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Daniel Santos - Feng Shui for the Body

The book is a mix of anecdotes from the author's life and acupuncture practice, and fictionalized dialogues with three teachers. The teachings draw from popular psychology, Chinese tradition, and Native American spirituality. The teachers are plainly immersed in the New Age ferment characteristic of the American Southwest, counseling the author in closely similar voices toward the goal of the book's subtitle: Balancing Body and Mind for a Healthier Life.

Feng Shui is only lightly touched on. The identity of the chi of acupuncture and the chi of feng shui is repeatedly cited, without discussion or elaboration. Tai chi postures associated with the eight trigrams are in turn associated with feng shui's eight-trigram bagua in a pair of illustrations. (Only the trigrams are illustrated, not the postures.) The author suggests, in the persona of one of the teachers, that these postures might be used to enhance a life area, but then warns us back, "You may create a crisis... The only acceptable reason for doing them is to let go of your learned behavior pattern in order to achieve something greater" -- and there the discussion stops, a few pages after it began. Another chapter suggests a guided meditation, turning the attention to each of the eight bagua directions/life areas in turn, either sitting or in the "embracing tree" tai chi posture.

The book may be an involving account of Mr. Santos's personal development, but it does not succeed in illuminating or synthesizing the various disciplines it draws from. It will lack interest for most readers who are attracted to the intriguing premise of its title.

(Review by S. Mann)

Theosophical Publishing House, 1-800-669-1571, Wheaton, IL, 1998, 0-8356-0762-3, 248 Pages, six drawings, paperback, $16.00

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