Saturday, November 9, 2013

Book Review: Personal Power Through Awareness, by Sanaya Roman

Personal Power Through Awareness: A Guidebook for Sensitive People
Sanaya Roman
Trade Paperback, 216 pages
H.J. Kramer, December 28, 1992
(first published 1986)
Nonfiction, Spirituality

Goodreads SynopsisThis accelerated step-by-step course in sensing energy is taught by Orin, a wise and gentle spirit teacher channeled by Sanaya Roman. Using these easy-to-follow processes, thousands have learned to create immediate and profound changes in their relationships, their self-images, and their ability to love and be loved.  You need no longer be affected by other people's moods or negativity. You can recognize when you have taken on other people's energy and easily release it. You can learn to stay centered and balanced, know who you are, increase the positive energy around you, and help and heal others.

Your sensitivity is a gift. Learn to use it to send and receive telepathic messages, increase your intuitive abilities, and open to higher guidance. You can leave the denser energies, where things are often painful, and live in the higher energies, where you can feel loving, calm, focused, and positive.

My Review

This book is solidly in line with prevailing New Age thought; still, I think it has many valuable insights.  Not that I agree with them all, however.  Also, I'm not quite sure I believe that this is indeed a channeled work, as the apparent author, Sanaya Roman, asserts.  The subconscious mind is an almost limitless repository of facts, concepts and theories encountered throughout life.  This information can be accumulated due to life experiences, studying, and/or reading.  Roman could simply have accessed this inner repository of knowledge, and so, in that sense, this could indeed be considered a 'channeled' work.  In spite of my skepticism, however, I have found this to be a very interesting, profound, and loving book, one I greatly enjoyed reading.  

The theme of the book is exactly what the title proclaims -- awareness brings personal power.  What kind of awareness?  According to Sanaya/Orin, it is the awareness of the unseen energies all around us.  Through becoming aware of these energies, one can learn how to use them for one's own spiritual and material welfare.  One can also help others achieve their own spiritual and material goals.

This energy awareness entails the use of empathy, as well as telepathy.  According to  the author, the 'sensitive' people mentioned in the title are those who do already sense  these unseen energies, having been aware of them since childhood.  However, the author also stresses that it's possible for those of us who have no special sensitivity to learn to become sensitive in this area.

There are many ways to sense energy -- one's physical senses are the primary ones.  Using these senses involves becoming more observant of the people one is surrounded by.  There are also mental techniques, such as visualization, that are helpful in sensing energy.  In order to sense the energy of other people, it's important to come from a loving space.  This is pointed out in a nice quote:  "You can sense energy to the degree your heart is open and loving." (page 18)

The importance of 'releasing the true self', and 'being your higher self' are also discussed.  In fact, these phrases are part of the titles for Chapters 7 and 14.   

The book starts off with a greeting from Orin, then moves on to a general presentation about sensing energy.  After that, it goes on to discuss understanding and directing the unseen energy that surrounds a person, as well as sensing energy in others.  Subsequent chapter titles are self-explanatory: Chapter V: Who am I?, Chapter VI: Bringing the Unconscious Into Consciousness, Chapter VII: Evolving Your Inner Images: Releasing The True Self, Chapter VIII: Finding Your Deepest Truth, and so on.  These and further chapters tie together the book's main theme with that of self-development, bringing the reader a comprehensive overview of both.

One of the nicest things about this book is that it's peppered with short quotes that are highlighted by appearing in large, bold italics in the very middle of certain pages.  These are obviously meant to be pondered upon and taken as advice.  Some of my favorites are: "As you open, it is important to develop wisdom, release pain, and rise above negativity." (page 6), "If you are in a difficult situation, broadcast love.  Love heals and protects you." (page 22), "Awareness of your body, thoughts, and emotions allows you to discover the effect other people have on you." (page 30), "As you think over what you will say to someone, hold the image of your deepest truth, and practice loving ways of expressing it." (page 85), "If any area of your life is not working, one of your beliefs in that area needs to be changed." (page 95), "You can assist mankind in achieving peace by evolving your thoughts." (page 96)

Of course, this book emphasizes such New Age staples as creating one's own reality through positive thinking, and opening to higher guidance.  The subject of transforming negative energy into positive energy is also dealt with; Chapter XI, titled "Handling Pain by Choosing to Grow", discusses the topic of how to deal with emotional pain.  This is the one chapter of the book I had a real problem with, especially when I came across the following quote: "Pain is only triggered by another person when there is already pain within you."  I do think that this is true, but only to a point.  In my opinion, this quote could be used as an excuse for unacceptable behavior on the part of those who get their kicks from hurting and bullying others.  Yes, pain can be triggered due to previous painful incidents in one's life, but that doesn't mean that the person triggering the pain is blameless.  Hurting others is always wrong, and people who do so should be held accountable, unless they happen to do this accidentally.  This type of 'advice', by the way, is one problem I've always had with New Age thought.  According to this type of philosophy, no one is a victim; everyone chooses what they will experience in each lifetime, before incarnating in each subsequent one.  Therefore, when you go through an unfair, abusive incident, it was you yourself who set it up, for the purpose of learning something from the incident.  This kind of 'rationalization', to me, is completely absurd.  Yes, I can see the value in not thinking of myself as a victim.  However, that doesn't mean that I 'set up' certain painful situations in my life, before I was even born, just so I could learn something from them!  That sounds rather masochistic to me.  To clarify further: if children don't learn lessons through corporal punishment -- and I firmly believe they don't -- why would an adult learn through 'setting up' painful incidents for him/herself? 

