Spirituality 101 For the Dropouts of the School of Life

A Review for the Final Exam

Non-Fiction - Religion/Philosophy
100 Pages
Reviewed on 03/29/2014
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Author Biography

Iván Figueroa Otero M.D. FACS, FAAMA After graduating from the School of Medicine of the University of PR in 1970, Dr. Figueroa Otero trains as General Surgeon at the University Hospital of the UPR School of Medicine, integrating a one-year fellowship in the study of cancer, and one year in experimental research. Post-graduate studies in Pediatric Surgery, then follow at Miami Children's Hospital and the San Juan Municipal Hospital. Looking for non-surgical or less invasive options for pediatric conditions, Dr. Figueroa Otero explores Eastern philosophies that emphasize a holistic concept of disease. He was one of the first physicians to become certified in medical acupuncture in Puerto Rico, training in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture with professors from the University of Seville. Eventually he was certified in medical acupuncture nationally. In 2009, he became certified in anti- aging medicine and in December of that year he retired from the practice of pediatric surgery, focusing instead on a holistic medical practice and emphasizing disease prevention and modification of life styles. In 2011 he was invited to become a Trustee of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture, which is the national body organization responsible for certifying physicians in the field of acupuncture through national exams. In that same year he was recognized by Natural Awakenings magazine as Holistic Physician of the Year. Dr. Figueroa Otero is currently engaged in his private practice and continues in his role as an educator, trying to achieve full integration of traditional Chinese acupuncture courses in the curriculum of medical schools, promoting that physicians to be certified both locally and nationally, and to establish clinical research protocols on the use of acupuncture in known conditions compared to the methodology established by modern medicine. Another immediate priority is to incorporate spirituality and meditation techniques into the medical curriculum and promote their role in preventive and therapeutic medicine.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Samantha Rivera for Readers' Favorite

Spirituality 101 is a non-fiction book for the religious or spiritual individual who is looking to better understand the world they live in. It is a book of ‘rules’ and beliefs about life that will help you to know the science of the world and the way that science can interact (not contradict) your religious teachings. For those who are Christian, Buddhist, or really any other religion this book will help you to understand a sort of balance between your life and your religion. Dr. Ivan Figueroa Otero has laid out a ‘study guide’ for life so that everyone can know and understand the important aspects.

This book is broken down into short chapters with tables, graphs, pictures, and more which definitely makes it easy to read. The material is heavy and those methods help anyone to understand what is being said, whether it’s a comparison between classic physics and quantum physics or explaining the characteristics of co-dependent people. The cute images also help you to understand what you should be doing with the information that you read and how it’s able to impact you and your life. I have to say that many of the ideas and ‘tips’ were interesting to me and I would like to try them out for myself. The idea of studying for the test of life is an intriguing one as well and I'm sure many readers will find Spirituality 101 a good guide on that very subject. And did I mention there’s a test at the end?

Kirkus book Review

A holistic look at the intersection of the spiritual and scientific world, playfully cast as a primer for a final exam.

In this engaging, enormously readable debut work of nonfiction, Figueroa-Otero urges his readers to “[d]elve deeper into the concept of life as a prison created by our own mind,” in order to work their way closer to “life’s archetypal questions,” such as “Who am I? Where do I come from? Where do I go from here?” The book’s explanations of scientific facts—including the Big Bang, the nature of antimatter and dark energy, Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics—are fluent and approachable. Its well-designed layout includes highlighted passages and eye-catching marginal illustrations. The author presents many explanations with a wry, tongue-in-cheek bemusement that underscores his doubt about some of science’s certainties. He artfully juxtaposes them with a more spiritual point of view, which centers on the essence of the universe; Figueroa-Otero initially characterizes that essence as “Love,” but quickly narrows it considerably to the love of an explicitly Christian God. The book weighs the wonders of science and nature against this divine love in which, Figueroa-Otero says, “Jesus represents the human manifestation of the Holy Spirit which is the force of Love that God left us after his Son left.” Such explications, despite frequent allusions to Jewish and Buddhist writings, will likely exclude many readers from taking this final exam, let alone passing it. But for Christian readers, the book’s concluding chapters will prove interesting, as they steadily expand the biblical dictum, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” into a concept of “Compassionate Intelligence” that manifests when “love guides reason to the definite realization of our holographic and supportive universe.”

