Gifts of the Spirit: Living the Wisdom of the Great Religious Traditions

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9780060697020: Gifts of the Spirit: Living the Wisdom of the Great Religious Traditions

Drawing on the wisdom of teacher from the world's great religious traditions, including Robert Thurman, Sharon Salzberg, Ram Dass, Mother Mary Clare Vincent, Joan Halifax, and Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man, Gifts of the Spirit deepens our appreciation of such everyday routines as waking up, eating, and working, as well as the abundant rewards of enjoying music, gardening, walking, and being with others. Vivid descriptions of rituals from around the world help us find new spiritual meaning in life's key passages.

Discover everyday spiritual riches through:

  • Zen arts of cooking and eating

  • Jewwish and Native American coming-of-age rituals

  • Bedouin rules of hospitality and friendship

  • Mindful approached to pregnancy and birth

  • Ancient Christian practices that nurture the dying

  • Shaker philosophies of daily work and craft

  • The Buddhist way to a peaceful night's sleep

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From the Inside Flap:

What if there were a guide book that could teach us to incorporate the wisdom of the great religious traditions into our everyday lives?

That's precisely what authors Philip Zaleski and Paul Kaufman provide in this wonderful book. They reveal how everything we do each day and every major life event can be enriched by adopting a spirit of contemplation. From waking up, eating, and working to simple pleasures including gardening, music, and walking, the authors describe essential spiritual practices that represent centuries of accumulated religious wisdom about how best to live. For instance, with delightful counsel from Dr. Dean Ornish, Sharon Salzberg, Edward Espe Brown, Brother David Steindl-Rast, and Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man, they present practical instruction in the Zen art of mindful cooking and eating, the Jewish practice of blessing, and the Christian grace of thanksgiving and remembrance of God.

Gifts of the Spirit offers and everyday spiritual path that each of us can put into practice. While many of us will remain anchored in one tradition--whether it be Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or other--this book shows that our lives can be enhanced and deepened by encounters with other practices and perspectives, as well as by exploration of the hidden riches of our own tradition. Gifts of the Spirit is a pioneering presentation of the new spiritual path that is now emerging as we become fully aware of the wide variety of religious traditions that can enrich the human spirit.

For the authors, the key is contemplation: an awakened attention in all activities that leads us into greater clarity and lovingkindness. As Daniel Goleman writes in his preface, "At the heart of spiritual traditions are methods for bringing stillness and contemplation into life. In moments of quiet and peace we more readily open ourselves to the spirit; contemplation is the grand pathway to the inner life," Zaleski and Kaufman invite us "to punctuate the day with spiritual practice . . . to break at set intervals from the habitual routine for a moment of contemplation. . . . Your approach may be as simple as saying grace before each meal, pausing for a moment of recollection whenever the phone rings, or a hasty prayer upon arising and before retiring. Try a number of alternatives, until you find ones that meet your needs. The most important thing is to start without delay."

From the Back Cover:

Discover Everyday Spiritual Abundance

A landmark contribution to popular spirituality, Gifts of the Spirit mines the depths of the world's great spiritual traditions to make their riches accessible to each of us. Philip Zaleski and Paul Kaufman show how we can transform the ordinary moments of our days and lives through everyday contemplative practice that endows them with greater meaning, clarity, and joy. Each chapter brings spiritual wisdom and practices, both Eastern and Western, to bear on all the elements of everyday living and life's key passages.

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Zaleski, Philip; Kaufman, Paul
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