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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Is God in That Bottle Cap" Reviewed on The New Book Review

Title: Is God in That Bottle Cap? A Search for Truth
Author: John D. Sambalino
Publisher: Vanishing Circle Press
Publisher Address: 320 Washington Ave., Haddonfield, NJ 08033
Publisher Web Site:
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-7326578-0-9
Price: $16.95
Page Count: 284 
Formats: hardcover, paperback, kindle, nook
Originally published at 

 In Is God in That Bottle Cap? A Search for Truth, a lawyer writes about spirituality in an engaging combination of autobiography and philosophical treatise.

 Beginning as a child who resisted having to eat fish on Friday, to his adulthood as a world-traveler who sees that God is found not so much in precepts as in experience, John D. Sambalino has always been seeking truth, and so conveys a sense of exploration that is fortunately free from self-congratulation. The first glimmers of this search came with his interest in martial arts and the understanding that such physical practices have their roots in spiritual discipline. An early transcendent experience in which reality seemed to stand still while he was one with everything around him convinced him that there was a goal to be sought.

Studying engineering at university, he soon realized he must choose a career that would allow him to travel and pursue higher realities. He switched to a degree in finance, and ultimately became a lawyer, married his youthful sweetheart, had children, but never really “settled down.” Though that path may seem less spiritual on the surface, it is this story that makes it more accessible to the everyday reader. Sambalino is not a lone monk sitting on a mountaintop, but someone who has tried to mix spiritual discipline with modern life. Almost every year, in addition to work and faithful daily meditation practice, he made time to go to spiritual conclaves, take rigorous meditation courses, and travel – to India, Egypt, Nepal – and delve ever deeper into his inner landscape.

In this way, Sambalino’s book is part travel memoir, which is where the book becomes most alive. Traversing the Himalayas, visiting the site of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s one-time ashram, even lying still and corpselike inside the Great Pyramid, Sambalino has embraced each opportunity to understand who and what truth is, and who and what he himself is and might become. He introduces his audience to numerous masters and their spiritual pathways: Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Paramahansa Yogananda, and of course, Jesus, Krishna and Buddha. All in all, the memoir is more informative than the typical work about a spiritual journey.

Sambalino’s writing is intelligent and at times humorous, despite its heavy subject matter. The book is not a strict work of self-help, though Sambalino does exhort his readers to abide by many of these precepts, but he is careful to stress that all such advice and apparent wisdom offered in all the holy books of the world will not reveal the truth, which is, he says, “no where, yet every where.” This is refreshing in a field with books that are overloaded with authors claiming “I have the answer.” He leaves left few stones unturned in his search for what he calls “beingness” – but, as he emphasizes, that beingness is a quality or experience that can’t be explained or completely understood by reading or thinking.

 Obviously composed to help others make their way to the truth, Is God in That Bottle Cap? presents the example of one man’s striving, some of it seemingly haphazard, much of it sincerely aimed at an ultimate goal. By showing himself to be a regular guy gradually growing into this knowledge, Sambalino offers readers hope of success in their own personal journeys.


Learn more about John D. Sambalino at his website at  


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