Suddenly I See

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I recently read "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was very enjoyable and I got a lot out of it. I recommend you check it out if you haven't already. I really loved reading about the author's life and her journey to find her self through pleasure, the pursuit of a relationship with God, and love.

Here are some parts of the book that I liked best. Some I could directly relate to and some I just liked.

"In the end what I have come to believe about God is simple. It's like this- I used to have this really great dog. She came from the pound. She was a mixture of about then different breeds, but seemed to have inherited the finest features of them all. She was brown. When people asked me 'what kind of dog is that?' I would always give the same answer: 'She's a brown dog.' Similarly, when the question is raised, 'What kind of God do you believe in?' my answer is easy: 'I believe in a magnificent God'."

"'To find the balance you want', Ketut spoke through his translator, 'this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it's like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.'"

"I think people have children for manner of reasons- sometimes out of absence of choice, sometimes in order to hold on to a partner or create an heir, sometimes without thinking about it in any particular way. Not all reasons to have children are the same, and not all of them are necessarily unselfish. Not all the reasons not to have children are the same either, though. Nor are all those reasons necessarily unselfish."

"But what if, either by choice or by reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of family and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time's passage without the fear that you've just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant? You'll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being. I love children, but what if I don't have any? What kind of person does that make me?"

"The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in this moment. It's something like the habit of my dear friend Susan, who- whenever she sees a beautiful place- exclaims in near panic, 'It's so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!' and it takes all of my persuasive powers to try to convince her that she is already here. If you're looking for union with the divine, this kind of forward/backward whirling is a problem. There's a reason they call God a presence- because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time."

"Letting go, of course is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well- that would be the end of the universe. But try dropping it. This is the message I'm getting. Sit quietly for now and cease your relentless participation. Watch what happens. The birds do not crash dead out of the sky in mid-flight, after all. The trees do not wither and die, the rivers do not turn red with blood. Life continues to go on."

" 'Not necessary,' he said. 'I have good idea, for if you meet some person from different religion and he want to make argument about God. My idea is you listen to everything this man say about God. Never argue about God with him. Best thing to say is, 'I agree with you'. Then you go home, pray what you want. This is my idea for people to have peace about religion.' ".

"I have no nostalgia for the patriarchy, please believe me. But what I have come to realize is that, when the patriarch system was (rightfully) dismantled, it was not necessarily replaced by another form of protection. What I mean is- I never thought to ask a suitor the same challenging questions my father might have asked him, in a different age. I have given myself away in love many times, merely for the sake of love. And I've given away the farm sometimes in that process. If I am to truly become an autonomous woman, then I must take over that role of being my own guardian. Famously, Gloria Steinem once advised women that they should strive to become like the men they had always wanted to marry. What I've only recently realized is that I not only have to become my own husband, but I need to be my own father, too."

- I enjoy the above paragraph not because I agree with everything she is saying but because it really made me think. I don't want to be autonomous, I don't think that every man should be their own island. I think it's good for humans to be able to depend on each other. But I do think that in order to protect oneself maybe we need to guard ourselves as our fathers would. I need to treat myself as my parents would want me to treat myself but I need to do that because I know it in my soul not because they know it to be right. Others love me, and for that I am lucky and grateful but I must love myself because I know me best, I know how to guard myself and ultimately I need to know whats best for me. Others may be right about decisions I should make but I need to be the one to decide what is best for me.

"My thoughts turn to something I read once, something the Zen Buddhists believe. They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which hold all the promise and potential which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well- the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born."

There were other parts from the book that I enjoyed as well. I love a good thought provoking read.

I am looking forward to reading the sequel as well as seeing "Eat Pray Love" in the theaters this summer.

1 comment:

hanner said...

i didn't love this book. i liked it at first but then at the end it felt like it was weighing me down a bit, probably because of the autonomy thing. i was just talking to my friend who just broke up with his girlfriend, and he articulated my dislike better than i did. i don't think that being alone and being happy have to go together.