In this nonfiction guidebook, Nua (Heart of the Universe, 2015, etc.) describes his own spiritual enlightenment and recommends practices for attaining it.
More than 15 years ago, the author “experienced a powerful transformation” after a job change, “various personal struggles,” and close encounters with nature. He writes that he felt a new intensity of experience—even colors seemed more vivid—and that he felt released from the constraints of society. Striving to understand this spiritual awakening, Nua pursued answers by reading books, but was still left with questions. He came to believe that his new freedom and heightened perceptions arose from connecting to “the source of all things”—the soul, God’s voice, one’s inner core, or however one conceives it. This source, common to all of nature, provides an infinite “universal energy” and “wonder and greatness,” he says, which prompts people to act with sincerity, compassion, and selflessness. The author explains the obstacles that people face in trying to connect with the source and offers ways to overcome them through various means, including practicing meditation and mindfulness (active attention to the present moment), taking walks outside, keeping a journal, stretching one’s mind and imagination through books and art, and expressing thankfulness. Those who follow this path, he writes, can expect a greatly enhanced life full of creativity, excitement, and bliss. Nua’s recommendations are unobjectionable and make good common sense; most people could benefit from outdoor exercise, for example. However, many of the concepts here are fuzzy and ill-defined; for example, bliss is said to accompany heightened awareness because of how “center-oriented designs interact with the universe at large” through “vibrational energy” that resonates from “sharing of forms.” If enlightenment greatly increases one’s ability “to conceptualize and articulate ideas,” as the author says, the evidence of this book suggests otherwise. In some cases, though, Nua is simply incorrect; satori, for example, isn’t a method but an experience of enlightenment, and sanzen isn’t a Zen master—it’s the teachings of one. It’s perhaps telling that the book is careful to hedge its bets: “Expect difficulty in communicating your new ideas.”
A self-help book with some sense but much confusion.