Literature Study GuidesEat Pray LoveBook 2 Chapters 49 51 Summary

Eat, Pray, Love | Study Guide

Elizabeth Gilbert

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Eat, Pray, Love | Book 2, Chapters 49–51 | Summary

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Summary

Book 2, Chapter 49

Gilbert opens this chapter with her memory of "a true metaphysical crisis" she went through at age nine. Suddenly she felt life "passing [her] by so fast" and became scarily aware of her own mortality. In the face of it she felt helpless. How could she "force the entire universe to stop in its tracks"? She identifies this as the beginning of her control issues and her tendency to "push [herself] to experience life at a maximum pace." In addition, she credits it with leading her to become the person who "collapsed in exhaustion on a bathroom floor in the suburbs one night," at only 30 years old.

Gilbert links this string of thoughts to the ashram by referring to a friend, Sean, she has made there, who also has "the mad and relentless urge to understand the workings of existence." An Irish dairy farmer, Sean, like Gilbert, needs the help of people like the great Buddha and his teachings to find inner peace. People like them come to ashrams because it's where they can turn their restless energy, all of their yearning and fervor, toward a search for God.

Book 2, Chapter 50

Gilbert continues to feel agitation during meditation, and she is now able to identify the source as "longing and control." She broods over her mistakes and still wants David to love her.

Once again Gilbert tries a new tactic during meditation. She asks her heart not to judge her for the shortcomings she experiences during meditation. She asks her heart to take over her mind. The response is a roaring from the middle of her chest: "YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW STRONG MY LOVE IS!!!!!!!!!" All of her negative thoughts scatter, she feels calm all over, and she meditates "on (and with) God" at last.

Book 2, Chapter 51

Richard continues to keep a close eye on Gilbert, and he notices the huge change after her successful meditation. He says they should go into the village for a celebration. They regularly go to town, split a caffeine-loaded soda, and walk around to see the village in action. They especially enjoy talking to Mr. Panicar, the tailor, who always greets them with "Congratulations to meet you!"

A rug salesman tries to sell Gilbert a rug, and Richard jokes about her being homeless. Gilbert defends herself saying, "but I have a brave heart!" "And other sterling qualities," Richard adds.

Analysis

Gilbert's musings began at a young age. Her claim that she was "always a precocious child" seems like an understatement. It's not a twisted path her life has taken her on, but a hard-driving path straight up the mountain of perfection and success, propelled by the fear she would run out of time before she reached the top. No wonder she fell apart at age 30. No wonder it is such a struggle to quiet her mind. The easy-going Richard seems like the perfect foil for her at this stage in life; he can give her good advice because he has "been there, done that."

The regular greeting Mr. Panicar gives Richard and Gilbert when they visit the village ("Congratulations to meet you!") is the first subtitle of this Book of Gilbert's memoir. She brings it up when describing this particular visit because she has finally experienced success in moving herself along the spiritual path. She congratulates herself. Since this Book is about Gilbert's pursuit of devotion, her progress in meditation is a major turning point.

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