As per usual, I have a confession to make.
I just read the book “Eat, Pray, Love” and I loved it. LOVED it.
But this is my confesh:
I almost never got the chance to enjoy it so much.
A couple of years ago when the book came out, I heard what it was about…something about a woman on some kind of ‘wishy washy’ spiritual journey. I almost didn’t read this book because I thought that this book didn’t fit into a spiritual category. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against other beliefs or religions but for some reason the word “spiritual” used to rub me the wrong way. I wrongly assumed that people that didn’t adhere to some sort of coherent religious understanding (even if it was agnosticism or atheism) they were flakey. Ugh. It makes me sigh and roll my eyes now to think of how narrow minded I have been, but for some reason people that claimed to be ‘spiritual’ in my mind were ‘half-assed commitment- phobes’ who would pick and choose the parts of the ‘spiritual realm’ that they liked or disliked or followed or ignored.
Like most things in life, time (and maturity?) have changed the way I
judge view spiritual people. For one, because I have realized that we ALL pick and choose what we believe in, even inside our own chosen believe frameworks (I for one don’t think I need to cover my head when I pray and I don’t think a man is necessarily the head of a household).
My ignorance aside, I just finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s book ‘Eat, Pray, Love” and I not only thoroughly enjoyed it, but I learned a lot about myself and my own spirituality. The book documents here one year journey following a horrible divorce and failed love affair, to seek pleasure, devotion and balance. In order to do this, she takes a year “off” and spends four months each in Italy, India and Indonesia. In Italy, she eats delicious food and learns Italian and travels around taking in all of the beauty. In India she spends four intense months at a ashram meditating for hours and hours and scrubbing floors. And finally, in Bali she spends time with a medicine man and makes friends with a single mother.
Here is why I loved the book so much:
1. It reminded me of who people are. I mean, who they really are. In their hearts. Not the stuff (or the walls) that we decide to build around ourselves to protect ourselves. Elizabeth Gilbert was searching for the Divine inside of her. She writes about how all major religions have some sort of search and explanation for the Divine Inside. In Christianity, it’s the Holy Spirit.
2. Her meditations made me feel a bit like I was watching the Biggest Loser ( i know, i know, but I can’t HELP it!) Watching people who once were over 300 lbs run a marathon and reading about a woman who meditates for hours upon hours have a common thread; I think both things seems ALMOST impossible to me. It’s this almost impossibility that I find so engaging and attractive. I mean if they can do it, maybe I can do it too. Right? Long periods of silence and running 26.2 miles basically scare me equally, but I think they are both possible.
3. She learns Italian over the age of 30 just for sheer pleasure. I like this idea a lot.
4. Elizabeth, the narrator is deeply flawed. This resonates with me.
5. The book is full of small, digestible bits of wisdom that I would do no justice if I paraphrased, but trust me when I say that I learned a lot.
6. And finally, reading this book stretch my own faith in way that a typically “Christian” book hasn’t in long time. I won’t ever assume that a person without a set “religious” view’s story can’t also be a part of my story.