Self-help books could be among the most hated texts among nowadays readers. I myself take part of the never ending ranting when the subject arises, and I’m sure I’ll keep doing it for some time. However, I’m pleased to see that not every book in the genre is as dull and boring as the popular norm seems to dictate.
“The Way of the Lover: Sufism, Shamanism and the Spiritual Art of Love,” by Ross Heaven, has given me a thousand, valuable quotes that make me believe that not everything is lost when it comes to life and love, and that even death and hate, concepts I’ve been so friends with for a long time, are anything but enemies of the first ones.
I particularly enjoyed the fictitious, short stories that came between the chapters, as they served the purpose of a better way to understand what Heaven explains. For people like me, avid lovers of fiction, it becomes clearer and easier to get the point by a short, yet entertaining plot with simple characters.
Divided in four major chapters that explain the art of loving and believing in the Divine, Heaven takes the time to illustrate the point and the different cases in which the teaching came in form of personal experiences or someone that told them. The style in which all of it is written also tried to remain as poetic as possible.
Because of that last aspect of the book, the reading process became heavier and thought at some points, making it hard to keep track of what was being explained in this or that chapter. Despite the efforts, “The Way of the Lover” confuses the reader more times that the acceptable, no matter how important the section can be, as you feel unable to go to the next page.
This path of ups and downs in the prose is somewhat irritating, but reaching the end and see all of the potential in Heaven’s book is worth the wait. In artistic terms, this a perfectly imperfect book, but as for hardcore readers, it will be better to have a clear idea of what they’ll encounter inside: teachings from poet Rumi’s work on how to be a better version of themselves.
It bothered me a little that there was not that much material, substance about Sufism, but keep in mind that the belief itself in not the main subject, but the art of love and how Sufism and Shamanism touch the same teachings at some point. Readers must have a previous background on both topics to fully understand “The Way of the Lover.”
As a final word, it can be said that its final teaching is nothing but dull, proving that despite the flaws, Heaven has given birth to a great book that will help more than one when the time is right. This is one of those readings that need their own time and pace to be enjoyed; the same goes for their teachings to be incorporated in life.
The Way of the Lover: Sufism, Shamanism and the Spiritual Art of Love
Print Length: 224 pages
Publisher: Moon Books (September 29, 2017)
Publication Date: September 29, 2017
About the author:
Ross Heaven is a shaman, psychologist and healer and the director of The Four Gates Foundation, one of Europe’s leading organisations for the preservation and teaching of indigenous wisdom. He lives in Newhaven, UK.
About the reviewer:
Alan D.D. is a writer, blogger and alternative journalist. He has worked with specialized publications on entertainment, comics, witchcraft, Gothic subculture and any other topic that he discovers on the Internet and finds interesting. You can visit him on his personal, bilingual blog.