Engelstalige synopsis van het non-fictie boek “The Crack” – Melinda Asztalos, PhD

“The Crack” aims to be a powerful inspirational book. It would also like to become a bestseller because it wishes to reach a wide audience and to touch the lives of many. “The Crack” offers readers the detailed description of a new comprehensive method of consciousness development “The 3M System”, created by the author after careful study of both Science and Spirituality.

“I would not dare claiming that I have something worthwhile to offer to the world, should I have not paid my dues first. I like to believe that I earned the right to be heard because what I say is aligned between the solid ground of an understanding developed throughout scientific research during 12 years of university education and the air of experience of about 30 years (and still counting) of solemn spiritual practice.

I can offer a list of credentials to the people who need that in order to give a chance to my teachings: I obtained 2 Masters and a PhD from Ghent University (Belgium), I finished in-depth studies in Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology and Psychology. I researched the mind, and the way people react, their motivations and the struggles of their psyche. As the main focus of my doctorate, I developed the concept of mindful movement and introduced it in Science in the publication Asztalos et al. “Sport participation and stress among women and men”, Psychology of Sport and Exercise 2012/13, 466–483.

Almost a decade later, in “The Crack” I reveal the transformation from conceptual understanding to conscious experiencing, and I offer useful information and valuable guidance to all Seekers of Truth who want to function through their true selves and who wish to experience themselves as clear consciousness in human form.

It would be impossible to make this contribution without the rigorous spiritual training which I started over 30 years ago and probably will continue doing my entire life. I am fairly sure that my teachings can only help others to the extent that they help me. Everything I teach contributes to my own spiritual growth, thus the exchange between me and the people who receive my teachings is secured by the assurance that I do not want to change anybody’s mind about anything. “The Crack” is a self-sustaining venture which nurtures itself by feeding the clear consciousness all around. In other words, “The Crack” is safe because it doesn’t need anyone to justify its worth. I am putting it out there in order to show up for my end of the deal with Life. My goal is to write, as well as I can, and to teach what I know, allowing my ideas the freedom to find their own way. And if someone benefits from them, Hallelujah!

My intent is clear, and it springs from my painful understanding that this human life is hard; often beautiful, but always hard. This understanding triggered my compassion for humans, including the human who I am.

To complete my list of credentials, on the spiritual side I’ve been blessed with the privilege to follow comprehensive courses, initiations and retreats, with the greatest Buddhist Lama’s of our times including Pema Chödrön, Maniwa Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, the Shamarpa Künzig Shamar Rinpoche, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In preparation for these fortunate events, I did a few monk-like retreats in Christianity and Buddhism, I’ve read Paulo Coelho and James Redfield; and I’ve studied the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti, Osho, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ram Dass, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

I became a Seeker of Truth already in my teenage years and an “official” yogi quite young, by age 12. I practised Tai Chi and Qi Gong as well, but Yoga resonates with my being most intensely. I’ve been just a child when I sensed that the body is the gateway to clear consciousness, although evidently, I couldn’t phrase this way back then. The body gives form to the clear consciousness that is our essence and when we create space within the body as we do through Yoga, we create space within our entire being. Space allows clear consciousness to manifest through us.

I sensed the importance and the power of the body before I could understand what all of this means. I was 5 when I became awfully aware of the fear that ruled over my existence. It was an overwhelming realisation: “fear is what I know most”. I had many nightmares which made up entire series. I was often chased or hunted down, sometimes falling and I never could shout for help. When I did, there was no sound coming from my throat. Sometimes I stumbled and fell right before I could reach what I believed to be a safe place. The terror was so intense that it persisted for a few minutes even after I woke up. At a certain point, I began resisting falling asleep because I knew what was coming: another night of running or striving to escape. I woke up exhausted on the days when I could not sleep through the mornings. Shortly before my 33rd birthday, I had a past life regression where I learned that the soul in me resisted human reincarnation for almost 2000 years. I was told that I have lived my previous life as a hermit Christian monk who tried to teach people how to understand Jesus. As human ignorance thrived over the original teachings of Jesus, the hermit Christian monk got so disappointed that the soul in him vowed not to return to human form. Most people consider this information metaphysical mambo-jumbo and indeed there is no way I can prove the validity of what that past life regression revealed. However, the understanding that this is a possible explanation for my nightmares, made a difference for me. It also helped me understand my parts better: why I felt a strong need to belong simultaneously with feeling like an alien most of the time, why I could get unreasonably upset or emotional when the teachings of Jesus were disrespected, and why I could LOL really loud at the punchline: “Who can truly understand Jesus’ teachings? Probably some Buddhists.”

