Cheryl Simone,
Midnights With the Mystic
(Hampton Roads, 2011)

At one point in Midnights With the Mystic, Cheryl Simone's guru, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, compares spiritual growth to a caterpillar -- he postulates a restless caterpillar who wants more than "only to eat and sleep and do what the rest of caterpillars did." This particular restless caterpillar "sensed that life had a dimension not yet experienced." What did he do as a result? "He hung from the branch of a tree and wove and wove, weaving a cocoon around himself" and when he broke forth, "Lo and behold, he was no longer the lowly worm that wove darkness around himself but a resplendent,winged butterfly whose very colors dazzled the appreciative sky." The guru emphasizes that "once the transformation has taken place, it was impossible for the butterfly to return to being a lowly worm."

This is, of course, Vasudev's metaphor for the human transformation from mere person to enlightened person, and if this is your idea of cosmic wisdom, then this is the book for you. Before we get too excited, though, let's get logical for just a moment: the lowly caterpillar, dissatisfied with his place in life, sensing an extra dimension and wanting desperately to participate in that dimension, does exactly what every caterpillar on this Earth does; he becomes a butterfly. Doesn't this indicate that it is not necessary to do anything, that no overt, planned action is needed, that we will enter that extra dimension as a result of the DNA already implanted within us?

That's pretty much the quality of the wisdom offered in this book. Cheryl Simone describes herself as a lifelong seeker. She's spent all of her life looking for wisdom, she says. She describes her early LSD experiments and her attendance at seminars, and she talks her early marriage to an ex-con who surprised the hell out of her by meditating in prison and then surprised her again by behaving like an ex-con after he was released and they were married.

What was she seeking? Well, let's take a look at her encounter with Baba Ram Dass:

During an early meeting with Ram Dass, I had a profound mystical experience (which I will talk about later) that I could not explain. Because of that experience, I asked him if he was my guru. I was not necessarily looking for a guru, but I thought perhaps my guru had found me. But Ram Dass said no, he was in no way a guru. He said that when I met my real guru, I would know it.

Although she says she was not looking for a guru, the book explores her search for one and her receptivity to his guidance once she has found him. All well and good, and I'm glad she professes to be happy and satisfied in her search, but I found myself wishing that Cheryl Simone would think for herself.

book review by
Michael Scott Cain

21 May 2011

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new