(Revised, corrected: 12/ 25/ '03)
The title is a little misleading. This essay, brief and easily assimilated by any intelligent person, is really about healing any problem in your life, "whether it is a problem of character, marriage, health, financial - in fact, any problem type of which one can think.'
first, from the conclusion of Regardie's essay: " anything worthwhile abnd likely to succeed requires a great deal of work and perseverance. The Art of True Healing is no exception." There. Now you've got some of the brass tacks, for starters.
(of course, there ARE alternatives . . the metaphysical/ new thought/new age/ christian science, etc. spiritual healing world is FULL of them. ('Scientific Christian Mental Practice' by Emma Curtis Hopkins is one of my absolute favorites, delightfully awkward title or no.) Yet, Regardie's 'True Healing' is alot less reading, tho both approaches take about a year of practice to show fullest results for efforts. Take your choice.)
Many also attain perfectly decent results with the simplest 'relax, visualize, breath slowly and rhythmically, and practice reciting affirmations til you get the jist of it all ' types of approaches advocated in such books as those of Shakti Gawain ('Creative Visualization.') It's up to you.
Over 20 years familiarity prompts me to offer up these ideas to the newcomer:
1. There is a 'caveat emptor' - the one way to mess up the exercise in this book, is by insufficient relaxation and rhythmic breathing. Be forewarned. As Regardie says: ' Cultivate above all the art of relaxation.' You cannot force the Art of True Healing/middle pillar exercise anyway. Its entire orientation and basis for success, is that of ease and simplicity. It could be added that an overall seriousness of approach, and a fundamentally stable life, provide a good, substantial foundation for this technique.
Dont be put off when Regardie uses phrases like :' We have interfered with the inherent rhythms of nature. And how sadly have we paid for it!" Emphasis like this is nice, yet can cause some people to indulge melodramatically in some negative thinking. Such adherence to such ways of putting things, can yield negative results sooner or later. Firm up your continuity. It is still a valuable essay.B alance in all things. Study intelligently.
2. I am pleased that this book is out in this one-volume edition.
It makes it so much more convenient (especially at such a low price) than just having it on the internet. You can, for reasons of completeness, compare this Marc Allen version here with the original you can currently find on the internet. You will find them quite comparable.
3. Regardie elsewhere in his writings recommends, that you not discuss your work with this exercise with anyone else, as you will then tend not to benefit by it. Don't ask me why. That's just the way it is.( Oh, well... )
4. Regardie also states that the exercise described in 'The Art of True Healing' may take 'far more than a month to master.' As with many techniques, anything like perfect mastery can take about a year. This hardly matters: you will probably start noticing benefits more or less at the outset of this techniques' regular, careful, consistent, and persistent practice. In the essay, towards the end, Regardie states some words to that effect, so have confidence as you set out on this road.
5. The essay is essentially self-contained. Regardie himself, however, is too intelligent to let his work just stand on its own. He recommends in his writings a few useful additions for the 'Art of True Healing' practitioner. Certainly Yogi Ramacharaka's 'Science of Breath,' an old standby/standard that too many people still don't know about, should prove a great help to some people venturing into Regardie's healing technique. Also, Regardie recommends reading Bernard Hollander, MDs 'Hypnosis and Autohypnosis.' I think both of these books are an excellent addition to the libraries of those who would practice the technique offered up in 'The Art of True Healing.'
The 'Art of True Healing ' was once contained as the final essay no. 5 in a book entitled Foundations of practical Magic. Truth is, there was much in that book, sprinkled here and there in the other essays contained therein, that provided much food for thought for understanding the 'art of true healing' essay just that much better, also (comparisons with meditation, Jung's Golden Flower , etc.)
Yet, may I make yet one more recommendation? Were Regardie alive, I believe he would be highly pleased with the material to be found in Thomas Cleary's recent 'Taoist Meditation' book (hint: not just for Taoists, and not just for meditators, Cleary's book helps immensely towards relaxation.) Cleary offers up in this book much useful material that would assist many of those interested, in creating the best possible attitude and approach to practicing the middle pillar exercise as depicted in 'The Art of True Healing.' Although I doubt if Cleary had the intention, his 'Taoist Meditation' is still a perfect addition for ' Art of True Healing' practitioners.
6. Many 'versions' of this technique are depicted in other 'occult' and 'visualisation' books. By and large, you should ignore these as incomplete. Regardie's volume is the only 'real McCoy,' that discusses the matter at any kind of length, with the most intelligence and completeness. I have yet to find a decent substitute for 'The Art of True Healing.'
7. As Regardie notes in another book, regular persistent practise will ultimately enable you to perform the exercise described in 'The Art of True Healing' anytime, anywhere. Regardie himself used to practise it back in the 30s, while simply walking around London. (..."1930s? hmmm! say! this practise has been around a while, hasn't it?" ...yes, indeed, it has...)
8. There exist recordings of Regardie himself performing a fairly complete, though time-condensed, version of this 'Art of True Healing/middle pillar exercise.' In tape form, I have found it a very useful 'middle pillar' aid.
9. Finally, it may be worth noting, for some, that there is a connection between 'The Art of True Healing' essay, and with 'circulation of the energy' material in Jung's 'Secret of the Golden Flower.' One essay hardly substitutes for the other, however.
10. It should be pointed out, that NO form of visualization is a substitiute for psychotherapy, regualr medical treatment, or a sane, rational, stable and balanced approach appropriate to your given lifestyle ( I leave it to you to patiently decide what that might mean, as it applies to you !) Indeed, any form of meditation or visualizing technique ought to be approached with caution. It has been said that, in general, 'the mind must be trained very slowly.' I would add, carefully. Morbid haste or whacky approaches, exotic methods for the sheer sake of 'something different' can be sheer folly -- even dangerous, for both body and mind. People have rather worked themselves into mental illness with the wrong approaches to their mind and meditation, as they have with regards to their lives and lifestyles. In short, sometimes we simply need to think about our esoteric interests more like accountants, than like wild-eyed New Age messiahs, rushing in madly in billowing flourescent paisley attire. I need not extenuate. I think you get the picture. ' All things in moderation. . .'
Many of you disappointed by other 'Visualization' techniques are likely be highly pleased with 'The Art of True Healing.' Compared to other methods, it can seem a breath of fresh air to the serious practitioner. I agree with one reviewer who said it was the greatest book in the world. Persistence, devotion to its method and steady practise, and a proper attitude, is usually all that's required.
Barring the vagaries of personal indolence and fanaticism that can impair its usefulness, the Art of True Healing/ middle pillar exercise 'is a very powerful technique.' Carefully and assiduously practised, it is 'extremely worthwhile because of the nature and quality of the results which follow,' just like Regardie says near the end of his essay.
In short, BUY THIS BOOK. It is truly worth MANY times its cover price !
(PS: should I ever find anything better, I will be sure to let you know, right here on this review page. But I doubt you are going to find a legitimate method for successful overall integration with, and success within, the significant areas of life, better than 'The Art of True Healing.' So, GET a copy !!!