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Posted February 17, 2005

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Don Trent Jacobs
Rochester, Vermont
Inner Traditions Publishing: 1998
ISBN: 0892816694

Book Review: by Larry Stednitz, PhD

A number of years ago, author Don Jacobs paddled the Rio Urique, deep into Mexico's Copper Canyon, with Members of the Tarahumara Indian tribe. In his book, Primal Awareness, Jacobs describes the physical and spiritual trials he endured on this adventurous and dangerous wilderness journey. This trip down the Rio Urique nearly killed Jacobs, and resulted in a heightened awareness of life; the meeting of his conscious and his unconscious. This journey is both physically and spiritually exciting, ultimately contributing to the essence of experiential learning. His near death experience in Copper Canyon led to a series of understandings over the next few years and a clear framework for experiential learning on many levels. He emphasizes the path to learning and finding one's own harmonious living.

Jacobs divided his book into two parts. The first part discusses the discovery of what he calls "CAT-FAWN." CAT stands for Concentration Activated Transformation, the belief that all significant learning comes through concentration, which includes focused attention, meditation, imagination, intent, observation, discrimination, contemplation, adoration and hypnosis. All serve to bring experiential information into the center of one's being for processing. FAWN, or fear, authority, words and nature, are the primary influences that continually trigger our concentrative mechanisms. The second part of this book presents how we learn to live and why, and explores these concepts in detail.

I found this book compelling and difficult to put down. Those exploring the outer limits of experiential education and life, embracing the realms of psychology, anthropology, education and mystery could consider Primal Awareness as a useful guide.

The proceeds of the book sales go to the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico.

About the Author:
[Don Trent Jacobs is a faculty member at Fielding Graduate Institute, and an associate professor at Northern Arizona University in Yuma, AZ. From 1998-2001, he served as Dean of the Education Department at Oglala Lakota College. He holds doctorates in health psychology, curriculum and instruction, and is the author of more than a dozen books.]

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Copyright © 2005, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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