Bruce Von Stiers
Every once in a while I will receive a request from an author to review a book that they had written. These are usually first time authors who are seeking a slightly wider scope for reviews of their work. I recently received a request from Gail Evans. She had written a travelogue on Southern Africa. I found out that this was her third book so she didn’t fall into the first effort category. It was, however, a slightly different book than I usually read. The book involved traveling in Southern Africa and meditations. The title of the book is Meditations In My Favourite Places In Southern Africa. It is subtitled A Travelogue For Inner and Out Jounries. It was published by Writers Club Press.
When I was a kid, meditation was one of the “In” things. I even knew a kid whose parents held group meditation sessions in their living room. As for me, I never could get into the meditation thing. I guess that I couldn’t clear my mind enough to seek out the colors and feelings that are part of the meditative state. Later, as an adult, I have come to realize that you have to have some form of daily meditation; whether it is just a few quiet moments, a time of quiet prayer or one of the other meditation methods. Therefore, I was interested in how Gail Evans would mesh her travel experiences with meditation.
The book has eight chapters and a total of 105 pages. The book also has nine photographs, one for each chapter of the book and one for the Introduction. These photos are of Southern African scenery. There is also a Foreword by Ram.P.Varma and a Preface to the book.
The Foreword tells us that the book will “help you to relax, enjoy and become one with Nature.” The Preface sets the tone as we are to consider Africa as a being and not just a place. The Introduction tells the reader that, although travel books tell you how to get somewhere and what to do there, “they very often seem to miss out on the very essence of a place somehow.” In this book we get a chance to have Gail describe not only the scenery, but also the touch and smell of the various locations that she visits.
The first chapter starts out with Gail on the runway of an airport ready to
go out into the African countryside. Gail describes the flight and then landing
at her location. Gail describes in vivid detail the animals that are encountered
as the flight lands and she leaves on her journey. Gail, observing the giraffes,
finds that their “long necks elegantly outstretched give us a disdainful
glance then lope away.” Gail then describes her lodging for her excursion.
Then she describes a trip in a dugout canoe on the Okavango Delta.
At the end of the chapter there is a section on meditation. Gail describes what to do to get into a meditative state. This first chapter deals with the first chakra, or meditative state. The color that you should be visualizing in the first charka is red. Gail goes on to describe what this charka is and what it does for us. Then there are sections called Unhealthy First Chakra and Healthy First Chakra. The first one details the nature and disposition of a person who doesn’t follow the elements of the First Chakra. The second one then details the nature and disposition of the person who follows and lives the First Chakra. The next section is In Evolutionary Time, which talks about at the Hunter-gatherer societies and how they wander the Delta like the animals they hunt. The final section is In Human Development, which covers at what age and developmental stage we could and should achieve the First Chakra.
Subsequent chapters follow this same pattern. Gail will describe a location in very vivid and colorful detail. Then she will use those descriptions as a basis to show us the various charkas. Gail ends up going through all of the seven charkas. The last chapter wraps up everything and shows us Gail’s philosophy of life and her love of Africa.
The last few pages of the book provide you with information on how to get to the locations that Gail traveled to. There are also web sites listed that can provide additional information.
Meditations In My Favourite Places In Southern Africa is a vivid, colorful look at some exotic locations in Southern Africa. Gail Evans portrays the images she sees in great detail. The meditations that she provides in the book might serve as the basis for someone wanting to renew themselves in both the physical and spiritual sense.
Meditations In My Favourite Places In Southern Africa can be found at several online retail outlets. You can also order it from iUnverse, the parent company of Writers Club Press. Their web site is www.iuniverse.com.
© 2002 Bruce E. Von Stiers