HALFWAY THROUGH THE DOOR: An Actor's Journey Toward the Self by Alan Arkin

HALFWAY THROUGH THE DOOR: An Actor's Journey Toward the Self

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this dreary pamphlet, actor Arkin recounts (without a trace of humor) his gradual conversion to yoga/meditation--and urges the rest of us to come along to the ashram. Some years back, after six years of psychoanalysis, he found himself with a thriving marriage and a great career; but he wasn't happy, needing drugs or performing to supply his highs. Then he met John, an unsuccessful actor who nonetheless had total serenity--a guru, in fact, who soon persuaded Arkin to start meditating. At first a bit skeptical, Arkin got only minor benefits (his leaky sinuses drained), but then he began finding transcendence: his brain speeded up, he had a ""vision of harmony"" that felt as if ""I was plugged in directly to the Milky Way"" (""I fell in love with myself""), he started vibrating, and then the Big Stuff--astral travel (""The back of my head came right through the front of my skull and I was left sitting in front of myself""), visions of earlier incarnations (a French Revolution casualty, a Samurai), and ""a burning in my heart"" that meant his heart had opened. No doubt about Arkin's sincerity here, and he tries his best to be down-to-earth. But most readers will find his guru-worship hard to stomach (""Guru, in his brilliance, knew, as he always knows. . .""), and the few references to his wife (who eventually joined in) and family are off-puttingly remote and condescending. Unengaging, then, unlikely to win converts--and not for fans of Arkin's comedy.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row