Reviews

Writers Digest

Fading Toward Enlightenment is beautifully designed and produced. It is every bit as gorgeous and stylish as a coffee-table book printed by a mainstream press. However, it is much more than a coffee-table book; it is chock-full of rich insights, interesting quotations, and compelling images. Above all, the photography in Fading Toward Enlightenment is mesmerizing. Wayne Wirs has an enviable gift for framing and composing unusual, eye-catching shots. I stand rather in awe of this man's various talents, and would recommend this book as a worthwhile purchase to any reader.

 

Marc Gilson - Mind Chatter Magazine

Your life is a story. You are it's author. Your story, like mine, is one of triumphs and tragedies, goals met and goals missed, struggles and successes. Each day our experiences write a new page and the document of our life emerges. As a Mind Chatter reader your story is likely one of personal discovery and growth; a voyage, not to distant lands perhaps, but inward, to yourself, to home.

That's Wayne Wirs' story, beautifully told in words and photos in Fading Toward Enlightenment. Wirs, a photographer, writer, and Centerpointe Participant, has composed a striking book documenting much of his own personal voyage of self. Part photo essay, part autobiography, Fading Toward Enlightenment artfully and intimately portrays the journey Wayne has taken thus far. Each page reveals a black and white photo - some austere, some visually arresting - along with Wayne's narrative description of his personal quest for Inner Peace.

There are plenty of books describing such quests. Some are excellent (Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi" comes to mind). Few match the openness and honesty Wayne shares with the reader. What sets this book apart is a kind of ambient awareness with which Wayne writes; a truly "witnessed" perspective pervades his work. He is not a guru or a teacher. He is an explorer, a field man more than an academic. He encounters the same sorts of everyday challenges so many of us have experienced in our personal journeys. Challenges generated both from the mundane demands of what he calls the "Solid" world, as well as those that come from the Etheric realm of his own inner demons.

The first of these challenges is childhood itself. A stark photo of a single, abandoned child's shoe accompanies the following section (often written in the 3rd person):

  • "At some point in every young life, innocence is lost - sometimes painfully and brutally. Seeing the darkness within his own soul causes him to doubt authority. For it is authority that has shaped and formed him. What he held to be true is questioned, and his value system teeters on the edge of a precipice. Suddenly he is alone in a world which seems cold and cruel and heartless. Youth is lost - adulthood begins, and the painful questioning commences."

Later, he finds himself faced with a dilemma. Does he follow the path of his peers and live a "Solid" life, one conditioned and guided by worldly expectations and definitions of success and happiness? Or does he embrace the path of the seeker, striking out on his own, both spiritually and physically, to face himself "in a way that is both humbling and frightening"? The choice is made, and Wayne walks away from the Solid and the known toward the unknown mysteries of his inner self.

  • "I started meditation. I practiced morning, noon, and night."

Revelations and experiences came and went as he meditated, enough to sustain his practice, but not enough to sate the persistent thirst of the ego. Wayne did not give up.

  • "What is keeping me from the Divine? This question and this alone is what drives him. It is said that the spiritual seeker must find a guru - that the answers cannot be found without guidance. But who? How do you find one? When you do, how do you know if they are true? So he reads, he studies, and he combines what resonates true with his practice. He meditates, he watches. Blockages become apparent, answers are found, and step by step he walks the path."

Page by page, Wayne compels the reader to not only observe the unfolding of his story, but to engage the process itself, to see his experiences as aspects of every such journey, including yours. He studies the works of Jung, Wilber, and Tolle, and uses Holosync as his meditation aid (he describes his use of Holosync in the "Questions and Answers" portion at the end of the book).

Eventually, he begins to develop a kind of map by which he identifies his own position:

  • "He starts to think of normal people as 'Solids.' Solid because they experience themselves as very real, very important..."
  • "He thinks of enlightened people as 'Ethereal' - those individuals who are no longer attached to the machinations of the mind..."
  • "As for himself and others like him? He takes to calling them 'Liquids' - people who flow back and forth between the two extremes."

Confronting the paradox of himself, and the contradictions of the world around him, Wayne recounts each step of his journey with unflinching frankness; eventually leading him to some of the most profound realizations such a journey can yield.

Rich with insight and wisdom, Fading Toward Enlightenment is a work of sensitive awareness, candid truth, and genuine reflection. Words and images are blended together to comprise an evocative and poetic portrait of one man's quest for peace.

Highly recommended.

 

Rev. Marie Jones - RebeccaReads

Somewhere between the realm of the ego and the realm of the ethereal is a point where boundaries suddenly cease to exist and all that the mind holds as true and real becomes utterly suspect. Author and photographer Wayne Wirs has spent time in that place between worlds, and his beautiful and visually stunning book, Fading Toward Enlightenment offers readers the opportunity to travel along with him as he heads closer towards the light of truth.

