Review of Digging for God

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Cecilia_L
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Review of Digging for God

Post by Cecilia_L »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Digging for God" by Tom Hillman.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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“The ashram’s pristine environment along with its celibacy policy and abundance of food is like a Garden of Eden.”

In hopes of bettering his life, Tom Hillman spent three weeks at an all-male ashram; now, he shares the experience in his contemplative book, Digging for God. He describes the daily routine of early-morning yoga, "no-talking" breakfasts, meditations, and communal chores of service, including digging ditches, tree trimming, and fruit picking. Although Hillman extols the “otherworldly” brotherly love he experienced, he is also transparent about the spiritual highs and lows, including the temptation to walk away when the chores grow tedious.

While the well-known idiom cautions readers not to judge a book by its cover, I have learned the same truth may apply to page length. Despite its modest 28 pages, this book is pristinely edited and eloquently written. Given the title, I was slightly surprised by the synopsis description: “NOT a religious book.” However, after reading the book twice, I have a better understanding. Although Hillman refers to meditation and union with God, I would describe his often humorous musings as spiritual rather than religious or of a self-help nature. The author's second-person narration offers readers a more intimate glimpse into his spiritual experiences: "You are envying the ashram's pace and would love to have a meditation schedule like this back home."

My favorite aspect of the book is Hillman's vivid recollection of driving up to the ashram for the first time. He creates picturesque visions of the mountainous drive, "waving and cheering oaks," and pines that "seem to be reaching down to hold your hand." Hillman's thoughtful imagery extends to the auditory; he recalls the beckoning burbling of the koi pond's waterfall in one instance. In another, he describes the hushed rustling of the wind through palm fronds and playfully imagines the “sound might be the Holy Spirit."

While Hillman forewarns readers that his reflections are purposely brief, I would be very interested in reading an epilogue based on how he applied his experience to daily life once he returned home. Even so, this is merely a suggestion; there isn’t anything that detracts from my overall enjoyment of the engaging narrative.

Therefore, I am pleased to rate Digging for God 4 out of 4 stars. Its lovely imagery and short page length will interest readers who enjoy spiritual contemplation. As previously mentioned, the author does not intend the book to be labeled "religious." Since it doesn't contain doctrinal views related to any specific faith, the book may appeal to readers with various beliefs. I recommend the thought-provoking read to those interested in meditation, spiritual growth, and service to others.

******
Digging for God
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Uwe Neufeld
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Post by Uwe Neufeld »

It is spiritual, speaks of God, but it is not a religious book.
Ok.
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Post by Chinyere Nwankwo »

Well, the title of the book is a bit misleading then if it’s not particularly a religious book. Anyways, it would be interesting to read about the authors experience at the ashram and what effect his stay there had on him.
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Post by Akinola John »

Book that increase someone spiritual growth is worth reading. Nice review.
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Post by Gwrites208 »

I hope this book would give us insight and increase our interest for God.
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Cecilia_L
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Post by Cecilia_L »

Uwe Neufeld wrote: 09 May 2022, 09:03 It is spiritual, speaks of God, but it is not a religious book.
Ok.
These are all true but to clarify, many spiritual people associate "religious" as more focused on rules or doctrine, which the author does not do. Instead, he focuses on nature, service, and his experience at the ashram.
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Post by Emiglee »

I want to understand, how this book is not a religious book but spiritual; even the title of the book has something to say already. This is a great review that has succeeded in making me curious about the book.
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Post by Cocobutta »

I think there is a distinct difference between spiritual and religious and I think this book will clearly show that. I would love to read the author's perspective on this. Great review.
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