Course Hero. "Eat, Pray, Love Study Guide." Course Hero. 20 Sep. 2017. Web. 23 June 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eat-Pray-Love/>.
Course Hero. (2017, September 20). Eat, Pray, Love Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eat-Pray-Love/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Eat, Pray, Love Study Guide." September 20, 2017. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eat-Pray-Love/.
Course Hero, "Eat, Pray, Love Study Guide," September 20, 2017, accessed June 23, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eat-Pray-Love/.
Gilbert recognizes this new development as a spiritual joke being played on her. She says that she needed to be reminded of an important belief: "God isn't interested in watching you enact some performance of personality in order to comply with some crackpot notion you have about how a spiritual person looks or behaves." God wants you to see God in you, exactly as you are. So Gilbert embraces her new role, and embraces herself as "social and bubbly and smiling all the time."
Gilbert's job over the next few weeks is to host the devotees coming to a series of spring retreats at the ashram. Hosting means taking care of them—since they, too, will be in silence—as the "one person in the Ashram they are allowed to talk to if something is going wrong." She feels perfect for the job as she summarizes the skills involved: intuition, listening skills, desire to provide "proficiency of care," and a deep respect for what the devotees are doing.
Gilbert gives another mini-lesson on yoga, explaining what the goal is for the retreats. It is to try to reach a state known as turiya, a level of human consciousness that allows you to witness everything that is happening—your thoughts, your feelings, your dreams—and report back. Being in this state is like being in constant bliss because the person "is not affected by the swinging moods of the mind, nor fearful of time or harmed by loss." Turiya is the constant state of the great Yogis.
Gilbert observes the retreat from the back of the temple. She sits quietly, praying for the participants. She is not trying to meditate for herself, but one day it just happens. That experience is described in the next chapter.
Having observed that nothing happens by chance for Gilbert—at least from her perspective—readers can probably intuit this change in duties at the ashram is leading to another big breakthrough in her spiritual development. She builds this line of thinking up in these chapters, somewhat disguising it in her great admiration for the retreat attendees, saying she is "consumed by wonder at their bravery." She even compares their bravery to that of people who risk their lives to film the natural world's wonders—and finds the retreat-goers braver. If what they are trying to achieve, this state of turiya, is so difficult, it must be the ultimate goal.
The idea of spirituality as a quest is a central theme of the memoir, and like all quests, not all people succeed. Only the bravest achieve their goal.