Mindful StretchingBeginners Yoga DVDBeginning YogaBellyFit ElementsBetter Sex Through YogaBody By BethennyBorn to Balance - Balance BasicsBreath-Centered YogaBreathingBrightening Our Inner SkiesBuddhist Boot CampCalm Body Clear MindCalm EnergyCalm Focus JoyChakra MeditationsChoosing CivilityClassical Pilates Technique DVDComplementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchCore Fusion - Pilates PlusCore Fusion - Pure Abs & ArmsCore Fusion - Thighs & GlutesCore Fusion Body SculptCore Fusion Lean & TonedCore Fusion Power SculptCore Strength PilatesCore Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour with Sadie NardiniCore YogaCreative Core AbsCreative Writing In Health And Social CareDance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop PartyDance the Chakras Yoga WorkoutDeep Stretch / Yin YogaDetox YogaDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Eating WellDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Optimum HealthDr. Andrew Weil's Mindbody ToolkitEastern Body, Western MindEasy YogaElement: Barre ConditioningElement: Targeted Toning Pilates for BeginnersElement: Yoga for Stress Relief & FlexibilityElements of Yoga, Earth FoundationsElements of Yoga, Fire DynamicElements of Yoga: Air & WaterEmotional Chaos to ClarityEmotions, Stress, and HealthEvamarie Pilipuf's Yoga Express DVDEvery Day Yoga for Every Body DVDEveryday GreensEveryday Workout for the Everyday WomanEveryday Yoga for Stress Release Everything VeganExhale Core Fusion 30 Day SculptFamily YogaFast Food for the SoulFat and FuriousFear and Other Uninvited GuestsFit Family Fun CircuitFit in 5 DVDFlat Abs PilatesFlow and YinFlow YogaFluid Power Vinyasa Flow YogaFully PresentGaiam Pilates Slide and Sculpt Kit with DVDGaiam Pilates Total Toning KitGaiam Yoga For Weight Loss KitGet Ripped & ChiseledGood MedicineGoodbye, ThingsHandbook of MindfulnessHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHealing Through Movement: Pilates Head to ToeHealthy AgingHealthy Sexy Beautiful Kundalini YogaHemalayaa's Yoga for Young Bodies DVDHemalayaa: Bollywood BootyHot Body Cool Mind - Level 1Hot Body Cool Mind: Waking Energy How to Cook Everything VegetarianHow Would Buddha Act?I Contain MultitudesI'd Rather LaughIn Defense of FoodInsight Yoga Earth: Balancing Yin EnergyInsight Yoga Heaven: Balancing YangInsight Yoga with Sarah PowersIntegrated YogaIntegrative MedicineIntroduction to Ashtanga Yoga DVDIntroduction to Qi YogaIntroduction to Yoga DVDIt's Up to YouJanis Saffell Beverly Hills YogaKids Teach Yoga - Flying EagleKidYogi - Yoga for ChildrenKnowing the Nature of FearKripalu YogaKripalu Yoga Dynamic DVDKripalu Yoga Gentle DVDKundalini Yoga : DVDKundalini Yoga for Beginners & BeyondKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - MONDAYKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - TUESDAY - CoreKundalini Yoga Meditation for Beginners & BeyondKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersKundalini Yoga on the BallKundalini Yoga Solar Power All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVDKundalini Yoga Transformer All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga: Green Energy of the HeartLife MakeoversLifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Living BeautifullyLiving Room Yoga DVDLiving Room Yoga: Twist and BendLiving Your Best LifeLiving Your DreamLunar Flow YogaMadhur Jaffrey's World VegetarianMake It Fast, Cook It SlowManage Your Depression Through ExerciseMaui PilatesMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Back PainMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for IBSMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for InsomniaMean GenesMeditation in a New York MinuteMeditations for BeginnersMindful AmericaMindful AngerMindfulnessMindfulness for BeginnersMindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician's Guide to Evidence Base and ApplicationsMisadventures of a Garden State YogiMozart's Brain and the Fighter PilotNamaste Yoga: Season 3 Part 1NeuroLogicNew York PilatesNext-Level PilatesNutrition Essentials for Mental HealthPassionate VegetarianPerfect in Ten AbsPerfect in Ten: PilatesPerfect in Ten: StretchPerfect in Ten: YogaPilates AnatomyPilates for BeginnersPilates for MenPositivityPower to the Peaceful YogaPower YogaPower YogaPower Yoga for HappinessPower Yoga: Core PowerPower Yoga: Fat BurnerPrenatal FlowPrescriptive StretchingPresence Through Movement: Yin YogaPsychology Moment by MomentPure