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Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind Paperback – August 21, 2000
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Psychiatrist and philosopher Roger Walsh looks at seven common practices of the world's major religions to tease out a guidebook for contemporary spirituality. With gleanings from Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, Walsh offers seven chapters devoted to enlightenment. For example, "Practice 1" discusses how readers can reduce cravings and find the soul's desire (very relevant in an increasingly materialistic world). Once Walsh has laid out the goals and reasoning behind each practice, he offers an array of exercises, such as how to "Examine the Experience of Craving" or "Reflect on the Cost of Craving." Although this format is overtly self-help, Walsh has brought forth a wise and highly respectable book that integrates some of the best practices that the world's religions can offer. The introduction by the Dalai Lama gives Walsh great praise for helping readers become purer in motivation so that they can lead a more fulfilling life in service to love and compassion. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
Essential Spirituality "The field of spiritual books has been looking for its own Lewis Thomas or Carl Sagan, and I believe Roger Walsh may be that one." Ken Wilber, author of One Taste Based on over twenty years of research and spiritual practice, written by a man who is both a spiritual practitioner and award-winning scientist, this is a groundbreaking and life-changing book For the first time, Essential Spirituality shows how you can apply the seven practices central to all the worlds major religions in your daily life. In his decades of study, Dr. Roger Walsh has discovered that each of the great spiritual traditions has both a common goal and seven common practices to reach that goal: recognizing the sacred and divine that exist both within and around us. Going beyond Care of the Soul, Essential Spirituality integrates the spiritual principles of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism into one truly rewarding way of life in which kindness, love, joy, peace, vision, wisdom, and generosity become an ever-growing part of everything you do. Filled with stories, exercises, meditations, myths, case histories, prayers, and practical advice, this extraordinary book has the power to change your life now. "An engaging, inspiring synthesis of the core insights of humanitys spiritual traditions. This is a rare gem of a booka unique treasure distilled from a quarter century of deep spiritual practice and intellectual inquiry. Essential Spirituality is a book to live with and work with, filled with simple though powerful exercises that invite people to discover for themselves the truths about which Roger Walsh writes so beautifully and lovingly." Duane Elgin, author of Voluntary Simplicity --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
As such, the author doesn't burden himself (or the reader) with trying to rigorously justify the recommended practices, nor does he attempt to build a theoretical framework. Instead, he simply presents the practices and suggests that readers give them a try. I agree with this approach, because it seems that sometimes, especially in spiritual matters, we have to first take action and experience the consequences of that action in order to develop our understanding, rather than the more typical (and skeptically cautious) western approach of first developing understanding on rational grounds, then acting on that understanding.
Although the book doesn't include rigorous argumentation, the author does link the practices to a variety of spiritual traditions, including many quotes from sages and spiritual texts. I presume this is mainly to show the universality of the practices, and also to increase the chance that each reader will find things they can resonate with. Here and there, the author also mentions cases in which modern psychology and neuroscience provide scientific evidence supporting the practices, but this is a minor component of the book.
The book is divided into short chapters, and I think that reading a chapter a day will work well for most readers. I've read the book once, and I think it's valuable enough that I'll periodically reread it in the future.
Overall, I highly recommend the book to anyone motivated to grow spiritually, and who is open-minded enough to not be troubled by seeing references to many different spiritual traditions. Also be sure to check out 50 Spiritual Classics: Timeless Wisdom from 50 Great Books on Inner Discovery, Enlightenment and Purpose, which I think nicely complements this book.
As a final note, please remember that the key is to implement the practices in your daily life, not just read about them and understand them intellectually.
The spiritual path, as Roger Walsh reveals, is neither an esoteric and arcane journey, nor a homogenized generic info-mercial. Instead, it is a rich and diverse river of compassion and kindness that has always been recognizable to those who have taken the time to observe it. Most of those reading this book will not quite hear the rushing currents of passion, and yet something in them may be cleansed as the debris of prejudice and ignorance are slowly eroded by the force of humanity's timeless, universal aspirations for meaning and peace. "Essential Spirituality" is an immensely hopeful book for those seeking global understanding, respect and peace.
Most recent customer reviews
It is rich with wonderful insights any seeker would relish. I highly recommend it.