The Light of the Self: A Memoir of a Spiritual Awakening
Kenneth Rose, author
An unexpected spiritual awakening at nineteen led Kenneth Rose on a journey of spiritual discovery to a Hindu devotional movement, a conservative Bible college, a Catholic monastery, Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions, and India, where he had a spiritually decisive audience with the Dalai Lama, experienced the radical teaching of nondual awakening in an encounter with satsang teacher Papaji, and encountered the living presence of the Hindu saint Sri Ramana Maharshi in his ashram in the shadow of the sacred mountain known as Arunachala. At each stop on his unique journey, Kenneth Rose gained liberating insights into the spiritual life. But the radical differences between the many spiritual traditions that he encountered raised the question of which—if any—of these paths is ultimate. In a memoir that is both a compelling spiritual memoir playing out on three continents and a skillful guide to life-altering mystical teachings and practices in Hinduism, Buddhism, and mystical Christianity, Kenneth Rose traces his personal spiritual pilgrimage and shares the teachings that transformed his life—and that can transform yours as well.
Rose, a Senior Research Fellow at The Graduate Theological Union, recounts his metaphysical and spiritual journey in his sensuous if pedestrian debut. Raised Catholic in Brooklyn, Rose’s mystical thinking begins with an otherworldly command to “look to God” at the age of 19. Several spiritual epiphanies followed after this calling (“[religion] is a contingent, historical phenomenon, and whatever it is that we in English label God is not in itself bound by religion’s often oppressive social and intellectual forms”) and led him to engage with the Hare Krishna movement, evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism. He eventually found a spiritual home in the writings of Thomas Merton, Saint Augustine, and Alan Watts, and practices of meditation. While devoted to a Christian God for most of life, throughout the book he remains unconvinced about the true nature of the spiritual power he feels. While his story will resonate with readers who are interested in and struggle with the search for divinity, Rose’s strict inward focus and flat narrative will turn off many readers. However, fans of Thomas Merton and Alan Watts might enjoy Rose’s tussle with multiple religious traditions and intense spiritual episodes. (BookLife)