In this groundbreaking book, Jia Gottlieb MD dispels two thousand years of shared shame, guilt, and ignorance to reclaim the wisdom of pleasure as the ultimate guide to a beautiful and fulfilling life. Drawing on penetrating insights from history, cutting-edge neuroscience, and spiritual wisdom, he provides the knowledge and tools to transform your life by working with your human nature rather than against it, to live from love rather than fear.
Featuring 23 illustrations/diagrams, 8 photographs, 5 original prints, and an extensive glossary, this book will change not only how you think about pleasure but how you experience it and live your life.
“This is one of the most important books you will ever read. Panoramic in scope and deep in wisdom, it is nothing less than a blueprint for a great life and our collective survival. In plain language, physician Jia Gottlieb plumbs the meaning of pleasure and pain to reach a vision of interdependence among all living things and their environment, where love, compassion, and balance are key: a crucial message for our time.”
Author of The Mirror of Yoga and The Art of Vinyasa
"aah . . . exhale when you say it and dive into the mystery of the present moment with our longtime friend, Dr. Jia. This rich offering of yogic wisdom, science, and practical philosophy is presented in a refreshingly personal and effective way. Please study this book again and again. Please research and study all of the teachers and books that are mentioned within.”
Olympic medalist, and author of On the Wings of Mercury
“Dr. Gottlieb has exposed the biggest hoodwink perpetuated on humankind, that we human beings are flawed and our suffering is noble. This masterpiece is a clarion call to reinstate Pleasure—and her various faces of Beauty, Truth, and Freedom—as our essential compass, not just for achieving our own excellence and enlightenment, but for navigating the next stage of our human evolution.”
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This is a book about pleasure, one of life’s most important and most misunderstood experiences. Important, because it will likely determine the kinds of people you will meet, the quality of your life, your health, and even how long you live. Misunderstood, because in your search for pleasure, it’s easy to get lost and end up in pain and suffering. Our current state of knowledge about pleasure is similar to our understanding of human sexuality before the Kinsey report of the 1940s or death and dying before Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote her book of the same title in 1969. Everyone’s doing it. It’s an important part of life. But no one’s talking about it. The subject is taboo. Chances are you know more about how your car works than how pleasure does.
I first met Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, at FeatherPipe Ranch in the Montana Rockies on the edge of Helena NationalForest, in May 1987. My roommate, Richard Freeman, and I drove out to attend a seven-day workshop. Each day, fifteen of us lined up in two rows facing each other and went through the hour and a half primary yoga sequence while Guru-ji, as he was affectionately called, worked his way up and down the line adjusting people.
Discipline is another one of those words, like pleasure, good, and ethics, whose original meaning was once pure and profound, but then was perverted with a moral twist and fashioned into a tool of social control. The value of reclaiming its original meaning is that in the process we reclaim a part of ourselves and become more whole.
In this final chapter, we’ll look at how understanding pleasure can help us solve the planetary crises that face us, and along the way, dispel a few more outdated myths. [ . . . ] When confronted with such huge problems as overpopulation, climate change, environmental pollution, and nuclear annihilation, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and sink into despair or turn away in denial. After all, what can I, as just one person, do? And what on earth does any of this have to do with feeling good?
The son of an Austrian father and a Chinese mother, Dr. Jia was born to write this book. While his father schooled him in the logic of chess, his mother imbued him with the intuitive ways of the East. After completing a BA in physics from the University of Colorado, an MD from Northwestern University, and a Family Medicine residency at the top-ranked Community Hospital of Sonoma County, he journeyed to Japan and China for intensive training in martial arts and acupuncture. Returning to Boulder, Colorado in 1984, Dr. Jia established the Still Mountain Clinic, which he directed for over twenty-five years. He holds black belts in aikido and karate, plays the bamboo flute, is a lifelong student of yoga and Zen meditation, and is learning to tango. He is the proud father of three daughters.