A friendly, stimulating Christian guide to combining thought and faith in order to live a more fulfilled life.

Indie Reader Review

Indie Reader Review
SPIRITUALITY 101: For Dropouts of the School of Life
Genre: Non-Fiction
Author: Ivan Figueroa-Otero, M.D.
Rating: Three Stars
Constructed like a self-help book-cum-self-directed study complete with glossary and homework assignments, Ivan Figueroa-Otero M.D.’s SPIRITUALITY 101: For Dropouts of the School of Life is an entertaining trip towards enlightenment that attempts to demystify man’s place in relation to the universe and yes, a higher power.
Figueroa-Otero makes it clear in the opening chapters of SPIRITUALITY 101 that it’s not a book about God or even religion, per se, but rather a guided path that will help the reader to understand and harness his own spirituality. By the end of the book, Figueroa-Otero writes, he hopes that readers will have their own answers to “life’s archetypal questions: Who am I? Where do I come from? Where do I go from here?”
Though Figueroa-Otero references many religions, Christianity and Buddhism among them, SPIRITUALITY 101 is non-denominational, and approaches spirituality from a unique and scientific perspective. As “our bodies are made of up to 95% subatomic particles that are outside of time,” theorizes Figueroa-Otero, part of each of us -- e.g. our spirits -- is invisible, out of time and immortal. It’s what we do with that subatomic material that makes our lives important, and each chapter in the book is designed to bring readers nearer to their spiritual selves by developing a deeper understanding of what stands between humans and their spiritual selves.
Figueroa-Otero may not have complete mastery over his subject, and sometimes ventures off into tangents that add little to the narrative (or make little sense, such as his comparing selfish human behavior to Ricky Martin’s song “Living La Vida Loca”), but he’s an engaging writer whose interest in his subject makes it interesting to readers.
If SPIRITUALITY 101 does not completely demystify the nature of man’s spiritual journey, it’s nevertheless an interesting read.
Reviewed by J.E. Cornett for IndieReader

National Indie Review Awa

An immediate best-seller and with great reader's reviews, the book is a Finalist in the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards. "Your book truly embodies the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, and we salute you and your fine work." National Indie Review.

Focus on Women Magazine R

Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?

These are some of the questions Dr. Figueroa-Otero attemps to answer in a humble, introspective piece of self-evaluation

Spirituality 101: by Ivan Figueroa-Otero, MD (Author)

New author Ivan Figueroa-Otero, MD has embarked in a long quest of self-discovery that originates from the conflicting views of his scientific background and his religious upbringing. His first book, Spirituality 101: For the Dropouts of the School of Life, Dr. Figueroa-Otero not only dares to answer timeless questions about our spiritual nature, but humbly presents a guide to self-understanding while closing the apparent gap between the religious and scientific vision with an eclectic and original delivery.

San Juan - "In the School Of Life there are no grades or organized curriculum. Everyone comes to learn and progress in specific areas, and your lessons are structured by your daily life. It’s as if the curriculum were created while you learn. Each experience is a new opportunity to grow and develop as whole beings, and everyone decides when he or she has learned sufficiently to move on to the next course." Ivan Figueroa-Otero, MD writes a compelling book about living in a spiritual world that is so easy to understand that it becomes elegant in its simplicity. A Pediatric Surgeon for many years, Dr. Figueroa-Otero now dedicates his practice to the application of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for disease prevention and modifying lifestyles. He applied his abilities as a researcher and scientist to engage in a path of self discovery, and now shares his discoveries in a fun, interesting format.

"The book arises from my need to share my school of life experiences in a light textbook format. In it, I share my scholastic "lessons" for readers to try them out in a non-imposing manner, knowing they can also find alternative solutions." Dr. Figueroa-Otero wants to shed light in those areas of our spirituality that are usually ignored because they are deemed "too difficult" to handle.