As a Yoga instructor, this book title caught my attention. I am in Bali to enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells along with completing a 100 hour certification in a continuing education workshop. This workshop will concentrate on mantras, primal sounds, and breathing in yoga practice. In reading required books for preparation for this workshop, Stephanie Rutt’s book title really spoke to me. I thought that her book could help shed light and give me a broader understanding of some of the Sanskrit language and Hindu spiritual practices that are foreign to me. Her book did not disappoint me. I a deeper understanding of mystical practices in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam. Beautifully, she weaves the use of sacred sounds together by describing the ways all of these major religions use sacred sounds to experience unity with the Divine One.
For Rutt love is the core organizing principle for unity with the Divine One, and she explains that this love is the love we have for all of creation. That we experience the love through the portal of sacred sound that comes from sacred writings and sets the conditions for unity with the Beloved/the Divine One/God. Panentheism—the belief that the divine pervades and interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond space and time—is a foundation of Rutt’s writing.
Loving our neighbor and a desire for unity with the Divine One is common for Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. Rutt writes, “As an interfaith theologian, I am in constant search of that which unites the world’s faith traditions while, simultaneously, seeking to respect, indeed celebrate, what differentiates. It has been my observation that religious beliefs tend to differentiate, while religious experience tends to engender resonance.”
Love is the core organizing principle, Lovers are the practitioners, and the Beloved is the Divine One/God. This is the Sonic Trilogy of Love that Rutt names and works to describe in each of the major religious traditions. I believe she does this well. Drawing from the sacred canons of each major religious tradition and from theologians such as Aldous Huxley, Friedrich Schleiermacher, William James, George Washington Carver, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Rohr, Rumi, Thomas Keating, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and others, Rutt describes and simply explains the ways that the Sonic Triology of Love working through sacred sounds can help us to experience transcendence and unity with the Beloved.
Asking the question, “What beliefs do we hold about how God should appear to us?”, is a direct way to help us realize that we miss transcendence and unity with the Beloved because we have not been taught that the Beloved is in all creation. “If we think of creation as God’s beautiful symphony, of which we have a part, a note to play, we begin to understand the importance of sounding that note in service to the magnificent whole.” Monks and Nuns have chanted for thousands of years, yogis have chanted for thousands of years, we all have words and prayers that we say again and again to acknowledge the Beloved and to seek the Beloved’s presence.
If you are curious about the ways the major religious traditions provide ways for Lover/practitioners to unite with the Beloved, then this book will not be a disappointment. I recommend it for all readers, and especially for yogis.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.