Friday, September 24, 2010

The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment — Finished 2010.09.22

My friend RT gave me a copy of this book. I admit that I do not remember either hearing or seeing anything about this book before the day RT presented me with it last week. This is, to my mind rather odd given the range of so-called 'spiritual' books I have read and researched in the last 35 years or so. And I frequent the bibliography section of those books that have them, and don't remember having my eye or my mind's eye catch it.

Thaddeus Golas.
The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment.
Palo Alto, CA.: The Seed Center, 1974.

And in the laziness theme of the book, here is the short review I gave it in my on-line library, GoodReads.
I have an ambivalent reaction to this book. It gave me no new understanding, but I like that Golas has aligned himself with Chuang Tzu and like Taoists who argue against straining and struggling to take actions or achieve understanding. It is likely at a more challenging level to spiritual than an introduction, but unnecessary for people who I have been struggling with the spiritual meanings of life. I quite like his blunt way of stating the obvious truths we delude ourselves into not seeing. As such I keep thinking that it deserves more than 3 stars, but I cannot bring myself to move my rating to 4. Perhaps my concern about it is that like many spiritual guides, it emphasizes the role of mind and attitude in achieving so-called enlightenment at the expense of respecting one's somatic reality, and perhaps well-being. As a society we are completely beholden to products of the mind, be it agri-business's justified land, water and animal abuse, the poisoning of our food products with -icides or business practices with Harvard Business Schooled flow-charted MBA-itis. 
To extend that a bit, I also found that, while what Golas has written is truthful and will likely lead to enlightenment, it seemed to lack some kind of hard to isolate substantiveness. I found myself left feeling a little ... disappointed, somehow, even though it participated in a curious fushigi (or synchronicity-petite) while I was reading it.

I admit that my reaction is very likely a sign that I am indeed un-enlightened. And that is undoubtedly true. But I guess I have grown to enjoy the weight of Jung's and Berman's writing, and the light complexity of Chuang Tzu and the like. Have I become addicted to good writing, at the expense of moving towards enlightenment? Hmmmmm.

☆ ☆ ☆

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