Taking It Home
These UU-friendly resources can be helpful as you continue to grow in spiritual practice.
Addison, Howard A. Show Me Your Way: The Complete Guide to Exploring Interfaith Spiritual Direction. Skylight Paths Publishing, 2000. Rabbi Addison, who received spiritual direction from Catholic sisters and who studied with the ecumenical Shalem Institute, provides one of the few books on spiritual direction that truly comes from an interfaith perspective.
Alexander, Scott W., ed. Everyday Spiritual Practice: Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life. Skinner House Books, 1999. An anthology of writings by nearly forty Unitarian Universalist clergy and laity describing the varied spiritual practices that they themselves use to "tend the garden of their souls"—from reading scripture to running, family time to fasting. There is nothing else on the shelves with this breadth.
Andrew, Elizabeth. Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir. Skinner House Books, 2005. Readers will discover how to construct a well-crafted spiritual memoir—one that honors the author's interior, sacred story and is at the same time accessible to others. Provides practical advice on how to overcome writing obstacles and work through drafts.
Arnason, Wayne, and Kathleen Rolenz. Worship That Works: Theory and Practice for Unitarian Universalists. Skinner House Books, 2007. A guidebook for revitalizing our worship life. Provides practical, specific advice to improve the key elements of the service and increase the spiritual resonance of worship through symbols, music, cultural sensitivity, inclusion, and more.
Bass, Dorothy C., ed. Practicing Our Faith: A Way of L ife for a Searching People. Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998. This book contains twelve essays looking at practices ranging from "honoring the body" to "household economics" to "forgiveness" to "dying well" to "singing our lives."
Beach, George Kimmich. Questions for the Religious Journey: Finding Your Own Path. Skinner House Books, 2002. Based on the belief that "an authentic religion is a questioning religion," this book offers tools for religious introspection. Useful as a starting point and as a resource to revisit as our perspectives shift.
Bowens-Wheatley, Marjorie, and Nancy Palmer Jones, eds. Soul Work: Anti-racist Theologies in Dialogue. Skinner House Books, 2002. Papers and discussion transcripts from the UUA Consultation on Theology and Racism held in Boston in January 2001. Addresses such questions as: What theological or philosophical beliefs bind us together in our shared struggle against racism? What are the costs of racism, both for the oppressors and the oppressed?
Brussat, Frederic, and Mary Ann Brussat. Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life. Touchstone, 1998. Attempting to answer the question of how to live a spiritual life each day, the Brussats present over 650 readings about daily life from present-day authors—spiritual teachers, essayists, novelists, filmmakers, poets, naturalists, and social activists. They also introduce their "spiritual alphabet"—from "attention" to "zeal."
Collins-Ranadive, Gail. Finding the Voice Inside: Writing as a Spiritual Quest for Women. Skinner House Books, 2002. Forty practical yet imaginative writing exercises invite women to explore their uniquely feminine spirituality. Includes writing samples, resources, and suggestions for tailoring the exercises to group and individual use.
DelBene, Ron. The Breath of Life: A Simple Way to Pray. Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2005. The first of three books in the "Breath of Life" series, this one explores and explains the powerful practice of "breath prayer." (The other two books in the series are The Hunger of the Heart and Alone with God.)
DePew, Alfred. Wild & Woolly: A Journal Keeper's Handbook. Dog Star Press, 2004. A marvelously enjoyable book on journaling for those who might never consider keeping a journal.
Ford, James Ishmael. In This Very Moment: A Simple Guide to Zen Buddhism. Skinner House Books, 2002. The history, philosophy, and practice of Zen for beginners. Includes illustrative stories from Zen masters, helpful discussion of the different schools of Buddhist thought, instruction for sitting shikantaza (sitting Zen), and suggestions for newcomers.
Fowler, James W. Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning. HarperOne, 1995. A classic look at faith development as an evolution through predictable stages.
Henry, Gray, and Susannah Marriott. Beads of Faith: Pathways to Meditation and Spirituality Using Rosaries, Prayer Beads and Sacred Words. Carroll & Brown, 2003. A beautifully illustrated book, Beads of Faith provides a look at prayer bead rituals from around the world and gives a flavor of these practices.
LeShan, Lawrence. How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery. Little, Brown and Company, 1999. A classic in the field, this was one of the first books to seek to articulate a "core teaching" of meditative technique, removed from the culture conditioning of any specific religious tradition.
