Dark Matters: Discovering Wholeness in the Shadows by Rev Lauri Boyd, reviewed by Rev Dr Richard Belous
Let me cut to the chase. Rev Lauri Boyd has written an important book that helps us deal with our shadows (or dark sides) in a productive way. Her detailed path is an excellent example of how practical Unity principles can be used to deal with a wide range of serious issues that “bug” many of us (even so-called Black Belt Truth students) from time to time.
Lauri Boyd is the minister at Unity of Columbia, Missouri, and she recently played a major role on the task force that designed the new ministerial curriculum for Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute. She has extensive training and experience in spiritual counseling and conflict.
Some books focus on the theoretical and philosophical superstructure behind a suggested method. Other books aim to be a practical “how to” guide. Meanwhile other books attempt to cover both the theoretical and the “nitty-gritty” applications. In many cases, authors who try to straddle both worlds end up producing books that fail on both shores. However, Rev Boyd’s book does an excellent job of both presenting some difficult and complex theories and, at the same time, it helps a layperson do some difficult soul-searching.
Theoretical and Practical
On the theoretical side, Rev Boyd does a masterful job of presenting Carl Jung’s concept of the shadow (i.e., that part of ourselves that we would rather have remain hidden in darkness). Often we project our shadow out onto other people, places and things. Rev Boyd also does an excellent job of explaining the “no boundary” concepts of Ken Wilber. She provides one of the best explanations I have seen of Wilber’s process of reaching non-duality.
On the practical “how to” side, each of the chapters in this book provide very good guided meditations and suggested assignments to help one grow in self-awareness and radical self-acceptance. Rev Boyd uses some examples she experienced when she was a student of Rev Robert Brumet. In fact, Rev Boyd is a great example of breaking new ground in the Rev Brumet tradition.
I have taken this book out for a “test drive,” and I recently used it for teaching a class, on discovering wholeness in the Shadows, at Unity Center of Tulsa, Okla. My students loved the book and said that they gained a great deal from it. I used several of Rev Boyd’s guided meditations and assignments in the class, and they went over well.
Rev Boyd is also an example of a growing trend in publishing. She has self-published this book. We found it to be very easy to order from Amazon.
The one recommendation I have for Rev Boyd is that if she writes a second edition of this book, I would suggest that she expand the section on spiral dynamics and the process of change. Specifically it would be interesting to explore how the shadow manifests itself in different forms at different stages and spirals. But nonetheless, this book is a “keeper.”