Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation, and Health


This groundbreaking primer illuminates contemplative methods that can improve mental and physical health.

Commendation Quotes:
"In this age of dual-career couples, overscheduled children, and 24-7 living, readers will greet "Contemplative Practices in Action" with a deep sigh of relief. This volume provides a highly accessible introduction into the remarkable range of contemplative practices that provide a vital corrective to a hyperfrenetic world -- from centering prayer and passage meditation to Sabbath-keeping, pilgrimage, and dance. Thomas Plante has assembled a gifted team of contributors from diverse backgrounds who write with clinical sensitivity, scientific authority, and deep appreciation for the wisdom contained in the world's religious traditions. Readers will emerge enriched personally and professionally by this wonderful collection of chapters."

Commendation Quotes:
"The genius of this book lies in its ability to mine the depths of both Western and Eastern spiritual traditions, and to integrate those traditions' practices with healing and wholeness."

Commendation Quotes:
""Contemplative Practices in Action "resonated immediately with my artist soul, which is well aware of the hard won mindfulness and elusive quiet space necessary for authentic creation. The breadth of Eastern and Western practices explored in this book examine many of the powerful methods people have used to enter into that soulful 'emptiness' where one discovers truth, hope, forgiveness, peace and, ultimately, the God that waits for us in love. This book suggests an alternative to our modern culture abhoring silence. If the words we speak, the battles we wage, the wisdom we offer, and even the prayers we pray are not born out of the silence of contemplation, we tread precariously close to the brink of darkness. As Blaise Paschal wrote, 'All the evil in the world can be traced to our inability to sit still in a room.' This book is a tremendous gift to our modern culture hungering for silence but often unaware of its need."

Commendation Quotes:
"This is a rare if not precious jewel in the universe of books on spirituality: Rare in focusing on specific spiritual practices with a scientific perspective and precious in offering practices from many religious traditions, all linked in some way to health and well-being. In the 20th century, western cultures in effect abandoned the traditional link of spiritual practices with overall health for a restrictive biomedical model of disease. In doing so the role of positive emotions (e.g., love, faith, hope) in health was greatly hampered. These emotions are proving to be the lifeblood of spirituality. Scratch a spiritual practice and you'll find a positive emotion or two.
Significantly, this book also makes the point that spirituality and religion are not the same thing: spirituality is not theology. The book also dovetails with an expanding view of human experience and consciousness as seen through the lens of neuroscience, ethology and psychology. This book's most significant overall point may be that regular spiritual practices can make substantial differences in how we think, feel and act, especially when we make decisions influencing our relationship with the Divine around and within."

Review Quotes:
"Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers." -

Review Quotes:
"In an overall assessment it is a wonderful book, and is capable of transforming the life of the reader in making life more meaningful, purposeful and joyful, and herein lies the real worth of the book." -
Journal of Psychosocial Research

Review Quotes:
"Overall, I highly recommend this book to practitioners and researchers alike. Practitioners will appreciate the details with which the practices are discussed, while researchers will benefit from the endnotes and the brief discussions of the current state of research for each system. This book is also well-written, cohesively integrated, and a rich source of wisdom for those interested in the intersection of contemplative practices and the fostering of personal well-being."
Practical Matters

Review Quotes:
"In a time full of sensory and information overload, this is a welcome book." -

Review Quotes:
"Thomas Plante, a psychologist who is deeply invested in exploring these issues as the director of the Spirituality and Health Institute of Santa Clara University, has gathered together a noteworthy group of contributors to this volume. . . . This book serves as a useful introduction to a range of practices and contemplative traditions for both practitioners and researchers. Even those familiar with selected contemplative traditions should find distinctive perspectives and valuable material. . . . It begins to address a notable gap in the contemporary literature on both meditation and spirituality and does so in ways that should be valuable for practitioners or researchers in the area of cancer care, despite that not being an explicit focus of the volume. . . . an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to better understand how the historic traditions of contemplative practice, in the service of cultivating personal growth and well-being."

Marc Notes:
Includes bibliographical references and index.

Contemplative practices, from meditation to Zen, are growing in popularity as methods to inspire physical and mental health. "Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation, and Health" offers readers an introduction to these practices and the ways they can be used in the service of well being, wisdom, healing, and stress reduction.
Bringing together various traditions from the East and West, this thought-provoking work summarizes the history of each practice, highlights classic and emerging research proving its power, and details how each practice is performed. Expert authors offer step-by-step approaches to practice methods including the 8-Point Program of Passage Meditation, Centering Prayer, mindful stress management, mantram meditation, energizing meditation, yoga, and Zen. Beneficial practices from Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, and Islamic religions are also featured. Vignettes illustrate each of the practices, while the contributors explain how and why they are effective in facing challenges as varied as the loss of a partner or child, job loss, chronic pain or disease, or psychological disorders.

Review Citations:
Choice 01/01/2011 (EAN 9780313382567, Hardcover)
Reference and Research Bk News 11/01/2010 pg. 15 (EAN 9780313382567, Hardcover)
Contributor Bio: Plante, Thomas G
Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., ABPP, is professor of psychology, director of the Center for Professional Development at Santa Clara University. He is also adjunct clinical associate professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and consulting associate professor in the Stanford University School of Education. Dr. Plante is a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Menlo Park, CA. For more than a decade, he has taught classes in ethics at Santa Clara and Stanford universities and conducted workshops in ethics for psychologists. He is the author of numerous books and professional articles. He conducts research concerning religious faith and health outcomes, the psychological benefits of exercise, and psychological issues among Catholic clergy. Plante has appeared and been featured on CNN, PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer, National Public Radio, and local television news shows as well as in national magazines and newspapers including Time, US News and World Report, USA Today, and Newsweek.

Contributor Bio: Smith, Huston
Huston Smith is internationally known and revered as the premier teacher of world religions. He is the focus of a five-part PBS television series with Bill Moyers and has taught at Washington University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, and the University of California at Berkeley. The recipient of twelve honorary degrees, Smith's fifteen books include his bestselling "The World's Religions", "Why Religion Matters", and his autobiography, "Tales of Wonder".

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