The Sacred Ego
Making Peace with Ourselves and Our World
Author: Jalaja Bonheim, Ph.D.
Why have we failed to create the happy, peaceful world that we all want? And what can we do about it? For more than three decades, Jalaja Bonheim has explored these questions in her work with women leaders, activists, and spiritual seekers from around the world.
In The Sacred Ego, she tackles one of the core myths of popular spiritual culture—the myth of the ego, supposedly responsible for our greed, selfishness, and violence. In contrast, Bonheim approaches the ego as a sacred function worthy of honor and gratitude. With riveting stories from her work, she guides us into the depths of our collective psyche to pinpoint the real sources of our problems and illuminate our path to wholeness. Firmly grounded in a lifetime of practical experience, The Sacred Ego is a visionary, uplifting book that explains why our world is in crisis and how we can support the unprecedented transformational process that’s underway.
About the Author
Jalaja Bonheim, PhD, is an inspiring visionary, teacher and speaker who illuminates our path toward peace, wholeness, and joy. Founder and director of the Institute for Circlework, she is one of the world’s foremost experts in the use of circle gatherings as a tool for healing and empowering women. Her workshops and trainings have changed the lives of thousands of women by connecting them in a spirit of true sisterhood, open-heartedness, and authenticity. Jalaja (pronounced Djá-la-dja) has mentored hundreds of leaders from around the world and has gathered international acclaim for her groundbreaking work with Jewish and Palestinian women in the Middle East. Visit her website for more information on her books and workshops as well as free guidelines for study groups.
"This outstanding feminist guide to fostering peace in communities opens hearts up to facilitating justice in an often violent world.… Bonheim shares powerful stories and practical guidance in a must-read volume that teaches how a continued shift in human consciousness can indeed bring healing to the planet.… The Sacred Ego is a practical and compelling guide for conscious living. Through her truth telling, Bonheim leaves us with nothing but hope that peace is achievable—because it is already present within our hearts."
"Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, The Sacred Ego is an inherently fascinating read that is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking."
—Helen Dumont, Midwest Book Review
"The Sacred Ego is a gem—a beautiful and vitally important book. Jalaja Bonheim is the voice of the essential feminine wisdom without which we cannot heal ourselves and our planet. Her work is a rare and wondrous amalgam of earthy pragmatism and visionary inspiration."
—Marci Shimoff, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Love for No Reason and Happy for No Reason
"The Sacred Ego blends profound spiritual wisdom with exciting new insights into the human psyche. For anyone committed to personal and collective transformation, [it] is a must-read. It sheds new light on our evolutionary journey and offers profound insights into why we're in crisis and where the path to healing and wholeness lies."
—Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money
"This brilliant and visionary book outlines a pathway to peace that is grounded in our collective evolutionary capacity for loving presence and intelligent action. Jalaja Bonheim’s compelling stories of deep transformation in Circlework both inspire and energize … she gives us hope for the healing of our world."
—Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
"With an authority that grows from years of experience, Jalaja Bonheim helps us understand how we can be the change we hope to move toward. Absorbing, inspiring, and practical, her book is grounded in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience."
—Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, author of Goddesses in Everywoman and The Millionth Circle
"The Sacred Ego is an exciting, compelling, groundbreaking book, and a work of irresistible compassion."
—Joan Borysenko, PhD, author of It’s Not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change
"Jalaja Bonheim has written a lucid, inspiring vision, based on her direct experience of how to unlock the potential of the human heart for the benefit of all. The Sacred Ego shows how we can awaken the deep wisdom already inside us. A deeply insightful and important work."
—James Baraz, coauthor of Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness and cofounding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center
"The Sacred Ego is a brilliant, wise, profoundly grounded and practical guide to transmuting the selfish ego into one that serves joyfully and humbly the divine truths of love, compassion, and justice. All seekers and sacred activists should read and integrate the wisdom Jalaja Bonheim unfolds here with such seasoned pragmatism and spiritual grace."
—Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism
"The focus is on collective consciousness and conditioning. Topics include head-thinking versus heart-thinking, ending the war within, relational education, belief addiction, control addiction, detachment from thought, and how greed makes us stupid… Powerful work on the cutting-edge of a major evolutionary step forward."
—Retailing Insight magazine
"What a powerful book! Revealing a path to peace within and without, The Sacred Ego is a much-needed offering to the world."
—Dorothy Firman, EdD, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Mother & Daughter Soul and Chicken Soup for the Father & Son Soul
"This penetrating and deeply kind book, based on Jalaja Bonheim’s invaluable experience of working with circles of people from around the world, shows how we can create a sane and peaceful world for ourselves and the children of the future."
—Sherry Ruth Anderson, coauthor of The Cultural Creatives and author of Ripening Time
"With beauty, grace and insight, Jalaja Bonheim peels away layers of encrusted cultural conditioning to reveal a shining jewel: the evolutionary potential of the human race when it taps into its own heart. Read this book and it may change your way of thinking."
—Liz Walker, cofounder, executive director of EcoVillage at Ithaca and author of Choosing a Sustainable Future