Book Note: The Universe Has Your Back

You’ve probably heard of the New York Times best-selling author, Gabrielle Bernstein. She’s one of the 16 YouTube Next Video Bloggers. She’s been features on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. If you’re a self-help junkie, you’ve at least seen her many books. Maybe even read one or two. Her most recent, The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith, “teaches readers how to transform their fear into faith in order to live a divinely guided life.” [source]

Content Overview

The book opens with Bernstein sharing a moment in the spring of 2015. In a yoga class, she experienced a melt-down, overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. She felt pain in her neck and the left side of her face and arm went numb.  There were no physical reasons for her symptoms, so Bernstein turned to the Universe for answers. And the Universe responded, making it clear that the symptoms were manifestations of her resistance to love and freedom.

The rest of the book lays out lessons for releasing such resistance. Each chapter provides an introduction to the specific concept, like dealing with obstacles, offers up an anecdote, and then lays out four easy steps to follow.

Review

You know that compliment sandwich they talk about? Well, I’m going to use it now.

The Universe Has Your Back is an enjoyable read that offers up hope and happiness. In its 179 pages, the reader finds inspiring personal stories and anecdotes of transformation. It is easy to read, well organized, and a great starting point for someone new to the self-help world. Like perhaps your fourteen-year-old niece.

There is nothing new in this book that hasn’t already been said before. This is the first book of Bernstein’s that I have read, yet I felt I learned next to nothing new. Let go, surrender, let the Universe guide you, it’s all been said before. And by better writers. With more substance.

In each chapter, Bernstein offers a four step process. Many are redundant. Most come off as – do these four easy steps and you will have everything you want instantly. Most steps really aren’t as easy as they appear, but the way in which they are presented feel very “as seen on TV.”

While I fully agree that we are generally our own worst enemy, and if we let go of our resistance, many great things could happen for us. However, as a blonde, blue-eyed, thin, beautiful woman, I have to wonder if Bernstein’s experiences are just as relevant for a woman of color or a Transgender man or an undocumented immigrant not making a living wage and constantly living in fear of deportation. Will the Universe really be able to remove all their obstacles?

Of course, everyone can decide to face life’s trails with love and faith rather than fear. And their life would be better for it. But perhaps not as life transforming as Bernstein’s book would suggest.

I do applaud Bernstein for the honest stories she does share. It was refreshing to read the numerous stories where she let fear in. It was nice to see her as human and lets the reader know that this is a daily process that everyone must work on.

The one other aspect of the book I enjoyed was the meditation practices. I am unfamiliar with Kundalini Yoga and I have found the meditations from the book helpful to renewing my mindfulness practice.

Overall, I gave this book three out of five stars. If you are new to self-help and want a primer, then The Universe Has Your Back is a great place to start. If you’re looking for a quick read to reignite your hope and simple guidance, give it a try. Bernstein fan, then I imagine you’ll want this one. But mostly, I suggest grabbing it from your library and not spending the money.

Highlights

  • We forget where our true happiness comes from
  • Our hidden power is our connection to the Universe (God, spirit, truth)
  • We must take responsibility for the world we created in order to move forward
  • What you project out into the world is what you perceive
  • The Universe is always guiding you, but you have to accept the assignment
  • Obstacles are just detours
  • Miracles are natural

Favorite Quotes

“In every situation you have two choices: Will you learn through fear or will you learn through love?”

“We’ve been guided to believe that without pain we have not accomplished or achieved. I’m here to bust that myth now. Pain does not equal purpose. Your purpose is to be joyful. Your purpose is to live with ease. Your purpose is to surrender to the love of the Universe so you can live a happy life.”