This book is the culmination of a project spanning 15 years. During that time I have repeatedly edited and honed a comprehensive selection of my writing to produce a manual for personal growth; a 650-page experiential handbook which uses my own 4-year training experience, includes updates from eleven years later, and carries the following description on the back cover:
Evolution by Natural Reflection is an intimate story of discovery, chronicling one man’s search for the truth about human behaviour. Vulnerable, curious, and determined, he is confronted every step of the way, and pushed to the very edge of existence by Karaj, a brilliant and thoroughly unconventional psychotherapist. On the brink of discovery, weary from the journey and doubting himself more than ever, he is challenged to see his greatness, acknowledge his incompetence, and find a way to relax with both.
Along the way, he gains insight into what makes us who we are and how soon we decide what kind of life we will lead. He sees how easily we manipulate ourselves and each other, how beautifully simple life is, and how complicated we make it. Above all, he learns to see himself and others more clearly.
At our core we are all the same; all of us are doing whatever we can to make it through a life for which we are ultimately responsible. At any point, we are able to make decisions about who we are, who we want to be, and where we want to go. And when we forget the simplicity of it all, or we’re convinced that there must be another way; when we’re stuck, or frustrated by the lack of novelty, this is the book to read. It is a reminder of the value of repetition and practice. Every day, every minute, every breath. In the end, it all comes down to this:
Do what you know is good for you.
Do it every day.
Even if you don’t want to.
The book is divided into four volumes. Volume One, ‘As Special As It Gets’, covers the curiosity stage, when everything was new and exciting. It sets out the foundations for personal development, and documents the relationship between me and the therapist who supported and challenged me throughout my work. Volume Two, ‘Simple, But Not Easy’, looks at the development of the group, but also charts an increasing cockiness which threatened to end my training.
In Volume Three, ‘It Works. Beautifully.’, my learning begins to come together as the group work intensifies. Unfortunately, the challenges also become more intense and more frequent, taking me to the verge of quitting. From then on, it was a case of hanging on for as long as I could before the end finally came; a journey chronicled in Volume Four, ‘Coming Full Circle’.
Although it is not publicly available, if you wish to acquire a copy (€35), contact me at email@example.com. To give you an idea of the content, the first 120 pages have been recorded in a series of seven podcasts which you can find here.
Jonathan’s book has been an integral part of my personal development journey. I have read it cover to cover, but not from front to back. At times I have opened it at random and read one day’s entry. It’s a book you can keep going back to. The words remain the same, but the meaning they convey takes on a new energy each time you re-visit them.
Jonathan and his words have encouraged me to write stuff down – to commit more consciously to the process; to peel back the layers, and in his words, ‘re-capture our beauty and bring it to the surface where it can reach into the world and touch the same in others’.
I encourage anyone to work with Jonathan, read his book and begin the transformation from within. By sharing our stories with one another, we can create meaning, live our purpose and contribute more meaningfully to ourselves and others.
‘Evolution By Natural Reflection’ touches your very core. Jonathan’s way of telling his story, whilst at the same time reflecting on it 11 years later is raw – relentless even. His story is that of personal development. In the four years of his training he has been up high peaks and, more often, down low lows. To read how he copes on his journey towards being a better person is inspiring. A must-read for everyone even a bit interested in personal development.
A rare example of discipline, to put yourself through four years of training in order to gain a grip on your personal development. And it didn’t stop with that. Carefully manicured writings in the years following are also included in this compilation. A stunning exhibition of where self-awareness and discipline can take you.
One of those books written by an author who actually experienced the material he’s teaching. If you’re looking for a coach who’s been there and done that, this is the one.
Don’t expect just to read this book from cover to cover. Personal development takes time. Jonathan proved that by immersing himself for four years and then by continuing his own development until this very day. Take your time to take it in, and explore what’s in it for you. That’s what I did.