Title: A Gentler Path: Pain, Love and the Power of Surrender
Author: D. Scott Sonnenburg
Genre: Non-fiction / Religious
In A Gentler Path, author D. Scott Sonnenburg tells the story of the transformational journey that led him to believing in God after a lifetime of being a nonbeliever. Sonnenburg’s is a story of loss, depression, suffering, fear, and, ultimately, hope and healing. Anyone who has struggled with feeling as though they cannot overcome life’s challenges might benefit from this real-life story of perseverance and eventual triumph.
Sonnenburg seamlessly intermingles his personal experiences, examples from others, medical science, and religious teachings to draw the reader into his story of the dramatic shift in his beliefs and in the way he lives his life. He makes it clear that his purpose in writing the book is to encourage and uplift others who are struggling as he once struggled. His goal is to show them that changing one’s life is possible, following the old adage: if he could do it, anyone can.
As convincing as his example may be, some non-believers most likely will not be swayed. They might find the book to contain platitudes that will leave them unmoved. Because Sonnenburg’s epiphanies are so unique, not everyone will relate to the message. In other words, people who think like the author himself used to think may not be persuaded to change their beliefs, just as the author was not persuaded for most of his adult life.
However, for those seeking support and encouragement, those wanting to know that they can overcome and rise up no matter how far down they have fallen, this is a persuasive and uplifting guide. It also serves as reinforcement for those who are already content with their lives, telling them they are on the right path, especially if they believe in a higher power.
With the author’s revelation about how he came to feel connected to God, the book will appeal most to those who follow organized religions. But that is not a requirement for being able to follow the guidelines that are laid out for improving one’s life. The answer, according to Sonnenburg, is understanding that we are all connected on a spiritual level. Paying heed to that connection by being more loving toward our fellow human beings will reap the reward of being more loving toward oneself. By accepting a connection to others, to the earth, and especially to God, we can become mentally and physically well.
The author’s writing is intelligent yet easy to follow, with a nice flow from chapter to chapter. His storytelling is vivid. Supporting his thoughts are quotes by sages, reflections that make us consider more deeply what is being said.
There are times, though, when Sonnenburg becomes long-winded, giving many examples to make a point when a few strong instances would seem more convincing. The writing could be more succinct in places. However, the repetitiveness may appeal to some readers. They are given multiple opportunities to understand the message and to reinforcement their similar beliefs.
In A Gentler Path, author D. Scott Sonnenburg takes us by the hand and leads us on a quest for spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being. The final destination is to accept that pain and suffering can be overcome through the power of surrender to the love of God. Being gentler with others and with ourselves is the way to create a gentler world. It’s a choice, one the author believes we all need to make.
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