• Presents information about contemplative practices from various spiritual and religious traditions from a multidisciplinary perspective
• Describes contemplative methods that are practiced across cultures, religions, and socioeconomic groups
• Shows how contemplative practices can be used for stress management and with specific stress inducers
• Offers information that is practical, as well as scholarly
• Foreword by renowned author and scholar Huston Smith, subject of the five-part PBS special, The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith
• Contributions from 13 expert authors
• Case studies showing how contemplative practices are being used to cope with modern stress and disorders among groups as diverse as caregivers, pregnant women, people living with HIV, and veterans dealing with PTSD
"Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."
"Overall, I highly recommend this book to practitioners and researchers alike. Practitioners will appreciate the details with which the practices are discussed, while researchers will benefit from the endnotes and the brief discussions of the current state of research for each system. This book is also well-written, cohesively integrated, and a rich source of wisdom for those interested in the intersection of contemplative practices and the fostering of personal well-being."
"In a time full of sensory and information overload, this is a welcome book."
"In an overall assessment it is a wonderful book, and is capable of transforming the life of the reader in making life more meaningful, purposeful and joyful, and herein lies the real worth of the book."
Journal of Psychosocial Research
"Thomas Plante, a psychologist who is deeply invested in exploring these issues as the director of the Spirituality and Health Institute of Santa Clara University, has gathered together a noteworthy group of contributors to this volume. . . . This book serves as a useful introduction to a range of practices and contemplative traditions for both practitioners and researchers. Even those familiar with selected contemplative traditions should find distinctive perspectives and valuable material. . . . It begins to address a notable gap in the contemporary literature on both meditation and spirituality and does so in ways that should be valuable for practitioners or researchers in the area of cancer care, despite that not being an explicit focus of the volume. . . . an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to better understand how the historic traditions of contemplative practice, in the service of cultivating personal growth and well-being."
"In this age of dual-career couples, overscheduled children, and 24-7 living, readers will greet Contemplative Practices in Action with a deep sigh of relief. This volume provides a highly accessible introduction into the remarkable range of contemplative practices that provide a vital corrective to a hyperfrenetic world -- from centering prayer and passage meditation to Sabbath-keeping, pilgrimage, and dance. Thomas Plante has assembled a gifted team of contributors from diverse backgrounds who write with clinical sensitivity, scientific authority, and deep appreciation for the wisdom contained in the world's religious traditions. Readers will emerge enriched personally and professionally by this wonderful collection of chapters." (Kenneth I.. Pargament, Professor of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Author of The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice and Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy: Understanding and Addressing the Sacred)|"The genius of this book lies in its ability to mine the depths of both Western and Eastern spiritual traditions, and to integrate those traditions' practices with healing and wholeness." (Margaret Benefiel, PhD, author of Soul at Work and The Soul of a Leader)|"Contemplative Practices in Action resonated immediately with my artist soul, which is well aware of the hard won mindfulness and elusive quiet space necessary for authentic creation. The breadth of Eastern and Western practices explored in this book examine many of the powerful methods people have used to enter into that soulful 'emptiness' where one discovers truth, hope, forgiveness, peace and, ultimately, the God that waits for us in love. This book suggests an alternative to our modern culture abhoring silence. If the words we speak, the battles we wage, the wisdom we offer, and even the prayers we pray are not born out of the silence of contemplation, we tread precariously close to the brink of darkness. As Blaise Paschal wrote, 'All the evil in the world can be traced to our inability to sit still in a room.' This book is a tremendous gift to our modern culture hungering for silence but often unaware of its need." (Dan Schutte, composer of "Here I Am, Lord," and author of Walking the Sacred Path: Spiritual Exercises for Today)|"This is a rare if not precious jewel in the universe of books on spirituality: Rare in focusing on specific spiritual practices with a scientific perspective and precious in offering practices from many religious traditions, all linked in some way to health and well-being. In the 20th century, western cultures in effect abandoned the traditional link of spiritual practices with overall health for a restrictive biomedical model of disease. In doing so the role of positive emotions (e.g., love, faith, hope) in health was greatly hampered. These emotions are proving to be the lifeblood of spirituality. Scratch a spiritual practice and you'll find a positive emotion or two.
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Significantly , this book also makes the point that spirituality and religion are not the same thing: spirituality is not theology. The book also dovetails with an expanding view of human experience and consciousness as seen through the lens of neuroscience, ethology and psychology. This book's most significant overall point may be that regular spiritual practices can make substantial differences in how we think, feel and act, especially when we make decisions influencing our relationship with the Divine around and within." (Carl E. Thoresen, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus of Education, Psychology and Psychiatry/Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University)