Synopses & Reviews
"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.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -414) and index.
About the Author
Elizabeth Lesser is the cofounder and senior adviser of Omega Institute (Rhinebeck, New York), recognized internationally for its workshops and professional training in holistic health, psychology, and cross-cultural arts and religion. Since 1977, when Omega was founded, she has helped direct the institute's organization, research and develop its programs, and train its staff. She has also been privileged to study and teach with leading thinkers and practitioners in the fields of human development and spiritual growth. Prior to her work at Omega, she was a midwife and childbirth educator. She attended Barnard College and San Francisco State University. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her family.