The New American Spirituality: A Seeker's Guide

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9780375500107: The New American Spirituality: A Seeker's Guide

"Elizabeth Lesser offers up a rich cornucopia of lessons for the soul in The New American Spirituality, a warm and fascinating account of a modern pilgrimage."  
               --Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of Emotional Intelligence

In the crowded field of books dealing with spirituality, psychology, and religion, what has been missing is a comprehensive, authoritative guide to the many choices facing spiritual seekers today. The New American Spirituality fills that need. This encouraging, empowering "user's manual" for the soul teaches you how to chart a unique and personal path through the diverse landscapes of the American spiritual quest.
    
In 1977, Lesser cofounded the Omega Institute, now America's largest adult-education center focusing on wellness and spirituality. Working with many of the eminent thinkers and practitioners of our times in the fields of religion, psychology, mysticism, science, and healing, Lesser found that the hunger for a spiritual life can be satisfied by a rich blend of the world's wisdom traditions. In The New American Spirituality she synthesizes the lessons she has learned from different belief systems, and intertwines them with illuminating stories from her life as a seeker, teacher, daughter, wife, and mother. She answers pertinent questions--how do you determine what is right for you from the many strains of the modern spiritual search? how do you assess a teacher or practice? how can you gauge your progress?--while warning of the tendency to miss out on real growth by merely dabbling in the latest fads. Recounting her own trials and errors and offering meditative exercises as well as references to some of the world's great spiritual teachers, Lesser provides directions through the four landscapes of the spiritual journey:

  the mind: developing awareness, learning meditation, easing stress and anxiety

  the heart: finding what one really loves, dealing with grief and loss, becoming fully alive

  the body: returning the body to the spiritual fold, healing, coping with aging and the fear of death

  the soul: naming God for ourselves, exploring other realms of consciousness, trusting the mysterious nature of the universe, developing compassion and forgiveness

Warm, accessible, and wise, The New American Spirituality is a cross-disciplinary sourcebook for the millions of Americans who, whether or not they participate in an organized religion, wish to incorporate a more meaningful, joyful, and individualized spirituality into their daily lives.

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Review:

Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of the Omega Institute, speaks to America's cross-pollination of religious, psychological, metaphysical, and ancient traditions that have flowered into contemporary spirituality. Like many seekers, Lesser has discovered a deeply personal religious path--one that wandered through Zen Buddhist monasteries, meandered through Christian churches, dabbled in African and Native American traditions, and expanded into the teachings of the Great Mother. Using her own journey as the road map, Lesser discusses why so many Americans are coming to a deeply personal form of religion--one that does not prescribe to a specific doctrine or definition of God.

Although she expertly performs the role of memoirist and observer, Lesser has stretched this book into a useful tool for all seekers. She offers numerous suggestions, such as how to listen to your body, increase your spiritual bank account, "live the questions" rather than "seek the answers," and create a supportive community. This is a moving workbook for anyone who's hoping to find, claim, or simply maintain their spiritual truths. --Gail Hudson

Book Description:

Shares guidelines & practices to help listeners make choices amid the many spiritual paths open to them today. Includes a complete session of useful exercises & meditations

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Lesser, Elizabeth
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