Review by John Plummer
We live in a world where traditional religious/esoteric language is all but unintelligible to a growing number of people. Even those of us who regularly use such language are often unclear about what the words really mean or how they take on life in practice, if we honestly question ourselves. Yet we also live at a moment of crisis, with grave challenges facing our world, when people are seeking self-understanding, self-development, and ways to be of help.
Into this world situation, Kristina Kaine’s new book shines like a clear light, illuminating us within and without. Kaine helps us to see the true contours of things, so we can find our way forward with renewed and confident vision. Kaine has acquired a wide readership through her numerous articles and reflections, and her first book more than fulfills expectations. While having a profound grasp of esoteric traditions (especially the work of Rudolf Steiner, and of her personal teacher, Mario Schoenmaker), Kaine speaks plainly to us, in words free of occult or religious jargon.
Through inquiry and stories from everyday life, Kaine guides us into an understanding of the soul, the spirit, and the “I.” By way of the exercises and gentle suggestions found throughout the book, we begin to turn our attention to these realms of experience. Soul and spirit are already immediately accessible to us and yet we hardly notice, moving through life in a dream woven of other people’s thoughts and feelings. Simply reading Kaine’s book with care is a transformative exercise, only increased by further work in applying the book’s wisdom to our lives. As we strive with our soul to bring it into healthy and vital activity, and our I-connection strengthens and matures, we gain the capacities needed to meet the challenges of our time with wisdom and creative freedom:
“There is nothing more important in our life than to strive to enhance the way our “I” and our soul work together. We work to strengthen this connection so that we become as conscious as possible. When we have an agile soul which accepts the influence of our “I” we can relate to the “I” of another person harmoniously, respectfully, and thoughtfully. We can give them our undivided attention. We also don’t allow others to impose their will on us. This maturing I-connection is like the ship’s captain navigating his ship smoothly over the ocean.” (p.50)
This may not sound like a glamorous vision – and it is not. But try to live it, even in the simplest of circumstances, and the challenge becomes clear.
“The work we do on ourselves to strengthen our I-connection is not just solely for our own benefit because it enables us to contribute to the way society is formed. Cultural progress is closely tied to the way the connection between the soul and the “I” develop in each human being. We each contribute to this progress by the way in which we personally awaken our soul and allow our “I” to shine its light there.” (p.63)
I highly recommend Kaine’s sane and practical guidebook to all who are willing to engage themselves, in order to engage the world.
Review by Melissa McGroarty
“There is a plethora of spiritual books on the market that make big claims and deliver little except a feel-good philosophy. I-Connecting is not one of those books. Reading I-Connecting will not change your life, but reflecting on the material presented and acting on it certainly will! Kristina Kaine looks with a refreshing clarity at our soul life in a way that is both practical and profound, and breaks new ground with her thought-provoking work on the human “I”. Here at last is a book that gives a thorough explanation of the deep spiritual truths of the human soul and spirit in a way that every person can not only grasp, but actually experience in their daily lives. As a facilitator of a group exploring spiritual awareness, and someone that has studied metaphysics and esoteric principles for more than 15 years, I have found this book to be an invaluable and outstanding resource. It provides plenty of practical material that enables the reader to really begin to work and become conscious of their own soul and human “I” – and it is this latter experience especially, becoming aware of the “I”, that my study group participants have found to be a truly life-changing and sustaining experience.”
Melissa McGroarty Facilitator of Developing an Inner Life study group
Honeybee – Toys for Imagination, Wonder & Joy
Review by Robert Sardello
This book wonderfully extends any spiritual practice you may be engaged with into being present to the inner worlds of soul and spirit in everyday life and in the most practical of situations. Kristina Kaine has written a most accessible work. She is a Melbourne based author and businesswoman who has found that an understanding of how soul and spirit are the constant backgrounds of our lives makes a real difference in the quality of life. Having read this book and worked with the practices, I can say that in addition to being filled with inner excitement upon reading an author who has put so much of what one feels but has no words to express, I also feel more calm, more heart-oriented, and most of all, more selflessly interested in others.
Kristina Kaine invites the reader into the riches of becoming a participant-observer in soul and spirit life. This is not a book that simply tells you the way it is; it is one that invites you in to find out for yourself how the gaps in meaning that we all experience have to do with not having found access to the inner life. At the same time, this is not a book of meditative practices to be done in the confines of one’s room, only to find out that in the midst of the hectic world, such practices don’t seem to have the strength to make a real difference in one’s life when others come into the picture. This writing helps sense the inner qualitative nature of subjective experience that are the central dimensions of our busy and practical lives but which typically go unnoticed.
Even when we have times of accomplishment there is often a feeling of emptiness when we look in the wrong direction – outward to the next challenge rather than inward to what is hidden in our human nature. Understanding our inner world can help us deal with the rapidly changing outer world, not only the changes that affect us directly and immediately, but also large, seemingly incomprehensible changes such as terrorism, untreatable diseases, catastrophes, and cultural confusion. Kristina has a wonderful sentence that launches us into inner exploration when she says: ‘Our quest is not for a soul-mate but to be mates with our soul.’ There is deep mystery in what is going on in our lives and in the world that we cannot comprehend by only looking outward. Soul in this book refers to all the qualities of innerness that keep us in touch with the mystery we are.
Once we have an abiding interest in the rich texture of inner life, we then begin to notice that something, some presence that is like a wisdom illuminates the inner life, individualizes it so that we feel personally but not egotistically connected with the inner mysteries. Kristina Kaine speaks of this sense of individuality of the inner life as the ‘I’. The I, the self, is the essence of the individual, an integral part of us, the centrality of our being. Our ego is only the shadow of our ‘I’. We may think we know who we are, but it takes very little inward looking to discover that who we think we are is not the spirit-being we are. Who we think we are is the identity we have taken on through the circumstances of our living – our history, those who have influenced us, education, and the culture and time we live within. There is a more permanent core of our being. Once we find this core we have a sense of our destiny, of what we are here for. How to seek and find this radiating core of our being is the second great discovery of this book. Having a true sense and experience our soul and our ‘I’ orients us toward the future, toward what we can become rather than living the perpetual habits of the past. We are far too convinced, partly by the influence of psychology, that we are who we are because of what has happened to us in the past. This writing and the clear practices suggested help us to make a huge shift, the shift into being more present, more available, more open to who we can be, to our becoming. It is an untold relief to find that rather than being a ‘has-been’, operating from the habits of the past, one can feel the constant pull of being invited into an unknown, creative future.
Robert Sardello School of Spiritual Psychology