The Illuminated Heart is a major contribution from two dedicated physician/philosophers who have devoted most of their adult professional lives in a disciplined search for a better understanding of our human and divine natures – and especially of the forces of creativity and integrity, of individuality and relatedness, in humans and in the universe.
This is a remarkable book; a true magnum opus for this dedicated pair of physician/philosopher/seekers, who have distilled the readings, teachings, and discussions of their 40-year professional and personal relationship into a wide-ranging, scholarly, engaging, informative, interesting, very readable discussion and summary of Western and Eastern philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, and medicine. Their grasp of both bodies of thought and practice is vibrant and scholarly and represents a colossal achievement and contribution to the literature.
Many writers have attempted to explore and describe the breadth and depth of Western and Eastern philosophy, psychology, and medicine. Few have had the broad vision, the intellectual capacity, the rigorous discipline, the dedicated commitment, as well as the lifelong experience and fundamental engagement in both worlds, to fully understand and integrate the essences of these great traditions.
Throughout their detailed, yet jargon-free and crystal clear distillations of the contributions of Western thinkers over the past century, they maintain a rich undercurrent of thoughtful discussion that renders these immediately and easily understandable, many for the first time. The same is true of the rich heritage of Eastern medicine and metaphysics, into which they have delved so deeply as to be considered respected sinologists and teachers throughout the Far East. Their special genius emerges in a unique and imaginative series of dialogues involving themselves in a contemporary discussion of each of the book’s some 16 salient issues with two historical alter-ego figures – Carl Jung, representing the West and Confucius, the East – in which the four engage, converse, and interact animatedly and cogently about each issue. Here the distillation of their own thinking and methods is vibrantly alive. It is a stroke of genius, bringing the reader as silent participant into the richness of their teaching.
In some ways, the book is a reflection and outgrowth of their unique personal and professional lives together as fellow seekers, teachers, long-term friends, drawing on the creative wellsprings of their own relationship to develop a liberating model of human relationship, which in turn serves to understand and liberate the yearnings and learnings of countless friends, patients, colleagues, and fellow searchers across the world