In this work, The 6 Qualities of Consciousness: Practical Insights from the Tantric Tradition of Yoga, author and yoga teacher Danny Arguetty offers some of the teachings of the Tantra Yoga tradition, attempting to provide these in a way that is both accessible and meaningful to everyday life. As he notes in his introduction, Arguetty is heavily influenced by his primary teacher, Douglas Brooks, a Professor of Religion and Tantric Scholar, and he liberally quotes Brooks throughout the volume. Some of this work reads quite a bit like a memoir, providing readers with a glimpse into Arguetty's yogic journey and his discovery of how the principles of Tantra have applied to his own life.
The six qualities addressed in the book are intelligence (chit), freedom (svatantrya), perfection (purna), collective (kula), abundance (shri), and the secret (rahasya). Each of these issues is broken down into multiple components. For example, in the section on Perfection, Arguetty has chapters discussing "Roots of Unworth," "Reclaiming Perfection," and "Vulnerability." The "practical insights" come at the conclusion of each quality, in 2-4 pages titled "Ripples on…" The "Ripples on Purna" (perfection) pages offer suggestions for journaling, including considering where in your life you might be striving to be a perfectionist and examining your personal relationship to success. There is also an exercise for exploring feelings about one's body, ideas for using sticky notes as reminders for supporting purna, and additional general recommendations for continued growth in this area.
This is the basic layout and overview of the book. I certainly found it engaging—Arguetty is a skilled writer, and I appreciated his ability to weave in personal anecdotes to illustrate yogic philosophy. (As an aside, the book is also attractively filled with illustrations by Philip Nato.) Still, despite Arguetty's clear language, I continue to find Tantra to be somewhat esoteric. In surprising contrast to this, the applications at the end of each segment felt almost too simplistic. Perhaps this was the point, but the "insights" seemed to be a generally repetitive collection of self-exploration exercises.
Although this work did not quite click with me, I would recommend the author and am looking forward to reading his other efforts.
© 2015 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.