Dancing with Fire: A Mindful Way to Loving Relationships (Paperback)
The search for inner peace is often met with what seems like a conflicting path the irresistible pull of love and connection with others to which we are drawn.
Reconciling these opposites, John Amodeo shows how spirituality and vibrant relationships are identical. He says that Buddha’s concept of the root of suffering is misunderstood. It is not desire that causes suffering; desire is the fire that springs from the basic life force. Drawing upon the science of attachment theory, Amodeo illuminates how the root of our suffering is disconnection from ourselves and others, which is fueled by clinging to what doesn't serve us.
In a conversational tone, Amodeo presents relationship as sacred experience. He teaches how to welcome desire mindfully rather than suppress it and how to overcome fear of failure in relating. He also discusses meditation as self-intimacy and holding ourselves with loving-kindness. Lastly, he explores the role of community in spiritual awakening and the issue of whom to trustour guru or ourselves?
About the Author
John Amodeo, PhD,, a licensed marriage and family therapist for over 30 years, has been engaged in Buddhism and spiritual practice for 40 years. He is author of The Authentic Heart and Love and Betrayal and he was a writer and contributing editor for Yoga Journal. He is also a Focusing Trainer and has trained in Somatic Experiencing for trauma. He lectures internationally on love and relationships, and has been a featured guest on CNN, CNBC, Donahue, and New Dimensions Radio. He has been interviewed or written articles for publications that include the Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News and The Rocky Mountain News. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Praise for Dancing with Fire: A Mindful Way to Loving Relationships…
Dancing With Fire is wise, integrated, life affirming, and practical. John invites us and accompanies us to discover a fully human, loving, spiritual maturity. -- Jack Kornfield, PhD, best-selling author of A Path With Heart
A fresh and lucid voice in our emerging Western spirituality, John Amodeo offers a powerful synthesis of Buddhist teachings with attachment theory and the best of Western psychological understanding. Particularly compelling and promising is the weaving of Focusinga body-oriented psychotherapy developed by Eugene Gendlinwith mindfulness meditation. Through this, and deep insights into the nature of relationships, Dancing with Fire gives us invaluable guidance in cultivating true intimacy with our lives. -- Tara Brach, PhD, best-selling author of Radical Acceptance
Dancing With Fire brilliantly bridges the chasm between the stillness of meditation and the fierce passion and challenge of intimate relationships. John Amodeo heals the apparent rift, showing us how these are ultimately one and the same path. -- Peter A. Levine PhD, best-selling author of Waking the Tiger
In this book John Amodeo opens a new door into great truths of Buddhism and what they mean for our western world. He links meditation, mindfulness, humanistic psychology and the science of human bonding into a coherent whole. This book is a great contribution and a must read for every intelligent person who aspires to live as an awake and vibrant human being. -- Susan M. Johnson, EdD, author of Hold Me Tight and primary developer of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
With heartfelt kindness and down-to-earth usefulness, this book shows how to bring together lofty spiritual wisdom and juicy human passions. Drawing on his deep experience as a therapist and meditator, Dr. Amodeo has given us one of those rare books that actually bridges left and right brain, west and east, flesh and spirit - and self and other. -- Rick Hanson, PhD, best-selling author of Buddha's Brain
If there was ever a book to guide us in the pursuit of "daily life as spiritual practice," this is it. In his clear, heartfelt, and entertaining style, John Amodeo shows us how to bring mindful, loving attention to all aspects of our personal and interpersonal life--especially the painful or difficult aspects. He shows how the practice of seeing, feeling, and embracing the suppressed or wounded parts of ourselves creates a sense of empathy and unity with other humans and with all of Life. -- Susan Campbell, PhD, author of Getting Real
John Amodeo has written an extremely compelling and fascinating book and one that has been long overdue.. All too many people on a so-called 'spiritual path' are actually looking for more subtle and effective ways of short-circuiting the pain that is inherent in life. He clearly illuminates the lack of any contradiction between practicing mindful living and creating intimacy in one's relationships. His distinction between the extinguishing of desires and attachments and working skillfully with them is incredibly important and offers a clear path toward living life with engagement and open-heartedness. -- Charlie Bloom, co-author of 101 Things I Wish I knew When I Got Married
Profoundly wise and beautifully written, this book is for anyone who ever wondered how to reconcile the spiritual journey with the paths of self-healing and intimacy with others. A gifted writer at the top of his form, John Amodeo’s book is not just about authenticity and connection, it actually offers those experiences as one reads. A life-changing book. -- Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD, author of The Power of Focusing