Loori, John Daido. The Eight Gates of Zen: A Program of Zen Training. Shambhala, 2002. This book explores in detail the "eight gates" that provide the foundation upon which are built the "eight spheres" explored in this workshop series.
Montley, Patricia. In Nature's Honor: Myths and Rituals Celebrating the Earth. Skinner Artfully and thoroughly explores the eight solar holidays that mark the turning of the Wheel of the Year. Includes seasonal activities for individuals, families, and small-group worship, plus formal celebrations for congregations and classrooms.
Nieuwejaar, Jeanne Harrison. The Gift of Faith: Tending the Spiritual Lives of Children. 2nd ed. Skinner House Books, 2003. Drawing from her personal stories and experiences, the author encourages parents to communicate their beliefs in words and in actions and to become part of a religious community that supports these beliefs. She offers ways to foster spiritual awareness in the home and includes practices for marking the many events in children's lives as religious occasions.
Nhat Hanh, Thich. The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation. Beacon Press, 1999. Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese poet, Buddhist monk, and peace activist, has become one of the major communicators of Buddhism to the West. This book is a clear and concise guide to a number of different meditation practices.
Nhat Hanh, Thich. Present Moment Wonderful Moment: Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living. 2nd ed. Parallax Press, 2006. English translations (with commentary) of the gathas—short verses to help one practice mindfulness—used in Nhat Hanh's Vietnamese Buddhist tradition. This collection provides an excellent introduction to gatha practice, demonstrating the way one can make the most ordinary of daily activities into opportunities for mindfulness.
Richardson, Peter Tufts. Four Spiritualities: Expressions of Self, Expressions of Spirit. Davies-Black Publishing, 1996. In a very readable book, Richardson brings together insights from diverse spiritual traditions and modern psychology to explore the four primary spiritual paths, offering the reader the opportunity to discover his/her own authentic spirituality.
Smith, Martin L. The Word Is Very Near You: A Guide to Praying with Scripture. Cowley Publications, 1989. A very readable introduction to the history and modern expression of lectio divina, or "divine reading." Smith also includes scripture for meditation, grouping his selections into 30 themes.
Sonsino, Rifat. Six Jewish Spiritual Paths: A Rationalist Looks at Spirituality. Jewish Lights Publishing, 2002. An exploration of six paths within the Jewish tradition that offer growth for the spirit.
Washington, James Melvin, ed. Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans. HarperPerennial, 1995. This collection—stretching from the 1700s through the 1990s—demonstrates the power and the poignancy of a voice that has often been silenced.
Wheatley, Margaret J. Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2002. This wonderful book explores the power of simple conversation. The first half reminds us why this is so important; the second offers ten "conversation starters."
Wikstrom, Erik Walker. Simply Pray: A Modern Spiritual Practice to Deepen Your Life. Skinner House Books, 2005. Offers fresh answers to the age-old question, "Why pray?" and demonstrates how to create and use a prayer-bead practice of your own making.
Wiley, Eleanor, and Maggie Oman Shannon. A String and a Prayer: How to Make and Use Prayer Beads. Red Wheel, 2002. Another book looking at the history of beads as a tool for prayer and meditation. Includes a section on how to create your own bead practice—whether for the start of a new day, to memorialize a life, to celebrate a marriage, or to honor religious or political leaders.
The Council on Spiritual Practices—A collaboration among spiritual guides, experts in the behavioral and biomedical sciences, and scholars of religion, dedicated to making direct experience of the sacred more available to more people.
Spirituality and Practice—Created by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, authors of Spiritual Literacy, this site is an eclectic and useful resource.
The Harmony Project—A peace initiative founded by an interfaith minister, the goal of which is "to provide a learning platform for those who wish to grow stronger in the practice and demonstration of their own faith while honoring and appreciating the sacred in other spiritual paths."
World Prayers—A multicultural collection of prayers categorized as Adorations, Celebrations, Invocations, and Meditations. A unique feature is the "prayer wheel" that you can spin to randomly select a prayer.
Holy Counting Beads—Provides information on Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Baha'i use of beads.
WorshipWeb—A helpful online resource for Unitarian Universalists that covers everything from worship theory to readings for specific times in a service.
Unitarian Universalist Spiritual Directors' Network—A loose association of Unitarian Universalist clergy and laity who provide spiritual direction to others.
Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation—One of the leading trainers of ecumenical spiritual directors, the Shalem Institute maintains a geographical list of directors to aid the search for one.
Links to Contemplative Spirituality Texts—This page on the Shalem Institute's website provides a plethora of possibilities for further searching.