2024 Shalem Picks for Contemplative Resources

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
I’ve enjoyed reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth which clarifies very simply the development of consciousness in human evolution and the role of Ego in undermining higher consciousness. Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr is another book that addresses similar issues as A New Earth but from Rohr’s perspective on our True and False selves. Brace yourself — both books are humbling and have the ring of truth.
– Susan Dillon

How to Walk into a Room: The Art of Knowing When to Stay and When to Walk Away by Emily P. Freeman
My life has been full of chapters and sub-chapters, and discerning when something is ending and something new is beginning hasn’t always been easy. Leaving too soon, staying too long, and starting on the wrong foot can all pose challenges.  Spiritual director Emily P. Freeman explores how we might discern leaving and waiting, and how best to start again.
– Jackson Droney, Director of Operations and Online Learning

“Total Meditation” by Lil’ Jon & Kabir Sehgal
Released in 2024, “Total Meditation” is a new guided meditation album by rapper Lil’ Jon & Kabir Sehgal.  Lil’ Jon may be well known for his high energy music but he uses meditation daily to focus on his own mental and physical health and to find the silence within.  It was really interesting to listen to and I think it may introduce grounding practices to audiences who have never considered them before.
– Sarah Forti, co-director of Crossing the Threshold

Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution by Rainn Wilson
Since his role as Dwight Schrute on the “The Office,” actor Rainn Wilson has been on a mission to find peace and meaning in his own life. He has a podcast also called “Soul Boom” and his TV docu-series, “Geography of Bliss,” takes him around the globe to learn from other cultures how they find happiness and peace in an increasingly anxiety-riddled world. I have loved reading, listening to and watching all three of these. They have given me an outlet to expand my own contemplative and meditative repertoire.
– Tom Sasinowski, Communication Coordinator

Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden by Camille T. Dungy
A beautiful memoir weaving land, community, and environmental justice.
– Leah Rampy, Transforming Community graduate and staff member

Earth and Soul: Reconnecting Amid Climate Chaos by Leah Rampy
Achingly beautiful, Earth and Soul presents a clear-eyed look at our current climate chaos and invites us to go deeply into our souls to find the courage and hope to love and to act.  A must-read for anyone who feels despair about the climate crisis.  This book will energize and transform you.
– Margaret Benefiel, Executive Director

Queering Contemplation: Finding Queerness in the Roots and Future of Contemplative Spirituality by Cassidy Hall
The world of contemplative Christianity has yielded to the same heteronormative, patriarchal, and Eurocentric voices for far too long, many of whom are from centuries before our time and often from experiences disconnected from marginalization, oppression, and what it feels like to be an outsider. Cassidy Hall, an LGBTQIA+ Christian contemplative scholar and podcast host, takes us on a journey to queer the contemplative tradition. For Hall, queering is not solely about identifying as queer or applying queer theory; it is about what is gained by seeing things differently.
– Susan Etherton, Board Member

The Inner Work of Racial Justice by Rhonda Magee
Rhonda Magee outlines the inner work that is essential for the hard work of healing institutionalized racism.  Practical and deep, this book will challenge, ground, and transform you.
-Margaret Benefiel, Executive Director

Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser by Lewis Richmond
There are days I forget (or try to forget) that I’m getting older until…I remember how old my children are, or it takes me longer to remember someone’s age or I don’t bounce out of bed quite as quickly.  So with those reminders, that I am indeed aging, I was intrigued with Lewis Richmond’s book, Aging as a Spiritual Practice. Richmond is a Buddhist priest who tells personal stories and gives practical advice to help us settle into an acceptance of that from which we cannot escape…we get older. I have marked many pages in the book. 
– Christine Jeffrey, Director of Administration

June 06, 2024 by Tom Sasinowski
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