Wirs' quest for inner truth, soulful-ness and a spiritual connection with the physical world is not new, but his approach is fresh and certainly eye-catching. Some of the photographs he includes, like an image of a leaf caught in a fence, or the powerful photo of a staircase leading up to an illumined light bulb, are so simple they borderline on the utterly profound.

Fading Toward Enlightenment may be a little too ethereal for realists caught up in the trappings of ego, and a bit too arty for those who demand their spirituality come packaged in math and mechanics. But for those truly seeking to find the courage to begin their own quest, this book is a deeply moving guide courtesy of someone who has found that courage, and stepped out on the path.

But, for me, having reviewed over 300 books in the past year alone, the true test of an empowering book comes long after I stop reading it, when I go about my day realizing that something I read or saw within its pages has totally changed the way I see things. Thanks to Wirs, the vista of my life has expanded, and a real sense of Fading Toward Enlightenment has left me feeling lighter still.

A wonderful book, very moving.

 

Jerry Katz - Nonduality Salon

Fading Toward Enlightenment is both a quality art book with 79 fine art photographs, and a spiritual autobiography. I like the way insight is brought to the author's journey. He tells his story alternately in first and third person. It is as though the author's life was filmed with two cameras. A third camera, it could be said, was used to take the fine art photographs of people, urban/town/country elements, and natural settings. The pages are enhanced with perfectly selected one-line quotations from a spectrum of great minds throughout time.

On each left-hand page is a black and white fine art photograph taken by the author. On each right-hand page is a brief biographical confessional told in first or third person, and a one-line quotation. The book is divided into five major parts reflecting the stages in the author's spiritual journey or experience: Stone Cracking, Mud Settling, Lake Stilling, Mist Lifting, Sun Rising. In another section, using a question and answer format, the author elaborates on various points raised in his written confession.

The photographs are haiku-like, particularly conveying esthetic loneliness, solitude, or sabi. The writing could be called prose poetry. Here are two examples, one told in third person, one in first person:

  • "No longer feeling in synch with the Solid world of his peers -- he simply gave it up and walked away. He hoped to find some way to stabilize those mystical glimpses."
  • "Alone I spent my days and nights. Alone I was most often. Of all the deeper level of Hell, Loneliness must be the darkest."

In the question and answer part of the book, the author's voice becomes conversational. Responding to the question, "Do you have to escape from the world, as you did, to find inner peace?" he says in part, "I doubt it. I'm a pretty introverted kind of man, so escape was the most comfortable and natural method for me to get really serious about my quest."

In a relaxed, non-dogmatic way, the author speaks of people as falling into three categories of spiritual development: solids, liquids, and ethereals. It is implied that most of us are solids. Some of us can become liquids. And very few are ethereals, or enlightened. He himself is a "liquid" who is sometimes a solid and sometimes in the ethereal realm. "This is the true story of my journey, from a very Solid, normal person, to a very Liquid, fluid one. I am not enlightened, but I am no longer normal either."

The different voices, the photographs, the one-line quotations, come together to bring the reader a story that is solid in its wholeness. The haiku-like photographs and the poetic quality of the prose confer a liquidity or fluidity to this autobiography. As for the ethereal, Wirs hints that it can be known anywhere at any moment: "Emptiness here is the same as Emptiness there." It is certainly manifest in many of the photographs as sabi.

This is a concise, artistic spiritual autobiography. It is also a book of photographs. He speaks of the journey from solid to liquid. This book is sound, esthetic, pointed, and honest (the author doesn't claim to be enlightened or to have all the answers). It will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates fine art photography, who is a spiritual seeker, or who enjoys reading spiritual autobiographies. Whether you are a solid, liquid, ethereal, or nothing in particular, you will connect with this true story, this quest; it will flow toward you, and you toward it.

 

Lillian Brummet - Book Ideas

Fading Toward Enlightenment by Wayne Wirs is definitely a well made book of excellent quality - it will certainly endure multiple readings. I loved the feel of the pages as I turned them. I would classify this book as a useful, inspirational, self-help tool for those searching for inner peace. Wayne shares his personal experiences while he searches to come to terms with himself and life in general through this beautiful work of art.

Wayne is truly a seeker of understanding. I was reminded occasionally of Joseph Campbell throughout the book, as the two focus on similar themes. Wayne shares his journey towards understanding that takes him through vigorous studies of mystic and myths, traveling into himself and then out again. He dreams of being able to reach beyond the ego.

Attractive, attention-demanding black and white photographs are enhanced by the deep-thinking quotations and the author's excellent discussions. Each stage in his journey is accompanied by the exquisite photos, and the photos add depth to the text - feeding each other. I found that I would read a sentence and then look at the photo; back and forth - each page a slow and rewarding process to savor. Written to inspire others to delve deep into discovering who they are, Wayne asks us (as he asks himself), "Who are you behind those busy thoughts?"

The question and answer interview at the end of the book was quite helpful in finding out more about the author's personal side and his particular views. He also includes a list of resources to aid the reader interested in furthering their journey.