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How Then, Shall We Live?

Four Simple Questions that Reveal the Beauty and Meaning of Our Lives
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Bantam
 | 
May, 1997
ISBN:
9780553375053
In stock now: 
1
$21.00 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

Before his first book, Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood, Wayne Muller’s name was known only by those he gave care to: the cancer patients, the dying, the poor families and juvenile delinquents he’s worked with for over 20 years. Yet his first book, as well as his tapes, touched many hearts.

Every morning and every evening, and whenever anything happens to you, keep on saying, “Thanks for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.” ...

We are thoroughly dependent upon the gifts and labors of others, even for our most basic necessities.... To feel their presence and be thankful for their many gifts to us is to be more accurately aware of our place in this large and generous community of beings.

Can we feel this connection? ... To give thanks for those who serve us is not mere sentimentality—offering a word of grace is both spiritually accurate and necessary.

How, Then, Shall We Live? begins with simple questions: Who am I? What do I love? How shall I live, knowing I will die? What is my gift to the family of the earth? and then radiates out into a wonderful exploration of the weight, the breadth, and the possible answers to these ultimate queries. Hoping to reveal the “spiritual practices we encounter in our daily lives,” Muller has created a book that is a guide to, and a celebration of, life.

Each question is explored through true stories of Wayne’s neighbours, friends, and patients, who have dis­cov­ered love, courage, and kindness even in the midst of sorrow and loss. And through them we glimpse that relentless spark of spiritual magic that burns within each of us.

Acknowledging our sorrow need not diminish our gratefulness. Look at Kenneth lying on the grass, fallen in a heap, his legs paralyzed, his body racked with infection. The sun feels so good on my face, he said. He did not insist he be cured of AIDS before he gave thanks for the warmth of the sun. In that moment he was spacious enough to hold both things that were true: He was dying, and he was grateful. The gratefulness did not eliminate his sorrow, nor did his suffering prevent him from giving thanks.

Gratefulness arises naturally from this fertile balance of honoring both our sorrow and our joy.

Personal and telling accounts of Muller’s experiences with these people are woven with poetry and quotations, until a certain fabric of questioning emerges: the search for answers becomes a delight of moments, feelings, expressions. Each chapter concludes with a meditation or exercise. This one should be read slowly and savoured, with many pauses for reflection on one’s own answers.

The quotations from other writers (some of whom include Rilke, Jack Kornfield, Thich Nhat Hanh, Alice Walker, Mary Oliver, Rumi, Pema Chodron, Elly Hillesum, and e.e. cummings) are lovingly brought to bear on the matter of the moment, and enrich the book beautifully—one feels like one’s in a very loving, conscious community here, and it’s encouraging!

Sometimes we must water the garden. Sometimes we must speak with those we love. Sometimes we must make tea. Sometimes we must be very quiet and pray our most secret prayer. Other times we need to sing “Jingle Bells” and other love songs very loud. Each time we do this, it can be an opportunity to remember what we love and to give thanks for the miraculous gift of an ordinary life.

“What a tender, lovely book! It is the song the strong heart sings to the healing mind. It is filled with grace.” —Stephen Levine, author of Healing into Life and Death and Who Dies?

Wayne Muller’s other offerings are:

·    Legacy of the Heart (book or 2 tapes)

·    Broken Open (tape)

·    Touching the Divine (4 tape album)

Publisher’s Description: 

We all long to experience a sense of inner wholeness and guidance, but today's notions of healing and recovery too often keep us focused on our brokenness, on our deficiencies rather than our strengths. Wayne Muller's luminous new book gently guides us to the place where we are already perfect, already blessed with the wisdom we need to live a life of meaning, purpose and grace.



He starts, as do so many spiritual teachers, with simple questions: Who am I? What do I love? How shall I live, knowing I will die? What is my gift to the family of the earth? He then takes us deeper, exploring each question through transformative true stories. We meet men and women--Wayne's neighbors, friends, patients--who have discovered love, courage, and kindness even in the midst of sorrow and loss. And through them we glimpse that relentless spark of spiritual magic that burns within each of us.



Woven throughout are contemplations, daily practices, poems, and teachings from the great wisdom teachings. Page by page, we become more awake to the joy and mystery of this precious human life, and to the unique gifts every one of us has to offer the world.The bestselling author of "Legacy of the Heart" has written a modern spiritual classic--a guide to the four questions that go straight to the heart of our search for meaning in life. "This is both a book and a healing. These wise, compassionate words will comfort, inspire, and challenge anyone who reads them".--Larry Dossey, M.D., author of "Healing Words".

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