Archive for March, 2011

Eat Pray Love

March 13, 2011

Ever since Oprah shook her head, sagely, and said, “I love this book,” I had to read _Eat, Pray, Love._

Actually, I have no idea on why I picked up this book.

Overall, Lizzy Gilbert is a decent writer who keeps me interested.

On the other hand, she’s clearly selfish and narcicistic.

I try to have compassion for all beings, but it’s so tough to have compassion who someone who’s so wealthy yet so poor inside. Someone who is seen as smart, but is so stupid. And someone who claims to be so deep, but is completely shallow.

I can forgive people a lot, but she really does spirituality a disservice here by making India into a kind of spa crossed with Disney Land and an Ashram.

When I first started reading about Eastern religions, I learned how unimportant I was in the universe. This made me feel much, much better. I started to focus on helping other people instead of myself. I worked part time and went to nursing school part time. I meditated whenever I could and read as many Buddhist and Toaist books as I could. I gradually learned the differences between Theravada, Zen, and Tibetian Buddhism.

Despite my 12 hour days, bitchy co-workers, and dying patients, I was actually happy. Or at least you could say, I was done with depression.

Lizzy, and the other hand, eats pasta and gets hit on in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and she is still sad.

Now I realize that I have come from a rich country, and have been really lucky. I don’t feel like I can judge anyone. But to read this book just made me feel as if she were giving the third world both her middle fingers.

The book only gets worse when she leaves Italy. I have to say that I know diddly about Yoga philosophy. However, it can’t be completely different than the other types of meditative and contemplative practices.

Yet, the way she writes about it makes it seem like this kind of product.

In meditation, we learn that there is always some suffering in every human activity, but we learn, by careful practice, to fucking DEAL WITH IT. We learn we are big enough to handle our life and our problems. We learn that any kind of expectation is going to lead to disappointment.

What’s Liz’s version?

She tells us that with a little Yoga, we can have BLISS. All the time. Forever.

This is total bullshit and a setup for more pain and disappointment.

Also, in Buddhism there’s the notion of the Hungry Ghost. Liz is totally a hungry ghost.

This notion can be taken figuratively as a mental state in which one is full of desire which burns up all else. They are in a deluded state because of an intense greed. This is exactly how Liz is.

For example, when she’s in Italy, an awesome country by her own standards, she gets jealous of someone going to Slovenia. Why?

It reminds me of a little child in front of Saturday morning cartoons watching the toy commercials. They could put anything on that screen, and the kid screams, “I want that.”

I would have expected a trip to India to teach her more than what I learned in my public library, but alas, instead she sells a completely pain-inducing and disappointing version of Eastern philosophy. This could only have been made by those trying to sell something.

In fact, I could not stop thinking of “The Century of Self” and “How TV Ruined Your Life” especially the aspirational episode of the latter. Just as a factory farm breeds a perfectly plump, big breasted, antibiotic infested chicken each time, our stew of aspirational media is producing perfect self-centered humans each time who only think with their impulses and senses. It’s like a junkie only seeing their next fix–all other thoughts are squeezed out.

Very sad.

It scares me that this book is so popular, but it taught me a lot of the world we live in.