Book Reviews

Open the Door: A Journey to the True Self

It was a rainy day as I sat in the art room at the Charlotte Spirituality Center.  I sifted through photos of doors from all around the world… from the door on a wooden gate to the metal door of a vaulted bank.  Inwardly I examined which door resonated with me.  Which one felt like it represented the door to my heart?  None of the photos were quite right.  So I began to sketch and paint my door, and as I did, I saw it evolving into what it wanted to become.  Our facilitator then called our group back together to talk about our experience.  Explaining to the group what my door was made of and how it was changing solidified my learnings about myself.  And this was just the beginning of my journey!  I can’t tell you how much the reflections and exercises in this book took me not just into a deeper awareness of my true self but created an opening allowing my true self to step out into the world.

The Breakdown:

Joyce Rupp creates a daily prayer guide including a reflective story, guided meditation, thought-provoking question, scripture quote, and a prayer each day for 6 weeks.  Each day is meant to bring you closer to God and to discovering your true, authentic self. “When we enter the door of our heart and go inward, this nonphysical door allows us to move beyond where we presently are in our beliefs, emotions, attitudes, and actions…. This inner world contains landscapes of clarity and rivers of knowledge, shadowed caves with unwanted and unclaimed characteristics waiting to teach us, jewels of wisdom containing strength and guidance, and an air of enticement that forever lures us toward union with our divine Muse.” (p. 18)

What I like about this book:

  1. The guided meditations greatly added to my daily prayer life. Such as the one where I imagined God taking my hand and leading me in the doorway of a place I feared. Having God with me, and allowing God to show me what was inside for me, made it feel safe and fruitful. Or imagining sitting in a circle, holding hands with the Holy One and a person I was having trouble accepting and then feeling the divine love coursing through us.
  2. The door metaphors and reflective questions led to great journaling prompts for me. For example, the metaphor of walls that look like doors, but are immoveable, symbolize the illusions in our life keeping us from entering our inner room. That led to great journaling about my misguided beliefs and other resistances to my true self. Or reflective questions like “what is the central question of my life right now?” helped me to hone in on what was the key thing I was desiring.
  3. The simple and easy to follow layout which included a day at the end of each week to pause and reflect over the learning from that week.
  4. That the meditations, questions, and practices in this book could be repeated many times in my life with different results each time.

Fair Warning:

  1. There is a lot of content in one day, so some prefer to meditate on one day over the course of a week.
  2. Some find it repetitious, but these repetitions are meant to lead you in deeper.
  3. This is not a purely Christian book.  She mixes in some Eastern teachings and insights as well. 

Finally, I recommend doing this book with others if you need accountability and motivation. I will be leading a small group through this journey beginning in September. If you are interested in joining the group, just click the link below.

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