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REVIEWS: Calm, Clear, and Loving

Calm, Clear, and Loving
Soothing the Distressed Mind,
Healing the Wounded Heart
(Second edition)

With Forewords by Kathleen M. Higgins, Ph.D., Claudio Naranjo, M.D., Ed.D., and Audrey Rachel Stevenson.
Mitchell D. Ginsberg

Text length: 370 pdf pages (6" x 9")
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-938459-12-2  
Softcover ISBN: 978-1-938459-14-6
eBook ISBN: 978-1-938459-18-4


Mitchell exhibits the value of philosophy in multiple ways. I especially admire his efforts to apply ideas that are usually deemed pure theory to concrete therapeutic situations... Making peace with the past and being able to alter patterns that cause suffering are the central concerns of this book ... [including] the whole project of self-transformation and integration that this book aims to nurture ...
     This book is heartening in the same way that some of Nietzsche’s writings and the classics of Daoism are. All of these texts emphasize the on-going process and the potential for one to take matters in hand right now. One of the gifts this book offers to the reader is a sense of empowerment in the present, wherever in life one happens to be.

Excerpted from the Foreword by Kathleen M. Higgins, Ph.D.

An author who covers so much with comparable mastery is like a rare flower ... his panoramic gaze is a beautiful thing to see; so I hope that, beyond its subject matter, the present volume may constitute to some extent a cultural influence remedial to our overspecialized and greedy times, when wonder has gone the way of extinct species, and when the love of knowledge is now only rarely free and disinterested.

Excerpted from the Foreword by Claudio Naranjo, M.D., Ed.D.

Calm, Clear, and Loving offers with gentle and heartfelt compassion, very pragmatic suggestions for alleviating torment in our lives. For anyone who has experienced violence, this book shows how to shift from automatic patterns of self-blame, shame, self-attacking, and fear, to a state of calm, clarity, and lovingkindness to ourselves and to others . . . This book teaches how to begin to live a full and vibrant life.
     With an open heart, I gently invite you to embark on a journey of self-transformation through self-observation. I encourage you to take this first critical, necessary step. This book can change your life in profound ways; the time and energy of your courageous work can reap unlimited rewards. You are worth it. And now, I extend a sincere invitation to you, to read this book with your heart.

Excerpted from the Foreword by Audrey Rachel Stevenson.

An integration of philosophy, psychology, spirituality, and poetry, Calm, Clear, and Loving is not only of relevance for the theoretical issues that it addresses; it also invites the reader to reflect on daily life experiences, shifting from blame and self-criticism to self-acceptance and love.
     For long-time psychotherapists and teachers like me, Mitchell’s book can be a real threat, because it challenges basic psychiatric principles and gives a “subversive” vision of what we consider psychological distress and diagnostic evidence.
     This is a radical vision that brings us into a spiritual adventure in search of the essence of life, death, diseases, and therapeutic relationships. (As Carl Whitaker stated many times, the real human and professional transformation is moving from “doing therapy to being therapists.”)
     Mitchell describes this as the perspective of psychospirituality, which invites a paradigm shift to a totally different orientation and language from the all-too-common “quick-fix syndrome” of today and the categorizations of human psychopathology presented in the various editions of psychiatry’s DSM textbook.
     If we are to be able to address people in distress in a very caring and loving manner, we have to move from the language of psychiatric disorders and their diagnostic evidence to another planet of interrelating where we can experience humanity and creativity in a calm, clear, and loving context.

Maurizio Andolfi, M.D., Founder of the European Family Therapy Association, Director of the Accademia di Psicoterapia della Famiglia (Rome), Professor at Sapienza Università di Roma, author of Dimensions of Family Therapy, Family Therapy: An Interactional Approach, Behind the Family Mask: Therapeutic Change in Rigid Family Systems, The Myth of Atlas: Families and the Therapeutic Story, and principal editor of Please Help Me with This Family and The Oaxaca Book.

I was struck by the integration of psychological concepts with spiritual practice. In providing such a clear description of the different parts of experience (mind as a sixth sense), Ginsberg integrates meditation as a method of gaining self-definition that is accessible to both patients and spiritual explorers.

Mei-I Chang, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, San Diego.