and Simple YogaPure SculptPure Yoga Pilates with Kerry BestwickQi Gong Fire & Water With Matthew CohenQi Gong Flow for BeginnersQi Gong for Low Back PainQi Gong for Upper Back and Neck PainQi Gong for Weight LossQi Workout AM/PMQiGong for Healthy Joints & BonesQiGong IllustratedQuick Blast MethodReach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's BodyRed Lotus YogaResistance Stretching With Dara TorresRestorative Yoga PracticeSara Ivanhoe's Taste DVDSaving NormalSelf-CompassionSeven Challenges To Change Your Life DVDSleep BetterSolar Flow Yoga DVDSoupsSparkSpontaneous HappinessSports Hypnosis in PracticeStep By Step Strength TrainingStep by Step Tai ChiStrength & SpiritStrength, Grace, HealingStress ReliefStrong & SculptedStrong Body, Ageless BodySun SalutationsSuper Natural CookingSuper Seniors: Box, Balance, & Lift SupersurvivorsSurf Yoga SoulSybel's Yoga For Sports & FitnessSybel's Yoga For Sports & Fitness Vol 2Tai Chi for Beginners with Grandmaster William C. C. ChenTaming Your Inner BratTeach Yourself MeditationTeen YogaTeenYogi DVDTen Minutes to RelaxThe Accidental VeganThe Angelica Home KitchenThe Art and Science of MindfulnessThe Athlete's Guide to YogaThe Beginner's Guide to Healthy EatingThe Best Things You Can EatThe Booty Barre -Total New BodyThe Breathing FieldThe Cafe Brenda CookbookThe Complete Book of Raw FoodThe Complete Vegetarian HandbookThe Easy Yoga WorkbookThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Five Things We Cannot Change ...The Good LifeThe Happiness of PursuitThe Harvard Medical School Guide to YogaThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Health Psychology HandbookThe Healthy KitchenThe Heart of YogaThe Indian VegetarianThe Jewel Tree of TibetThe Joy of MeditatingThe Kettlebell BoomerThe Little Book of Healthy TeasThe Little Soy BookThe Little Yoga BookThe Mood CureThe Mozart EffectThe Myth of Freedom and the Way of MeditationThe Perfect ExerciseThe Pilates Workout JournalThe Playful BrainThe Quest for Peace, Love, and a 24'' WaistThe Road to Calm WorkbookThe Self-Compassion Skills WorkbookThe Spa DeckThe Spirit of Buddhist MeditationThe Stoic Art of LivingThe Ultimate BALLET YOGAThe Ultra MindsetThe Way of StretchingThe Weight of the NationThe Well-Tuned BrainThe Will to Live and Other MysteriesThe Yin Yoga KitThink SmartTotal AstangaTotal Health the Chinese WayTotal PilatesTotal-Body ToningTransform Yourself with Jivamukti YogaTransformative YogaTrudie Styler's Warrior YogaV-Core WorkoutVegan ExpressVegan for LifeVegetarian Turkish CookingViva Vegan!Walk It Off in 30 DaysWalk to the HITS Radio RemixesWalkingWalking a Literary LabyrinthWatch Me Do YogaWeight Loss Cardio KickWellbeingWhat We Say MattersWhen Things Fall ApartWriting in FlowYin and Yang YogaYin Yoga DVDYogaYogaYogaYoga & Pilates Workouts for DummiesYoga 4 TeensYoga : Beginners Flow for EveryoneYoga AnatomyYoga and PsychologyYoga as MedicineYoga Beauty BodyYoga Bliss HipsYoga Body : Lean & Defined Total Body WorkoutYoga By Teens DVDYoga Emergency DVD: Arms & ShouldersYoga Emergency DVD: BackYoga Emergency DVD: Full Leg StretchYoga Emergency DVD: HipsYoga Flow DVDYoga for AnxietyYoga for Back CareYoga for BeginnersYoga for Energy & Stress ReliefYoga for EveryoneYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Regular GuysYoga for Strength & EnergyYoga for Strength & FlexibilityYoga for the Young at HeartYoga for Your WeekYoga In BedYoga in BedYoga Inside Out: Go DeeperYoga Inside Out: The Healing WayYoga Journal's Yoga for StressYoga Journal: Yoga for Strength and Toning DVDYoga Link: Core IntegrationYoga Link: Hip HelpersYoga Link: Shoulder Shape-UpYoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress ReliefYoga on DemandYoga Quick FixesYoga SanctuaryYoga SculptYoga ShaktiYoga TherapyYoga Therapy for Back PainYoga Therapy Prescriptions - 60 Health Restorative SequencesYoga To Go's Yoga Quick Fixes DVDYoga to the Rescue - Feel Good from Head to ToeYoga to the Rescue for Back PainYoga to the Rescue for Neck & ShouldersYoga to the Rescue for Pain-Free Back, Neck & ShouldersYoga Weight Loss for DummiesYoga: Freedom from Back PainYoga: Relief from Neck and Shoulder PainYoga: Spirit of Vinyasa FlowYogabodyYogawomanYou Can Think Yourself ThinYou'll See It When You Believe ItYour Body Breakthru - Your Best Body Circuit DVDYour Brain on FoodYour Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings,Your Miracle BrainZen Encounters with Loneliness
Related Topics

