It’s also one of the most difficult books to write about as, as the title implies, it literally is “Too Simple for Words” and you can’t do its content justice in this medium.
So it’s a short book, 97 pages, with reflections, dialogues and poems around that elusive theme of non duality – Advaita. In the forward the author touches on the very dichotomy of writing on the topic, “words divide, separate and complicate. They use ‘subjects’ and ‘objects’ and are inevitably dualistic… …words are only pointers never the thing itself”.
Briefly, non dualism is the idea that separation, any separation but especially in this context humankind from the universe, or the universe from God, is a false division, “The message of this book is that this separation of the person from the world is essentially false… our sense of ego is a tragic mistake, and is the cause of all our problems. This message may not be apparent, and may also be resisted by the ego, the little self which desperately maintains its separateness in order to exist”. Not always easy concepts to grasp, their simplicity being a direct contrast to a modern societal world that thrives on complexity.
In yoga sometimes there’s a reference made to “doing the work”, the personal process of enquiry into those questions around who we are, why, and our place in the world – at one level inevitably duality based questions, but do they need to be? Maybe if we can let go of the ego and narratives that seek to superimpose answers to those questions, we may find, stripped away, a new individual understanding? In many respects this is the path of Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga, stilling the thought waves of the mind as the Yoga Sutras describe it. It’s not quick, it’s a lifetimes work maybe. But worthwhile.
For me this was an illuminating and revealing read, one which made sense, and this is a book I am sure I will be returning to in the future. Best taken a chapter at a time and savoured.
A recommended read.