Jonathan Ellerby is an interfaith minister and the Spiritual Program Director for Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, Arizona. In this adventuresome paperback, Ellerby reveals the benefits of openness to all paths and the quest for meaning. The first quotation in the book is from Rabindranath Tagore: "To find God, you must welcome everything."
Ellerby's own spiritual journey has taken him around the world and enabled him to talk with many sages and gurus, participate in countless rituals, and try various devotional exercises. In each case, he puts the emphasis upon a direct experience of the Sacred. His other major point is the centrality of practice in all the world's religions. Defining spirituality as "your deepest personal sense of meaning, identity, and connection," he delineates 12 Master Paths.
The book is organized into six sections. The first revolves around understanding spirituality. The others cover Body-Centered Practices (ceremony and ritual, sacred movement, sacred sound and music), Mind-Centered Practices (prayer, meditation, sacred study), Heart-Centered Practices (devotion, sacred service, the guru-guided path), Soul-Centered Practices (ascetic practices, the death practice, the life practice), and Living Balance, Lasting Peace (everything is sacred). Ellerby writes cogently about many elements of the sacred journey including the importance of ritual; surrendering to the body and relaxing into the spiritual senses; expressing love and devotion to the Divine through kirtan; moving through silence into awareness; the special relationship between spirituality and service; gurus as spiritual counselors; the discipline of fasting; and being with death and dying.
In the "Afterword," Ellerby salutes the lessons and maturity that are the benefits of spiritual practice. No matter which of the 12 Master Paths you choose to best fit your personality, you will find your life overflowing with blessings, abundance, and meaning. There are other positive developments as well:
"As you cultivate spiritual experiences through practice and intention, your inner vision will develop, your heart will open, and your mind will release the illusions that breed fear and attachment. You will become the medicine you seek; you will be a healer to all you know. For some it will happen in simple ways, such as showing kindness in the grocery line, volunteering, or learning not to pollute your body and the earth. Others will commit to projects and pathways of healing that will reach around the world. Every little bit helps."