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Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser Hardcover – January 5, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This book guides us in navigating aging and reaping the blessings of happiness, openheartedness and inner freedom. Lewis Richmond writes from the radiance of his own discovery-he is fresh, clear and wise. I'm recommending this to all my aging friends!" — Tara Brach, Ph.D., author of Radical Acceptance

"As someone who recently turned 70, I ate up Lewis Richmond's words on seeing growing older a spiritual practice. The book is fun and enlightening. I'll never forget some of the stories and the sharp formulas the author uses to remember how to age with some pleasure. The Buddhist point of view is especially fresh and useful. There's some Zen in all of us, deep down." — Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and Writing in the Sand

"Embedded as our culture is in the fantasy of control and management, our deepest distress rises from being separated from natural process, and our inevitable failure to manage, even defeat aging and mortality. Lewis Richmond speaks to the summons aging brings us, and offers a practical, step by step set of attitudes and practices which open the reader to philosophical maturation, a proactive engagement with the meaning of one's changing state, and the attainment of personal dignity through our shared journey into mystery." — James Hollis, Ph. D., Jungian analyst and author of What Matters Most

"Life can be challenging at any age and spiritual practice can be beneficial at any age. However, as Lewis Richmond makes crystal clear, these benefits may be especially important and valuable with aging."
-Roger Walsh MD, Ph.D., University of California Medical School, author of Essential Spirituality: The Seven Central Practices

Thoughtful, truthful, loving, Lew helps us bring attention to the mystery of aging with great kindness and wisdom. — Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

About the Author

Lewis Richmond is a Zen Buddhist priest and meditation teacher whose three previous books include the national bestseller Work as a Spiritual Practice. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (January 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781592406906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592406906
  • ASIN: 1592406904
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Aging as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond

I hate it when that happens! I get something for someone else and it ends up being for me! I was thinking this might be good for my mom, who has Parkinson's and is struggling with aging. I'm 63 and this is the happiest time of my life so far, so why would I need to read this? It turns out this book is great for both of us.

Lewis Richmond is a Buddhist priest. In this work, as in others, he uses language common to Buddhism, Christianity, and other religions, defining concepts as they are presented in different perspectives. What I like the most is each of the ideas Richmond presents is also illustrated by scientific studies. For example, he talks about the concept of denial as a coping mechanism. That's a pretty well known idea, but he also talks about the neural pathways that develop to support this defense mechanism.

The usual topics of aging are addressed, e.g. Physical deterioration, mental deterioration, role changes, etc. When a positive aspect of that is there,its addressed. When there seems to be none, that is addressed also. Each topic is accompanied by practical and spiritual contemplative practices. The book closes with a sample schedule for a daylong retreat, tying everything together.

Guess I'll have to get another copy for my mom.
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Format: Hardcover
Although this should be a quick read, I've been taking my time to let the lessons sink in. From an overview of Buddhism to a variety of coping mechanisms, this book is filled with useful advice for accepting not just the aging process, but life in general. I enjoyed the personal reflections and the case studies provided by the author, and gained new perspectives that I expect to use throughout my life. This is the first book I have read on this topic, and it was a great starting point for me, as it was not too technical or preachy, just honest, practical and caring. I would recommend this book to anyone facing a mid-life crisis, a spiritual crisis, health problems, or frustration with the aging process.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful little book to savor. I use the term "little" to mean visually only--this book is undersized, yet comforting and mighty. It is especially encouraging to seniors (and, I expect, to every age) who have few resources or who live in stressful situations. I read a page or three in the morning then think about the lessons all day. What turned out to be one of the most valuable things in the book was the instructions for having a retreat alone in your own home. This is particularly valuable to those of us who are caregivers and cannot get away (where would we go, anyway?). I am not Buddhist, nor of any organized religion, but rather, a seeker of sensible and uplifting spirituality. The book asks nothing of you, yet gives inspiration. A good fit for me. And maybe for you, too?
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Format: Hardcover
Lewis Richmond is a Zen Buddhist priest and teacher who's been able to extract deep, nourishing Buddhist wisdom related to aging in particular as well as about living a full life in general and put it in a form that is accessible to anyone, no matter your faith (or lack thereof). This is the hallmark of all truly skillful wisdom teaching. One of the many gifts of this book is the way Mr. Richmond lets the aging reader see that his/her challenges are not unique, but are the universal challenges of aging, and there's much comfort in that understanding alone. But if this makes the book sound like a collection of homilies, think again. In addition to providing a broad and encouraging perspective on aging, the author explores what science has learned about the aging process and suggests very specific exercises to help the reader get the most out of the fourth quarter of life. It's a book that combines ageless wisdom with practical advice, a book that you'll go back to again and again.
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Format: Hardcover
Lewis Richmond is someone I consider a friend on my spiritual path. I met him around 2002 as I was just coming out of the dark ages of my religious life. I was a wreck and was avoiding any aspect of Spirituality. I limped into a bookstore in Sonoma, CA and happened to hear him speaking about his first book, "Work as a Spiritual Practice." It was an idea that had never occurred to me. I was inspired and got the book, but it had a green Buddha and that freaked me out (anything unknown frightened me due to my religious conditioning). I persevered through my fear, reading parts of it and took it around with me through lots of work world stress with it always sitting on my desk. It was always the thing that helped and inspired me in the work world...sort of a lifeline. Its been eons Spiritually for me from there to where I am now and I have done a lot of healing. Now that I am on the "cusp" of aging I am grateful to have this truth and another wonderful book to travel with me. Again,the concept of "Aging as a Spiritual Practice" is really one that had never occurred to me. There is something uniquely sincere and meaningful in Lewis's writing and for only the price of a couple of Cappuccino's...don't miss this! Full of kindness, light and love, which are all aspects that Lewis helped me find again in my spiritual life, and for which I am incredibly grateful. I can't speak to the future about how this book, "Aging as a Spiritual Practice" is going to change me, but as I confront the death and illness of friends and my own struggles I find that knowing this book is going to go with me...is quite comforting. Thank you Lewis and may many more find you and your wisdom in this life! I have read some other books that are similar, but as I said, there is something special and enlightening with Lewis's writing that I have not got from any other book on the subject. Practical, useful and inspiring!
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