cover image A MONK IN THE WORLD: Cultivating a Spiritual Life

A MONK IN THE WORLD: Cultivating a Spiritual Life

Wayne Teasdale, . . New World Library, $22.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-1-57731-181-2

With his new book, Teasdale (The Mystic Heart), a Catholic lay monk, answers that most pressing of questions for all who look to live in spiritually disciplined ways in the "real world": How then shall we live? Teasdale himself was set to live as a sannyasi—a renunciate—in a Christian ashram in India until his teacher Bede Griffiths, a Benedictine, gently kicked him out, challenging him to be a monk in the world. And so it has been for Teasdale, who teaches and writes in the thick of urban life in Chicago. The author tells of his practical teachers: the homeless of the city, a recent bout with cancer, the need to make a living, the constraints of working within a church he loves but with which he has publicly disagreed. As his examples from life demonstrate, he practices what he preaches about living simply, with compassion and deep respect for the world's religious traditions. The book is on firmest ground when the author recounts his experiences and affectionately describes the persons who have greatly shaped him, from Bede Griffiths to his Uncle John to the Dalai Lama. Concluding chapters are more conceptual than concrete, and suffer from some woolliness. But what Teasdale lacks in precision he makes up for with evident passion and persistence in championing the universal spiritual truths of compassion for sentient beings and mystical higher awareness. (June 19)