Written by Joseph Chilton Pearce,

A heart-centred approach to suffering

Review by Gunnel Minett

The fact that there is a lot of suffering in the world is something that the media never allow us to ignore. But although they offer in-depth accounts of what is wrong, the explanations of why this is the case, are usually more superficial and culture-bound.
In this book Chilton Pearce points out that we have to ask if our violent and cruel behaviour is endemic to our nature or if there are other causes. He continues by suggesting that the answers are to be found in our cultural imprint that sometimes acts as a negative force-field that blocks the rise of our natural spirit and innate altruistic nature. Religion plays an important part in this negative imprinting, both because it leads to dogmatic attitudes and because it generates conflicts between different belief-systems.

In an effort to challenge this, Chilton Pearce turns to neuroscience and brain research. By understanding how he brain works, we will understand more of about what the growing child needs in order to develop into a healthy, harmonious adult. This identifies the ways in which we need to change the interaction between adults and children in order to achieve a real change in future adult behaviour.
Chilton Pearce also highlights the role of the heart in this context – knowledge which has only recently started to emerge. Apart from playing a vital role in maintaining constant blood circulation, the heart also seems to play a role as an extension of the brain. It acts as a very sensitive monitor of the world around us. At the same time, it produces a different understanding form of understanding, as illustrated in folklore in expressions such as ‘thinking with the heart’ and ‘acting from the heart’.

As in his previous books, Chilton Pearce offers a different view of the world, based on large amounts of clarity and wisdom.

Park Street Press, Rochester, Vermont, 2007, ISBN 1059477-171-5