3 out of 4 stars
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Godhead by J. Austin Tomlinson details a year and three months of Tomlinson’s life in which he reached Enlightenment through diary entries, poems, songs, and descriptions of dreams. He lets the reader into his mind and explains his emotions as this transformation slowly takes place. Tomlinson was a Christian, so when three of his friends, all atheists, passed away, he was overwhelmed with sorrow. According to the Christian faith, his friends were not allowed to enter heaven. He abandons his religion and continues living his life. A trip to Brazil, an old friend named Daniel, and an Oregon wilderness Outward Bound trip help him find God again, but also for the first time.
Tomlinson experiences unconditional love and lucid dreams and spends his time researching Enlightenment and Self-Realization. He discusses duality of Consciousness, non-duality, the ego, meditation, chakras, multiple religions, and yoga. The ultimate point of this combination of personal experience and research findings is to demonstrate that every religion is searching for the same truth that love is God and we are all God, because God is literally in each of us. Religion is not the point, and the prophets did not intend for their truths to become religions but instead a form of self-discovery. The key to happiness and the purpose of life is unconditional love. He goes further and says that selfishness is the cause of all suffering in the world. Tomlinson shows through his personal experience that Enlightenment is just realizing what has been inside of you all along.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars, because even though it was a joy to read, I feel that it could be improved. I did not understand the use of so many parentheses while I was reading, and I found this distracting. At the end, that is explained, but I believe that it would help the reader if this was explained at the start. There are also subject shifts that can be hard to follow at times. This book was written to accurately detail life events, but it can be hard to follow while you are reading. There are a few typos, but they are not extremely disrupting. I also noticed details that I found unnecessary to the point of the book such as the information about Brant’s girlfriend. I understand that this was part of his experience, but it does not help his overall point.
I enjoyed reading Godhead, because it really embodies some of my own feelings about religion and the self. One of my favorite parts was when he states that your personal need for approval from others will disappear when you accept yourself. I like that he accounts our unhappiness to the superficial nature of society. Tomlinson has clearly done a lot of research, and that shows in this book. After reading this, I am interested in reading more about this subject. I appreciate how open and personal the author was about his experiences.
While reading, I had question after question and most of them were answered somewhere in the narrative. I feel pretty comfortable with my level of understanding of such an abstract subject, and for that reason, I think that this book was successful. It takes a while to read and fully understand everything he talks about. At some points, you may find that you have to stop reading and think for a while before continuing. I would recommend Godhead to people that are interested in a new way of thinking and are looking for peace and joy in their lives. He beautifully explains the key to happiness and why we tend to feel ‘emptiness’ at our core.
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