Sunday, October 31, 2010

Walking Through Illusion, Book Review

The following is my book review of the "Walking Through Illusion" by Betsy Otter Thompson.

When I first started reading this book, I was not sure what to expect. Because of my own history and experiences, religious-oriented books do not tend to attract my attention. Actually, these types of books can really upset the apple cart in my life and make for some miserable days. It is healing that I am still working through.

So when I began reading this, I was pleasantly surprised. It was not a “religious” book but one of spirituality applied to the context of growth in life. The many chapters and stories were of course based on well known religious figures, but the interpretations and applications were much different. It was not like I was sitting down in church listening to regurgitated statements of belief, but of words that really went to the heart of personal growth. The words formed a picture of events that gave way to personal reflection.

There are so many parts of this book that I could comment about and that touched me, but then you would be reading my words instead of reading the book! It would be better if you read the book, because I’m sure you will find things that really speak to you in your current life that maybe didn’t speak the same way at this point in my life. I believe this is one of those books you could read a hundred times and get a hundred different reflections from it. There is so much to this book.

Some of my favorite sections were:

Chapter 2: It is amazing that when we stop and think about things, we often hope for those moments in life where we can be happy and enjoy them. It is something we wish for like a “gift” that we are waiting to receive. Yet, we find out eventually that we give ourselves the greatest gift when we accept it in the way that it is presented to our lives.

Chapter 5: Often I focus on what I don’t have or what others have in life that I do not have. When I do that, I put myself down into lower depths of depression. I miss the support and love that I actually do have because while it is there staring me in the face, I am too busy measuring the things that will not bring about my happiness.

Chapter 6: This touched my life very deeply because I know that I have had to deal with the changes in how I view religion and spirituality. Coming from my own background of rigid religious belief systems to where I am now has been a difficult transformation. These days I am more focused with how I connect spiritually with myself, and how I evolve in awareness as an individual. Just reading about the author’s experiences at the end of the chapter help give me that moment of realizing, I’m not the only one on this journey.

Chapter 9: Sometimes it is so easy to look at life and be upset with all that is not happening. It is much harder to accept everything in our life as the way our life is meant to be. However, it depends upon what we put out there as to what we will get back. Abundance is not so much the wealth we possess in the world but the size of our heart. I can so identify with this because I have struggled through rough financial times, and I am slowly learning that my abundance is not in terms of money but the gems that I discover within myself. My life is full of abundance and all too often I focus on what I don’t have rather than what I do have.

Chapter 11: Coming into this world, I have been met with many horrible experiences. It is easy for me to look at my life and determine that this person or that person caused me great harm. There is no denying that fact, but when I focus on this view only, I miss the fact that all these experiences are making me what I am today. Slowly I am learning to accept these parts of myself as ways that help push me further and have actually made my life so rich and full.

Chapter 14: In her quote at the beginning of this chapter, I was warmed by this thought and challenged at the same time: “When we choose to see love in our life or we don’t, why don’t we make things easier and choose to see the love. “ It is there for us and all we need to do is stop and change our thoughts. The love will get us further in our life and it will help us put the other parts of our life in a different perspective.

Chapter 20: This chapter is so much about what my life continues to unfold in my own personal awareness and evolution. I know that memories do come up and with them I connect to the emotions that I feel. However, the way through them is to connect them within the body and to find where that emotion resides. Once that has been identified, so much deep stored energy can be released. The body and the mind can become more whole. Just like the author said in this book, the ego does find ways to try and knock you off course. I have found that it has used every trick in the book in my own life to keep me living in fear, instead of becoming aware of the love within myself.

These parts I have described here are just sections that really stood out to me. Much of what you would get from the book depends upon where you have traveled, and where you currently are traveling along the journey of your life. We all have experiences that have brought us to the moment we are at and those experiences can move us forward. Walking Through Illusion gives the reader of this book another viewpoint and another frame of reference for further awareness and healing in their life. To truly be human, the evolution and awareness of our life is critical.

To me, the ideal way to read this book would be to take a chapter at a time and read it, ponder it, and then see how it applies to your life. It would be great for a time of meditation. Of course, with the book split up into chapters focusing on a particular topic, you could turn to it when you were experiencing times that matched one of the chapters. Whatever way you decide to read and use this book, it will help you grow and become better acquainted with not only who you are, but all that you are.

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