The Search for the Beloved by Jean Houston
Jeremy P. Tarcher Inc., Los Angeles, California, 1987, 252 pgs., $19.95
Jean Houston's practice-oriented textbook The Search for the Beloved on sacred --that is, transpersonal-- psychology is centered on the premise that all human beings are in quest of something beyond themselves, namely God. We don't recognize this ideal in our day-to-day struggles, however, believing instead that ephemeral pleasures are our real goal.
This oversight, Houston contends, is the basis of human suffering. Instead of searching for the transcendental and everlasting Beloved, we circumvent our heart's deepest desire for something tragically less; we settle for a profane, mundane existence. Yet eventually all human endeavors betray their finite ends and reveal their divine inspiration.
In other words, although everything ends ultimately in frustration (the rich man dies of cancer; the husband loses his wife; the child's dreams disappear), that very frustration awakens human beings to their sacred destiny. Thus. loneliness is not merely a mental disease to be cured but represents the eternal calling within all of us for our true home. We are suffering from a divine wound but have neglected it.
The Search for the Beloved is a thoughtful study which
extends the work started by Carl Jung in the early part of this
century and carried on by the likes of Abraham Maslow and Carl
Rogers: a humanistic interpretation that seeks to link human
actions and motivations with the numinous.
---David Christopher Lane