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Additional Reviews

“What a trip!  This earnest, compassionate, knowledgeable, authentic, and often very funny seeker and guide, shares his odyssey of spirituality meeting the West. Yet, whatever the road, the purpose is the same: the truth is simple and playful, and as profound as anything. As his Daoist teacher put it, ‘This spiritual path is NOT about freeing yourself from suffering and securing your own happiness... It is about participating in something far greater.’”
Ruth Richards, MD, Ph.D, Psychology professor (consciousness and spirituality specialist), Saybrook University; Psychiatry lecturer, Harvard Medical School

“Filled with wild, weird, and wonderful accounts of his interactions with numerous spiritual teachers, along with helpful summations of Taoist perspectives on feng shui, the energy body, sexual practices (and more!), My Life As Play is spiced with countless irreverent asides as well as pithy encapsulations of the wisdom of the ages: I agree almost completely with the old humbug, so he must be on to something!”
G. William Barnard, religious studies professor, Southern Methodist University; author of Exploring Unseen Worlds: William James and the Philosophy of Mysticism and Living Consciousness: The Metaphysical Vision of Henri Bergson

“The strength of this book resides in its down-to-earth, matter-of-fact tone. I especially appreciate the author’s self-deprecating candor and his novel perspectives on the ideas and individuals associated with the Western popularization of Eastern philosophy and spirituality.”
Mark Harvey, Ph.D, psychology professor, University of North Carolina, Asheville

“The ultimate message is one I resonate with: if you are not having FUN on your path, whatever it is, you are an over serious stick-in-the-mud who, while getting their tough lessons in Earth Life, has missed the whole point of learning to be a Divinely Playful Human.”
—Michael Winn, founder, Healing Tao US

Amazon.com Reviews

Note: The following reviews refer to an earlier version of the book, entitled “Life Is Divine Play: My Life and Training with Enlightened Masters,” published in early 2009. The new version is even better.

5.0 out of 5 stars Playful Enlightenment
- February 8, 2009
By Harry Torgovitsky (San Francisco Bay Area)

“Wonderful and entertaining read with lots of humor about a subject that is usually treated much too seriously. In the process of entertaining, he also manages to impart wisdom he has gathered on his journey. This is definitely a book worth reading.”


5.0 out of 5 starsFunny and Irreverent, Perfect Medicine for Any Spiritual Seeker
- January 27, 2009
By Michael Winn, HealingTaoUSA.com founder

“I loved this book. Mark is a straight shoot-from-the-hip guy who has lived through the modern spiritual revolution of the last fifty years. It's both funny and educational. The ultimate message is one I resonate with: if you are not having FUN on your path, whatever it is, you are an overly serious stick-in-the-mud who, while getting their tough lessons in Earth Life, has missed the whole point of learning to be a Divinely Playful Human.”


4.0 out of 5 stars LIFE IS DIVINE PLAY - February 19, 2009
By Turtle Spring (Mystic, CT)

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mark Johnson's book. This is a light hearted, good natured and fun read. Scattered here and there are keys to the kingdom of 'Now.' He also shows us, with all its difficulties, how to have fun with life, with ourselves and those we meet on the way. Bravo!”


5.0 out of 5 stars The Far Side of Sprituality
- February 27, 2009
By B. Roy (NW, CT)

“Chances are, the spirituality you seek will not be found inside these pages, but after reading this book you will throw away all your preconceived notions about spirituality. Mark Johnson illuminates the ridiculous and divine in this outrageous tale of the self's ascent and descent, through both decent and indecent experiences, the profound, profane and mundane stuff that reads like an episode of GOD: This Is Your Life. It just so happens to be Mark's life, too. Beware, be aware -- this book may change your life. Welcome to the Far Side of Spirituality.”


