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Maureen Seaberg's Tasting the Universe : People Who See Colors in Words and Rainbows in Symphonies Reviewed By June Maffin of Bookpleasures.com
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June Maffin

Reviewer June Maffin:Living on an island in British Columbia, Canada, Dr. Maffin is a neophyte organic gardener, eclectic reader, ordained minister (Anglican/Episcopal priest) and creative spirituality writer/photographer with a deep zest for life. Previously, she has been grief counselor, broadcaster, teacher, journalist, television host, chaplain and spiritual director with an earned doctorate in Pastoral Care (medical ethics i.e. euthanasia focus). Presently an educator, freelance editor, blogger, and published author of three books, her most recent (Soulistry-Artistry of the Soul: Creative Ways to Nurture your Spirituality) has been published in e-book as well as paperback format and a preview can be viewed on YouTube videos. Founder of Soulistry™ she continues to lead a variety of workshops and retreats connecting spirituality with creativity and delights in a spirituality of play. You can find out more about June by clicking on her Web Site.






 
By June Maffin
Published on May 4, 2011
 

Author: Maureen Seaberg
Publisher: The Career Press – New Page Books
ISBN: 978-1-60163159-6





Click Here To Purchase Tasting the Universe: People Who See Colors in Words and Rainbows in Symphonies

Author: Maureen Seaberg

Publisher: The Career Press – New Page Books
ISBN: 978-1-60163159-6


Remember Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”?   I love this scene … as the extraterrestrial mother ship begins to land, scientists communicate with it using an illuminated coloured screen, corresponding musical notes and Kodaly hand gestures.  It’s a powerful moment in the movie but until I read this fascinating book, I had no idea just how powerful a moment it was – or how much research had been done about synesthesia in the preparation for the movie production.
 
Author Maureen Seaberg’s hope for her Tasting the Universe is that it “will inspire those with different minds of all kinds to embrace their uniqueness and use it in their creative endeavors.”   While this is a general-enough statement that all would be wise to note, for synesthetes, it’s a statement that cannot be ignored.
 
Synesthesia (a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory pathway) causes some to see particular letters or musical notes as particular colours - some to even taste the words that others speak. Sir Robert Calliau, credited with using “www” as a name for the Internet (because “w” is the colour green in his synesthetic world) said that synesthesia is “simply faulty wiring – an engineering glitch of the brain.”  Author Seaberg, a synesthete herself, shares interviews with a variety of synesthetes i.e. singer Billy Joel, violinist Itzhak Perlman, photographer Marcia Smilack, singer Lady Gaga who cite their unique gifts as the reason or at least part of the reason for their success, reflecting on her personal experience as a synesthete.  The book, part autobiographical, part non-fiction raises a series of questions: Are people born with synesthesia?  Is synesthesia something that “comes and goes”?  
 
It appears that most synesthetes Seaberg interviewed were born with synesthesia and that it is something that lasts throughout one’s lifetime.  But there are exceptions - instances of synesthesia happening as a result of an accident later in life – instances of people outgrowing their unique gift.  Some see a relationship between synesthesia and autism and in particular, Asperger’s Syndrome.  Some see a connection between synesthesia and deep meditation. Leading anthropologist, Dr. Bushnell noted that ancient Buddhist texts imply there is no enlightenment without synesthesia.  Individual synesthetes have different experiences – some see colour with particular letters of the alphabet while others see all text in colour.  Three-time Grammy winner, Producer Pharrell Williams believes that synesthesia is “a communion with God.” Such a variety of experiences, approaches and understandings.
 
It’s seldom that I make profuse notes when reading a book, but my notebook began to be filled with questions, comments, notations as I read.  Will I ever again use the words “green with envy, cowardly yellow, purple with rage, in a blue mood, painting the town red” without giving thought to the experience of synesthetes?   Unlikely.  According to the author, synesthesia is “about eight times more common among artists, writers, poets and creative people.”   As a self-defined Creative Spirituality Writer and Artist, perhaps that’s why I found this book so fascinating and why I will read it a second – and perhaps a third time.
 
Click Here To Purchase Tasting the Universe: People Who See Colors in Words and Rainbows in Symphonies