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Review: Walk Like a God, by Drew Jacob

Thinking



As I read this ebook, memories flashed over me.  Long forgotten memories of riding my bike in the rain as a boy.  Or trudging into the tall grass of a creek to be alone with my thoughts.  Or climbing the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia, just to prove to myself I could do it.  These are the kinds of experiences evoked by Walk Like a God.

From simple walks in nature to challenging journeys, Drew provides a manual for experiencing spirituality through action.  He leads the reader gently but firmly into a world where adventure is possible.

The aim of the book is what Drew calls the “Heroic Life.”  By cultivating skills, facing fears, and pushing personal limits, one becomes the hero of one’s own myth.  One learns to “walk with the gods.”

This is spirituality not of innocence but of experience.  Spirituality, for Drew, is less about the divine and more about personal growth.  The divine may play a part, but it need not.  He is quite explicit about that.  This is not faith, it’s practice.

The journey begins by entering a natural environ, opening to a sense of place, and beginning to listen:

“With this basic talent – this ability to listen to nature – you are witnessing something of immense importance. By addressing the natural forces around you as living beings, you re-enact the origin of religion itself. I won’t comment on whether these are actual spirits or if they are in your unconscious mind. Regardless of who is doing the answering, this technique is a powerful way of receiving insightful, unexpected guidance.”  (p. 40)

This basic practice leads to a deepening relationship with nature.  While this may not sound very heroic yet, readers are encouraged to push personal limits.  Each foray should expand toward ever-greater challenges:

“Challenging yourself to your limit is a tool of spiritual development. It is such a strong tool that I call it a weapon of spirituality. By racing into your fears, you radically alter the landscape. Everything changes when you yourself are changing.”  (p. 17)

But this is not a book about leaping off the nearest cliff – not without wise preparation and maybe a parachute.  “Controlled crisis” is how Drew puts it.  Advice on planning more elaborate adventures, beginning with outlining the skills you’ll need and how you’re going to acquire them, moves goals step-by-step into the realm of possibility.

These adventures are not limited to the wilderness.  The goals you set are your own.  Examples Drew gives include trying free running, winning a dance competition, or sailing across an ocean.

The overall impression left by Walk Like a God is that of verve and potential.  The visual layout works toward this, too: the 86 pages, set in landscape orientation, are full of short lines, half pages, and photographs of wide-open natural scenes.  Each page gives a sense of the wide-open road expanding before you.

As for the prose, it’s simple but elegant.  Vivid imagery gives a warm, personal impression, dripping with richness like dew on a vine of grapes.  Most stunning was how often I saw myself reflected in these lines.  It was as though Drew had been peaking over my shoulder all these years, writing down what I was experiencing.

At times I felt intellectually starved by Drew’s writing, like I couldn’t take a single further page of sentimental build-up.  But each time, he culminates in a point that makes me realize the significance of what he’s saying by bringing me back to an experience of my own that pops to mind, and I realize I never consciously gave it the value it deserves.

If there is any weakness to the book, it is that it promises too much.  It claims to provide tools to make one god-like – a hefty boast, to be sure.  Yet the first forty pages barely get one out on a leisurely stroll.  This leaves less room to explore the truly challenging stuff, which is sorely missed.  The way is left open for future volumes dedicated to greater adventures that await along the road of the Heroic Life.

More than a manual of spirituality, Walk Like a God is a handbook for living.  Really living.  From connecting with nature to scaling mountains, this is how you’ll do it.  If you ever had a dream you thought wasn’t possible, this is the book that will be with you when you achieve it.

Walk Like a God by Drew Jacob is available for purchase here.

Don't miss a very special interview with Drew Jacob appearing tomorrow, July 10th, at Humanistic Paganism.

Finally,
watch for a field test of the techniques of the book appearing July 24th.

Jacob, Drew.  Walk Like a God: How to Have Powerful Spiritual Moments With No Church and No Dogma.  2011.  86 pages.  $8 or get it free from a friend (no really, Drew encourages passing it around to help the maximum number of people!).

Drew Jacob is a priest of many gods, a seasoned nonprofit professional, a writer, an observer and all too frequently a student of his own misadventures. He follows the Heroic Path: the idea that the highest goal in life is to live gloriously, to distinguish oneself through deeds, to be clever and brave and become known for it – to use the moments of one’s life to leave a lasting and worthy impression on the world.  He is the author of Rogue Priest and The Heroic Path.


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