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Who Are You? : Essential Questions for Hitchhikers on the Road of Truth

By Cottone, John, Gregory, Ph.D.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003466720
Format Type: PDF eBook:
File Size: 1.0 MB
Reproduction Date: 1/1/13

Title: Who Are You? : Essential Questions for Hitchhikers on the Road of Truth  
Author: Cottone, John, Gregory, Ph.D.
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, Religion, Psychology of Spirituality and Personal Growth
Collections: Authors Community, Psychology
Publication Date:
Publisher: Story Bridge Books
Member Page: John Cottone


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John Gregory Cottone, B. P. (n.d.). Who Are You? : Essential Questions for Hitchhikers on the Road of Truth. Retrieved from

Like a good psychotherapy session, WHO ARE YOU? poses essential questions - about the psychology of human behavior, politics, science, metaphysics, and the mysteries of God - without imposing dogmatic answers. It can be used as a meditation companion, a catalyst for group discussion, a personal mirror for honest glimpses at the soul and tool for self-growth.

WHO ARE YOU? ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS FOR HITCHHIKERS ON THE ROAD OF TRUTH, explores the questions we need to ask to live lives of meaning. Drawing upon Dr. John G. Cottone’s expertise in human behavior as a clinical psychologist, as well as his extensive knowledge of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, WHO ARE YOU? inspires readers to gently spiral through deeper states of contemplation and self-inquiry. Dr. Cottone uses Socratic dialogues to help individuals explore the psychology of human behavior, politics, science, metaphysics, and the mysteries of God.

In Zen circles it is often said that a teacher’s finger, pointing at the moon, should not be confused with the moon itself. The implication is that no lesson on Truth, no matter how profound, could ever be a suitable substitute for Truth itself. Zen is a tradition that prioritizes personal experience above all else – hence, the emphasis on meditation as a teacher par excellence. As such, students are cautioned to be wary of lessons taught by another, regardless of how wise or respected the teacher. This does not mean that didactic lessons have little value in the Zen tradition. Rather, it means that the best a teacher’s lesson can provide is a fingertip’s point in the direction of an educational experience for which a student is ripe. It is from this perspective that I deliver this book, in hope that the passages within can point you in the direction of introspective experiences for which you may be ripe. The passages of this book are the residuals of a particular type of recurring, sublime experience that I have had many times in my life. These experiences would usually occur at random moments – sometimes during a meditation; or driving on a highway; reading a book; or while cooking dinner – however, regardless of the activity preceding such an experience, the experience itself is fairly consistent, and afterward I am spurred to insights about life that frequently lead to personal transformations. The best way to describe what these sublime experiences are like for me is through the following analogy: Imagine you are riding on a train that is traveling at 1,000 mph, and all you see out the window of the train is a blur of colors and images. Now, imagine that for some reason, the train comes to a gentle, but immediate stop. As you look out the window, you see the actual objects that formed those blurred images and colors. Some are familiar to you – like trees, mountains and birds – but others are completely foreign to you. As you see these objects clearly for the first time, a deep sense of understanding begins to grow within you, beyond what you have the language to express. This deep understanding somehow transcends the intellect and the mind – it is more abstract – and it is accompanied by feelings of bliss. However, just as you settle into this tableau and the feeling of bliss it induced, the train’s brief stopover ends, and it quickly returns to its usual speed of 1,000 mph. As the train speeds forward you want desperately to relive the experience you just had, but the harder you try, the faster the experience escapes you. After conceding failure in your attempt to recapture the actual experience, your next thought is to try and recall, as vividly as possible, as many details as you can, in hopes of recording them and expressing them to others. However, as you begin this process you realize that in your very brief glimpse of the stilled landscape, you were barely able to absorb even a small fraction of what you witnessed; and what you were able to absorb has already started to blend with preexisting memories and associations. You are now unsure which memories derive purely from your vision of the landscape, and which are inextricably enmeshed with your preexisting associations. After returning from one of these brief, sublime experiences, I would try to recall the details and then write whatever I could remember in a journal. That journal became the basis for this book, however, in composing this book I decided to present the details of my experiences differently than they were originally written, and I did this for several reasons. First, I wanted this book to be a gift to you, the reader, not a showcase for my insights and opinions. Second, my journal entries were originally written in declarative statements, and, I wanted to avoid presenting the residuals of my sublime experiences in a form that could be perceived as indoctrinating. Third, as a psychologist, I am a daily witness of how much more enriching, revealing, and growth-inspiring open-ended questions can be, relative to didactic lecturing. Hence, for each of these reasons, I converted my original journal entries into one of two forms: either, into a series of questions about a particular topic; or, into a Socratic-style dialogue between a student, named Jiva, and his teacher, Guru Sakshat. Students of the Vedic/Hindu tradition may intuitively understand the rationale for naming the characters of these dialogues as I did. The term jiva, in this tradition, is used to refer to an unenlightened soul, and in these dialogues the character named “Jiva” usually begins the exchange by presenting a question from a position of ignorance. Conversely, in the Vedic/Hindu tradition, the term Guru Sakshat is meant to represent any guru or enlightening force that is near to us: literally, anyone or anything that can mirror back to us the divine Self within. Hence, “Guru Sakshat” seemed an apt, yet appropriately nonspecific, name for the teacher in the dialogues. In conclusion, it is my hope that you find this book to be a versatile tool for many purposes, whether it be a mirror for internal inspections; an inspirational kickoff to meditation sessions; or a catalyst for group discussion. Whatever the use, it is important to remember that the words in this book are much less important than the experiences they may trigger. These experiences may be, for you, a glimpse at the moon, while the best that my words can offer is simply a pointing finger.

Table of Contents
Preface..4 Chapter 1: Ethics, Leadership & Governance..14 Chapter 2: Religion & The Scriptures..26 Chapter 3: Science & Nature..38 Chapter 4: Psychology..44 Chapter 5: Metaphysics, Meditation & Spirituality.. 74 Chapter 6: God..108 Chapter 7: Truth..116 Appendix A: The Lost Sayings of Guru Sakshat..118 Appendix B: Song List..120 Appendix C: Notable Reflections of Others..122 Appendix D: Rides for Hitchhikers..135


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