enlightenment for idiots : summer reads

In Enlightenment for Idiots, by Anne Cushman, at the command of her editor, Amanda heads to India to write a guidebook on Enlightenment. To her enlightenment is defined as;

“As I understand it, enlightenment is a state of blissful awareness that’s not dependent on any external circumstances… It’s the understanding that you’re not separate from anything else in the universe; the trees, the sun…”

On opening your body in yoga postures:

“Don’t force yourself open… Hear your body start to sing… Your body is made of stories and with every breath, you will learn that the present is made of the past.”

What it is about yoga that appeal to her:

“It’s a feeling – just for a moment – that I belong somewhere, even if it’s just inside my own skin”

She meets people along the way, like an India hotel owner who, despite his business doing very poorly, teaches her about what it means to be happy:

“Oh yes, madam, I am always happy. It is like this: What happens to us in life is for God to decide. But whether to be happy or not – that is our choice.”

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Amanda, accompanied by her new-found sadhu friend Devi Das, works her way through India and spiritual teachers, like Mr Kapoor, Hari Das, Sri Satyaji, and finds herself in a variety of situations with the purpose of “being enlightened”; yoga classes, silent meditation, being blown on by female avatars, watching death ceremony’s at the foot of the Ganges, tantric gatherings, at the bodhi tree of the buddha’s enlightenment, and caves in snowcap mountains.

… a fun, summer read that helps you realize that enlightenment is here too, all around you, and everything’s ok. much love.

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