All "me, me, me" — Shakti Gawain's Living in the Light: A Guide to Personal and Planetary Transformation (with Laurel King) is boastful and anecdotal, silly and illogical. Does anyone else care how many copies of her books were sold, or why she bought real estate in Hawaii? Is the mystical-ritual invocation of science ("Physicists are now discovering what metaphysicians have claimed for thousands of years: seemingly solid matter is, in reality, made of energy.") any reason to believe magical thinking about money, relationships, or health?
Gawain's thesis is simple: "Trust your intuition". Her prose is purple. Her arguments, which typically boil down to "this happened to a friend of mine", prove nothing. Her advice is likely dangerous and could lead many into bankruptcy, illness, or suffering.
And yet ... and yet ... every few chapters, there's gold. For instance:
- Don't Cling — "... It's so easy to lose your focus, to get lost in other people, external goals, and desires. And the problem is, we do exactly that: we lose our connection with ourselves. As long as we are overly focused on the outside there will always be an empty, hungry, lost place inside that needs to be filled." (Chapter 4, "Becoming a Creative Channel")
- No Blame — "... everything in my life is my reflection, my creation; there are no accidents or events that are unrelated to me. ..." and "... I always try to avoid putting myself down for the reflections I see. I know that nothing is negative. Everything is a gift that brings me to self-awareness ..." and "I try to maintain a compassionate attitude toward myself and my learning process ..." (Chapter 6, "The World as Our Mirror")
- Change Happens — "... The fact is that relationships do change form and no commitment can guarantee that they won't. No external form can give us the security that we seek. ... If we only realize this, it can save us so much pain. People who divorce almost inevitably feel that they have failed, because they assume all marriages should last forever. In many cases, however, the marriage has actually been a success — it's helped each person to grow to the point where they no longer need the same form." (Chapter 15, "Relationships")
- Let Go — "A key point to this is that I knew I would be willing to do whatever the universe asked me to do. I remember thinking, 'Well, I love my apartment, but I could give it up. I love all the things I have, but I could give them up. If the universe wants me to go live in a tent in someone's backyard, I'll do that. It will probably be wonderful.' There was an incredible feeling of trust and knowing that none of the things I might lose were that important. ..." (Chapter 18, "Money")
- Transform Yourself — "If the world is our mirror, then whatever we see out there in some way reflects what is in us. We must take responsibility for it and be willing to transform it within ourselves if we want to see it change on the outside. So, when we look at the world and see poverty, pain, violence, and chaos, we must be willing to say to ourselves, 'What is the poverty, pain, violence, and chaos within me that this is reflecting? ...'" (Chapter 22, "Transforming Our World")
... thoughts worth remembering.
(cf. Coming to Our Senses (2009-01-01), Karma (2009-07-15), Core Buddhism (2011-11-17), Softening into Experience (2012-11-12), Clinging Is Optional (2013-08-21), 01 (2013-11-05), Buddha's Brain (2014-07-27), ...) - ^z - 2015-02-23