New Self, New World: Recovering Our Senses in the Twenty-First Century by Philip Shepherd (Author), Andrew Harvey (Foreword)

New Self, New World challenges the primary story of what it means to be human, the random and materialistic lifestyle that author Philip Shepherd calls our “shattered reality.” This reality encourages us to live in our heads, self-absorbed in our own anxieties.

Drawing on diverse sources and inspiration, New Self, New World reveals that our state of head-consciousness falsely teaches us to see the body as something we possess and to try to take care of it without ever really learning how to inhabit it. Shepherd articulates his vision of a world in which each of us enjoys a direct, unmediated experience of being alive. He petitions against the futile pursuit of the “known self” and instead reveals the simple grace of just being present. In compelling prose, Shepherd asks us to surrender to the reality of “what is” that enables us to reunite with our own being.

Each chapter is accompanied by exercises meant to bring Shepherd’s vision into daily life, what the author calls a practice that “facilitates the voluntary sabotage of long-standing patterns.” New Self, New World is at once a philosophical primer, a spiritual handbook, and a roaming inquiry into human history.

Philip Shepherd has a passion for adventure and exploration that has guided him for most of his life. At 18 it took him from his native Canada to cycle alone around the world through Europe, the Middle East, Iran, India and Japan. But that trip, adventurous s it was, merely expressed a commitment to a more crucial adventure – coming to understand the subtle and often hidden aspects of our culture that affect us all, compromising our sense of self, our connection with the living world, our freedom of expression, and our creative engagement with the present.

As a young teenager, Philip could feel that influence pulling at him like an undertow to conform to given limits of thinking, understanding, values and body awareness, and felt he could resist its pull only if he understood it. That prompted him to study classical Noh Theater in Japan, design and build several houses, co-found an arts magazine, Onion, co-found an interdisciplinary theater company, teach workshops on embodied thinking and spontaneous creativity, write two internationally produced plays and a CBC documentary, and earn a reputation as a corporate coach.

In his varied career Shepherd has been featured in such publications as The San Francisco Examiner, Chicago’s New City and Toronto’s Globe and Mail, and on such radio shows as Live an Inspired Life, The Guide to the Human Experience, and Creative Consciousness.

In 2001 Philip began to write New Self, New World, and over the next nine years worked on it continuously to pull all the strands of his understanding together, and challenge the 10,000-year-old story of our culture, which tells us what it means to be human. New Self, New World was released in August 2010.

A faculty member at the Institute for Sacred Activism in Chicago, Shepherd currently lives in Toronto with his wife and two children. More information is available at His fan page on Facebook can be found at


New Self, New World – what it’s all about

Enjoy a short clip of Philip Shepherd speaking about his book New Self, New World.

Living in the head – the psychosis of our society

Coming Home to the Body


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Val Boyko
    Jul 29, 2015 @ 13:20:31

    I love this book and its message to connect to our body and our being!
    This summary is excellent!


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