Monday, January 30, 2012

Peter Clothier's Inspiring New Book: Mind Work

by Gregg Chadwick

Peter Clothier's Mind Work explores the history and spiritual dimensions of his inspiring life. Clothier is known for insightful writing on the arts and artists which adds  luminosity to the events depicted in Mind Work. The volume delves deeply into a life well lived and inspires us to consider our own lives in a spirit of humility and acceptance. 

The book is structured into a series of essays that reflect an admiration for Montaigne's writings. In this spirit, each chapter of Mind Work dwells upon a singular idea and illuminates this idea with episodes drawn from Clothier's experiences. 

Mind Work deftly weaves Peter's family history into essays rich with metaphysical questioning. Looming behind much of Clothier's life is the recurring struggle to both live up to his father's dreams for him and to overcome them. In one pivotal chapter, Clothier and his wife Ellie encounter, for the first time, Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses in the Church of St. Peter in Chains in Rome. Clues to Peter's past, present and future are found in that moment. As I read that passage, I pictured all the Peter Clothiers depicted in the book - from the just named infant, to the wounded boy, to the young man on the train to Spain, to the adolescent bloodied in a German car crash, to the young father unsure of life and family, to the art writer, to the academic, to the inspirational man that Peter is today. 

The Buddhist practice of meditation plays a vital role in Peter's life. Discussions of Buddhism provide an interconnecting thread throughout Mind Work. In essence, life for Peter can be seen as a series of actions and then the result of these actions. Peter's mantra, "This is not me. This is not mine. This is not who I am.", guides us through Mind Work and reminds us of the inspired discipline found in his spiritual struggles and triumphs. 

Peter Clothier's Mind Work  honestly grapples with one man's life and expands the viewpoint to help us consider the human condition. The writing in Mind Work  is cinematic and brings us face to face with the rich life and the fertile mind of Peter Clothier. 

Highly recommended.

Peter Clothier Reads by Torchlight at the Standard Hotel, Hollywood
photo by Gregg Chadwick

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