This is the concern I have with Self Help. It seems that it is important to be eclectic. In fact the question of how eclectic in our spirituality we can be seems to really be at the heart of the question so maybe self help books can have a transformative power that is relevant.
The essence of what I write here is from a book I’m presently reading. It suggests that there is a process of increasing illumination that orders a complex hierarchy of poetic imagination in much the same way that alchemical imagery begins in the bizarre and pathological, but is given its orientation by something beyond. For me Buddhist practice seems to have involved a similar process, that in silence, stillness the unconscious conditioning is encountered. In attentiveness to that confrontation there is an experience of something more expansive.
Henry Corbin’s critiques of Carl Jung and James Hillman, who both embraced the concept of the “Mundas imaginalis” writes about his fear that the essential spiritual dimension of the “mundus imaginalis” will be perverted by the powerfully secularizing and disorienting tendencies in the modern world. I can’t help but think that this applies, at these times that social, religious, political and institutional influences that are often given the kind of weight that dilutes the aesthetic and spiritual significance of the works they have created, that arise from a process of discovering what is within.
Modern psychology can be a form of secularizing as it leads us away from the “divine”. In its linear reduction of the idea of pathology; that what we encounter along the way towards seeing more clearly as pathology, the likelihood of becoming stuck in that is increased.