March 22, 2013

The Curve of the World by Andy Douglas. ~ Rebecca Schwarz {Book Review}

“This combination of things—stark beauty, true friendship, adventure, spiritual growth—led me to feel a contentment and a kind of maturity I had not known before.”

~Andy Douglas

The Curve of the World: Into the Spiritual Heart of Yoga follows the spiritual path of a youthful Andy Douglas as he struggles to find meaning in his life and a place to call home.

From being born in Brazil to college in Texas, there is a struggle and disconnect between what he is doing in the world and what he wants to achieve.

The book takes the reader from Thailand to India to Korea and the plains of Iowa. In each country there is struggle, yet also a deeper connection to the person Douglas wants to become.

In Thailand, he becomes involved with Ananda Marga, a yoga and meditation organization founded by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. In these practices he became comfortable with tantric practices.

Tantra was about throwing yourself into your work and your practice with passion. And that appealed to me. There was an edge to it – fighting against ones own baser tendencies, trying to replace them with sustainable ideals, cultivating a firm determination.”

From Thailand his practice is intensified as he goes to India and meets his guru.

“‘You have so much potential,’ he said. “Why are you wasting it?”                                                                            

“Do something for suffering humanity.” His manner was not conversational; this man was serious. And yet as he looked into my eyes. I felt a great love.”

Douglas went on to live in Asia for seven years, four of which were as a monk, opening Ananda Marga centers in Korea. He highlights the struggles with celibacy, the disconnect from his family, failing health and what it feels like to return home after perusing something that most people don’t understand.

While reading this book it is easy to feel the pull between the two different worlds he inhabits; the life he wants to live and the one he is cultivating. His worlds collide when he is faced with the prospect of staying in the United States after so many years away.

“It was frustrating that we saw things so differently, that our perspectives on the benefit of my time abroad could be so divergent. It was as if two tectonic plates—my spiritual truth, and the emotional truth of my family’s claims on me—were scraping and jolting against each other, and one seemed likely to buckle before the other, forming some new and unexpected landscape.”

This book is meant for anyone wanting personal insight into what it means to break away from the life expected for you and to follow your heart. There is a simplicity and honesty to his writing that makes this any easy, intriguing read.

Douglas does a great job at offering a glimpse of what it is like to devote his life to a world-wide organization and the struggles that come from pure devotion.


Rebecca Schwarz is in a state of constant awareness of just how amazingly glorious this existence can be on a small island in the middle of the Pacific. Monday mornings, early morning runs, channel crossings, belly laughter and her nieces are some of her favorite things. Sweet potatoes, kale and beets make her heart happy. She is contemplating filling her plate too full with the endless amounts of things to do in this life. If you want to try your luck put a note in a bottle and hope that it reaches her, or email her [email protected].



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Ed: Bryonie Wise


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