An anecdotal account chronicles a spiritual journey to finding well-being.
The latest book from Sanner (The Spirit of Unconditional Love, 2008) charts a quest in life to realize the concept of unconditional love, which she defines with simple elegance: “Thought that is without condemnation, founded on faith that is without doubt, fueled by emotion that is without fear, fused with kindness that is without boundary.” The author characterizes this search as a voyage and her own self as a vessel heading to the destination of unconditional love. She extends the metaphor to the idea of barnacles encrusting the hull of that ship. She cautions her readers against a wide variety of barnacles, including ones that are attractive: “Some even seem appealing, and some I may even want to hang on to and show off, forgetting how destructive they really are.” These barnacles can take many forms, each illustrated by Sanner in a series of stories and personal anecdotes: unhealthy twistings of thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions, which can be countered by seeking spiritual truths. “All things work for my spiritual well-being,” Sanner writes, “when I choose to discover, digest and savor the nugget of unconditional love that is securely nestled in the nucleus of every event in my life.” This openness to blessing runs throughout the book; readers are consistently reminded that the spiritual odyssey is not linear, vertical, or horizontal—or even external or internal—but rather a process of revelation. The author skillfully fleshes out these observations with tales from her own life, not only concerning her education, but also some of the triumphs and tragedies of her relationships. Her book encourages readers to engage in similar reflection, including sections for writing down their thoughts at the end of most chapters. Some of the guide’s sentiments are vague to the point of being soppy (“Unconditional love is the only thing that can heal us when we think we need healing”). But readers on similar spiritual quests should find Sanner’s account of her own expedition captivating.
An intriguing and broad-minded manual for spiritual enrichment.