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- Eastern Religions & Beliefs
Eat, Pray, Love: A Book Summary and Review
Elizabeth Gilbert has written a very entertaining and enlightening book about her travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia. Following her divorce, Elizabeth experienced a crushing depression resulting in panic, confusion, and weight loss. This is the story of her travels and explorations of three different cultures, in an effort to find balance in her life.
First, she experiences pleasure in Italy. She enrolls in Italian language classes and immerses herself in the beauty of this romantic language, and Italian culture. She has Gelati in the morning, discovers the best pizza in Italy, and shares Sardinian wine with friends. She experiences a soccer game in Italy, where the natives are the most passionate of fans, and deal with defeat by gathering at the bakery and eating cream-puffs. As she leaves Italy, she proclaims to be free from her gnawing depression, and not surprisingly, back to her normal weight.
She then travels to India where she practices hours of silent meditation at her Guru's Ashram. She does not reveal her Guru's name or the Ashram location, as to not publicize it. She especially thanks her Guru in the book's introduction.
Not claiming to be a theological scholar or the Ashram's official spokesperson, Elizabeth speaks of her experiences in India from her personal standpoint only. Her meditations start off in frustration, as her mind whirls with seemingly endless, cluttering thoughts. However, through hours of practice of silence at the Ashram, she has "seen" God in her meditations, and has learned that God is found within herself, and to find peace one must return-to-self. This is the most important account of her travels. Her time in India is described beautifully and honestly.
Elizabeth finds love in Bali, Indonesia. Elizabeth met Ketut, a ninth generation Indian medicine man, two years ago prior to this trip. She explained to him then that she wanted to learn to live in this world, and to enjoy its delights, but also to devote herself to God. He told her, "To find the balance that you want, you must keep your feet grounded so firmly on 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."
Ketut asks her to come to Indonesia to teach him English, and he, in turn, will teach her everything he knows. She fufills her destiny by living and learning with Ketut, in Bali, Indonesia, her final destination.
She meets Wayan, a Balinese healer, and Felipe, a Brazilian man who loves and adores her with "such single minded concentration." The reader can only share in Elizabeth's joy as her story comes to its conclusion with her finding a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.
This is a wonderful book of self-discovery that will nourish your soul!