May 8, 2012
I Normally Hate Spiritual Tourists
Jay Michaelson, Jewish Daily Forward
I’ll be honest: I normally hate books like this — memoirs of spiritual tourism, jauntily retold by trustworthy but neurotic narrators who are careful never to be more knowledgeable than the reader. I have read about two dozen of these things, some best-sellers and others obscure little books, and I find them unfulfilling, irritating and pointless. Again and again, they make the same fundamental mistake: You can’t “get it” if you’re a tourist, if you only spend one or two weeks in colorful foreign locales rather than do the hard, long-term work on yourself. The premise of these books, tied to their commercial proposition (“Make it accessible!”), undermines the hope that their protagonists’ searches will be...