A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life

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9781577314370: A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life

In A Monk in the World, Teasdale explores what Griffiths’ charge has meant for him — to live as a monk outside the monastery, to integrate teachings from the world’s religions with his own Catholic training, to combine his vigorous spiritual practice with the necessities of making a living and pursuing a course of social justice in a big American city—as well as how readers can find their own spiritual path amidst the rigors of everyday life. Along the way, Teasdale explores the real world topics of friendship; time, work, and money; the problem and opportunity of the homeless; a contemplative understanding of suffering; the struggle to promote personal and social change; as well as the as the role of the church and nature in building spiritual understanding.

Building on the success and insights of his first book, The Mystic Heart, Teasdale gives a compelling glimpse of the unique spiritual path he has followed, and how everyone can find their own internal monastery and bring spiritual practice into their busy lives.

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When Brother Wayne Teasdale took the naked plunge into the sacred Kavery River of India and renounced his possessions and former identity to become a Catholic monk, he expected to remain in the nirvanic atmosphere of the Shantivanam monastery. But hours later his teacher turned to him and said that his mission was not to remain in retreat, but rather to go home to America. "Without a doubt there is great value in spirituality that emphasizes and supports withdrawal from society," writes Teasdale. "But in our time, we require a spirituality of intense involvement and radical engagement with the world." By this he means taking on daily tasks, such as "earning a living, paying bills, saving money, getting along with others, being entertained, enjoying a healthy recreation, and learning how to interact with difficult people." At the same time, the monk must not succumb to "greed, indifference, insensitivity, noise, confusion, pettiness, unease, tension, irreverence." Of course, readers quickly catch on that he's describing the collective mission of humankind. A Monk in the World is the book that contemporary seekers yearn for--solid advice on how to live with spiritual values in a modern world. Teasdale covers the nuts and bolts: how to introduce periods of silence and solitude into daily life, cultivate spiritual friendships, create a spiritual workplace, and how to understand and respond to the world's suffering. Such guidance shows Teasdale at his best, a man committed to building a global "interspiritual" movement--where we all become monks in the world, collectively doing the right thing while honoring the many and diverse paths to God. --Gail Hudson

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