Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

i have been reading eat, pray, love by elizabeth gilbertĀ for several weeks. i started it because hello, anne lamott has the endorsement on the cover, and i love her. i would love to loan it to you, but it’s overdue at the library and someone else has it on reserve, thereby blocking my ability to renew it so i am forced to let my fines pile up while i finish it. this is a common annoying scenario in my life.

anyway, one of the things blocking me from actually finishing the book is that it is actually like three separate books and i have not yet really sorted through the my thoughts on the first two (eat and pray), so it feels very rushed to move on to the third (love).

the first book i just loved. savored is more like. how could you not? it’s all about italy and food, both of which have enriched my life enormously and of which i could never tire of reading. (unless of course i am writing down everything i eat, per french women don’t get fat, which pretty much puts a damper on the whole reading and dreaming about food. but it also makes my imagination all the more sharp and vivid in the dreaming and reading…should i so desire to torture myself.) so italy. it was just fun and indulgent and everything italy should be.

so then she goes to india. to an ashram. to study with a guru. she’s searching for God. this part is intensely fascinating to me. i love spiritual journeys, my own and others’. there are so many phrases in this section that i wanted to put in my pocket as the exact wording of how it is when you are looking for God. when your heart just longs for meaning and truth and all that is real about life. and what i love about reading spiritual journeys is that the truth comes here and there. snippets. she says several things that i feel i know to be true. at the same time, she says as many things that i don’t believe are true. but still. ultimately i believe if you look for truth, you find it. if you look for it with all your heart. eventually, i believe, it will actually find you.

the whole ask and it will be given to you, knock and the door will be opened, seek and you will find. it just works.

some bits i loved from the part in india:

on letting go:

letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well-that would be the end of the universe.

so then, when she asks what she’s supposed to do with all the energy she usually spends trying to control the world, the guru says to her:

look for God. look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.

that’s it!

and on her own desire for faith:

faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. if we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would be…a prudent insurance policy.

i’m not interested in the insurance industry. i’m tired of being a skeptic, i’m irritated by spiritual prudence and i feel bored and parched by empirical debate. i don’t want to hear it anymore. i couldn’t care less about evidence and proof and assurances. i just want God. i want God inside me. i want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water.

me too.

4 Comments

  1. i LOVE those snippets you included, alison! specifically the one on faith–i think i needed to hear/read that to remember to just take the plunge already! (and well, it’s fun to read your blog–especially when i’m feeling at a loss for words for this darn paper i’m trying to write!) šŸ™‚

  2. i love reading books .. and the cover looks really good

  3. […] Traveling Mercies and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Then I started thinking about why Eat, Pray, Love has been such a phenomenon and I realized that the primary brilliance of that book is it’s […]

  4. […] of contemplation, but I ended up gulping down the remaining chapters yesterday morning.Ā  I have said before that I love to read stories of people finding faith, and this book is definitely one of those, but […]

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