There are indeed aspects of this book that I think are very profound, and very helpful, even in the chapter mentioned above.  One of these is the concept of learning how to deal with pain in a relationship without adding to the painful situation through an unloving response to that pain.  Still, there are such things as boundaries, and some relationships are simply too abusive for people to remain in.  Other aspects I find very useful teach the reader about controlling the mind, focusing on what one wants, and creating positive inner dialogues.

Another very helpful aspect of this book is the "Playsheet", a section of questions and exercises included at the end of every chapter.  This is a great title, as it implies an invitation to let your mind 'play' with the concepts being taught.  

The tone throughout the book is loving, comforting, soothing.  Even when I came across something I could not agree with, I still felt very calm, very peaceful.  Whoever is the true source of these teachings does indeed come from a very loving space.  I don't think it's necessary to accept that this book was dictated by a discarnate entity in order to enjoy and profit from its gentle advice.  I see it as a combination of traditionally-taught metaphysical concepts with standard ideas common to psychology and self-help books, and even some Christian thoughts.  For example, the chapter on unconditional love, with its themes of being non-defensive, as well as forgiving, have a very Christian tone.  This chapter emphasizes being the source of love yourself, rather than waiting for others to be the source.  Another piece of advice in this chapter tells the reader that, although love brings beauty to everyone and everything, it brings beauty to oneself, most of all.

Summing up, I would say that this is a book to be enjoyed more than once, in spite of the objections I outlined above.  Even the first time one reads it, it should be savored, its ideas analyzed and mulled over.  Subsequent readings will yield even more insights, and you will probably find yourself actually studying it.  Again, I don't agree with everything the author presents, although I would say I do agree with most of it.  This book gives a reader much food for thought, and I would definitely recommend it, whether or not the concept of channeling is embraced by the person reading it. 


Sanaya Roman



  1. Great commentary as always Maria.

    Your thinking seems very much in line with mine. I tend to be very skeptical of the "nuts and bolts" explanations of what New Age thinkers call "energy", telepathy, etc. Yet works like this tend to be filled with valuable insights about our minds and our lives are often very worthwhile. Of course I find this is true of many books from many different points of view, although I disagree with much of what the author is saying, I find that there is still great value to the whole.

    Another area where I also quibble with books that push positive thinking thing really far is that I firmly believe that in moderation, both positivity and negativity thinking, is an essential component to a balanced life and are an important part of all human endeavors. Remember the old Star Trek episodes, there were several, "Return of the Archons" and "The Apple" come to mind, where societies eliminated all negative emotions and actions and ended up with very bad societies? I think that there is much truth in those old stories.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      Thanks for the compliment!!

      To be honest, I'm inclined to think that these 'unseen energies' do exist. Some people call them 'vibes'. Perhaps they're simply the information one can acquire from observing body language. Sometimes, though, I must admit that I have met people whose body language I really haven't had a chance to observe, yet they give me a bad feeling. So I do think that there must be something to these unseen energies.

      What I'm really skeptical about is this whole thing of 'channeling'. Besides, it's a little on the creepy side.....It's undeniable, though, that New Age books do have some valuable insights one can use in one's life. So I take what I personally believe would work for me, and leave aside the rest.

      I don't know if I totally agree with the idea that we need negative things to 'balance out' the positive. I remember those Star Trek episodes, too, but, although I found them interesting at the time, and still do, I wonder if the philosophical viewpoint they presented is really valid. However, I do believe that the reason we humans can't eliminate negativity completely is simply that we're not perfect. We just don't have the flawless wisdom of divine beings, so we often delude ourselves that our methods for banishing negativity will work. So then we come to the conclusion that some evil is necessary to balance out the good.

      As you read in my review, I have serious issues with the New Age idea that a person 'sets up' his/her life incidents BEFORE they're born, in order to 'learn lessons' from them, and thus, advance spiritually. I even had an argument with a New Ager once, who insisted that the Holocaust was the working-out of 'group karma'!! So then Hitler was merely providing all those people he killed with the means to 'atone' for sins from previous lifetimes! So then, he was 'necessary'? Oh, this is MUCH too disgusting to even contemplate!

      What I did like about this book was that it was gentle and compassionate in tone, and offered some very positive thoughts and techniques. I need to study and apply these, and just chuck out what doesn't work for me.

      Thanks for another great, thought-provoking comment!! : )


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