If you have been following my blog for any time, you know that I love to read and so does my family. Finding good books and sharing them with you is a joy to us. For this book I needed help. I could not put into words how I felt about it, so I asked for help from my husband, who by the way, is much better at communicating things like this than I am. The following review is by him, with a few added things from me.
The Power of the Heart: Finding Your True Purpose in Life
by Baptist de Pape (Review by Rick and Lois Jones)
The premise of this book is that to find your true role in this world, you must get past emphasizing the mind and listen to your heart. There is nothing new or particularly profound here. Being advised to calm yourself, look within, clear your mind and listen to the voice from your heart . . . is that worth spending $24.00? The rest of the book is little more than shallow reflections from personal experience, high-quality photos of "the leading spiritual teachers, authors, and scientists of today" [in other words, popular people who agree with de Pape] and endless quotations about the heart, many of which are taken out of context.
One claim in the book is that the heart -- not just "the heart" as symbolic of the core, the essence, the chi, the soul, but the actual, physical heart -- thinks, feels, guides, and will advise you if you tune in to it. The claim that scientific research indicates this is silly. In some situations, the heart reacts to stimuli before the brain does. This is not proof that the heart directs the brain. When your hand touches a hot stove, the hand jerks away before the burn is registered in the brain; this is not proof that the hand guides the brain, or has independent thoughts. Such misuse of scientific research is misguided at best, deceitful at worst, and, given the author's training in law, highly irresponsible.
While the claim that mankind has for centuries referred to the heart as an essential part of human life is true, the assertion that the heart [especially the physical organ] is the source of great wisdom does not follow. The use of extensive quotations concerning the heart may seem impressive, but they are employed in ways that have nothing to do with their original meaning. "Heart" is symbolic of "core" and "life", of an immaterial but nevertheless essential quality of humans. No appeal to ancient wisdom or intuitive knowledge is required to understand how this particular physical organ is chosen to represent the concept. Nearly every culture has, for generations, had vampire legends. Should we then assume that vampires are real?
In his effort to bolster his teaching, Baptist de Pape misrepresents ancient teaching through highly selective and nonrepresentative quotations.
Two examples from the New Testament [since I am most familiar with that religious text]: while the Greek language uses the word kardia ["heart"] to indicate the seat of emotions, it also uses splanchnon ["organs of the intestines"] in the same sense. Using the same reasoning as we find in this book, one could make a case for "tuning in" to the spleen, colon, etc for life lessons. But since this use of splanchnon is inconvenient and does not back up the author's conclusions, it is conveniently omitted. Also, Jesus is quoted as saying, "Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy heart." This is actually from Ecclesiastes, where Solomon, not Jesus, used a word that is sometimes translated "Heart," and sometimes "strength." Notice that it is the hand, not the heart, which determines ones role! (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
Conveniently omitted from de Pape's book are such biblical observations as "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9); "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders . . ." (Mark 7:21); is the heart a reliable source of guidance? "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21); the heart, in this case, is following, not leading, and again is unreliable.
The person who wants to live a fulfilling life would do well to forget following the heart, and instead strive to follow God. As David wrote in Psalm 3:5-8, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones." The heart is not to be made supreme. It is to be made subject to God. The Bible does not emphasize YOU. It turns one's attention to GOD. The biblical description of your true purpose in life is "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." (Luke 10:27)
"Following your heart" is a poor substitute for following God.
After careful consideration we can not recommend this book to you by any means. In fact, we would recommend avoiding it.
if however, you want to learn more about the book here is where you can connect with it and order your copy. The book will be available in stores October 7th.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thepoweroftheheart Hashtag: #poweroftheheart
I received a copy of the book from SheSpeaks for the purpose of review. I was also compensated for my time for reading and posting this review. However, all opinions expressed are those of mine and my guest reviewer. They were not influenced in any way.