Jalaja (pronounced DJA-la-dja) is internationally known for her groundbreaking books, inspiring keynotes and her work in empowering women. Her workshops, retreats and trainings are life-changing cauldrons where women from all walks of life, faiths and cultures connect in a spirit of rare authenticity, openheartedness, freedom and joy.

Jalaja has trained hundreds of women leaders in the art of skillful circle facilitation. In her Circlework Leadership Training, women learn how to create safe havens that address our hunger for more authentic communication and connection, inner peace and spaciousness. Jalaja’s students include psychologists, social workers, professionals, ministers, rabbis, business leaders and peace activists. Some want to offer circles in their personal communities. Others are professionals who want to take their work with groups to a new level.


I think it's high time we revisit the whole notion of the ego. Having worked with thousands of spiritual seekers, I've seen the effects the myth of the ego has had on us, and they aren't all positive. Its most obvious defect is that it splits us into two opposing parts: a good, loving, and supposedly "higher" part and a lower, ego-based part. It's a clear setup for war, and God knows we have far too many of those already. 

Also, there's no agreement as to which parts of us should be classified as egoic (and therefore undesirable) and which are okay. Is it okay if we get angry at the oil companies for trashing the environment? Is it okay if we get jealous when we see our boyfriend flirting with another woman? Many spiritual teachers insist such responses are ego-based and negative. Yet as I see it, anger is sometimes the most life-affirming, appropriate, and healthy emotion we could possibly have. 
Making Peace with Ourselves and Our World

“The Sacred Ego is a gem—a beautiful and vitally important book. Jalaja Bonheim is the voice of the essential feminine wisdom without which we cannot heal ourselves and our planet. Her work is a rare and wondrous amalgam of earthy pragmatism and visionary inspiration.”
—Marci Shimoff, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Love for No Reason and Happy for No Reason

“This brilliant and visionary book outlines a pathway to peace that is grounded in our collective evolutionary capacity for loving presence and intelligent action. Jalaja Bonheim’s compelling stories of deep transformation in Circlework both inspire and energize … she gives us hope for the healing of our world.”
—Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge

“With an authority that grows from years of experience, Jalaja Bonheim helps us understand how we can be the change we hope to move toward. Absorbing, inspiring, and practical, her book is grounded in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience.”
—Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, author of Goddesses in Everywoman and The Millionth Circle

“The Sacred Ego is an exciting, compelling, groundbreaking book, and a work of irresistible compassion.”
—Joan Borysenko, PhD, author of It’s Not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change

“Jalaja Bonheim has written a lucid, inspiring vision, based on her direct experience of how to unlock the potential of the human heart for the benefit of all. The Sacred Ego shows how we can awaken the deep wisdom already inside us. A deeply insightful and important work.”
—James Baraz, coauthor of Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness and cofounding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center

We all have both an ego that wants us to survive and thrive, and a heart that wants to open in love. This should not be a problem, but some- how, we've made it into one. We've been told that the ego and the heart can't coexist, that they're enemies, and that we need to make sure the ego doesn't get the upper hand. 

Well, you might object, but we really do have a problem. Just look at the world we've created! If the problem isn't our ego, what is it? In my teens and twenties I had no answer to this question. However, I knew there was more to it than the myth of the big bad ego suggested. 

Today, I believe the problem lies with the collective conditioning we've inherited. We humans have a long history. We've been around for hundreds of thousands of years, and in that time we've acquired many habits. And as I'll discuss in this book, some of them aren't serving us so well anymore. However, because these habits are not personal but collec- tive, they typically operate below the surface of our conscious awareness. 

We often speak of the ego with tremendous contempt and condescension. I would suggest we start offering the ego some respect. We know so little about it. If we approach it with an attitude of respectful curiosity, then maybe we can learn something new about it. 

What if, instead of simply slapping the term ego on all our bad habits, we really questioned where they came from and what needs they are based on? This will be our task in this book. When we have a better understanding of what habits we've inherited and why they exist, we can decide whether we want to change them. Becoming egoless is a tall order, but changing one's habits—that's doable. 

“The Sacred Ego is a brilliant, wise, profoundly grounded and practical guide to transmuting the selfish ego into one that serves joyfully and humbly the divine truths of love, compassion, and justice. All seekers and sacred activists should read and integrate the wisdom Jalaja Bonheim unfolds here with such seasoned pragmatism and spiritual grace.”
—Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

“What a powerful book! Revealing a path to peace within and without, The Sacred Ego is a much-needed offering to the world.”
—Dorothy Firman, EdD, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Mother & Daughter Soul and Chicken Soup for the Father & Son Soul

“This penetrating and deeply kind book, based on Jalaja Bonheim’s invaluable experience of working with circles of people from around the world, shows how we can create a sane and peaceful world for ourselves and the children of the future.”
—Sherry Ruth Anderson, coauthor of The Cultural Creatives and author of Ripening Time

“With beauty, grace and insight, Jalaja Bonheim peels away layers of encrusted cultural conditioning to reveal a shining jewel: the evolutionary potential of the human race when it taps into its own heart. Read this book and it may change your way of thinking.”
—Liz Walker, cofounder, executive director of EcoVillage at Ithaca and author of Choosing a Sustainable Future

"The focus is on collective consciousness and conditioning. Topics include head-thinking versus heart-thinking, ending the war within, relational education, belief addiction, control addiction, detachment from thought, and how greed makes us stupid. … Powerful work on the cutting-edge of a major evolutionary step forward."
—Retailing Insight magazine
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Praise for The Sacred Ego
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