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The author undoubtedly has lots of interesting things to say and many fresh and stimulating ideas . Unfortunately however , this audiobook is probably not the best place to hear them . The book starts quite well , including details of the scientifically proven effects of meditation etc but it is ultimately incoherent , most exampled by an utterly torturous section on pilgrimage , that seems more of a history lesson than anything else . Out of respect for the author , I have not returned it . Otherwise, i probably would have done . On the whole , all rather disappointing .
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I was disappointed in this one. When I saw the title and description several weeks ago I got very excited and waited for it to become available but I feel like the title of this book is misleading.
The title of this book is 'Science and Spiritual Practices: Transformative experiences and their effects on our bodies, brains and health' but the majority of the information in this book seems to be a history of different spiritual practices or the author's own experiences and opinions of those practices. A few sections fulfilled my expectations: The sections on Meditation and on Singing and Chanting mentions studies that I found really interesting and were great. Other parts of the book seem more spiritual than scientific. This would be fine if I weren't going into this book with an expectation based on the title. If this were instead advertised as the author's own belief on fulfilling spiritual practices and his application of his term 'morphic resonance' (I'll talk about that later) - then I would have listened to those sections with a different frame of mind.
Midway through the book I found myself listening to a section about if the Sun had consciousness or if atoms and smaller life forms had consciousness. Again, this would be fine if I were reading a book advertised as Spiritualism or Neo-Spiritualism but that's not what I came here for- what does the question of 'does the sun have consciousness?' have to do with spiritual practices and their shown effect on health? During the chapter on nature I found myself in an entire section where the author proposes (in great length) that orchard owners could rent out parts of their land for the use of families so those families can have access to the type of natural spots he had as a child. Again, cool thought, but what does that very detailed proposition have to do with the benefits of being in nature? It seems like the author gets off topic at times and then doesn't give enough information about the topic that was promised.
Now, Morphic Resonance.
In the beginning of the book the author tells you his personal history in both the scientific and spiritual fields. (It was a good intro- my only ‘huh?’ moment being when he mentions telekinesis between people and between animals) Rupert Sheldrake talks about his past research into plants and introduces his idea of, what he terms, 'Morphic Resonance' which is the idea that plants can inherit memories from their predecessors and that this is how they know to act with certain similar habits or patterns. That's fine, I was intrigued. He brings it up later though- this time in reference to not just plants but also animals and humans. He compares this idea to spiritual rituals done across cultures and that these rituals do something similar- they create a resonance between the person consciously participating in the ritual to those who have done that ritual in the past. Now, before you think I'm being harsh just because I'm a nonbeliever: I consider myself pagan and a part of the whole neo-pagan movement so I'm used to hearing these kinds of ideas. Again, if this were a different type of book I'd be all over this kind of stuff. But Morphic Resonance really is a pseudoscience- even when he first talked about it I was thinking 'Ok, I bet you had a really hard time introducing this to your friends in the science community' because there's really no way to prove his theory. I find it problematic to introduce these ideas in a book that advertises itself as a hard science look at spiritual practices.
I just want to give a fair warning to people who may be considering this book: There's some interesting information here but this book is really about spiritual practices for the spiritual community rather than a scientific look at spiritual practices.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I'll preface this review by saying that I've listened to many other similar audio books, summer being written by Rupert sheldrake himself. initially I wasn't too impressed with this audiobook, it started out quite slow for the first 3 or so hours. I was quite excited when I first got it, so this initial three hours was a little disappointing for me.
Mostly as it seems eems to cover a very basic aspect of the subject matter, and much of the information had been previously covered by Rupert in earlier books.
the tail end of this book made up for the initial disappointment. I quite enjoy the last 3 hours, and it was quite inclusive in terms of the information it covered.
I would recommend someone start with this book, then move over to Rupert's other books, as they seem to be a bit more detailed and intricate in terms of their exploration of the subject matters. This book seems to be a general overarching Viewpoint, and it was quite simplistic in my opinion.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful