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Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A…

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

by Lewis Richmond

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Although Richmond's book approaches aging through a Buddhist's viewpoint, I never felt constricted by that. Rather, this is a user-friendly exploration of the familiar aspects of aging that most people find frightening. Richmond wants his readers to regard their death and the preceding one or two decades in a way that is foreign to Western thinkers. For most of us, it is the prelude to death that frightens us. The aspects of aging such as loss of memory, agility and control of bodily functions become of primary concern. They all signal loss of control of one's existence, independence and identity.

The reality we face as we age is not just the need to confront the changes in our lives, but to face the fact of what Richmond defines as "Irreversible change-for better or worse". It is change in which "there is no going back".
Having recognized that irreversible change is happening to us as we age, we then begin to become aware of and recognize or "truly wake up" to our aging. Richmond refers to this as "Lightning Strikes". Now, he says, we have reached a "tipping point," where we begin to see things as they actually are. Now we can begin to "pay attention". And as we do, we can begin our spiritual life. We can begin to enjoy, focus and reflect on the assets and skills that come with aging. Richmond sees the reader through reviewing their life and encourages a positive assessment of who we are, on a deeper level than we have yet explored.

In addition to the mental exercises, Richmond writes about various activities such as mindfulness of breath, spending time in nature and planning a day away from home and all the old routines. Pick a place, prepare and enjoy. I think my review reveals that there is nothing to be frightened of in Richmond's book, in terms of having religious beliefs thrown at us, or forced down our throats. This is a very gentle approach to a subject that is gracefully handled. Not only is the advice sound, but the writing is artful, in that his stories are entertaining, and they make the point. They are interspersed throughout the book, preventing it from being the pedantic, run-of-the-mill book that we often see in the self-help genre. I highly recommend Lewis Richmond's book, Aging As A Spiritual Practice and look forward to passing it on to a friend. ( )
  mmignano11 | Oct 9, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is basically a book on a Buddhist life style when eventually facing the inevitablility of death. The author intersperses anecdotal events to bolster his theme. The whole book impressed me more as a prosyltizing vehilce than one of immediate practical value. ( )
  Naren559 | Apr 4, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This approach is a Buddhist one, but I don't see it specifically as limited to those who are practising Buddhists, but much more broadly. There is nothing to prevent anyone of any faith from gaining a bit of knowledge or ideas from these chapters on preparing for your second half. This topic is very important to me right now - approaching 60 - and of course several hundred thousand of my closest boomer friends. ( )
  mkbird | Mar 11, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is an excellent book for those with an interest in Buddhist philosophy and wanting to view aging from a Buddhist perspective. Richmond refers to changes in ones thinking caused by a powerful event in one’s life as a lightening strike. This is a good analogy. All aspects of growing old are covered from a Buddhist outlook, including death. Richmond helps one to see aging as a comfortable journey. If one wants a thorough exploration of the aging process through the perspective of Buddhism, this is an excellent book. Since I consider myself a follower of Buddha, I greatly benefited from reading Richmond’s book, Aging as a Spiritual Practice. ( )
  DangerousPurrson | Jan 26, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Aging as a Spiritual Practice provides an alternative view on aging -- as an opportunity to grow -- rather than as something to be feared and avoided. The book is a mix of short essays followed by a meditation or other contemplative "activity".

The book gives the reader much to think about when it comes to growing old. Even the definition of "old" is presented as a challenge to one's thinking. The exercises (meditations and other contemplative activities) were excellent. If taken seriously, these are helpful far beyond the short, well-written stories. While the book does not present anything new to a Buddhist, others should find this book interesting and helpful. (The author is a Buddhist, yet the book would be suitable for anyone.)

I highly recommend this book. ( )
1 vote LMHTWB | Jan 22, 2012 |
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The meditation teacher and best-selling author of Work as a Spiritual Practice outlines a vision of the aging process based on the Buddhist tenet about the inevitability of change, defining four key stages of aging while sharing scientifically based counsel about awareness, adapting and acceptance.… (more)

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