Smoking

by Phillip Moffitt
Hudson Street Press, 2012
Review by Leo Uzych, J.D., M.P.H. on Dec 17th 2013

Emotional Chaos to Clarity

Emotional Chaos to Clarity is a fascinating book about journeying in life from emotional chaos to clarity.  The author, Phillip Moffitt, is a Buddhist meditation teacher, founder of the Life Balance Institute, and a co-guiding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, in Northern California; Moffitt was formerly the CEO and editor in chief, of ESQUIRE magazine.  As stated in the book's Introduction, Moffitt aspired, in writing the book, to help readers learn how to live more skillfully.  The discerning discourse of Moffitt is funneled, in a relatively abstruse manner, through an intellectual funnel which is notably thoughtful, quite insightful, and tinged philosophically.  The resultant literary concoction, brewed in intellectually delectable fashion in the writing cauldron of Moffitt, is laden insightfully and thoughtfully with insights, advice, and suggestions.  The substantive body, moreover, is garbed distinctly with a psychoanalytical cloak; and strands of Buddhism and meditation contribute as well to the distinctive forming of the textual tapestry.  There is truly much to be learned from a close reading of this edifying book.

The book, structurally, is configured into twenty chapters, bookended by an Introduction and Epilogue.

Following the Epilogue is a structural section (entitled "Online Resources"), in which Moffitt draws readers' attention to a website created by Moffitt for the purpose of providing ongoing support regarding living more skillfully; some features of the website are described pithily.

A distinctive structural custom, followed in the book, is to place structurally at a chapter's end a section composed either of a practice, a meditation, suggestions, questions, reflections, or else a self assessment evaluation, tethered firmly to a particular chapter's contents.

Anecdotal recounting of bits and pieces of the lives of numerous, real life persons, in a way connected germanely and instructively to the adjoining text, substantively enlivens the textual body.  Regarding such persons, Moffitt explains, in the book's Introduction, that, to protect their privacy, Moffitt has changed their names, and sometimes details of their lives.

Some anecdotal, biographical details of Moffitt's life likewise contribute anecdotally, in an animating way, to the book's substantive composition.

Snippets, in the form of quotes taken from real life persons, further add anecdotally to the animating of the book's substance.

A delineation of the contours of "mindfulness" and also "intention", in the context particularly of commencing the journey from emotional chaos to clarity, is crafted quite skillfully by Moffitt, in Chapter 1.

