A fifteen-year-old boy is walking through a swirling fog on his way to school when a voice calls out, "Come here. We need to talk." Out of the mist emerges an old man with a white beard. He is a fantastic figure, as wizardly as Merlin, as wise as Socrates, as peaceful as Buddha. Whoever he is, the old man has appeared on that very day to change the boy's life.
"You are old enough to learn about things," he says mysteriously. "And who is going to teach you but me?"
The old man gives the boy four days of "soul training," a time of riddles, tricks, parables, and incredible twists that brings out surprising answers to each of four burning questions about spirituality:
Do I have a soul?
How do wishes come true?
What is the supreme force in the universe?
How can I change the world?
"The old man with the white beard showed me the spiritual side of life," writes Deepak Chopra, "where real passion and excitement come from. So before you begin, take a deep breath. This story could turn out to be yours."
The author of blockbuster adult guides to spirituality and mind/body health, Chopra addresses a YA audience for the first time with this challenging and inviting book. He frames the book as a series of four daylong exchanges between the then-15-year-old Chopra and a wise old man met on a hill, revolving around four basic questions: "Do I have a soul? How do wishes come true? What is the supreme force in the universe? How can I change the world?" Early on, the wise old man introduces the notion that there is only one soul, of which each person has a piece; and he teaches that the soul can always be trusted. The author adds that other terms have been used for "soul": "spirit, God, the divine spark, the breath of life," and as the book progresses, he increasingly refers to God. For the most part, however, he avoids religion, instead drawing on folktales, quick exercises and everyday examples to engage readers in spiritual explorations. The book concludes with a "Soul Alphabet," an A-to-Z list of easy-to-do but profound spiritual practices designed "to create moments of 'Aha!' every day." Chopra shows a great talent for explaining intangible and complex ideas lucidly and even grippingly, and teens are almost certain to respond to the intelligence and vividness of his presentation. Ages 12-up.