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

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  426 ratings  ·  70 reviews
The bestselling author of Work as a Spiritual Practice presents a new vision of the aging process, awakening a spirit of fulfillment and transformation. Everything changes. For Buddhist priest and meditation teacher Lewis Richmond, this fundamental Buddhist tenet is the basis for a new inner road map that emerges in the later years, charting an understanding that can brin ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Gotham
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Yelda Basar Moers
Buddhist priest and teacher Lewis Richmond is his latest book Aging as a Spiritual Practice begins with what he believes are the four stages of aging. The first stage “Lightning Strikes,” is a realization that we are growing old. The sensation comes out of nowhere, unexpectedly, like a bolt from above. I am only thirty-five years old, but this is exactly what happened to me recently, before I had even been assigned to read this book as a Library Thing Early Reviewer. Naturally, I was drawn to th ...more
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked this, which is really saying something, because I didn't like the audio narration. It was so annoying.

The author is Buddhist. I found his outlook interesting. Some of it felt enlightening and certainly gave me food for thought. But with that being said, some of this had me rolling my eyes as well. So 3 stars.
Joan Winnek
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joan by: Debra Ratner
This book immediately grabbed me with its chapter on lightning strikes. My own lightening strike happened about six months ago, and had several forks.

This is a book to keep and reread for its many insights into aging and the clearest explanation of Buddhism I have found. The writing is engaging, and the contemplative reflections are activities I want to work through, slowly.

Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lot of good ideas here for appreciating every moment of your life. It's written from a Buddhist perspective, but is applicable to any philosophy. The book included lots of stories about people facing their aging and ultimate deaths and had contemplative exercises to do, as well as a schedule for a do it yourself spiritual retreat. One of the concepts I found interesting was vertical time--time as it exists in THIS breath, as opposed to horizontal time--our ordinary time line stretching from ou ...more
John Kaufmann
I originally gave this two-stars, but have upgraded it after re-reading it (i.e., listening to the audiobook.) While not full of gems, it was full of a quiet wisdom. The book also provides numerous mindfulness/meditation exercises, which appear to be tailored to those of us who are aging.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am currently part of a meditation group named from the title of this book and informed by ideas and suggested practices in it. The book is rich and dense. Having just finished reading it and taking notes, I will need to take the time to digest and integrate its perspectives and offerings. I have no doubt that at some point in the near future, I will also reread it, more slowly.
Overall, I am feeling more hopeful about aging, more committed to proceed as gracefully as possible, focused on livin
I was fortunate to win a copy of this book through Goodreads.

This book is a great resource for those of us that are starting to realize we aren't "young" anymore, or at least as young as we used to be. Richmond goes through the different phases of aging, the first of which is "Lightning Strikes" - that first moment you notice things aren't quite what they used to be (a grey hair, creaky knees, kids going off to college, illness, whatever). He uses examples from his personal life and illnesses to
Joann Amidon
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Two things happened this year: my friend, Janet, mentioned Atul Gawande's book, On Being Mortal, and I turned 75. As a result of these two events, I have been reading many books about dying and this book is one of the better ones. It is based on the spiritual and brings to the reader a calm approach to the inevitable. I highly recommend it to anyone who might be feeling unsure about the direction of their life now that they are "retired" and in the final part of their life. The encouragement wit ...more
Linda Robinson
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
The interior of this book is as soft-focus as the exterior picture of the lotus. If you are aging at the same speed the rest of us are, and have not yet made some measure of peace with that, this is the book for you. Richmond handles the inevitability that aging has an end point with Zen calmness, and he shares the feeling with his prose. The book is organized by issues related to getting old, and a reader is free to roam and contemplate. That's how I'll handle the remaining years I have. Roam a ...more
Aug 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Even with a twenty-plus year zen practice, I found useful practice ideas in the book. It should prove more helpful to those without a meditation practice.

Shunryu Suzuki (About dying): "Don't worry. Nothing is going to happen."

Stephen Levine: "Don't worry. Dying is perfectly safe."
Susan Rothenberg
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful book about some of the issues of aging and ways that spiritual practices can help with the transitions along the way. Though Lew is a Buddhist priest, his suggestions are universal.
May 09, 2016 rated it liked it
"The awareness that you are here right now is the ultimate fact."
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aging, technology
I've read several books on spirituality and aging that are influenced by Buddhist teachings, but this one foregrounds Buddhism the most.

