cover image Praying Naked: The Spirituality of Anthony de Mello

Praying Naked: The Spirituality of Anthony de Mello

J. Francis Stroud, , . Doubleday/Image, $12.95 (236pp) ISBN 978-0-385-51314-2

Although the title suggests clothing-optional spirituality, this small book of quotes, stories and how-to lists is really about praying and living just as we are before God. Stroud—director of the Anthony de Mello Spirituality Center at Fordham University and a protégé of the late Jesuit spiritual guide—continues Mello's dedication to spiritual practices of meditation, healthy self-esteem and the pursuit of happiness. Stroud invites readers to slow down and savor life through a variety of spiritual practices designed to increase awareness of God. The book is a stew pot of interesting stories and bold proclamations, such as, "meditation alleviates all addictions." The illustrations on themes of happiness, suffering, emotions and change come from de Mello and Stroud's teachings as well as from traditions as diverse as Buddhism, modern psychology and even contemporary motivational writers and speakers like Tony Robbins, John Bradshaw and Deepak Chopra. The advice devolves at times into banality as Stroud shares aphorisms like "Real people in life don't get hurt. They thrive on everything that happens to them" and "[Y]ou cannot be grateful and fail at the same time." Still, if you're looking for a self-help book informed by a cheery, eclectic spirituality, this is for you. (Sept. 20)