Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I am conflicted about this book, November 14, 2004
This review is from: Walking with the Saint: Spiritual Practices & Insights To Enhance Your Journey Through Life (Paperback)
Generally I am appreciative of books in this genre, dealing autobiographically with an author's spiritual quest. I know such books are difficult to write, and to express a spiritual journey in language that resonates with an audience. If it is a lay audience (ordinary people without a background in specialized jargon), then it becomes necessary to, somehow, find words that will express mental processes that are, finally, inexpressible. And, of course, all books involve primarily mental processes.

On the other hand, if the expected audience is composed of people sophisticated in what some call "new age" jargon, using Hindi terms like 'chakra,' 'Sat Guru,' and esoteric ideas such as 'Etheric Body,' and oneness with God ("Tat Tvam Asi,") then such a book can be compared to 'preaching to the choir,' which is usually not very enlightening. That is, NEW light is rarely shed.

I know how difficult it is, because I tried to write a small book describing my own non-Christian 'religious experience.' The book was The Road to Damascus: Our Journey Through Eternity.

In it, I tried to describe my own experience. Critics reviewed the book unfavorably, as trite, a Christian apologia (although even a cursory examination showed otherwise), shedding no new light, while I was trying to describe the most earth-shaking experience of my life as honestly as possible. I've since concluded that trying to write such a book is probably a mistake. One cannot describe the indescribable.

So, I hesitate to criticize Ms. Ayer's effort, here. But, I find nothing new. Nothing that the Vedas and the New Testament have not already adequately stated; adequate, that is, for those who can hear the message.

I do sense a confused woman, here. Maybe I'm wrong. But, she seems unable to decide whether she is a Christian, or a Hindu. Though the two religions have some common points, there are marked differences. Christians believe that Christ was the ONLY son of God. Hindus believe that we are all aspects ('sons'?) of God. That the individual soul is not different than the soul of God. And, there are certainly some points which she accepts unquestioningly, from the New Testament, which even a cursory study of the history of the beginnings of that document--specifically the historical doings of the Council of Nicaea--will cast in doubt: evidence of editing, additions, subtractioons, changes of meaning and WHOLLY INVENTED parts of what became the canon of scripture now generally accepted. A frank attempt by Costantine's scholars to reduce the various factions of Christianity to a single, cohesive belief system. An endeavor that was certainly successful, though--at what price?

There are a great many homilies used here from a variety of sources, including Hindus, Christians, and "Saints." I am somewhat put off by the whole concept of Saints, Avatars, and Bodhisatvas. One quote she has, though, meets with my total approval:

Those who know, don't speak;

Those who speak, don't know.

There is a photograph of the author on the back cover. It shows a woman iof indeterminate age, with apparently bleached blonde hair and much eye-makeup, with an expensive white turtle neck garment. I do not mean to be hyper-critical, but this is not the image of an ascetic. Perhaps, like all of us, she is simply trying to look her best. She is very attractive.

This is a good book, with much to recommend it. The quotations alone, that it incorporates will be worth the reading. It obviously represents a great deal of effort. How much original insight it incorporates is for each of us to judge. Any thought that you have not encountered before, is new to you. I recommend the book to you, although I cannot endorse it without more personal knowledge of the author.

Joseph (Joe) Pierre

author of The Road to Damascus: Our Journey Through Eternity

and other books
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