Dr. Rudy Scarfalloto is both a chiropractor and anatomy instructor at ASHA massage school. In his book, The Dance of Opposites (previously published under the title The Alchemy of Opposites), he expresses some rather profound yet obviously simplistic truths. On one level Dr. Rudy’s words express ways individuals can overcome depression, anger, fears, anxiety, addiction, and learn to have healthy relationships. On another level he expresses profound mystic wisdom. The Dance of Opposites helps us change our dualistic paradigm and learn to see the world not as a grocery list of paired and opposing views but instead helps us learn integration of all dualistic opposites in the effort to live more fully and holistically. I know this may sound like the typical self-help drivel but I assure you it is not. This book does not waste time with antics nor systems’. This book gets at what is at the very heart of our existence as human beings. The Dance of Opposites works on many levels. Some may not want to put it down once it is taken up as the information is so clear that you will find yourself wondering why you had not thought of things this way before, it seems so obvious. Also, it is very useful as a daily tool for personal growth and meditation. I personally found it very useful to read small sections at a time to let it gestate and give my psyche something to ponder through the day or week while I am busy with other studies. This can also turn out to be very synchronistic. I have also spent the past few years studying a wide range of mysticism, psychology, and spirituality literature and Dr. Rudy just lays it all out in simple terms in black and white. One of the students that attended ASHA said that she actually considers this book to be her new "Bible" and I can see why. While it may sound blasphemous to some at first, I challenge you to compare the wisdom in this book to any standard "religious" text. You will find that scholars are still trying to guess at the intended meanings of the religious books while The Dance of Opposites is understandable to anyone with even a low education yet possibly more profound. There is also a companion to this book called 90 Days of Inner Integration which I’ve not had the time to peruse fully yet but I can only imagine the transformative processes it could create in the common individual. Dr. Scarfalloto does not hold back with his writing either, he instead bears all by revealing some of his own personal growth experiences, even those that may seem controversial. Knowing him personally, in the class room setting at least, he is a most respectable being and wise beyond what he reveals publicly. The ideas in this book can definitely be life changing for most. It does not matter if you are Agnostic or Christian or anything in-between. This book can change the way you view the world around you in such magnificent ways. You may even find you enjoy life much more!
First off I must say that the final conclusion of this book reminds me much of Mysteries of the Dark Moon by Demetra George except that there is more of a focus on they way that situations can be mishandled, especially by men. I must also say that for anyone who already feels that they have their own issues with 'typical male' characteristics and have strived not to fit this stereotype you may want to skip forward to Chapter 6 and begin reading here. From this point on the book is excellent. Unfortunately, the redundance of the prior chapters made me almost not finish the book.
The main attitude of the book has much to do with how men relate to emotions both their own and those around them. It also tends to suggest the interconnectivity of all things. It is finally stated in this book that men should truly allow themselves to feel their grief and the grief of others around then rather than attempting to build walls to shut this out. By building these barriers we tend to create a situation in which we are more liable to do much more harm then good to those around us and eventually to ourselves.
The main interest in the first 5 chapters is that the author sites many examples of this male ego which tends to barricade, fly above situations or simply attack from afar. He sites examples from a range of modern film, ancient mythology as well as the Desert Storm of recent years. I especially like the mention of such films as Falling Down, The Fisher King and The Unforgiven and how the male characters in these movies relate (or lack to relate) to their environment and the individuals they affect. I am surprised that there was no mention of the ever popular film The Wall by Pink Floyd as this is another great example of what the author depicts and what 'not' to do.
Overall, I think it's a good book but not great though the information contained within the last few chapters is. It almost seems as if the author began his writing at chapter 6 and then elaborated on the last paragraph in the book to create the first 5 chapters so his novel would be large enough and there would be a beginning and end tie in.
The last few chapters I would highly recommend that any man read simply because even when we try not to become the 'typical male' we sometimes end up there and it can sometimes be our own undoing, especially in relationships. I would also recommend the entire book to anyone who would continue to idolize the typical hero characters in which the hero is depicted as having to detroy his enemies or do any other such harm in order to achieve his goals. This is what the author calls the Herculean model of the hero and he offers the alternatives through the Trickster, Magician and the Grieving Man.
Note from Glen: I'm including this as it helped me better understand the book's structure and I hope it will assist others as well.
Thanks for reading the book and thanks for the review. It was interesting to read it. You obviously are a sensitive person. There is a sharp break between the first five chapters and the rest of the book. I wrote the first part of the book at a somewhat earlier point and was inspired in that part of the book by much of my own
anger against what males had done to each other and by various hurts I had suffered (especially from my own father). After I wrote that part of the book and let it sit for another six months, I took up writing the second half of the book with a different
level of excitement and feeling nourished by the writing process. I guess that shows in the book. Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful and fair response to the book. Take care, Glen