Richmond pens essays that explore age-related topics such as role loss, aging bodies, disability, grief, and other losses. He also profiles about a dozen people who are in the second half of life and how they are reinventing themselves to create opportunities. He also quotes a handful of people, chief among them The Dalai Lama and Shunryu Suzuki.

"As the Dalai
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I would give it a 3 1/2. It didn't add a lot of new information on meditation but gave it an interesting twist towards how to apply it to the aging process. Richmond is a Zen Buddhist priest. Most of my reading has been in the Tibetan tradition. He acknowledges the differences. There is a lot of quiet wisdom here for any age. I particularly liked the section on compartmentalization and have found it a useful practice. I also liked the visualization of time. We live in linear time from past to fu ...more
Ronna Jevne & Harold Martin
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Most of my jaunts into the literature about aging is anything but uplifting. L. Richmond invites me to see my aging as a journey to great insight, wisdom, and joy but without pontificating about the "golden years". His emphasis on strengths, enjoyment,, and gratitude are a welcome change. The author brings to the dialogue the essential Buddhist non-judgemental perspectives that tend to be absence for discussions of aging. It is never too late to find our "heart centre". This book is a companion ...more
Melanie Rigney
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book on my 61st birthday. Richmond's examples of struggling with aging... and finding some comfort in faith, regardless of one's tradition... are well told. 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!", gave Richmond as an example, and passed on my copy.
Chris Worthy
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is among several recommended by a friend who is also counselor. It is fantastic. Though the author is Buddhist, he makes clear (correctly so) that the principles are for people of all beliefs. This book is filled with beautiful reminders that I am challenging myself to employ in the second half of life.
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
So this took me a while to read, something that seems to occur with book I know can never "be read" completely, ever. This one really is a series of exercises in mindfulness from an array of perspectives, culminating in the option for a structured "Day Away" with oneself. I will be returning to this, and the star ratings may be increasing!
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aging
Buddhist philosphy made accessible. Relevant to anyone. Practices and suggestions useful to anyone seeking a more mindful, compassionate life. Assumes limited exposure to Buddhist practices prior to reading.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Engagingly written.. strong Buddhist thread, unsurprising since the author is a Buddhist priest. Love the many resources. I'm planning to do all the exercises over the next few months. A treasure!
Bonnie Cowan
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Aging from a generic Buddhist perspective .... some practices to develop ...and how to face mortality with peace and grace ... enjoyed it!
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For Judy Myers Avis's course on Spirituality and Aging. A useful book about letting go of ego and becoming more spiritual as we age. Easy to read. Some interesting stories.
Lucy Galvin
Great title ...
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This had a lot of good ideas about how to approach aging.
Rae Simpson
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael G
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
May all beings be filled with loving kindness.

May all beings be free from distraction.

May all beings be happy and at peace.

May it be so.
Sally Skaar
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well put thoughts, and practical explanations, plus it includes a wonderful day alone (singular retreat) to ritualize where you are now, and where you are headed.
Ariadne Deborah Fassel
I can't say that I gained any new insights from this book, so I guess I must be doing something right already. For those who are not happy with their aging process, it could be very valuable.
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read for a book study at my church
Great reflections and insight
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars
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I am the author of five books, mostly on Buddhist themes related to the workplace, illness, a nd (more recently) aging. In addition to a career as a Buddhist teacher (now retired), I have been a software entrepreneur, musician and composer.

My latest book EVERY BREATH, NEW CHANCES: HOW TO AGE WITH HONOR AND DIGNITIY--A GUIDE FOR MEN is due for release Nov. 2020. Although as the title implies the bo

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“It seems obvious when you think about it. We evolved in nature, and our spiritual feelings of oneness and worship come from nature. All of the world religions were founded in rural settings. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were born in the desert, where the herding of sheep and the cultivation of grain” 1 likes
“At first blush this thought might seem depressing, but the process of transformation—aging and its accomplishments—can be very positive, with new possibilities, fresh beginnings, a wealth of appreciation, and a depth of gratitude that profoundly affects how our lives proceed.” 1 likes
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