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  1. Spirituality | Community For Conscious Aging
  2. Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser
  3. Aging as a Spiritual Practice
  4. A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. I devoured this book on my 61st birthday. Richmond's examples of struggling with aging I met the next day with a Trappist monk about my age who noted that our generation in some ways is forging new ground, as many of the wise spiritual writers were dead by the time they were our age. He said he wondered why no one is writing about this. I said, "There is! I borrowed this book from my library and liked it so much that I bought a copy on Amazon. There are exercises at the end of each chapter that lend themselves to working alone or in a group.

I'm going to be offering a group on aging at my Unitarian congregation and will use this book as a guide for discussion. I bought this book for my mother who will turn 91 in April.

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Last July, she sustained a mini-stroke and has become a little more frail and more fearful. I wanted to give her something meaningful for this Chinese New Year of the Horse, because I felt, if she made it through the Year of the Snake, her opposite , she would be fine and she has. My mother is not spiritual, nor religious by usual terms.

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But she found this book engaging and can relate to what Lewis Richmond says and knows about aging. It's a plus that he only lives an hour away so if she wanted, she could attend his seminars which could then inspire her even more. Thank you, Lewis Richmond for bringing your wisdom to the light for so many people. I will get a copy of my own as I too, have begun reading a few pages via Amazon's open book previews.

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. No matter what your spiritual focus, religious affiliation, or philosophical leaning, this book provides ancient counsel for modern issues. Having reached the ripe old age of 67 anyway, despite the current focus on youth and beauty and fighting aging at all costs, Lewis Richmond reminds me that oops, surprise!

I am going to get old and die anyway.

I would recommend this book to everyone who plans on growing older. Yes, this means you! A loving roadmap to growing older gratefully and gracefully; NOT an easy endeavor but a must if one is to accept, enjoy, live and continue learning as the inevitability of aging comes to us. Wise and peaceful. This is the kind of book I want to give to everyone I know of a certain age. It is spiritual, practical and gives you the tools needed to consciously age and accept the process in this culture that teaches we can defy age.

It's a very accessible book and although the author writes from a Buddhist perspective no matter what religious tradition or even if you have none at all you will benefit. Love this book!!


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This book was recommended to me by a good friend, who practices meditation and yoga daily, at the time of my retirement. My husband read it before me, and encouraged me to read it. I have relished every idea and suggestion for practice in my daily life. Midway through I sent recommendations to several close friends and family. I feel such gratitude for this author and book, so perfectly timed in my life. Order this Item. Add to Wishlist. Lewis Richmond is a Zen Buddhist priest and meditation teacher whose three previous books include the national bestseller "Work as a Spiritual Practice.

Opposite Ponsonby Central. System by Circle. Toggle navigation The Women's Bookshop. Search for books. This emphasis mirrors the consumer culture which advertises these remedies to older people, who then internalize the message that it is important to stay and look young as long as possible. So it is natural to fear these things, but it is also possible to courageously face up to them and not let them have the last word. Each adversity brings opportunity, each fear offers gifts.

Spirituality | Community For Conscious Aging

I try to strike that balance in the book. In the book I cite a large research study concluding that on the whole people in their fifties and sixties are less stressed than people in their thirties. The study of , people was adjusted for socio-economic status, finances, gender, race, religion and many other things, so this result is real.

Why, the researchers asked? They had no firm answer, but they suspected that it was because people who have lived longer have more experience dealing with adversity.


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Life experience is a hard-won treasure; there is no shortcut to it. My own respondents cited many other benefits—freedom to wear what they wanted, grandchildren, travel, pursuing long-deferred dreams, giving back to community.

Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser

I would add to this list the perspective to contemplate spiritual values and the deep meaning of it all. Be who you are. Friendships of long standing are a powerful bastion against the facile opinions of a youth-obsessed society. There is a good deal of scientific research about this which I cite in my book. Optimism turns out to be somewhat genetically pre-determined, but it can also be cultivated, even by lifelong pessimists. To some extent the Buddhist-oriented contemplative exercises I offer in the book are partly a means to cultivate optimism.

Or more deeply, rather than dwelling on the losses of aging, focus on its fresh opportunities. I interviewed many professionals—doctors, nurses, geriatric specialists, psychiatrists—who make this approach the main focus of therapy for their elderly patients.

Aging as a Spiritual Practice

They tell me it really works. In other words, elderhood is designed to awaken in us at the very time we and our community need it. I think the wisdom aspect of all religions—Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and others—come out of this lore of elderhood, passed down through innumerable generations. At one time the community recognized elderhood in all its facets and honored it. Now each of us has more responsibility to create our own domain of elderhood.

Aging means, first and foremost, the growing awareness that our time is limited, that everything we love and care about, including our precious selves, is destined to pass away. One of the main things Buddhism teachers is that this need not be a depressing realization. Aging is also a time for a more patient, quiet life—a natural environment for a spiritual and contemplative attitude.

A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser

I had cancer when I was 36, and a brain infection at 52 which no doctor thought I could survive. From a medical point of view I am a walking miracle. I still wake up every morning with a sense that I am lucky to be here at all. That is the great gift of my otherwise terrible illnesses. Another gift is how I can help others who are ill; they come to me and consult me simply because I have been there. These days I do not fear death. For two weeks I was in a death coma, though I was aware and conscious inside my head.

I had no fear there.