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Balancing Heaven and Earth: A Memoir of Visions, Dreams, and Realizations

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  294 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
One of this century's most popular psychology scholars, Robert A.Johnson was among the first to present Carl Jung's rich but complex theories with simple elegance and grace,opening them to an entirely new and hungry audience. His masterful works--including the best selling He, She, Inner Work, and Owning Your Own Shadow-are known and loved as much for their beautiful retel ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 20th 1998 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 1998)
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Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
There is a LOT in this book. Johnson has lived an odd, yet fascinating life. He lost a leg at the age of 11 and nearly bled to death, during which time he had an experience of what he terms "The Golden World." He has another of these experiences in his late teens and his early life is an attempt to recapture this feeling, without much success. He is drawn to music and finds relationships there which his family of origin failed to give him. He went to Europe and studied with Carl Jung. Life has m ...more
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A Jungian psychotherapist has a near death experience and spends the rest of his life trying to find his balance between heaven, where he wants to be, and earth, where he is bound to life. He deals with eternal problems: how to be close to God but not cut himself off from other people, how to honor his introverted character and also deal with a longing for connection with others, how to make a living and at the same time keep his focus on what's really important in life – being the person God cr ...more
Melwin Chiramel
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an amazing book. Makes one put our own lives into perspective. The author gets us completely involved in the his quest of heaven and earth. There are very few books that can bring a significant change in the readers thought process and way of living. Kudos to the author for writing such an awe inspiring book. I loved it completely.
Belén Rey Álvarez
Para todos los buscadores.

Inspirador y perspicaz. Una lectura necesaria para cualquier persona interesada en la experiencia de la vida vivida con consciencia y para todos los que aún seguimos buscando.

Una de las biografías más bonitas que he leído.
Sirpa Grierson
The story of "my beggar" always will remain with me.

Johnson, a Jungian analyst, travels to India after meeting Carl Jung and finding his own life work. Of Jung (whom I so admire), he wrote: "Many brilliant people display their knowledge by talking in big words and might concepts that serve the dual purpose of inflating the speaker and confusing the listener. They sit like Olympian gods and expect other people to learn their language. But Jung could adjust his discourse in as was that would best
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was very powerful in helping me understand that we can experience Heaven or Paradise at any time we choose. It's really about finding your inner gratitude to all of your experiences in life. Also, we need to understand that as individuals, we do not have the same idea of what Paradise is or that the same path of getting there.
Veronika Pooky
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

*Sorry for spoilers and not entirely sure what's the point of this review. *

I like this book because I am a fan of Carl Jung. Robert has obviously understood and lived a solitary religious life as Carl Jung once advised. It is quite an adventure to follow Robert's words and enter his inner world.

