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“Brimming with crystalline clarity and the love of truth, Gail Brenner’s The End of Self-Help invites us to see through the illusion of the separate self and discover our inherent freedom, wholeness, and well being in the midst of our ordinary lives. This beautifully written book sparkles with vibrant insight and is a welcome antidote to the endless and errant self-improvement project!”
~John J. Prendergast, Ph.D., author of In Touch: How to Tune in to the Inner Guidance of Your Body and Trust Yourself and senior editor of The Sacred Mirror and Listening from the Heart of Silence.
I couldn’t be more thrilled to be announcing the publication of my first book entitled The End of Self-Help: Discovering Peace and Happiness Right at the Heart of Your Messy, Scary, Brilliant Life.
Writing this book has been a labor of love. I’ve completed a project that’s been in my heart to birth into the world for over 20 years. It’s taken commitment, the willingness to move through unexpected fear, and patience with myself and the process.
And at every step, you, the ones who will be reading it, have been in my vision. It’s an offering that flows straight from my heart right into yours. And I can’t wait for you to read it.
The End of Self-Help
“Until you know yourself to be essentially whole, and not the wounded and broken one who needs to be fixed, the true solution to your personal suffering will remain out of reach.”
~from The End of Self-Help
There are now hundreds of articles in the archives of this blog, but the book offers something fresh. It’s not a compilation of blog posts that you’ve already read. I’m excited to share it with you because it offers the way through your personal struggles to discover that it’s always possible to be peaceful and free. This is what I’ve found to be absolutely true.
The title, The End of Self-Help, refers to the fact that we are not damaged, inadequate, limited selves who need help. We certainly can think we are, if we take our thoughts and feelings to be true.
But here’s what’s possible. When we open to the truth of any given moment, we discover that we don’t have to believe false ideas about ourselves and the world. We don’t have to get caught up in habits and emotions that don’t serve.
We can rest our attention here, in presence. We can know ourselves as the space of pure being that is luminous, endless, and alive. We can soften into the heart and find the essence of life everywhere, knowing nothing is separate from anything else.
This is the possibility for all of us—to, as the subtitle says, “discover peace and happiness right at the heart of your messy, scary, brilliant life.”
Nothing about you needs to change for you to be happy—it takes only a simple shift of attention.
Here is what the book covers. At the end of each chapter is a section called, “Explorations” offering experiments and contemplations to make the content come alive in your own experience. And each chapter includes an audio meditation, which you can find here.
The introduction describes the problem with the concept of self-help and offers the alternative: that we don’t need to look outside ourselves or wait one more second for happiness. We aren’t broken, and we’re not missing what we need to be happy. I also offer my story of how I’ve come to this realization.
Chapter 1: Finding Yourself
This chapter begins to go deeper to describe how our attention gets glued to thoughts and feelings that make us suffer. And it guides you to realize, in your own experience, the relief from freeing attention so it can rest in the simplicity of pure presence. The chapter concludes by inviting you to question your identity. Maybe you aren’t defined by your limiting thoughts and painful feelings. It lays out the path, developed in the rest of the book, for discovering your essential wholeness and boundless true nature.
Chapter 2: Clear Seeing About Unhappiness
Together, we explore exactly why and how we suffer, including stories from the past, our current right now experience, and our belief that who we are is separate and limited. You’re continually guided to realize the effortlessness of just being, available in any moment.
Chapter 3: Showing Up Ripe and Ready
This path is radical in that it invites you to question everything you take to be true about yourself, others, and the world. This chapter highlights 6 essential qualities to find within yourself and bring to this investigation.
Chapter 4: Running and Staying
You’re guided to become familiar with all the ways you avoid and resist what you’re actually experiencing—and to be truthful about the painful effects on your life. We go deeply into the topic of emotions so you can learn to relate to them with intelligence. You’ll learn the beauty, and surprising relief, of simply opening fully to what is.
Chapter 5: The Puzzle of Thinking
Believing the content of our thoughts takes us away from what’s true, yet thinking is a powerful force that magnetizes our attention. This chapter offers many suggestions for relaxing attention away from troublesome thoughts.
Chapter 6: Kidnapped by Fear
Fear deserves its own chapter because it lies at the root of the belief that we’re the separate and limited entity our thoughts tell us we are. We learn about the subtle faces and voices of fear and how to be with the experience of fear so it’s no longer in control.
Chapter 7: Hijacked by Lack and Desire
At the foundation of the separate self who we think needs help is the belief that we’re broken and lacking. This chapter guides you to see through these false beliefs to realize that the truth of you has always been pure and innocent, untouched by anything that’s ever happened, and overflowing with infinite potential.
Chapter 8: Awake in Relationship
No longer needing to protect or defend the separate self, we’re free to show up freshly in our relationships. We discover ways to be with emotional reactions, the wisdom of seeing through attachments, and the truth about loss.
Chapter 9: Natural Curiosity
This chapter addresses important questions about change, acceptance, thinking, emotions, and spiritual awakening.
Chapter 10: Finally Home
What is embodied and awakened living? How do we live when we’re no longer driven by thoughts? In this chapter, you’ll find out about goals, stress, life purpose, and the simple joys of ordinary life.
Living It in Your Own Experience
My intention for this book is to break things down so clearly that you can’t help but realize the insanity of identifying yourself by your thoughts about the past, worries about the future, or the disease rampant in our society—feelings of inadequacy.
- You’ll understand fully why and how you suffer—and discover another way.
- You’ll be so knowledgeable about fear that it stops having power in your life.
- Your thoughts about not being good enough just won’t make sense anymore.
- And you’ll realize that you’ve always been who you really are despite your distractions—pure consciousness, spacious, open, and transparent.
Then you’ll practice bringing this new understanding to your relationships, life choices, emotions, thought processes, and quest for a life purpose. Maybe, like me, you’ll revel in the ordinary unfolding of everyday life that overflows with palpable presence and love.
This journey is radical because it invites you to question everything you take for granted—every belief, viewpoint, identity, assumption, and expectation. So I’ve offered some guidance.
The book is 212 pages. There are explorations at the end of every chapter where you are encouraged to apply what you’re reading about to your own direct experience. And there are new guided audio meditations available for each of the 10 chapters.
There’s a wondrous discovery awaiting you. It’s the end of self-help, of waiting to improve at some future time, and the living, breathing possibility of peace now…and now…and now…
Always in love,