Subtraction – The Simple Math of Spiritual Enlightenment

Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment by Shawn Nevins is a searingly honest portrayal of the search for spiritual enlightenment.  The spiritual enlightenmentforeword by Bob Cergol makes the bold assertion that:

This book answers the question of how do you find the answer to who and what you are—ultimately—beyond any shadow of a doubt—beyond the body, and beyond the mind—both of which we all know in our heart, will perish… leaving what behind?

Far from a simple question and answer, however, the book plunges us into Shawn’s multi-year spiritual quest, told with both bare-knuckle clarity and humor.  We experience the highs of meeting such luminaries as Douglas Harding, the challenges of meditation and solitary retreats, and the confusion and despair over the seemingly insurmountable goal of spiritual enlightenment.

I meditated for hundreds of hours, fasted, prayed, talked to spiritual teachers and talked to myself, spent days alone in the woods, tested and challenged my beliefs through dozens of practices, despaired and cried. A central theme of this path was that of a Way of Subtraction fueled by honesty. It was Richard Rose who taught me this simple, but elegant formula: “You back away from untruth,” he said, turning from untruth until all that was left was what was real.

That simple formula is woven throughout the book, with ample examples of its application in day-to-day life.

For those who prefer bullet-point lists to stories, the back of the book features twelve eminently practical suggestions for spiritual practices that will aid your spiritual path.

A compelling story, a list of practical tools, and as Iain McNay at ConsciousTV said, “A happy ending.”  What more could you want?