When a health scare puts him in the hospital, Eric Weiner-an agnostic by default-finds himself tangling with an unexpected question, posed to him by a well-meaning nurse. "Have you found your God yet?" The thought of it nags him, and prods him-and ultimately launches him on a far-flung journey to do just that.
Weiner, a longtime "spiritual voyeur" and inveterate traveler, realizes that while he has been privy to a wide range of religious practices, he's never seriously considered these concepts in his own life. Face to face with his own mortality, and spurred on by the question of what spiritual principles to impart to his young daughter, he decides to correct this omission, undertaking a worldwide exploration of religions and hoping to come, if he can, to a personal understanding of the divine.
The journey that results is rich in insight, humor, and heart. Willing to do anything to better understand faith, and to find the god or gods that speak to him, he travels to Nepal, where he meditates with Tibetan lamas and a guy named Wayne. He sojourns to Turkey, where he whirls (not so well, as it turns out) with Sufi dervishes. He heads to China, where he attempts to unblock his chi; to Israel, where he studies Kabbalah, sans Madonna; and to Las Vegas, where he has a close encounter with Raelians (followers of the world's largest UFO-based religion).
At each stop along the way, Weiner tackles our most pressing spiritual questions: Where do we come from? What happens when we die? How should we live our lives? Where do all the missing socks go? With his trademark wit and warmth, he leaves no stone unturned. At a time when more Americans than ever are choosing a new faith, and when spiritual questions loom large in the modern age, MAN SEEKS GOD presents a perspective on religion that is sure to delight, inspire, and entertain.
Former NPR reporter Weiner (The Geography of Bliss) turns his journalistic and travel-writing skills to the terrain of the inner life in this ironic, informative, if somewhat flat, spirituality memoir. A more-or-less agnostic cultural Jew, Weiner decides in midlife to get serious about investigating God is there a God, and if so what is God like? To answer these questions, the author travels around the world, apprenticing himself (briefly) to teachers and practitioners of eight different religious traditions, from Sufism to shamanism. He reads Rumi in Istanbul and takes a mikvah dip in Tzfat, Israel. Franciscans bring him along to an antiabortion protest, and Jamie, a witch in the Pacific northwest, helps him crash a coven and sends him stern e-mail telling him to address his chronic depression. Winsome, self-deprecating humor marks every page. But the spiritual takeaways Weiner offers feel a bit thin as when, at the end of his time in Nepal, he concludes that the fleetingness of an experience (be that experience life or breakfast) makes the moment not "less sweet," but "more. Definitely more."
Customer ReviewsSee All
An occasionally interesting travelogue, but not much meaningful discussion of the more basic issues.