Date Published: Originally 2007 - Revised 2015
Dr. Hartman tells the story about our vulnerability to painful emotions, which flare up from the depths of our minds, casting spells over us. As the book unfolds, he develops two powerful ways to strengthen our consciousness enough to break these spells: one, by recognizing and grappling with the two surprisingly simple thoughts that lie at the heart—and generate the pain—in each of our negative emotions, and two, by learning to stay focused on the present moment—the single moment we spend our entire lives in—whose mysterious, unexpected nature he describes in vivid detail.
Read an excerpt:
From the Introduction:
This is a story about time, and the time travel that goes on inside our minds. It’s the story about the way our consciousness lives its life, the way it falls through the time inside our minds back into the past, helplessly, and sometimes dangerously. And it’s about the way it undertakes the heroic journey back again into this present moment, where it does its greatest work and experiences its most profound wisdom and peace.
I’ve dreamed of creating a kind of experience which might help bring a reader, an audience, to see what’s at the flash point of a major personal transformation. And I don’t mean just a feeling of hope or inspiration. I want for people to see—to really see—what I believe the mind looks like inside: what astounding things it’s made of, how the past lives right there inside it, and how to decipher and break the hypnotic spell we call emotional pain, which comes from that past. And I also want to convey some things I’ve learned about the nature of this present moment we’re in, and how to mobilize new strength in order to feel steady, serene, resilient, and newly alive to it. And by doing this, I wanted to create something that might shorten how long it would take to reach a lasting breakthrough...
I can claim no ownership of the ideas I express here. I discovered them the way people find minerals in the ground. They’re all old ideas I’ve rediscovered firsthand in my private practice. They’ve already been expressed in numerous ways by numberless people throughout human history. Beyond the native intelligence I possess, I know I have no great charisma to speak of, nor any extraordinary verbal gifts. But I do love human minds, and I love traveling them. And I’m blessed to have been invited for so many years by so many people into these private, most sacred of all places. Beyond all of the illusions, stigma, and glamour about therapy, it is enigmatic, hallowed work to experience all of the sounds, images, and music in people’s lives, and to spend my days working to mobilize the potential in them.
Working on this book felt like I was preparing a gift. It contains the essence of the interaction—a kind of pheromone exchange that occurs—in a place called an office (that looks more like a living room) between some- one who wants so much to give help and someone who wants so much to receive it. And most urgently of all, for these times we live in, I wanted to set down in words the simple chant of ideas that can ignite the wonder in us. And from the wonder, inspiration. And from the inspiration, the surging will to break the oppressive grip of pain from the past and move more freely into the teeming and sacred immensity of the present moment—the only moment we ever really have in life.
I'm a clinical psychologist in private practice and make my home on Long Island, New York.
About Fredric C. Hartman, Ph. D.