With masterful, lucid simplicity, Dancing with Fire gives us a vision of how to make a fervent quest for spiritual freedom dovetail with an equally ardent search for love and intimate connection. Amodeo has created a founding treatise for the new, embodied wholeness so many of us yearn to find today. Yet reading it doesn't feel like listening to a sage give a lecture; it feels like you're having a conversation with a trusted friend. -- Saniel Bonder, founder of Waking Down in Mutuality, author of Healing the Spirit/Matter Split
Blending mindfulness with contemporary psychology, Amodeo brings what often remains lofty conversation into our kitchens and bedrooms. He shows how meditative awareness can help us develop more vital relationships while helping us embody spiritual realization more fully in everyday life. The writing style is warm and inviting, like having a conversation with a wise and gentle friend. This book is wonderful contribution to the emerging relationship yoga of the West. -- Jett Psaris, PhD, co-author of Undefended Love
Dancing with Fire talks straight from the heart with compassion, wisdom, and courage. We owe John Amodeo a debt of gratitude for providing all of us with valuable insights on the connection between mindfulness and deepening intimacy in relationships. Whether you see yourself as nurtured by spiritual practice or psychological growth, read on and your heart will be touched, your mind opened. I highly recommend this fine book as an important guide for all those who seek genuine happiness and greater awareness. -- Charles Garfield, author of Sometimes My Heart Goes Numb
John Amodeo’s brilliantly written, incisive, and heart-centered book provides a multi-layered in-depth journey demonstrating why we need both spiritual teachings on mindfulness and Western approaches, like Focusing and Emotionally Focused Therapy, to truly live an awakened, embodied life of sacred intimacy within oneself, relationships, and life itself! -- Laury Rappaport, PhD, author of Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy
Liberation and awakening are about being fully human. Spiritual awakening, personal growth, being a healing presence for others, fulfillment through intimacythese are all just different names for the same thing. The fact that a split has developedmany splits, in factbetween therapy, spirituality, and personal growth is a sign that something has gone wrong. There has to be a re-integration. This book is an important landmark on the path to such wholeness. --- David Brazier, author of The Feeling Buddha
This book is a masterful, sensitive, and heartfelt reflection on the valuable contributions available in the teachings on mindfulness in the Buddhist tradition, placed into rich and dynamic dialogue with the equally significant insights coming forth from the field of attachment theory and Sue Johnson’s practical work on repairing and enhancing intimacy and connection in human relationships. -- Harvey B. Aronson, PhD, LMFT, author of Buddhist Practice on Western Ground
Brilliant, liberating, clarifying wisdom for meditators of every persuasion! One of the most helpful books ever written on spiritual practice. -- Deborah Boyar, PhD, Senior Teacher, Waking Down in Mutuality & Somatic Experiencing Practitioner
Dancing with Fire is a beautifully-written, lucid, and honest account of how to merge a feeling-based intimacy with authentic spirituality. I've been a reader of John Amodeo's work for a long time, and he is simply one of the best at what he does: blending Buddhism and psychotherapy with wisdom gleaned from thirty years of clinical practice and life experience, all mixed in with a healthy dose of levity. -- Jim Dreaver, author of The Way of Harmony
Seekers of the sacred will find within these pages no ordinary wedding of East and West. Instead, John Amodeo invites us to reconcile the split between our worldly desire for intimacy and pleasure with our yearning for a robust spiritual life. His own tender voice seeps through each page--guiding us like a beacon of light toward a deeper, juicier connection with ourselves and each other, inspiring a passionate spirituality. John's best book yet! -- Maggie Kline, MFT, co-author of Trauma through a Child's Eyes
A bold adaptation of Eastern spirituality to bring about loving, intimate connections. -- Daniel B. Wile, PhD, author of After the Fight
Dancing With Fire is such a delight to read! Writing with a tender heart and deep wisdom, John reveals the missing link between spirituality and relationships. This is a powerful book that illuminates how to embrace the longing that is at the core of the human condition. It explores how to live with passionate emotions in a way that furthers connection with self and others by moving from a state of shame to learning to dance in the fire of authentic desires. This book is a bridge between Jack Kornfeld’s A Path With Hearta Buddhist approach to transformationand Susan Johnson’s attachment theory-based book Hold Me Tight revealing how relationships can help us awaken spiritually and how spirituality can help our relationships. It is a treasure map to the middle way, to be read many times. A great book for therapists, meditators and anyone who wants a better life and better relationships. -- Sheila Rubin, LMFT, RDT/BCT, co-creator of Healing Shame Workshops, adjunct faculty, JFK University
A coherent, intelligent, loving book that weaves Eastern spirituality with our need for deep, loving personal relationshipsshowing how a spiritual path toward awakening and the path toward fulfilling, intimate connections can nourish and support each other. -- Bret Lyon, PhD, Co-Creator of Healing Shame Workshops, Focusing Trainer, and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner