Aging as a Spiritual Practice

A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser

Aging as a Spiritual Practice

The bestselling author of Work as a Spiritual Practice presents a new vision of the aging process, awakening a spirit of fulfillment and transformation. Everything changes. For Buddhist priest and meditation teacher Lewis Richmond, this fundamental Buddhist tenet is the basis for a new inner road map that emerges in the later years, charting an understanding that can bring new possibilities, fresh beginnings, and a wealth of appreciation and gratitude for the life journey itself. In Aging as a Spiritual Practice, Richmond acknowledges the fear, anger, and sorrow many people experience when they must confront the indignities of their aging bodies and the unknowns associated with mortality. This wise, compassionate book guides readers through the four key stages of aging- such as "Lightning Strikes" (the moment we wake up to our aging)-as well as the processes of adapting to change, letting go of who we were, embracing who we are, and appreciating our unique life chapters. Unlike many philosophical works on aging, however, this one incorporates illuminating facts from scientific researchers, doctors, and psychologists, as well as contemplative practices and guided meditations on aging's various challenges and rewards. The tandem of maintaining a healthy body and healthy relationships, infused with an active spiritual life, is explored in rejuvenating detail. Breath by breath, moment by moment, Richmond's teachings inspire limitless opportunities for a joy that transcends age.

Sacred Systems

Exploring Personal Transformation in the Western Christian Tradition

Sacred Systems

From early Jewish-Christian texts such as the Didache, which present well-defined catechetical programs, to contemporary authors such as Dallas Willard, who offer in-depth insights into the transformations of one's heart and soul, systematic texts on spiritual formation in the Western Christian tradition abound. These texts can offer ministers, researchers, and laypersons much clarity and guidance for their craft. However, the spiritual formation systems that we use are also always contextually influenced; such contextual factors may make them difficult to adapt to one's local work. Rather than turning to only a single text or community, then, it can be helpful for practitioners and theorists to look to a broader set of systematic presentations of spiritual formation. By turning to a group of specific individuals and communities in each era of Western Christian history, this book will help those working in this field to better understand how personal spiritual formation has been conceptualized and embodied. Such an exploration will help us not only to compile a more complete history of spiritual formation at the level of the individual but also to glean a better understanding of personal transformation so that we might engage this craft in more informed and systematic ways.

Second Wind

Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper, and More Connected Life

Second Wind

From one of the most original and innovative thinkers in medicine, this “stirring and splendid book” (Wall Street Journal) offers groundbreaking insight to the postwar generation on facing their second coming of age, a developmental opportunity to reshape their lives and our society. Dr. Thomas is at the forefront of a strong nationwide movement to reframe “life after adulthood” as an exciting stage of human growth and development. In Second Wind, he explores the dreams and disappointments, the struggles and triumphs of a generation of 78 million people who once said they would never grow old and never trust anyone over thirty. Instilled with the belief that they would always be Joni Mitchell’s “stardust,” many Boomers are having a harder time transitioning into elderhood than previous generations. But the reality is that every 10.8 seconds an American turns sixty-five. Among all the human beings who have ever lived to see old age, more than half are living among us right now. In Second Wind, Dr. Thomas attempts to guide Boomers into this final developmental stage filled with hope and a new sense of what is possible. As the Post War generation entered adulthood, they saw three models of what an adult could be: hippies, activists, and squares—the “square” model becoming the dominant model. Now, many Boomers now feel “stuck” inside the frenzied, performance-based, money-driven world that no longer suits them. But if they can learn to go slower, go deeper, and be more connected to themselves, their loved ones, and other members of their community, they can find the wisdom, happiness, and fulfillment that comes with a life that is in balance.

Spirituality and Aging

Spirituality and Aging

A spiritual life, one focused on personal growth and deep human experience, is a major focus and motivator for people over the age of forty. Yet there is a marked lack of rigorous academic study of spirituality's importance in the lives of aging people. Noted gerontologist Robert C. Atchley remedies this problem by developing complex concepts and language about spirituality. Spirituality and Aging incorporates material from two decades of interviews, observations, study, and reflection to illustrate ways of thinking about and discussing spirituality—what it is, why it is important, and how it influences the experience of aging. This book provides a nuanced view of spirituality and the richness it brings to the lives of older people. The book is divided into three sections, with the first providing basic frames of reference for examining spirituality and aging, such as the nature of spirituality, spiritual development, and the spiritual self. Atchley next focuses on two dimensions of spirituality that are likely to manifest later in life: becoming a sage (developing the capacity to bring spiritual light to everyday issues) and serving from spirit (creating opportunities for service that are rooted in spirituality). The last section illustrates how spirituality informs other aspects of late life, such as psychological coping and the experience of dying and death. Separating spirituality from religion—something few books on this topic do— Spirituality and Aging offers a plan for incorporating spirituality into gerontological scholarship, research, education, and practice. -- Wilkie Au

The Arts of Contemplative Care

Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work

The Arts of Contemplative Care

Powerful and life-affirming, this watershed volume brings together the voices of pioneers in the field of contemplative care--from hospice and hospitals to colleges, prisons, and the military. Illustrating the day-to-day words and actions of pastoral workers, each first-person essay in this collection offers a distillation of the wisdom gained over years of compassionate experience. The stories told here are sure to inspire--whether you are a professional caregiver or simply feel inclined toward guiding, healing, and comforting roles. If you are inspired to read this book, or even one touching story in it, you just might find yourself inspired to change a life.

Religion, Spirituality, and Aging

A Social Work Perspective

Religion, Spirituality, and Aging

Learn how to make a more positive impact with your social work with the aged Religion is an important coping mechanism for many aging adults. Religion, Spirituality, and Aging: A Social Work Perspective presents the latest research that shows how religion and spirituality can improve quality of life for elders. Respected social work researchers and scholars provide insight and practical methods for fostering positive aging while also considering how spirituality and religion can affect practitioners themselves. The full range of advantages and ethical implications are discussed in clear detail from a social work viewpoint. Case studies plainly illustrate the positive impact that the inclusion of spirituality and religion in an aging person’s life may have on their physical and mental welfare. Organized social work in the early twentieth century actively tried to distance itself from its roots as a form of religious charity in favor of becoming a scientific and professional endeavor. Religion, Spirituality, and Aging once again bridges the gap between social work and spiritual matters by presenting penetrating articles that discusses the issues of the aging soul while examining ways to improve care. Creative strategies are offered to contribute to the spiritual side of aging while considering every implication and ethical question. The compilation is extensively referenced and includes helpful figures and tables to clearly illustrate data and ideas. Religion, Spirituality, and Aging discusses: the latest social work trends and attitudes toward spirituality prayer, meditation, and acts of altruism as interventions an empirical study of how social workers use religion and spirituality as an intervention ethical considerations and best practices religion and spirituality during long-term care the “Postcards to God” project dreams and their relationship to the search for meaning in later life a spiritual approach to positive aging through autobiography dementia and spirituality creating new rituals for sacred aging spiritual master Henri Nouwen’s principles of aging—and his approaches to caring for older people an interview study on elders’ spirituality and the changes manifested in their views of religion Religion, Spirituality, and Aging is a remarkable reminder that elders are our future selves. This erudite, well-reasoned examination of aging and spirituality from a social work perspective is crucial reading for social workers, human service professionals who work with the aged, and gerontology scholars.

Work as a Spiritual Practice

A Practical Buddhist Approach to Inner Growth and Satisfaction on the Job

Work as a Spiritual Practice

A guide to developing and maintaining a spiritual life on the job, drawn from the teachings and practices of Buddhist tradition. Most people associate Buddhism with developing calmness, kindness, and compassion through meditation. Lewis Richmond's Work as a Spiritual Practice shows us another aspect of Buddhism: the active, engaged side that allows us to find creativity, inspiration, and accomplishment in our work lives. With over forty spiritual exercises that can be practiced in the middle of a busy workday, Work as a Spiritual Practice is based on the principle that "regardless of your rank and title at work, you are always the chief executive of your inner life." Drawn from the author's diverse professional experience—as a Buddhist meditation teacher, business executive, musician, and high-tech entrepreneur—Work as a Spiritual Practice addresses a wide variety of on-the-job problems. Here you'll learn how to: • perform spiritual practices while commuting to and from work • meditate while sitting, walking, or standing—a minute at a time • understand ambition, money, and power from a spiritual perspective Work as a Spiritual Practice is an essential guide for anyone who wants to bring his or her spiritual life and work life together.

Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice

Holy Days and Shabbat

Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice

A fresh and delightful quest to rediscover spiritual meaning for life, focusing on Jewish holy days and Shabbat. Grounded in a context of religious pluralism with careful attention to tradition and cutting-edge developments across the spectrum of Judaism.

Unfinished Conversation

Healing from Suicide and Loss

Unfinished Conversation

Unfinished Conversations is a story of profound grief and the journey to healing that followed. Based on a journal Robert Lesoine kept during the two years following the suicide of his best friend, Unfinished Conversations will help readers through the process of reflecting on and affirming the raw immediacy of survivors’ emotions. Each short chapter focuses on a different aspect of the author’s experience as he transforms his anger and guilt to understanding and forgiveness. Licensed psychotherapist Marilynne Chöphel brings her professional background to Robert Lesoine’s deeply personal story to create an accessible path to self-directed healing based on mindful awareness and sound clinical practices. Readers work through their own grieving and healing process with end-of-chapter exercises and activities. An appendix and website, unfinishedconversation.com, provide additional resources to survivors. The tools and techniques in Unfinished Conversations will help readers release past trauma, honor their relationship with their lost loved one, and find greater perspective, meaning, and well-being in their lives.

The Grace in Aging

Awaken as You Grow Older

The Grace in Aging

Learn to use your later years for awakening and spiritual growth. Encouraging, inspiring, and practical, The Grace in Aging invites all those who have ever experienced spiritual longing to awaken in their twilight years. Since aging, in and of itself, does not lead to spiritual maturity, The Grace in Aging suggests and explores causes and conditions that we can create in our lives, just as we are living them, to allow awakening to unfold -- transforming the predictable sufferings of aging into profound opportunities for growth in clarity, love, compassion, and peace. Kathleen Dowling Singh streamlines vast and complex teachings into skillful means and wise views. Straightforward language and piercing questions bring Singh's teachings into the sharp focus of our own lives; the contemplative nature of each chapter allows for an uncommon depth of inquiry. Examples from our lives and from the chatter in our own minds touch the reader personally, offering the chance to absorb the implications deeply and do the work of freeing his or her own mind. Ecumenical in spirit, tone, and language, Singh offers wisdom from teachers from a variety of spiritual backgrounds: Thich Nhat Hanh, the Apostles, Annie Dillard, and more. Lessening our attachments, decreasing our aversions, unbinding what binds us, we bear witness to the possibility of awakening for all beings. The Grace in Aging offers guidelines for older individuals of any wisdom tradition who wish to awaken before they die; no need for caves or seven-year retreats. This is spiritual practice for the lives we live.