I believe readers interested in self-improvement will find bottomless riches in Christina Reeves and Dimitrios Spanos’ The Mind is the Map: Awareness is the Compass and Emotional is the Key to Living Mindfully from the Heart. Despite tackling somewhat spiritual ideas like “life force energy”, The Mind is the Map plants its feet in the “real” every day world and approaches thorny issues on a practical level. The book addresses issues and questions with no easy answers and you cannot help but applaud how brave they are to face these sorts of conundrums with unflinching honesty. It helps that the writing comes off like you are eavesdropping in on an animated conversation between two people passionate about self-exploration and realizing their latent talents within. This relaxed formula makes The Mind is the Map all the more impactful and helps strengthen its lasting effects on the reader.
The writers build the book along two systems – the process of uncovering elements of our nature that have been hijacked by external influences and putting a plan into action to recondition our responses and how we approach the world. They lay out a clear path for readers to accomplish this and, along the way, discuss what they learned about the subject during their own individual journeys. The respect both writers share for the commonality of human experience shines through on every page and this vulnerability is one of the hallmark qualities of the work readers will undoubtedly find themselves responding to with each reading of the text.
Even the quasi-mystical elements of the book are more scientifically grounded than they might seem. Above all else, however, Reeves and Spanos alike underline the importance of connection – connecting with our emotions and responses, recognizing them for what they are and their likely origins, but likewise connecting with others in our lives and listening to them rather than just hearing what they say. Acceptance is, as well, another key foundational element in what Reeves and Spanos discuss throughout The Mind is the Map and reflects the same values as connection – we must not only accept and understand ourselves but, furthermore, accept others and accept that, often in life, we simply cannot know or understand some things outside our experience and frame of reference.
There is a psychological basis to much of what the authors discuss in this book, but the tone remains relaxed throughout rather than taking on an academic airs. This will definitely make the book more appealing for a wide cross section of readers, but the learning and intelligence at the heart of this volume is impossible to ignore. The Mind is the Map is the obvious product of a lifetime of trial and error, self-examination, extensive reading, and listening to others along the way. As the opening paragraph of this review states, I believe those who pick up this book interested in its contents will find a wealth of material to draw from into their own lives and will come back to the book often hoping to uncover more. They will not be disappointed.