3 out of 4 stars
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Inspirience: Meditation Unbound by Richard L Haight is an audiobook that gives a guide to practical meditation and offers the perspective of Haight's supernatural, meditative history.
Haight's youthful martial arts training introduced him to meditation practices. He recalls when he first began to fully meditate as a teenager in the desert, having fled from his house in a rage. In his stillness, a bobcat and a coyote approached him unafraid, à la Disney princess.
Later, Haight would have his most meaningful meditation experience (or "inspirience", as he calls it), which resulted in his sense of "isness." Isness is the concept that you are part of all things, and all things are a part of you. He describes a universal connectedness and the image of a "higher power" that is interwoven with all creatures. This specific inspirience is detailed and is one of the most exciting portions of the book.
My favorite story from Haight's spiritual journey concerns Jorge, a clairvoyant. Having met with Jorge in an effort to understand his own clairvoyance, Haight and Jorge decide on an exchange of skills: Jorge will teach Haight what he knows of spirituality, and Haight will teach Jorge martial arts.
Jorge tells Haight that his clairvoyance comes from a spirit that speaks to him. He is careful to have a sense of gratitude toward the spirit. As Jorge begins to gain a human following, however, his selfishness gets the better of him. Haight leaves Jorge in the midst of a controversy. Likewise, Haight warns that if you embark on a path of spiritualism and meditation, you may encounter some dark entities should you have the wrong intentions.
Haight's endeavor to make meditation a part of everyday life has a practical advantage, and I was excited to try some of the guided meditations in the book. Despite my efforts, I didn't have an inspirience, nor did I feel that I participated in "unfoldment," in which a soul that's been tightly folded like a piece of paper unfolds and opens to isness.
I was able to glean some wisdom from the audiobook. For example, Haight suggests that if you feel spiritually dead, you should find your passion and pursue it regularly.
Overall, I found the audiobook an enjoyable listen. I would have preferred to read it as an e-book because it is densely packed with abstract concepts. I found myself having to rewind often to be sure I was understanding it correctly. The purpose of an audiobook, in my mind, is to allow the reader to multitask. That just wasn't possible with this book. For this reason, I'm demoting the book one point for a score of 3 out of 4
Haight goes to great lengths to deny any religious affiliation with his inspiriences. Perhaps it was the way I was raised or my background in literary analysis, but I couldn't help but draw parallels between his inspiriences and religion. After all, what is a religion if not a quest for spiritual answers? There were some poignant similarities that I won't mention for fear of spoiling the main event (think: Moses and the burning bush), but a complete disregard for these similarities makes me question Haight's motives. Organized religion isn't too popular in mainstream America right now, and part of me feels that Haight is avoiding the apparent associations in an attempt to make his book appeal to the masses. This move strikes me as vaguely dishonest, or at least imperceptive.
One interesting aside on these parallels is that a spirit like Jorge's is mentioned in the Bible. In Acts 16:16, Paul and Silas are followed by a slave girl "with a spirit of clairvoyance who earned a large income for her masters by fortune-telling." The men cast out the spirit, and her owners are angry that they've lost their income. To me, that kind of background only deepens Haight's story, but to each his own.
I would recommend this audiobook to people who have the time to listen without distraction. Additionally, experienced and novice meditators might find some useful information on how to meditate while moving, talking, and working.
Inspirience: Meditation Unbound
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