However, there are lots of dreams and symbols used that are not entirely well explored. I can only comprehend at the level I know about the unconsciousness, which is many characters in the dream or story
Nov 02, 2015 rated it liked it
A fluid and pleasant read by a wise introvert who spent his life in diligent aim to bring together the surfacing archetypes of the unconscious. From the childhood loss of his lower leg due to a car crash that evoked visions of the Golden World, he spent the remainder of his life in search of that divine state of repose, and later discovered that it had always come from within, and not externally. The key in life, Johnson said, was to actively balance being (inner work-meditation) and doing (enga ...more
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a riveting book. The author is a highly regarded Jungian analyst. In childhood, he had a gruesome experience and almost died. His story proceeds through his bleak childhood, during which he becomes apprenticed to a pipe organ technician. He develops a love of music, that leads to some amazing experiences in his adult life while he visits Europe. Robert Johnson is famous for his analysis and his acclaimed books that many therapists have found valuable in their practice. This book, however ...more
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that does not want to be put down. I underlined so many words of wisdom in this brief autobiography by Robert Johnson, that I've decided to type all those words into an index to more easily access them. I felt the warmth of friendship and scholarliness of Jung on each page. Like a visit with a spiritual mentor, I didn't want the time with Robert's words to ever come to an end.
His books He, She, and We, which have been so helpful in my personal life and my practice, shine a little
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Rick is reading this 5.11.12
5.11.12 - Interesting read - at the end of the book the story of "The Transposed Heads" - "A funeral pyre is necessary for burning up the old form of consciousness. As long as you think in terms of this one or that one, then you are still caught up in the world of duality. But if you can stand to live in paradox long enough, then transformation takes place and a new consciousness is born - a child called Samandhi. This occurs when one has stopped trying to maneuver ex
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I went to a Jungian workshop recently in which the leader recommended some spiritual autobiographies, and this one was high on the list. Since I am a huge fan of all things Jungian, I quickly downloaded this on my kindle and dove in. Robert Johnson is a wise and gentle soul and his personal history is fascinating and idiosyncratic. Lots of great nuggets of Jungian-oriented brilliance in here, yet Johnson's perspective on his own life strikes me as very humble and comfortable with his own fragili ...more
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Balancing Heaven and Earth reveals, for the first time, Johnson's own fascinating and mystical life-from his near-death experience at the age of eleven to the lifelong soul journey that has informed his writing and taught him how to live a spiritual life in the endlessly challenging modern world. Full of compelling, humorous, and surprising stories of encounters with an assortment of "sages, saints, and sinners," it lays bare Johnson's own inner world and its dazzeling landscape of powerful drea ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love the books of this Jungian psychologist. Besides very interesting insights into dreamwork and active imagination, I like his easy to read style. This biography was a joy, being the story of an (at least in some circles) accomplished therapist and writer, an intuitive and introverted person in an extraverted society. Although this is not my favorite biography (that is "Fire in the mind" about Joseph Campbell), this ranks as one of my favorites. Heartily recommended.
Leanne Seymour
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved reading this book and love this authors previous books that I've read......he is one of my favourite Jungian writers! After having read his books on the masculine, feminine, ecstacy and love, it was so refreshing to read his autobiography where I felt I got to understand him and his relationship with Jung so much better. A truly inspiring reading and I thoroughly recommend this to all of those seekers who are drawn to all things Jungian!
Cher Johnson
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Reading this book reassures me that many others have passed before me on the thin trail I'm following, what Robert Johnson calls "the slender threads." I can often just glimpse it... the transformation that occurs when "one has stopped trying to maneuver external reality so that it will work out as the ego desires. One turns authority over to something greater than oneself..." The suffering and serendipity all have something to teach.
Pickle Farmer
Apr 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Fascinating. Really glad I read this. I found the discussions about alchemy (i.e. the idea of relationships being about 'carrying somebody else's gold' until you become strong enough to carry your own) particuarly intriguing. It's always fun for me to read about India and Jung. And what do you know, out of all places, Mr. Johnson is from Portland, Oregon, my home city of almost eight years!!! Coincidences, coincidences(or I guess what he would call 'the slender threads.')
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A most unusual memoire. Johnson, a Jungian, very comfortable with myth, recounts experiences with the slender thread from a dimension/energy/? that most of us in the West are not aware of. The later part of the book is about his many experiences in India. A challenging, stretching and important read.
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sure
All through reading this book, I was giving it 4 stars. I woke up at 2am this morning and finished it. I went back to sleep and had an amazing dream. So amazing, that I now give this book by Robert A. Johnson credit for bumping up my dreamscape. more later...
Heather Finlayson
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A compelling memoir of a thoughtful man's inner journey. Inspiring and insightful. A necessary read for anyone interested in the experience of their dream life and how dreams relate to our external reality.
Jul 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Emily by: Anne Ross
Fascinating, i think! He's quite an interesting guy. He has an interesting life and this was a good first look at Jung and his teachings. He lost me in some of the dream descriptions, though. I tend to believe that no one else's dreams are as interesting as your own.
Talya Rubin
Apr 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: explorers of the human condition
A really beautifully written account of a life well lived by author and Jungian analyst, Robert Johnson. His golden threads through life are delicately followed and he gives sound insight into what it means to live a human life with grace and meaning.
Jun 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Robert Johnson is a fascinating man - his search to understand the Golden World and Life here on Earth. Loved reading about his life, his search, his life as a student of Jung (Psychology). The second half about his life and exploration in India - liked the first half of book better.n
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
fantastic review of johnson's sprirtual journey. connects with majpr Jungians and a must read for folks intersted in dream analysis.
basically have read all Johnson's works to signif personal bebefit.
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
let you know when i'm done.A very curious book, by a man who lived life according to certain slender threads.was moved by certain passages,give's you something to think about.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Very powerful story of the author's own spiritual growth and a great introduction to Jung and his work.
Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Robert Johnson has provided a rich, beautiful and profound memoir
Jan 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Engaging and revealing. Nice insight into some Indian culture in the 20th century.
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
A memoir of a intuitive, feeling man. A master Jungian analyst who inspires me to "follow the slender threads" and live in a much more surrendered way.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful memoirs I've ever read.
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Robert A. Johnson is a noted lecturer and Jungian analyst in private practice in San Diego, California. He has studied at the Jung Institute in Switzerland and at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India.
More about Robert A. Johnson...
“Each age needs its own language for understanding enduring truths…The ancient world didn’t have much of what we call reality; they lived, instead, by the slender threads. We have gained ego reality but have lost the mystical and religious functions that should guide our lives.” 7 likes
“Dr. Kunkel’s teacher, Dr. Jung, believed that archetypes are blueprints of the basic human qualities we all share. The archetypes themselves are undefinable natural patterns or forces that shape life in all ages and places. They cannot be known directly, but archetypal themes and images appear in myth, fairy tales, dreams, and fantasies. We tend to think of ourselves as unique individuals, and to a great extent we are. But just as there are shared patterns that shape our physical existence, such as having two arms and legs, two eyes, ten fingers and toes, so there are underlying patterns that shape our psychic existence.” 4 likes
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