Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Review: Living With Joy: Keys to Personal Power and Spiritual Transformation, by Sanaya Roman

Living with Joy: Keys to Personal Power and Spiritual Transformation
Sanaya Roman (an Orin book)
Trade Paperback, 216 pages
H.J. Kramer, July 1, 1986
Nonfiction, Psychology, Self-Help, Spirituality

Book Synopsis: In the tradition of Jane Roberts, Esther Hicks, and Edgar Cayce, Sanaya Roman joined the ranks of gifted channels with Living with Joy, given to her by Orin, a timeless being of love and light. The spiritual truths and transformative meditations and exercises here comprise a systematic course in spiritual growth that has opened millions to their fullest potential. As Sanaya writes, “"Many great artists, writers, businessmen, athletes, and musicians have reported that their greatest works, inventions, and inspiration seemed to be ‘given’ to them from a source beyond their ordinary reality."  In a similar way, this book was given to Sanaya and serves as an invitation to readers to choose joy, release struggle, and open to their powers for transformation.

My Review

This is the second Sanaya Roman book I've read, although it's actually the first in her 'Earth Life Series'.  There's a newer edition of this book, released on the 25th anniversary of its publication.  I own that one as well, and will be reading and reviewing it later on, in order to compare it with this 1986 edition.

Roman first introduces Orin, a 'Being of Light', whom she claims as her spirit guide, in this book.  Although I do remain skeptical of this claim, I have to admit that most of the insights and advice presented are gentle and loving, as well as very helpful.  Interestingly, some of these resonate, to a great extent, with the teachings of Christianity, while others are more typical of New Age philosophy.

The book's main theme is that joy and inner peace come from within.  Of course, this is really nothing new, although the author states this theme in very interesting ways; it's summarized in the following thought: "True joy comes from operating with Inner-Directedness and recognizing who you are."  She explains that 'inner direction' comes from the soul, or higher self, of each individual.  Such an assertion does sound very solipsistic to me as a Christian, so I would add that the higher self of each individual must be under divine guidance.  This is one of the philosophical pronouncements in the book that I don't entirely agree with.  On the other hand, a person needs to have a healthy self-esteem, which will then enable that person to choose a unique life path.  Far too often, insecure people allow others to persuade them to accept life choices that go against what their hearts truly desire.

Living with joy is therefore connected to freedom. Roman expands this theme in Chapter 15, "Freedom Is Your Birthright".  She states: "Freedom is essential for joy, for anywhere you feel trapped or that your rights have been taken away, you cannot experience joy."  This is obviously true, and is a principle dearly defended by all those countries which have struggled against an oppressive regime.  I wholeheartedly agree here!

She then goes on to state that we often impose limits on ourselves, and this is the real cause of our apparent lack of freedom.  According to the author, in order to create more freedom in our lives, we should focus on those areas where we have already created freedom for ourselves, as opposed to those in which we haven't. To this she adds the following: "Anything that you feel another person is taking away from you is symbolic of something you are taking from yourself."  In other words, people are mirrors of our inner conflicts.  Thus, in order to gain more freedom, we need to work on resolving those inner conflicts.

Along with her advice about personal freedom, Roman asserts the importance of giving others freedom, as well.  She mentions dropping our expectations of how others should act toward us or react to our behavior.  Paradoxically, this will have a positive impact on our relationships, as well as on our own sense of freedom.

Other topics discussed in the book include replacing negative pictures of power with positive ones; Roman sees power not as a control over others, but as the motivation, affirmation, and encouragement of the true selves of others.  Such holders of true power are very evolved, gentle souls who have no need to play psychological games in order to assert authority over others.  Although Roman doesn't mention Jesus Christ here, I am very much reminded of him with this description (although to Christians, he was not 'an evolved being', but the Son of God). 

When I started reading the chapter dealing with the topic of turning negatives into positives, I again ran into another part of the author's philosophy that I do not completely agree with.  She unequivocally states that you must love your past, because, in order to free yourself from something, you have to love it first.  How can a person possibly love a past filled with abusive experiences, for example?  You certainly have to accept what happened -- there's no other choice -- but as for loving it, I don't see how that could ever be possible.  An abusive past must be transcended, not loved, in my opinion.

In another part of this chapter, Roman affirms that everything in your life happens, or has happened, for your higher good.  I don't agree with this, either -- again, not completely, although this principle has a high similarity to a well-known Biblical one.  It can apply in situations that are not overly traumatic or tragic, but not in those that are.  For instance, being fired is usually a bad experience, but it might lead to finding a much better job.  Being left at the altar can also be a very negative experience, until you realize that the person you were about to marry was simply not the right one. You can definitely turn such negative situations around, finding the silver lining in each.  In more serious situations, though, I think this kind of reasoning fails; I'm thinking of really extreme cases, such as rape, or the case of a certain mentally unstable individual who recently opened fire on a group of people inside a movie theater, killing and wounding several. 

