Literature Study GuidesEat Pray LoveBook 2 Chapters 67 69 Summary

Eat, Pray, Love | Study Guide

Elizabeth Gilbert

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Eat, Pray, Love | Book 2, Chapters 67–69 | Summary

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Summary

Book 2, Chapter 67

After providing a disclaimer about how difficult it is to describe "the transcendental experience," Gilbert gives it a try. She says that on the day it happened to her she "got pulled through the wormhole of the Absolute, and in that rush I suddenly understood the workings of the universe completely." She finds herself in a place of "limitless peace and wisdom" and "part of God." She says it was "the deepest love I'd ever experienced," but it isn't exciting. It is just "obvious," as if this is what things are supposed to be like.

The experience ends when Gilbert wishes she could stay in the state forever, but the message to her from God was "you may return here once you have fully come to understand that you are always here."

Book 2, Chapter 68

More retreats pass through the ashram, and Gilbert continues to enjoy her Key Hostess duties and her ability to occasionally slide in and out of turiya. She knows several of the attendees say they have visions of her as a "silent, gliding, ethereal presence." Now that she has embraced her personality, it seems she has finally become "The Quiet Girl in the Back of the Temple."

The retreats end in April, and in May Gilbert is reassigned to work in the Office of Registration. When she's not working, she is spending hours alone, meditating easily. Near the end of her stay she has an ecstatic night in the gardens at the ashram, filled with pure love, feeling "deeply, terribly happy." She knows she has achieved what she came there for.

Book 2, Chapter 69

This chapter is about Gilbert finding the word that Giulio talked to her about in Book 1, the single word that defines her essence. She finds it in the ashram library during her last week there. She is reading about ancient spiritual seekers when she sees the Sanskrit word antevasin ("one who lives at the border"). She defines it for herself as living "on that shimmering line between your old thinking and your new understanding, always in a state of learning." Amazingly, this fits what her plumber/poet friend wrote about her in a poem he gave her when he left the ashram—"Elizabeth, betwixt and between."

Analysis

There is a sense of winding down in these chapters, of Gilbert's satisfaction with her inward journey at the ashram, and of her complete contentment. Yet she is looking ahead, saying, "I'm maybe about to go move in with an elderly medicine man in Indonesia." More importantly she seems resigned about not needing to be on a perfectly straight path anymore, but to be "a slippery antevasin."

When Gilbert has her first experience of turiya, upon realizing she is with God, she uses a phrase that is now familiar to readers: "Congratulations to meet you." Although this subtitle of the Book began to make some sense on that day she and Richard visited the village after she finally experienced success with meditation, now it makes complete sense. She has made it; she is there. Her pursuit of devotion is complete.

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