Truthfully, the only times when I felt no fear as a child was when I did my weird gymnastics, which later turned out to be quite evolved Yoga poses. In my first Yoga book, which was a gift from my volleyball coach, I recognised many of the strange positions I had trained myself to take. Often when I was struggling at night, I began doing them, to my mother’s horror when she had to wake me up in the morning. She freaked out the most when she found me in a side lying ‘Bow pose’ (Dhanurasana). I did not know what I was doing; I only knew that it brought me comfort. While I was focused on my body, trying to stretch that extra millimetre of my back or pull my head that last little bit closer to my knees, I was free from all fear.

This was the seed of the concept of mindful movement which later led me to developing “The 3M System” and to writing “The Crack”.

In delicate moments, when our weaknesses, which I call cracks, are painful and we get overwhelmed, our bodies mirror our states. Tension in our necks and shoulders grab us, like beasts devouring their preys. Those are crucial moments when we must focus on listening to the body. In its infinite intelligence, it is demanding our undivided attention and if we grant it, it always tells us where to go to find the truth.

The body gives us the precious gift of teaching us about the different psychological states experienced by the humans who we are. The body enables us to feel joy. It protects us through pain. It shows us that fear is relative. The body helps us trust and supports us in creating space so we can interact with Life in meaningful ways. In my view, the meaning of our lives is to create space, and by the immense power of the body-mind connection we can create space within our minds and ultimately our entire being by creating space within our bodies. “

“The Crack” serves palatable pieces of information that enable readers to gather personal experiences of clear consciousness. Readers are guided to build up their spiritual awakening through alternating layers of understanding and experience. “The Crack” provides a ‘unified map’ into the human consciousness.

The existing literature names the ego as being responsible for the hardship of the human life and lists it as the number one enemy of happiness. Most spiritual teachers advocate losing the ego, leaving it behind, or at least confronting it. “The Crack” comes with a new approach which brings relief to those who need solutions in their current struggles. Working toward enlightenment is a positive endeavour, but it postpones contentment. “The Crack” proposes viable solutions for those who want to enjoy their unenlightened lives right now. The question of whether or not the ego is the enemy becomes obsolete, as we discover the mind more in-depth. We learn to make the distinction between ego and ego-dominance. “The Crack” promotes revealing clear consciousness, beyond the dualities of the ego, where we are allowed to be with all of our parts, broken and whole. The ego is treated nicely and supported to serve the human. The focus is on reducing ego-dominance and moving from function through it toward functioning through the true self.

“Many existing teachings are confusing because they tackle only the surface and there is finite depth to the details. Often their presentation gets unclear as we dig in. For example, we are told that the experience of mindfulness or state of complete peace cannot be explained, it can only be experienced. I understand this, even agree with it, but I also know that when I was a novice meditator, I needed in-depth guidance for the vulnerable moments when my mind could not sit still even if my life depended on it. I needed more than being sent off with a promise that one day in the future I will live it and then I will understand. I needed the steps in between my then struggling state of confusion and unease, which was glaringly different than the seemingly unrealistic state of clarity and peace of those who could afford to not be affected by human imperfections and the rollercoaster of emotions and insecurities on which I was throwing up on a daily basis. I know many people feel the same as I did back then.

The truth is that most “regular” humans live with the ego or even through the ego. More often than not, the ego connects humans to each other and to Life. Equally true is that striving to get rid of the ego gets us in trouble because we end up fighting against ourselves, or even worse, judging and punishing ourselves. Knowing the dangers of this slippery slope better than anyone should, I ventured into writing this book to help bring more self-awareness, self-understanding and self-acceptance into the world. Freedom from attachments and aversions is what humanity needs. Rising beyond the duality of right versus wrong. Hence, “The Crack” is an invitation into the über-dimension of equanimity. “

“The Crack” presents the method of consciousness development “The 3M System”, which encourages people to get to know their parts and make friends with the specific personal manifestations of the ego in them. At first, a dissection happens where the ego is put under the microscope and analysed to pieces. Strengths and shiny qualities are not favoured; weaknesses and obscure traits are not battled. The strengths are celebrated, and the weaknesses are loved. The weaknesses are the cracks of the personality, the windows through which the soul of the human — the clear consciousness within — chose to shine into the world. In many ways, they are more important than the strengths. Of course, we can shine through our strengths as well, especially when we experience flow and freedom from delusions of grandeur and inferiority. “The Crack” presents scientific facts about flow and self-determination, drawing connection between these and the significance of spiritual growth in the human life.

