Dartmouth College pediatrician Ron Schneebaum has devised a series of simple, meditative exercises for self-improvement addressing a basic question: Will our lives be filled with “Light,” or with judgment? The author is convinced that “We can choose which one we set as our compass.”
Schneebaum was a classic “under-achiever” in his youth; this colorful background – working in the Alaskan wilderness, delving into arcane spiritual teachings, serendipitously scraping into medical school and making a success of that good luck -– informs his gentle methodology: “Face the future knowing that a Loving Wisdom carries us through life.”
Each chapter begins with an appropriate quotation (running the gamut from Buddha to Buck Owens), and ends with exercises mostly constructed as short meditations. On the subject of money, for example, the author advises: “Close your eyes and look at whether you are happy or unhappy at the amount of money you have. If so, do you blame yourself, anyone else, or specific circumstances for your lack of monetary success?…Heal what needs healing.” Examples/suggestions for dealing with this and other profound issues (self love and selflessness, establishing and letting go of relationships, and so on) include situations the author has encountered on his own journey.
Loping along at a placid pace, tidily organized (the exercises are re-listed at the end of the book for handy reference), The Art of Living Well will appeal to those seeking solutions to, or acceptance of, many of life’s dilemmas.
If the book errs, it is in its implication that such temperate guidance can help everyone. People requiring rigid, well-defined strategies should look elsewhere; Schneebaum’s book is for those already capable of scaling the psycho-spiritual mountain with minimal assistance.
For sincere seekers, this intelligent amalgam of spiritual teachings, personal examples, and positive meditations may serve as a useful roadmap to inner peace.
Also available as an ebook.