Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

I am currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while, but it was never available as an ebook when I had time to read it. I see it as serendipitous that it was available just as I was scrambling for ebooks to read on my vacation last month. As much as a I liked the movie, the book is by far better!

I’m currently enjoying Liz’s frustrated attempts to “get” meditation while she was at her Guru’s Ashram in India.

… prayer is the act of talking to God, while meditation is the act of listening…

Wow, that stopped me in my tracks, so much so that I had to journal about that. Anyone who knows me even slightly well probably knows that I’m an atheist and don’t believe in the existence of the Christian God any more than Zeus. I’ve struggled to read spiritualism books that mention God because it’s such a turnoff to me, until I read an explanation of God as used by Dr. Wayne Dyer in one of his audio books. It changed my view of the word God (which I keep separate from the Christian God). I certainly can’t articulate it as well as the spiritual teachers, but here’s my attempt.

God is the divine in each of us. The purpose of our lives on this earth is to discover our divine self, and move into alignment with it. We can only truly experience peace when our conscious self is in alignment with our divine self. With a few exceptions, most of us can’t experience that peace for more than moments without significant practice.

Meditating enables us to listen to our divine self, but only when we can silence or ignore the mind, our chattering ego that seeks to constantly distract us.

I’ve always felt that there is something WRONG with religion, and I think this is why. Religion has perverted this concept, making God something external to ourselves that we have to beg for attention. Reaching that God can only be done through an arcane system of rewards and punishments (a lot of punishments) that only priests can interpret.

This is why our personal integrity is so important. We develop that integrity as we gain more understanding of our true nature and put our thoughts and actions into maintaining alignment with our internal God.

This new idea will help me with my own meditation practice. One more quote from Liz to explain why this process can be so difficult:

Your emotions are slave to your thoughts, and you are slave to your emotions.

Praying is something that I need to wrap my mind around, though I just read a line in Gabrielle Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles about how being on your knees in prayer is symbolic of surrender. Okay, I can work with that.