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Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind
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Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  430 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Essential Spirituality beautifully articulates the benefits of spiritual living in the material world.-Dan Millman, author, Everyday Enlightenment and The Way of the Peaceful WarriorDeceptively simple. Its power is rooted not only in Dr. Walsh's formidable intellectual capacity to deal effectively with a vast body of religious literature but in his own deep spiritual pract ...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Wiley (TP) (first published 1999)
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Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I did not want this book to end because each and every time I opened it I got a shot of truth, inspiration, spiritual growth and insights. I was interested in learning the ways the seven major world religions agree on core issues--enough so Dr. Walsh was able to come up with seven practices to transform yourself and benefit others. The exercises are amazing and do transform your thinking, beliefs and philosophy at times. The meditations are widely varied and effective. (This book wiped away my p ...more
Oct 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I know Dr. Walsh personally from my time at UC Irvine. He gave me a copy of this book and I must say... if you want a definitive book on the basics of spiritual growth, this is it. He speaks as a psychiatrist, a professor, an M.D., and a human being. His writing is clear and the entire book flows so easily and quickly. This book and Thich Nhat Hanh's "Peace is Every Step" are easily the foundations of my spiritual practice. ...more
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Something beautiful, and truly astounding to me, happened as a result of one of the meditation exercises from this book.

It was a short meditation focusing on love. It's pleasant, even fun to do, and it gives a peaceful feeling as you bring loved ones to mind, tell them an encouraging message, and visualize them smiling back at you. Anyway, afterwards I blew out a tea light I had lit for the session, and looked at it to find that the pastel green wax had collected much darker around the wick, for
Jul 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
DNF at p. 85, after he describes faith-healing his daughter, although he doesn't call it that. ----- Up to that point I thought it was a good beginner book for seekers of a wider idea of spirituality, as it gave a decent overview of the major concepts & historical thinkers. Then I came upon that bit I mentioned, & I was done. I'd been put off by a lot of references to "God," although they weren't specifically references to the god of any particular religion, but I'd let those go thinking that pe ...more
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Walsh does an excellent job of teasing out 7 practices from the world's religions, describing why they are important and giving exercises that you can do to bring spirituality into your life. I really appreciate the type of practices he suggests as they can fit into your current lifestyle(no need to become a hermit, monk or nun). These are practical practices I plan to include in my life forever. This book has helped me to eat healthier, as I learn to release my addictions. ...more
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a really good one! I liked it more than almost anything I've read from this genre. Walsh does a great job boiling down the world religions to their core ideas and practices. What has been so interesting to me reading stuff like this is how it's so difficult to "control" your mind, or at least learn to grapple with the way it can run off the rails, if you don't also have your heart in it. ...more
Jun 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Explores the sameness of all major religions. We are much more alike than we know.
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an essential book. Written in accessible language, it describes and synthesizes the 7 central practices common to the world’s great religions. The book is inspiring as well as instructional. There is everyday wisdom soaring to Truth on almost every page.

Dr. Roger Walsh conveys these practices with gentle spaciousness. Seen through his lens, (he is a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a seasoned practitioner of these exercises) Walsh seamlessly orchestrates complicated material and illust
Ann Werner
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pivotal. A rite of passage

I do quite a lot of spiritual reading. Few sources have impressed me as deeply as this one.
I especially appreciate how wonderfully referenced it is...replete with citations from so many sacred traditions. Brilliant. ANY reader can come here and be affirmed in one's belief.
Thank you Roger.
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Read this for a book study group. These practices will become part of my daily life I hope. It is clear, well organized and uplifting. I wish I had bought the hard copy instead of Kindle because it's a book one wants to come back to often over time. ...more
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
inspiring, life-changing, motivational and so calming.
May 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind is a good read if you like nonfiction books.
Reviews by Celestina
May 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was totally submerged in the story within the first few minutes.
Tovar ratings
Jun 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The characters cross the generation gap. And, Walsh does as great a job writing characters who are young as he does the older characters.
Jun 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was hooked!
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kimball by: Larry Hansen
4.5 stars. This was a very good book. I would have given it 5 stars but the last quarter of the book wasn't as captivating for me and I couldn't concentrate on it. Need to reread this. I enjoyed the topics of training our minds, self awareness (mindfulness), and knowing ourselves\self acceptance.

