Elegant, inspiring synthesis of mind-body principles and practices.


Divine Eyes and the Body of Light


This debut spirituality guide outlines how yoga and meditation will help you achieve ultimate enlightenment.

For Watkins, a compelling theme in world religions is the reference to light as a physical and spiritual force. He touches on such mentions and connections in Hermeticism, as summarized in The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece (2014); in Hinduism, as expressed in the Bhagavad Gita; and in Christianity, with Watkins citing the Bible as well as The Aquarian Age Gospel of Jesus, The Christ of the Piscean Age (2013) as sources. His purpose is “to teach you to experience the light of the spiritual plane and through this experience reach the gates of Heaven,” he says. “We have been taught correctly that God is in Heaven. Therefore, we will learn to meditate in the light to go to Heaven and be with God. This is yoga.” Watkins proceeds to detail the seven chakras, the body’s core energy centers as defined by yoga tradition, which are activated when practicing yoga and meditation, allowing you to tap into your “body of light…the vehicle of spiritual purity that will enable you to experience God personally through the gift of divine eyes.” He follows with a description of the eight stages of yoga, outlining its specific exercises (fish posture, headstand, etc.), as well as the various meditation sequences ideally done immediately after yoga to bring heightened awareness and lead you to that desired-for heaven-on-Earth oneness with God. Debut author Watkins, a retired dental surgeon, has crafted a smooth-flowing narrative that succinctly conveys the philosophical underpinnings of yoga and meditation and the underlying commonalities of world religions. He also offers an effective starter primer on practicing yoga and meditation, although illustrations of exercises would have enhanced this illumination. His passing critique of clergy denying near-death experiences strikes a somewhat discordant note, but overall, Watkins offers an embracing and uplifting New-Age message as well as gentle encouragement toward spiritual and physical awareness.

Elegant, inspiring synthesis of mind-body principles and practices.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1503006034

Page Count: 118

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2015

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.


A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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