Soft and gentle in its tone and tenacious in its endeavor ...
     Utilizing an interdisciplinary lens and clearly an experiential knowledge of principles of consciousness studies, Dr. Ginsberg has offered practical applications for healing ...
     One needs to keep coming back to this book since it reveals something more every time it is revisited . . . and offers hope about the healing power of the mind even in its darkest moments. For some of us that alone might be a reason to keep it at one’s bedside. That, and also because Dr. Ginsberg has written this book not only with a sharp brilliance but also a loving soul.
     In a day and age where medical researchers are examining ways of being able to permanently delete traumatic memories from the brain, such books are a much needed reminder for us to pause and reconsider ... human consciousness and ... its transformative powers.

From the book review of Calm, Clear, and Loving in The Survivor, Newsletter of SOTI, Survivors of Torture, International, vol. 15, no. 2 (June 2012).

For me, Mitchell’s latest wonderful, and lucidly expounded book Calm, Clear, and Loving, about soothing the distressed mind and healing the wounded heart, is one of the most inspiring and intriguing books I have ever encountered. Certainly that book represents who Mitchell is: a philosopher, a mystic, a psychotherapist, and a Vipassana Teacher in addition to being a good friend of mine and of many others.

Dhiravamsa, International Vipassana Meditation Master, Grand Canary Island, Spain, author of Healing through Pure Mindfulness, Nirvana Upside Down, The Way of Non-attachment, The Middle Path of Life, and Una nueva visión del Budismo.

Congratulations on a very impressive work of scholarship and philosophic explorations. I approach it as a fine bottle of vintage liqueur (taste, sip, and savor a chapter at a time). I think it fully qualifies for the adjective heuristic. It’s both thought provoking and engaging!

Maurice Shilling, M.D., Psychiatrist, Former staff member of The Ackerman Family Institute, New York City.

Calm, Clear, and Loving is an in-depth exploration of how we deal with suffering in our lives and create the possibilities of freedom. It is an impressive work, broad in its scope. Mitchell Ginsberg’s insight and depth of scholarship range across a wide array of disciplines and traditions. A careful reading of this work can bring many rewards.

Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism and A Heart Full of Peace.

I’ve known Mitchell for almost 40 years. Reading now this latest book of Mitchell’s, I am delighted to see some things I remember from our discussions, plus many many other ideas and concepts. Imagine walking into a bar (or maybe it’s a library or a fin-de-siècle Viennese café). The Buddha, Wittgenstein, and Nietzsche are there. Ronnie Laing, Gregory Bateson, Aristotle, Huang Po, and Freud are at the next table, along with Thomas Szasz, Pierre Janet, Michel de Montaigne, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Wow! Holy hermeneutics! There is an intense discussion going on — “Dao ... Mind ... Family ... Consciousness ... Cybernetics ... The Unconscious ... Therapy ... Love” — but they’re speaking French, German, English, Chinese, Sanskrit, and Greek. Luckily, Mitchell is there, smiling his patient, sweet smile, meticulously taking notes.
     I recommend Calm, Clear, and Loving: Soothing the Distressed Mind, Healing the Wounded Heart to anyone who has interest in these topics who would enjoy deep scholarship, kindness, and wisdom.

Michael F. Hoyt, Ph.D., author of Some Stories Are Better than Others, The Present is a Gift, and Brief Psychotherapies: Principles and Practices, and editor of The Handbook of Constructive Therapies and Therapist Stories of Inspiration, Passion, and Renewal: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

I have always criticized the American brand of Positive Psychology for making scientific research its calling card, because science alone cannot contribute to a deeper understanding of the human condition, nor can it answer the most important question of what makes life worth living.
     We need both the art and science of optimal living in order to address existential concerns and enhance well-being. Dr. Mitchell Ginsberg’s book fills a void. Based on his knowledge of both Western and Eastern philosophical traditions and his profound insight into living fully and vitally, his book can indeed help people gain a sense of calmness, clarity, and compassion in their daily living.

Paul P. T. Wong, Ph.D., founder of the International Society for Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy (ISEPP) and the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM); editor of The Human Quest for Meaning (2nd edition, 2012).

Calm, Clear, and Loving is an example of deep caring in today’s rushed therapeutic world. The book shows us the way of heart, compassion, and feeling.

Carlos Warter, M.D., Ph.D., Psychiatrist, Consciousness Innovator, 1987 recipient of the United Nations Peace Messenger Award, and author of Recovery of the Sacred: Lessons in Soul Awareness, Pathways of the Soul, and Who Do You Think You Are?: The Healing Power of Your Sacred Self (in 9 languages).


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