Some key points: What we put into our minds is just as important (if not more, I think) as what we put into our mouths. Mediation helps us have greater empathy towards others. Being self aware includes
David Metting
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic book! Essential Spirituality describes 7 "Central Practices" that if practiced with dedication and over time will transform the practitioner. Walsh draws from all of the great world wisdom traditions, sprinkling his book with quotes and stories. One of this book's greatest virtues is its practicality. Anybody can do these practices anywhere, for free, and over time they will gain so much in their personal development. Examples include meditation, mindful eating and working, serv ...more
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
A Dr's perspective on spirituality - secular and lot of common sense good advice

Science and Religion
Science unable to examine subjective experiences, meaning and purpose
Really a war between pseudoscience (materialism) vs pseudo religion (dogmas and manipulated claims)

Becoming dogmatic can turn us into mechanical beings
Story: person asked to deliver electric shocks, will obey and do as told

Awakening of compassion, mental comfort
Clarify awareness
Meditation unveiled
Service to others

7 princip
Illimar Kaasiku
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
„Over time it becomes increasingly obvious that the happiness of others is our own and that to practice for the benefit of all is not a sacrifice but rather a delight. Our spiritual work not only helps us but is, according to Ramana Maharshi, "the best help you can possibly render to others." Our task is simply to do our practice as fully as we can. In this way we gradually learn to awaken ourselves, to love and serve life in all its infinite forms, to see the sacred in all things, and to care f ...more
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love that the author has a background in both science and psychology. This book offers many practical, action-oriented applications to every day human struggles which can help us live a more ethical existence. He pulls theology from all the great religions, but the book is far from religious. It is practical for anyone no matter what your beliefs. It is a very in-depth study on becoming more mindful and conscious in our every day living.
Dave Hood
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book that explains spirituality---not religion. It focuses on identifying seven core spiritual practices that are part of all religions, such as ethics, concentration, wisdom, service, and peace. It also provides the reader with exercises on how to live a spiritual life.
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It helps me a lot

It's a easy reading book that starts with spiritual practices that makes you reflect about your whole life and them set you in the right way to improve every aspect of your daily journey that affects you in some way.
Edward Lewellen
It was okay. I didn't find anything new or enthralling to keep me interested, though, I've been around so much information regarding spirituality and the person within that it's difficult to find anything new. ...more
May 29, 2009 added it
I skimmed this book at the library. I looks like a nice introduction to spiritual practises, but did not resinate with my current needs.
Jun 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Forgiving is the most important bcs of yourself to be free.Find friends who are truthful. Push out mental rubbish.Your body is the castle of your spirit.Be master of your minds, but not slave.
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
A recipe book of things to do when you want to feel more grounded and alert to your surroundings.
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. One of the best books I have read on spirituality. I am so glad I stumbled into this. I am lending it to a friend on Sunday.
Aug 24, 2011 marked it as to-read
Haven't read it yet, but I'm currently taking a meditation course from him on-campus, so I'm looking forward to learning more through his book! ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The intersection of all of the worlds faiths yields seven shared principles. If we could all keep these in our hearts and minds, the world would be a better place.
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. Always a joy to pick up.
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Dr. Roger N. Walsh, MD, Ph.D., is an Australian professor of Psychiatry, Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, within UCI's College of Medicine. Walsh is respected for his views on psychoactive drugs and altered states of consciousness in relation with the religious/spiritual experience, and has been quoted in the m ...more

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43 likes · 16 comments
“Desire by itself is not wrong. It is life itself, the urge to grow in knowledge and experience. It is the choices you make that are wrong. To imagine that some little thing—food, sex, power, fame—will make you happy is to deceive oneself. Only something as vast and deep as your real self can make you truly and lastingly happy. —Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj,” 5 likes
“Life Contains Inevitable Difficulties Life is not only short, but difficult. There are times of great joy, love, triumph, and delight, moments when we are beside ourselves with happiness. But there are also times of inevitable sorrow: of sickness and loss, of grief and despair. There are also incomprehensible amounts of unnecessary sorrow: of senseless oppression and torment, slaughter and suffering. None of us escapes life unscathed. It is crucial to recognize this and not gloss over the inevitable difficulties of life, because “If a way to the Better there be, it exacts a full look at the Worst.” This is why religious scholar Jacob Needleman concluded, from his survey of world religions: The perception of the suffering inherent in the human condition, the perception of man’s inhumanity to man: this moment of awareness has been spoken of in all traditions as a tremendous moment. It is a tremendous moment because it is the recognition of suffering—both ours and the world’s—which gives birth to both compassion and the urge to awaken. These motives propel us to spiritual practice and thereby eventually allow us to escape suffering and to relieve the suffering of others. Our” 3 likes
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