I admit it, I'm a Yoga snob.
Once upon a time in Litchfield, Connecticut there was a little girl who lived on a Christmas tree farm. That little girl grew up to become extremely wealthy by selling out her spirituality in a very famous book which then became a movie starring a very famous actress....
Alright, so I'm a snob and a jealous bitch. But at least I admit it.
I really disliked this book. I admit I read it, cover to cover, but I forced myself most of the way. The more I tried to find something in it of value the more I detested it. There are several reasons for my extreme opinion of this book:
First off, it irritated me no end that, although he is married to a Yoga teacher, my husband was swayed by the women he worked with to read it. We've been together going on a quarter century and he has read less than 5 books in this time. EPL was one of them. Can you fucking believe this?!?
Secondly, how come the author never divulges the name of her guru? Most of the disciples I know do whatever they can for their beloved teacher. It just comes across as shady that there aren't more pranams offered to this mysterious guru.
Thirdly, (here's the big one) it must be really nice to have the means, time and lack of responsibility to wander off in your thirties to try to find yourself. Hurl. Told you I was jealous.
Ok, let's expound on that last one.
Anyone can re-find their passion for food in Italy. I mean, for crying out loud, who the hell doesn't like pizza? And if you don't like pizza, there's gelatti. And if you don't like ice cream, there's wine and cheese. Sheesh. Here's a test, try re-finding your love of food when you are cooking for a fussy kid and it's either pb&j or mac and cheese 10 times per week! It's in the moment of sinking your teeth into an orange marmalade and peanut butter on white bread sandwich while having a carpet picnic with your fussy kids surrounded by laundry piles that you also re-find love in your life.
And sure, one of my dreams is to go to my own Guru's ashram in India and pray with Her. But I learned how to pray because of what She has taught me when I am away from Her. It is the blessings She has bestowed upon me that have led me to the people in my life that I pray with today. I actually was missing Her earlier this week and thanks to the wonders of the Internet I was able to look up my Guru on 'You Tube'. I know it sounds foolish but I was able to connect with Her and feel Her divine Love right through the computer. Even this was unnecessary and I knew it but it made me feel better. When I went to visit my bestie, Tink, a couple of weeks ago I was green with envy when I saw her Yoga room and there were beautiful photos of our Guru on the wall. Just looking at photos of Her feet filled my soul with Love. But even photos are unnecessary. She is with me always. I know this in my heart and when I feel disconnected I am not disconnected from my Guru, but rather from my own heart. Meditation, chanting or reading of the scriptures can bring me right back, all without a passport to India.
And let's talk about Love. Sure, it's a tough one. The heroine of our crappy story felt like she got married too early and they grew apart...yada, yada, yada. Her only way out was a divorce, a rebound lover and then a trip around the world to find a millionaire in Bali. Let's try this instead; look over to the man snoring beside you in his threadbare long underwear. Pretend he is a sexy, foreign millionaire. Then try to remember why you picked him to snore beside you. Instead of thinking about how you've 'grown apart' think about how you've grown up together. People change. I mean, here is the man that wanted me to give up Yoga for him, before he read EPL....
I never recommend EPL as a book for serious students to read. It's fine for the 'designer label spiritual seekers' but for someone who is looking to truly find their own heart there are much better tomes. Start with Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. It reads like fiction but is true. From there go to The Bhagavad Gita. I like the Stephen Mitchell translation. It's short and easy to digest. Then finally read The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali. It is also short and there are many translations to choose from. The 'Sutras' and the 'Gita' are scriptures, thousands of years old. They are the foundations of Yogic spirituality.
If you can get through those three, then pick up EPL and see if you haven't already found out that there's no place like home to find yourself.