2 out of 4 stars
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Simply Awake by Jonathan Eric Labman is a revelatory book that emphasizes the importance of enlightenment. Western and Eastern religions, and their flaws, are explored; nevertheless, the author intends for every reader to ascertain the truth personally. This is an integral aspect of “being awake.”
The book begins by analysing the need for awareness. Awareness is described as something that registers every experience. The author terms it Brahman, which is synonymous with God/the Absolute. The three basic practices of awareness are discussed. These are meditation, practising presence (a form of open-eyed meditation), and thought-busting. Additionally, questions concerning several aspects of life are considered to help evaluate one’s existence and establish the truth by oneself. For instance, “Is This Really True About How I Fit into the World?”
It is easy to imagine the book as a spiritual manual, but it is not. It focuses on the possibility of happiness and holistic tranquillity. I appreciate the author’s vast training and studies in several religions and spiritual traditions. His knowledge is exemplified commendably in the work. The book is arrayed (mostly) with relevant images, and similar titles are referenced. I concur with some of his beliefs and assertions, such as, “Test everything to see if it’s true and if it works for you.” He, also, assists the reader with understanding and accepting the uniqueness of each person.
Nonetheless, I disagree with the author when he writes, “all current scientific theories and all academic knowledge . . . are equally subjective . . . even if they are the most accurate information we have today; they will be different in 100 years.” A difference does not automatically imply subjectiveness. Furthermore, he asserts that most thoughts about oneself are false. I believe this is simply untrue (at least for me). There is an issue of overuse of ellipses throughout the book, and the review copy of the e-book is formatted to present two pages on the screen per time. This makes it nearly impossible to read the text without zooming in. Additionally, a part of the book references a family of human beings, but an image of a coalition of cheetahs is inserted. Finally, there is an oversaturation of uppercase use to reference words. For instance, the question quoted above in the second paragraph indicates this. The oversaturation decreases the ability to read and recognize the relevant words in the text.
I give the book a rating of 2 out of 4 stars. It is not professionally edited, but it is enlightening and educative. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy reading nonfiction titles that address various religions and traditions.
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