The substantive crux, of Chapter 2, is thoughtful examination of the issue:  Who am I?  In Moffitt's view, a person is a unique combination of "capacities" and "values".  As Moffitt explains, becoming mindful of one's capacities (which are shaped by one's values) results in the mind being less likely to be chaotic.

In the Epilogue, Moffitt counsels the rereading, of Chapter 2.

The thematic emphasis, of Chapter 3, is on the importance, in life, of intentions.

The cultivating of the practice of "starting over" (when one is not living from one's intentions) comprises the substantive essence, of Chapter 4.

With regard to emotional chaos in life, Moffitt, in Chapter 5, ponders cerebrally "the tyranny of expectations", and how a person can become unshackled from this tyrannical chain.

In following Chapter 6, Moffitt expounds principally on priorities, explaining that lack of clarity concerning priorities may be a major source of emotional chaos.

And then, in Chapter 7, the ever pensive gaze of Moffitt turns in the direction of the mindfulness practice of "starting your day with clarity", which, in Moffitt's view, may lessen the emotional chaos in a person's life.

Moffitt believes that, in order to minimize emotional chaos and sustain clarity, it is crucial for a person to develop the skill of distinguishing between experience and interpretation.  And, in Chapter 8, Moffitt adds much flesh to the bones of experience and interpretation.

The making of skillful decisions is on centerstage, in Chapter 9.  In this enframing context, Moffitt describes the stages of mindful decision making.

The illumining flashlight of Moffitt, in Chapter 10, illumines brightly the Buddhist meditation practices of "loving-kindness" and "compassion".  As Moffitt discourses, a person's capacity to "self-soothe" may be increased by means of these practices.

The mindful cultivating of gratitude is at the heart, of Chapter 11.  As evaluated by Moffitt, gratitude practice helps bring clarity to life; and it enables a person to "live into life".

In Chapter 12, Moffitt opines that attachments may be a source of emotional chaos; to gain more clarity, Moffitt prescribes the antidote of generosity.

Moffitt, in Chapter 13, draws readers' attention to doing the right thing in a person's daily life, with a resultant here and now sense of well being.

Rising to the fore, of Chapter 14, is mindfulness, in the specific context of making major life changes.

The careful scrutiny of Moffitt, in Chapter 15, is attracted especially to issues relating to boundaries, extending to comment on physical boundaries, emotional boundaries, "trespassing", and "enmeshment". 

The ken, of Moffitt, in Chapter 16, revealingly sights self violence.

And, in Chapter 17, a revealing view of self restraint, as a counterbalance to ego centered desires, falls within the range of sight of Moffitt.  Several renunciations are examined carefully.

Discourse riveting the eyes of readers on  "ordinary compulsion" forms the substantive cynosure, of Chapter 18.

The crux of penultimate Chapter 19 is how to live skillfully with difficulties.  In this enframing context, Moffitt cuts a swath across the area of "personal defeat".

And finally, in concluding Chapter 20, Moffitt proffers sage counsel, appertaining chiefly to forgiveness and also to reconciliation.

From a critical perspective, it may be opined critically that the qualitative musings of Moffitt, although imbued with much thoughtfulness and insightfulness, are not moored by the anchor of quantification.

And some of the views put forth compellingly by Moffitt may nonetheless not be shared unequivocally by particular readers.

The actual implementation, in real life terms, of the myriad suggestions embodied in the book may, as well, engender some skepticism.

But across the intellectual length and breadth of the book, there is plainly an intellectually refreshing abundance of thought provoking views, ideas, insights, and suggestions.

Indeed, the potential reading appeal and relevance of this book reaches universally.

At the stratum of professionals, Moffitt's discourse will likely especially pique the professional interest of psychotherapists and behavioral experts.

The eyes of readers with an interest in meditation, and in Buddhism, will also quite likely be glued firmly to the pages of the book.

 

© 2013 Leo Uzych

 

Leo Uzych (based in Wallingford, PA) earned a law degree, from Temple University; and a master of public health degree, from Columbia University.  His area of special professional interest is healthcare.  Twitter @LeoUzych