A Spirituality for Brokenness: Discovering Your Deepest Self in Difficult Times

A Spirituality for Brokenness: Discovering Your Deepest Self in Difficult Times

by Terry Taylor


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A gentle, clear guide to finding hope and help in troubled days.

"When you begin to understand what brokenness means, you will be armed with information that empowers you to take the steps that can turn your leaden feelings into opportunities for health and happiness. When you can accept (and perhaps even celebrate) your brokenness, you can cease your endless search for 'healing' and get on with your life, scars and all."
—from Chapter 1

We each have broken areas of our lives. Whether from things that happen to us or as consequences of our own choices, there are times and situations where our very souls feel fractured.

With wisdom and profound personal experience, Terry Taylor guides you through a compassionate yet highly practical process of facing, accepting, and finally integrating your brokenness into your life—a process that can ultimately bring mending. He offers a clear-eyed, kindhearted method based on teachings and practices from many religious traditions, including:

  • Ancient Christian practice of Lectio Divina to face our brokenness
  • Tibetan practice of tonglen to generate compassion for ourselves
  • Jewish tradition of Sabbath-keeping to give us the space we need to mend
  • Muslim practice of hajj—pilgrimage—to bring the journey full circle

No matter your faith tradition, you will find lovingkindness and wise counsel in this useful, step-by-step guide to transforming these moments of supreme vulnerability into opportunities for reflection and spiritual growth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594732294
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 03/01/2009
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 2.36(w) x 3.54(h) x 0.44(d)

About the Author

Terry Taylor leads workshops on the spirituality of brokenness and is a frequent commentator for public radio and other media on topics related to spirituality, peace, and justice. He is executive director of Interfaith Paths to Peace, an organization dedicated to fostering interreligious dialogue. Terry is available for speaking engagements, and to lead retreats or conferences. For details, visit his website: www.helpforbrokenness.com.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Emotional First Aid Frances E. Englander 7

1 What Does It Mean To Be Broken? 11

An Encounter with Brokenness 11

The Root of Brokenness 13

Mending, Not Healing 15

The Long, Perfect Loveliness of You 18

2 Sabbath: Recognizing Your Brokenness 21

The Most Important Step: Doing Nothing 21

Getting Away from the Screech of Dissonant Days 23

The Benefits of Doing Nothing 24

Taking a Daily Sabbath 25

A Word of Caution 29

Taking a Weekly Sabbath 30

Taking a Longer Sabbatical 32

3 Maitri And Tonglen: Having Compassion For Your Brokenness 35

When You Do Nothing, Dark Things Begin to Appear 35

Making Friends with Yourself 36

Preparing to Practice 39

The Practice of Maitri 41

Leaning into the Pain 43

The Practice of Tonglen 44

Giving Tonglen a Try 47

Using Sabbath, Maitri, and Tonglen Together 49

4 Lectio Divina: Understanding Your Brokenness 51

The Power of Story 51

Traditional Lectio Divina 53

Bringing Lectio Divina to Brokenness 57

Bringing Lectio Divina to Your Story 62

Taking Lectio Divina One Step Further 66

The Impact of Lectio Divina 68

5 Pilgrimage: Finding Meaning In Your Brokenness 71

Why Go on a Pilgrimage? 71

The Power of Hajj 73

A Failed Hajj 75

Stages of a Pilgrimage 78

A Successful Hajj 81

Hajj Alternatives 86

Facing the Proverbial Dragon 91

6 Labyrinth: Moving On With Your Brokenness 93

An Ancient Practice 93

A Symbol for the Journey 95

A Practical Method for Walking a Labyrinth 100

Labyrinth Alternatives and Suggestions 104

A Sacramental Journey to Hidden Wholeness 106

7 The Yoga Of Creativity: Transcending Your Brokenness109

Turning Lead into Gold 109

Developing a Sustainable Spiritual Path 111

The Gifts of Creative Expression 112

Creativity as a Spiritual Practice 116

Making Creativity into a Personal Yoga 123

The Discipline of a Spiritual Practice 125

Turning Wounds into Light 127

8 The "Third Jewel": Sharing Your Brokenness 129

The Importance of Community 129

Connecting to Community 133

Considering Your Community Experience 136

Sangha as a Spiritual Practice 139

Afterword 143

Additional Resources 149

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