cover image It's a Meaningful Life: It Just Takes Practice

It's a Meaningful Life: It Just Takes Practice

Bo Lozoff. Viking Books, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-670-88910-5

Lozoff, whom the Utne Reader has named one of the nation's 100 Spiritual Visionaries, has written a compelling criticism of the anomic era in which we live. In our age, Lozoff writes, we don't take the time to enjoy everyday pleasures, such as having dinner with family or watching the sun set. ""Our civilization,"" he writes, ""is in serious trouble"": consumerism runs rampant, and people are increasingly estranged from one another. It is his contention that integrating simple spiritual practices into our daily lives can help make life more satisfying and meaningful. Lozoff does not prescribe certain spiritual practices that he thinks every person ought to undertake. Rather, drawing on a wealth of traditions from Tibetan Buddhism to Hasidic Judaism, the author presents an appealing pastiche of practices from prayers to breathing exercises. Readers will learn about classic mantras (Om mani padme hum, the Tibetan Mantra of Compassion and the Jesus Prayer) and more contemporary ones, such as ""No hard feelings."" But Lozoff's daily practices are not limited to the obviously spiritual--in his discussion of ""living simply,"" he urges readers to get out of debt, to give away an old book when they buy a new one and to eat more home cooking. Books on how to invest life with spirituality are a dime a dozen, but Lozoff's thoroughgoing and trenchant criticism of contemporary society helps his cry for simplicity stand out in the crowd. (Mar.)