Landrum, a woman well-practiced in helping others overcome difficulty and achieve success, offers her insights into the Japanese practice of sesshin through her personal journal.
To one unfamiliar with the practice of sesshin, this book at first appears to contain a misspelling. But Landrum, a behavioral health therapist, quickly clears that up, explaining the type of extended meditation involved in and encompassed by a sesshin. She then explains her purpose with this book—to demonstrate, through giving an account of her experience, what a sesshin is, specifically for those who may be interested in attending one. She then details her experience with a weeklong sesshin among California’s redwoods, during which she spent most of her time in meditation with a group. While Landrum’s details are fascinating and very specifically re-create her experience, it’s occasionally hard to tell if the book is targeted at outside readers with a general interest in the practice of sesshin or whether the details of Landrum’s experience are overly personal. Some of the information she gives, while important to her experience, would not necessarily be applicable to the majority of sesshin attendees. For instance, near the end of the week, Landrum struggles with the way one of the group leaders tries to control her and she ends up not attending most of the remaining group times. This is certainly key to her personal journey through the sesshin, but would probably not happen to most attendees. Some readers might wish Landrum’s journal had undergone another edit, so that she could share information relevant to a sesshin without airing personal issues. However, the details Landrum gives are not embarrassing and do not qualify as over-sharing, just potentially uninteresting to those in search of facts about attending a sesshin. But as the documentation of one individual’s experience within the practice of a sesshin, Landrum’s story nicely demonstrates the journey a soul can make through such a unique undertaking.
Those interested in attending a sesshin will find Landrum’s book useful, though the tight focus on the author’s individual experience may be too specific for general application.