'Rain Drops of Love for a Thirsty World'
by LIFE, as shared with Eileen Workman
Muse Harbor Publishing, 2017
In keeping with the title of this self-help book, the cover itself feels like its waterproof. At least, it has that plastic-like sheen to it. Handy in a rain-storm.
I'm not a huge fan of spiritual, New Age know-yourself-transformational-enlightenment-journey books, but for whatever reason I am sent them for review. The market is awash with them, and many are - to be perfectly honest - very similar in content and style. They stick to what is perceived as a winning formula, usually delivered by a smiling white, middle-class American woman, and depend heavily upon a hook, or novelty factor, for their success.
This book breaks some of those rules. There is no smiling middle-aged author smiling sweetly from the back cover. Instead, the content of the book is said to be derived from LIFE itself, through a mysterious mechanism which is not alluded to. Somehow, though, LIFE has made its message felt through the undoubtedly awesome channelling capability of Eileen Workman.
And, yes, LIFE does seem to actually have the worldview of a middle-class American woman, I'll have to admit, so, to be fair, it chose the channel for its 'living communion' well. Perhaps LIFE takes the form of Eileen's quiet, inner voice of wisdom - her 'divine feminine' voice? Others might consider that voice to be God speaking. I'd be more inclined to think of it as the brain ticking over in the background, in that relentless drip-drip-drip survival-orientated, anti-mindfulness way that it does.
One of the other rules which this book breaks is in its structure. There is a certain degree of organisation apparent, in that the book is divided into four sections - soft love, tough love, self love and life love. Mist, torrents, showers and rain, you might say? But that's really as far as it goes. Like rain, the short passages of prose are arranged haphazardly.
There is a second index in the back, providing a listing of the lessons (blogs?) in alphabetical order, so the 'author' clearly recognises the issue. As a result, the written material has a poetic feel to it, insofar as the book feels like a compendium of poems, loosely structured and certainly lacking any overall direction that I could discern. That enables the reader to dip in, thumb around, alight upon. It does not sit well with a running discourse, or thread, however, and, like a summer shower on a light breeze, seemed aimless.
That said, the book is earnest enough (perhaps, as with nearly all New Age spiritual texts, too earnest). LIFE seems to have a certain disdain for cynicism and na´vetÚ, in equal measure (p355), but the more-or-less Taoist middle ground it asks us to tread (more allusions to water, I would suggest) is hardly pragmatic in this context. There remains an idealism which seeks to transcend the chaos and suffering of the world, to seek a higher (formless) self. The passages in the book are designed to speak directly to the heart, with a light emotive content. Again, as a male reader with a scientific mindset, this does not particularly work for me, and I'm certainly not the target audience the book is aimed at. So, my review inevitably reflects that subjective viewpoint.
There is a cultural underpinning of Christian surrender, mixed in with some mystical messages, and a nod to the other faiths (p45). It's largely heart-warming, motivational, sometimes philosophical. I'm not sure I agree with the book's points about time and the nature of being, but it's thought-provoking, all the same.
"I therefore invite you to realize that the Now is like an eternally open stage. Though the background sets are endlessly changing, and though the characters on the stage keep coming and going at will, you remain free to engage with whomever you wish and to play against whatever backdrop sings to your heart and soul. Awareness serves as a spotlight that illuminates this continuous play of form. Where you direct your attention determines which settings, and which characters, your awareness engages with as it expresses itself through you in this living play." (p48)
Beautifully written, with painstaking attention to grammar, I'm sure you'll agree. With its Shakespearian allusion, LIFE is clearly well read, and seems old-fashioned when it comes to penning a book, which is welcome. Regrettably, the velvet dogma of New-Age thinking pervades, with quasi-scientific references to energy fields and the like (p187). I hoped that some of these strands and arguments would be picked up and developed, but the very nature of the book provided ephemeral contact with these concepts, and then moved on.
A rain shower, indeed. In the end, I had indeed been soaked to the skin by this outpouring of quiet wisdom, but I didn't feel as though I had progressed much further along the road. Perhaps that's because the direction was supposed to be up. I'm acutely aware of my own shortcomings when it comes to divine feminine wisdom. After all, I've been married a long time!
Book review by Andy Lloyd, 7th March 2017
Books for review can be sent to Andy Lloyd at the author/publisher's own risk.
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