Very rarely do I read a book that I think of as essential reading for everyone. But this is one such book. I have to thank Damh the Bard for reviewing it in one of his blogs. His review piqued my interest and I ordered the book immediately.
Having just finished it this morning I can say it has not changed my life but it has confirmed and
reinforced this druid path that I am on. Sheldrake is a renowned practicing scientist who has written extensively on scientific and spiritual matters. This book looks at a number of established practices and examines their relevance in a modern, increasingly secularised world. He has chapters covering meditation, gratitude, connecting with nature (trees and flowers get a whole chapter to themselves), ritual, singing, chanting and music and pilgrimage. He traces the evolutionary and historical roots of each practice, offers a couple of exercises to connect with each and examines the value of them from both a secular and spiritual perspective.
He emphasises that connection is the theme that unifies them all. They lead us beyond the mundane to deeper kinds of connection with other people, other species and with the universe around us.
As he says in the concluding chapter,
Not all practices work equally well for everyone, and all of us have to make our own choices among them. For people who follow a religion, many of these practices are already part of their lives. But often their effectiveness is dulled through familiarity. By looking at these practices afresh, their power can be renewed.
He certainly achieves this in this book.
~ Christopher Pingel