5.0 out of 5 stars Mark's Playground - Yours Too - February 19, 2009
By Mary Murphy

“If you are now aware of how wonderful this world we live in is or would like to become aware, read Mark's book.
While you are working on the puzzle of life, Mark's book supplies pieces to the puzzle.
Mark is a Daoist master so for those of you who study the Dao, it will be no surprise that interwoven with wisdom to ponder is Mark's life story.
I especially appreciated the part about the spirit world. I've been debating with myself about its particulars for years. Mark's beliefs on the spirit world make sense to me. He has the experience to back his beliefs.
Interested in wave power? One of Mark's analogies is wave power. It is in one section of a book where nature is highly underated.
Highly humorous and insightful, Mark's book is today's book.”
4.0 out of 5 stars LIFE IS DIVINE PLAY - February 19, 2009
By Turtle Spring (Mystic, CT)

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mark Johnson's 'Life is Divine Play'! This light hearted, good natured and fun read portrays Mark's very comfortable and authentic personality and the story-line seems to flow like a brook finding its way through the underbrush. Unexpected twists of fate, chance meetings, nourishing but human teachers dot the landscape. Scattered here and there, too, are keys to the kingdom of 'Now' and what it means to be involved in the the dance of life. Though seriously engaging the autobiography is a gentle, compassionate interplay of modern issues and a man bent on enjoying the journey. Without asking us to, Mark projects the question that concerns us all: Is Life Worth Living? And without answering, he shows us how, with all its difficulty, to have fun with it, with ourselves and those we meet on the way. Bravo!”
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Serious Play, Man - February 16, 2009
By Chris Anderl "Nature Spirit" (Inverness, CA)

“I couldn't put this book down. It reads like a conversation with the author, and you feel fortunate to hear the inside story of a modern Western Daoist Master who helped pioneer Tai Chi and Qigong (Chi Gung) practice in America. Many people may know Mark from his nationally best-selling video "Tai Chi for Seniors," which has sold over 600,000 copies. If you haven't heard of Mark, you might want to start by reading this spiritual autobiography, after which you'll probably want to get his video, which helps you practice living the Life of Divine Play that he espouses in the book. All in all, a very readable, down-to-earth yet cosmic account of Mark's life philosophy that we should all heed: harmonize with the Flow of the Universe and your life will be one of constant Play. But you have to read it to get all the details, so get to know him before "he who goes by the spiritual name of Mark Johnson" becomes a house-hold name, as he appears to be bound for stardom; with the kind of playing he writes about, who wouldn't want to do the same?”
5.0 out of 5 stars Playful Enlightenment - February 8, 2009
By Harry Torgovitsky (San Francisco Bay Area)

“Wonderful and entertaining read with lots of humor about a subject that is usually treated much too seriously. The author describes his life's path seeking enlightenment and the masters with whom he studied, but does so with a dose of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and self-deprecation. In the process of entertaining, he also manages to impart wisdom he has gathered on his journey. This is definitely a book worth reading.”

5.0 out of 5 starsFunny and Irreverent, Perfect Medicine for Any Spiritual Seeker - January 27, 2009
By Michael Winn "HealingTaoUSA.com founder

“I loved this book. Mark is a straight shoot-from-the-hip guy who has lived through the modern spiritual revolution of the last fifty years. It's both funny and educational, and that is saying a lot, as I fall in that class of "spiritual-seen-it-all". This is a Westerner-Eats-Eastern-Philosophy account, of someone who gets a bit of indigestion along the Way. He tries each teaching and gives his pithy insights into what its really about, what he got from it, and then moves on. He ultimately ends up with the Mother of All boots-hit-the-ground Taoist training.

This is a thinly disguised (for legal reasons?) recounting of his bringing Taoist Master Ni Hua Ching to the West and the trials Ni put him through. I think he does an admirable job of showing how all these Eastern philosophies/paths are NOT the same, and lead to completely different spiritual experiences. He favors Taoism for embracing more practically and deeply the Play of this physical reality and its effortlessness - once you've gone through the effort of the training.

Mark's ongoing assumed mask of arrogance, only half tongue-in-cheek, that he was born enlightened, will irritate some readers who have sacred standards for their favorite teachers. But he is really just an authentic expression of the modern zeitgeist that "we are all enlightened if we choose to be", that there is no objective standard. All of the teachers he has studied with are self-invented or self-proclaimed in their enlightenment as well. The assumed mask is his form of Play.

The ultimate message is one I resonate with: if you are not having FUN on your path, whatever it is, you are an over serious stick-in-the-mud who, while getting their tough lessons in Earth Life, has missed the whole point of learning to be a Divinely Playful Human.”

Read all the latest reviews from Amazon.com...


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