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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Every Now and Zen: On the Nature of Being and Becoming is a nonfiction, motivational self-help book written by Ronald Steven Kaplan. In his introduction, the author attributes the inspiration for this book to a decades-old memory of a book whose title still remained with him. The book was by Ram Dass, and it’s title is Be Here Now. It was a book he hadn’t read back then, but which resonated with him nonetheless. He actually came upon the title once more after completing this book and was surprised and pleased by the message it contained. Kaplan’s book was conceived during his daily walks. As he pondered his experiences, he found words to give expression to them and images that further worked to convey his thoughts. Many may be familiar to readers as being those amazing Hubble telescope images of the universe and the cosmic mysteries beyond. Others show nature in its splendor and complexity. Still others map the galaxies found within the human body and nestled within a drop of water. Kaplan offers the reader a challenge and a passage for growth in the “Exercises for becoming present” he describes at the end of his book.
Every Now and Zen is a visual and metaphysical feast for the senses and the soul. As an artist and photographer, I was enthralled by the images Kaplan uses in his book and marvelled at the crispness and clarity of each photograph. Each image pops from the screen and seems to embody the words that accompany it, the two synergistically becoming a complete and living whole. As I write this review, I’m looking at a randomly selected image, one of a flying fish airborne over a vast blue and moving sea, the sun reflecting on its infinite wavelets and currents. You can trace the zigzag efforts made by the fish in its drive to launch itself up, up into the air, wings outspread, the diminishing pull of gravity and the ocean only barely present in the few drops that tie its tail to the ocean’s surface. The accompanying message speaks of moving forward. As with so many images and words in this book, it is unforgettable, lovely and filled with insight and inspiration. Every Now and Zen: On the Nature of Being and Becoming is most highly recommended.