Narrative Meditation

Terry Clancy

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 70 Price: (paperback) $13.79 ISBN: 9781984503411 Reviewed: February, 2019 Author Website: Visit »

Terry Clancy spent his career as a mental health nurse and rehabilitation manager, training in and sharing the benefits of “the therapeutic use of self,” a theory from American nursing professor Martha E. Rogers that he studied in the 1970s. Here, he shares the theory to help the general public reach “a state of empowerment in awareness of ourselves as whole in the present moment.”

Clancy believes that self-healing is facilitated by focusing awareness on one’s body, emotions, thoughts and beliefs. To do this, he recommends accessing deeper and deeper levels of awareness of the body’s energy field via meditation, what he calls “transformative vision.” By envisioning this type of meditation as a pyramid, he posits, one can explore “seven inner levels of awareness, four aspects of experience, and the apex where they all meet.”

Unfortunately, it’s not until page 65 (out of 80) that Clancy defines these seven levels of awareness. He gives each one a color, from red to violet (which recalls the Eastern spiritual tradition of chakras, though Clancy’s version is different). Until then, there’s no specific instruction in how to sit, breathe, focus, chant or otherwise calm the mind to allow the inner self to emerge, although he writes that accessing this state is an objective of this book. The majority of the text simply reiterates the theoretical definitions of the self, energy, and transformative vision presented in the Introduction.

The writing is also problematic. Rambling, repetitive paragraphs greatly in need of copyediting comprise the book’s five core chapters. The prose is exceedingly abstract and convoluted: “Mastery is a lifestyle decision of how to be [sic] is made in awareness of possibilities of vision of transformation of awareness as mindfulness of goals in everyday day life….” Non-nursing professionals will have difficulty understanding how this concept of self-awareness can be useful.

In sum, lay readers will find this book nearly impenetrable. It’s value to mental health professionals will be limited, as well.

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