4 out of 4 stars
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Matters of spirit can be complex and tricky to express with written or spoken language. Many a writer have attempted to provide a map of spirituality, with varying success. Author WakunDaMa’s Spirituality for Real: Beyond the Incense and Meditation makes an impressive effort to demystify the nature of spirituality and bring it into practical focus.
At age 14, the author started working with visualization meditations to improve his memory. He discovered the same practice seemed to help him recover from the flu much faster. After supporting his wife through a long, undiagnosed illness, he explored energy healing more deeply. WakunDaMa has come to believe illness and mortality are invitations to expand our experience of spirituality.
The author describes energy, in the form of chi or life-force, as being mapped in the human body through the chakra system: seven energy centers that connect body and soul. Many practices can support this energy and release blockages that cause illness. If you’ve had acupuncture, you’ve experienced an energetic modality for clearing energy pathways. WakunDaMa trademarked a yoga form that includes meditations and movement practices designed to facilitate the flow and balance of life-force energy. The book includes links to videos that clearly demonstrate these practices.
WakunDaMa’s artful interpretation of the relationship between body, mind, spirit, energy, soul, and religion was satisfying. Spirituality is not just an aspect of human experience—it is our human experience. It permeates all—the sacred and the mundane. “If you want to understand spirituality in tangible action,” says WakunDaMa, “don’t look to a temple, church, mosque or synagogue. Instead, look to everyday courageous acts in human life.” This is not meant to discount religion. Spirit is seen as the basis and purpose for all existence, and religion is an important manifestation of spirituality.
I thoroughly enjoyed Spirituality for Real. The author’s humanity is evident in the first sentence and permeates the narrative. His tone is loving, wise, and humble. He addresses the personal and the transcendent nature of human existence, acknowledging we are all on the path of life together. With a user-friendly tone, the author explains complex concepts using qualifiers such as “maybe” or “my intuition says,” rather than making declarations about concepts that are very abstract.
I practiced a bit of the meditation highlighted in the book. “Crying Meditation” is a progression of sounding and breathing, intended to increase mental function and energetic alignment. The author presents it as being useful to beginners because the mind is occupied with sounding and not as likely to drift.
I’m certainly not an expert, but having taught meditation, I do wonder if beginners will be attracted to this form. Humans are generally resistant to both meditation and crying. Both are uncomfortable. While there is a significant benefit in working with discomfort, I think it may be too advanced for beginners. I wonder if one of the author’s other meditations might be better for non-meditators.
Technically, the book is very solid. The well-organized chapters and sub-sections help make sense of the complex subject matter. The writing is very good, and the book appears to be professionally edited. I found only a couple of very minor errors.
Spirituality for Real: Beyond the Incense and Meditation is the first in a two-book series that speaks compassionately to believers and skeptics. I am happy to award the book 4 out of 4 stars for its accessibility, humility, and technical strength. I recommend the book to anyone who would enjoy a balanced, practical discussion of how body, mind, spirit, and energy are interconnected. Whether or not you practice a religion or spiritual path, you will likely find this author’s empathy and humanistic approach refreshing.
Spirituality for REAL
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