In spite of these disagreements with the author(s), I have found much in this book worth applying to my own life.  There are many principles that I find not only practical, but absolutely beautiful, as well as very spiritual.  As in the Roman book I've previously reviewed -- Personal Power Through Awareness -- this book is sprinkled with such principles, in the form of short thoughts placed in the middle of a page, where they really stand out.  Here are some I have found to be truly inspirational: "Loving people is a commitment to holding a high vision of them, even as time and familiarity take their toll.", "Only those who feel good about who they are can express humility.", "One of the greatest gifts you can give others is opening to their love for you.", "Every single part of you has a gift for you and is there as your friend.", "If you exist in a feeling of love -- if you can find it in everything you do, transmit it through your touch, through your words, eyes, and feelings -- you can cancel out with one act of love thousands of acts of a lower nature."  This last quote is a wonderful one to meditate on.  I think it's very profound and moving.  The longer it's pondered, the more it penetrates to the very depths of the soul. 

The chapters on self-love, gratitude, the wisdom of the heart, and feeling inner peace are my favorite ones in the book.  The principles presented in these chapters have brought me a feeling of warm comfort, a feeling that truly resonates with my core, my center.  The chapter on inner peace, for instance, contains the assertion that inner peace is a connection to one's deeper self, and that this connection helps one to release fear.  Other thoughts include the concept of letting go of the need to have situations and people be a certain way.  This is an attachment that interferes with the attainment of inner peace.  

The chapter on the wisdom of the heart equates this wisdom with love, and contains many beautiful thoughts on the nature of love in its many forms.  The last of the short quotes above comes from this chapter.  

The chapter on self-love mentions such things as letting go of guilt, and the importance of a healthy dialogue with the self, as well as just how crucial it is to forgive oneself as well as others.  One of the most beautiful things about this chapter is the recommendation to dwell on qualities of the soul, such as peace, appreciation, humility, harmony, joy, abundance, freedom, serenity, strength, compassion, light, and creativity, for the purpose of becoming these qualities, as well as magnetizing them to oneself from the surrounding environment. 

All of the books in the Earth Life Series contain questions and exercises at the end of every chapter.  Each of these sections is simply titled "Playsheet", and is very helpful in further exploring the concepts discussed in each chapter.

This is a book to be read, reflected upon, and studied.  It's a book that bridges the physical and the metaphysical.  The writing style flows gently through the mind as one reads, smoothly leading from one concept to another.  The tone is never preachy, but loving, yet firm.  In spite of the objections I have pointed out above, I can truly say that this book has been, and will continue to be, a balm to my spirit, a beautiful opening of higher vistas.  I know I will be dipping into it very often, slowly savoring its fascinating insights, even as I set aside the concepts I feel don't mesh with my spiritual values.

Whatever your opinion of this book, you can't fail to be profoundly affected by it.  Even if some of the material might have been presented elsewhere, the way it's handled here is guaranteed to touch your life in very unique ways.  Even if, like me, you find yourself unable to agree wholeheartedly with all of its concepts and teachings, you will, also like me, probably find yourself unable to resist opening it again...and again....and again.


Sanaya Roman



  1. I had a phase where I was reading books like these. I just find it so uplifting and I love how some points they mention gets me thinking good questions. This is the first time I've come across this book, I will earmark this for when I'm in the mood for a more serious and realistic pick-me-upper.

    1. Hi, Braine!

      In spite of the objections I have to some of the concepts presented in this book, I do think it contains some very valuable insights, and is definitely worth reading. It's also very much worth studying.

      I'm glad my review introduced you to this book. I hope you will enjoy it, and derive as much benefit from it, as I have!

  2. Great commentary Maria.

    This mostly sounds like good really good advice. I too am skeptical of the Spirit Guide stuff.

    I would also say that I disagree with everything happening in ones life as being for ones own good. Perhaps this is a little bit turning insight into dogma. In other words there are indeed trials, tribulations and pains that do ultimately benefit us, in surprising ways, in the long run. However this is not a universal rule, as we know, there are monstrous and hideous things that go in that cannot be for anyone's benefit.

    1. Hey, Brian!
      Thank you so much!! I greatly appreciate it!

      You're absolutely right -- this is mostly simply good advice. As for the Spirit Guide stuff, it does make me somewhat uncomfortable. I really have mixed feelings about it.

      I'm so glad you agree that not everything in one's life happens for one's higher good. That's just common sense. Why this author -- as well as other New Age authors -- insists that they do, really puzzles me. The evidence presented by real-life tragedies such as the Holocaust bears this out.

      As I pointed out in my review, there are indeed some negative events that could turn out to have positive effects later on. However, this fact cannot be used as a generalization. It obviously does NOT apply to ALL negative events. To affirm that it does is sheer lunacy. That's the reason I only gave this book four stars, and not five. I did the same with the Roman book I previously reviewed -- "Personal Power Through Awareness". I basically love both books, but am totally unable to accept some of the ideas presented by the author.

      Interestingly, “Orin” himself states, in the book’s introduction, that the reader should accept what they think resonates with their own sense of truth, and discard the rest. That’s exactly what I’ve done, and what any discerning, intelligent reader should do with this type of book.


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