Next, the Observer-self is introduced as the central engine of “The 3M System”. Readers get guidance in activating and training their own Observer-self. The goal of this exercise is spaciousness within, in body, mind and the entire human being. By means of two original techniques ‘The 3M Power Posture’ and ‘The 3M Freedom Breathing’, in addition to solid step-by-step guidance on the underlying mechanisms of mindful movement, mindfulness and the ego, we advance toward understanding what it means to function through ego-dominance versus functioning through the true self. We discover why the heights of Abraham Maslow’s self-actualization (the top of the pyramid of human needs where our highest potentials lie) cannot be reached without passing first through the two subpeaks of self-understanding and self-acceptance.

“Existing spiritual and scientific teachings often fall into the trap of transmitting too spiritual or too scientific materials. “Spirituality without Science is blind, Science without Spirituality is lame” said Einstein, and my method aligns with his view. “The 3M System” allows scepticism because it goes deep enough to transcend major layers of confusion. It encourages a more honest and authentic way to be. It teaches about the hidden structures of the mind through an efficient synthesis of Science and Spirituality.

You don’t need to change who you are.

Just become aware of how you are put together.

“The 3M System” supports people in gathering more awareness about themselves, in achieving deeper self-understanding and greater self-acceptance, thereby fostering the experience of clear consciousness which frees the way for the attainment of the highest potential in life, when we fulfil our life purpose and we complete our preparation for death.

I have yet to witness an intrigued reaction when I tell someone that I view life as the preparation for death. People aren’t even curious to entertain the idea. They are too busy being shocked of my seemingly brutal insensitivity towards their carefully constructed illusions of security. I understand them. I’ve been conditioned the same way to fear death and to avoid talking about it. But then I went deeper into the meaning of life, and I realized that it is not random at all. It really is a preparation for death in the sense that we have the time contained in our lives to understand who we are and why we live, so that we can meet the moment of our death in peace and contentment. Like when you go to sleep totally at ease because you have completed everything you needed to do during the day, and all is fine as it is. Then you let go in gratitude.

When I have the chance to add this explanation to my shocking statement, I see people slowly loosening up. The tightness of their bodies opens for a short while as they drift away in the longing for that feeling of ease that all is fine as it is. I see clinched fists turn into stretched fingers and tense shoulders descending to the sheer delight of the rigid necks which get permission to gain some length. I see people breathing up, allowing air to enter them as opposed to pulling air in nervously. And I see how frowned faces turn into expressions of innocent desire.

In more digestible terms, the ultimate aim of my method and its positive results are finding more ease in handling the challenges of life, grasping more meaning, and enjoying more peace and contentment.

“The 3M System” goes beyond providing explanation, it generates personal experience. It goes beyond refining the intellect and cultivating intellectual knowledge, it triggers true understanding, meditative stability, and transcendent wisdom. People benefit from these results in everyday life situations, in relationships, in stress management, in handling sickness and other challenges, and in goal pursuing.”

Written in a very personal style, as if the Reader would be a trusted friend, “The Crack” hopes to be a valuable contribution in this world and a gift to the Seekers of Truth who want to understand the quirks of being human; those who dare to embrace the frail, ugly, broken parts of themselves, and to appreciate them equally as their strong and shiny “flawless” traits. Those who want to acknowledge the blessedness of the body along with its vulnerability, those who are intrigued by the power of the mind as well as by its wickedness, those who delight in knowing their best but are not afraid to embrace their worst.

“The Crack” reveals new understanding about the ego and a breakthrough vision of what is possible when we get to know all our parts and we accept our weaknesses as the cracks through which the wisdom of clear consciousness can manifest. The famous Sufi mystic — Rumi said: “the wound is the place where the light enters you”. Ernest Hemingway, Ralph Waldo Emerson and the magnificent Leonard Cohen endorsed Rumi’s words: “There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”

“The Crack” shows how this revelation happens.


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