Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics

Ordinary People as Monks & Mystics book cover

“A hidden gem of a book…One is blessed in finding it.”
– Body, Mind and Spirit.

“…She is at home with Zen masters, Thomas Merton, modern psychologists and medieval mystics. As a Campus Minister, I find this book very helpful.”
– Fr. Benedict Auer, O.S.B., St. Martin’s College

Professor, History of Spirituality

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Excerpts from Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics

Edited, from the Introduction:

“My research began several years ago [i.e.,1980] when my own inclination and interest made me pull away from the way I saw most people living, in favor of a more solitary, silent, reflective way of life. Although it isn’t my purpose to describe my own experience in this book, every book is in some sense autobiographical, and surely this one is no exception. In a very real sense, I am one of the subjects I studied….

…There was nothing sophisticated about my methodology, quite the reverse – I call it communication, pure and simple. I was willing to talk to anyone (through a written survey first and later – if the survey response proved interesting to me, and if the others were willing -through… a face-to-face or teleconference discussion, if they lived far away.

Although I come across many self-actualizing adults in my professional life, I wanted to interview those who had pulled away physically as well as perceptually from conventional life… At best, such tendencies are the high points of contemplation, the “let-it-be” attitude of non-doing which we read about in mystic and especially in Zen literature. At worse, pulling away can be a sign of an inability to function – at any time!.”