Monday, June 7, 2010

Book Review

You will certainly want to purchase The Life and Teaching of Sailor Bob Adamson (Non-Duality Press/£12.95 /$19.43). Compiled and edited by Kalyani Lawry, the book consists of two straight-forward sections: Part One ("The Life"), and the longer Part Two ("The Teaching").

Though Bob's life is covered in less than 75-pages and is "woven out of the fragments of memories and reflections" offered by him, there are plenty of captivating details relating to--among other things--Bob's becoming a sailor, his early and violent bouts with drinking, his meeting his lovely wife Barbara, his spiritual explorations (Methodism, Pentecostalism, Christian Science, TM, etc), and, of course, his encounters with Nisargadatta Maharaj (where, amazingly, we learn that "Bob realised the essence of what Nisargadatta was saying the first time he saw him").

The "Teaching" section is comprised of extracts from talks, interviews, and Question & Answer sessions, which were mostly held at he and Barbara's home in Melbourne, Australia. The industrious Gilbert Schultz, one of Bob's first students and the founder of the marvelous Urban Guru Cafe, transcribed and edited over 30 tapes from early talks and Q&As. And this became Bob's first book-- the nondual classic,
What's Wrong With Right Now Unless You Think About it?

On meeting Bob for the first time, Gilbert writes, "He was so ordinary. It took me a while to realise that he was totally genuine. What he shared with everyone was not some philosophical view. He spoke from the immediacy about the immediacy." Indeed, the hallmark of Bob's teaching is the clarity and ease with which he points to our natural state. He puts little or no emphasis upon his words or phrases in his pearl-like responses. And thus, we get such luminous declarations as:

"The search itself is the problem. While you are seeking, there is a belief that there's something you don't have right now but will get at some future time if you do certain things."

"You see, we miss the simplicity of what is immediate."

"In that full stop, the presence of awareness is there in all its nakedness, unadorned by any concept."

"You'll never find the answer in the mind, so it's pointless looking there."

Only That is a gem of a work and is admirably reflective of Bob's own persona and teaching style. And though concise, the book feels fully-blossomed. For Lawry, who obviously sorted through reams of material, was careful to include information that was not always complimentary to her subject. But Bob prevailed, thank God. And the journey, in the end, was no journey at all: Just a direct recognition of his ever-present state. And that understanding was absolutely central to Bob, "because without that, I had nothing."


Anonymous said...

I've just finished reading the book and it wonderful. Even though, the section on Bob Adamson's life is short I really enjoyed the photographs. The teaching section has discussions that cover the same principles but from different perspectives which I really enjoyed and helped as well.

Colleen Loehr said...

I am nearly finished reading this book and have found it to be powerfully inspiring. Sailor Bob has no interest in hiding anything or in being put on any pedestal. I knew Bob had been to AA and had a problem with alcohol in the past, but I didn't realize he had a lot of anger, resentment, self-pity, and had been in many fights, living a very rough life. I find it very moving and inspiring and encouraging that nothing can prevent realization- it is accessible to us all. Bob is a humble man who has deeply realized the truth of who we are beyond the mind. What seem like obstacles are in fact potential doorways out of delusion. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I'm surprised it is not yet available from Amazon, but it can be ordered from Non-duality Press.

07_TeddyF_Silvey0 said...


Diane said...

The book sounds wonderful. I haven't read it, but the comments have convinced me to get a copy.