To be honest I didn’t expect to like this book. I knew from the reviews and the movie trailers that it contains a lot of “New Age” thinking. Yet I found the story intriguing. Gilbert investigates various spiritual ideas particularly in relation to mediation and supposedly has experiences that leave her with more peace and ‘balance’. This is not always evidenced in her behaviour. I did some research and discovered that she is still with the man she began a relationship with towards the end of the book. This suggests to me that she did gain some healing and maturity through her year of travel.
I believe mediation in itself is neither good nor bad. It is simply a tool that helps us connect with the spiritual world so my question is always who or what are you connecting with when you mediate? If you are connecting with God, as reveal by Jesus Christ, then mediation is a great tool. However if you are opening yourself up through mediation to any and every spiritual power then I have concerns.
Gilbert explains her initial difficulties with mediation and I found myself relating to some of her frustrations. She talked of the difficulty of wandering thoughts and of sitting still for extended lengths of time. The same difficulties I have in my own prayer times. However as she persisted she eventually was able to focus for extended periods of time. It encouraged me to persist with my mediations on God and his word. At one point Gilbert explains that she understands prayer as asking God and meditation as listening to God. Even though my understanding of God would be different to Gilbert’s I found this a helpful concept.
The thought that impacted me most from reading this book was the truth of James 5:16 (NKJV) “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” If Gilbert can apparently achieve so much through her secular mediation how much more as Christians can we tap into the true Source of enlightenment through mediating on God and his word.