Warning: The views and opinions expressed in The Golden Prayer by Edward Weiss do not necessarily reflect on the view, opinions, and beliefs of The Writer’s Scrap Bin or its writer. If you have any issues with the discussion of religion, proceed with caution.
Another day, another book review. The book I’m reviewing today is essentially the polar opposite of yesterday’s book, A Killer’s Reflection. Today’s book is The Golden Prayer by Edward Weiss, a book comprised of five non-fiction, religious essays about finding God.
In The Golden Prayer, Weiss argues that we are not separate from our creator—from his perspective, God—and that everything we experience in the physical world is predetermined. Therefore, he claims, in order to be truly free we must realize that we are one with God; we, as individuals, have no real importance and, as a result, do not need to carry the burdens which we pile on ourselves day after day. He says that God already provides that which is most important to us and that anything else is extra; we may not necessarily lose that “extra” stuff—money, family, love, etc.—when we admit and embrace the idea that we are part of God but they are unimportant in the face of the bigger picture.
How can we make the transition from focusing on material desires and our self-importance to loving God, you may ask? Weiss tells the reader to use prayer, but not just any prayer. He claims “There is only one prayer you will need to know and love G—d”, i.e. The Golden Prayer. The Golden Prayer reads, “Let Go, For I Am Here.” This letting go, to Weiss, is key to the freedom of finding God. The “ignorant” or “unlearned”, as he calls people who have not accepted this belief yet, fight against letting go because they desire to continue their happiness, a temporary satisfaction brought on by striving for our desires but, ultimately, does not satisfy or free us. Weiss’s book teaches why it is important to let go, to accept this belief as truth, in order to live a spiritual and blissful existence and begin your “real” life, the one in which you live in God for eternity.
I have established before that I am not religious. I have read and reviewed several religious books because I am open-minded, but none have aligned with my belief systems. Weiss’s has not, either. Still, it raises many questions which anyone with even a shred of a spiritual side should ask: are we, as individuals, really that important in the grand scheme of things? Do we truly have free will or is everything predetermined? Are we actually satisfied in living our short lives on Earth chasing one goal after another, most of them material and/or financial? You may come to different conclusions than Weiss—in fact, I’m betting that at least one of your conclusions will differ from his—but his book has articulated arguments which have been making the rounds to all circles of life for decades, maybe centuries.
The religious nature of the book aside, Weiss’s work is very well-written. I noticed minimal grammatical and spelling errors, so minimal that I can’t think of any off the top of my head. His sentences are also eloquent, structured nicely, and easy enough that more novice readers can understand without talking down to anyone. Nevertheless, I feel the argument is often repetitive. He states, again and again and typically in the same ways, how humans must learn to let go of the ignorant mindset, that we’re all part of the eternal sea, how we really aren’t that important and so shouldn’t force these responsibilities on ourselves, etc. The repetition, at times, lost my attention and could make it hard for me to push on enough to get to the next epiphany.
In particular, one image is recycled for two concepts which, in the end, confused me more than helped. In one breath, Weiss acts as though we should be more childlike because, as very young children, we only know that we exist, we feel that we are a part of this eternal perfection, and have not yet been polluted by the societal ideals regarding responsibility. In the next, he says that the bound (i.e. those focused on the desires of the physical world) are the children and the free (those who know the “truth”) are adults. I found it hard to reconcile those two meanings for the child/adult imagery and, while Weiss admits that much of this process is a paradox, I struggled with thinking that both kinds of people are both child and adult. That imagery coupled with the repetition made it hard for me to trudge through the book at points, but I had to so that I could digest Weiss’s argument about our purpose—or non-existent purpose, as he claims—and determinism.
This book is not for everyone. First of all, it’s entirely based in religion. If I did not have such a curious mind and a desire to see all angles of an argument, I probably would not have read it for that reason. Second, it’s comprised of five essays. I know that many readers are reluctant to dive into essays as they are often dry, impersonal, and remind people too much of school. Nevertheless, I think The Golden Prayer worth reading for those with intellectual/spiritual curiosity. There are parts that can be hard to get past but, once you do, you will find many thought-provoking gems that will get you thinking about the world in new ways. It may not change your worldview, but this book will get you thinking.
You can check out Weiss’s book on Amazon, both to buy as an e-book and through Kindle Unlimited, as well as in paperback.