Essential Spirituality

Essential Spirituality: The Seven Central Practices
Essential Spirituality
The Seven Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind

by Roger Walsh.  Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Based on over twenty years of research and spiritual practice, written by a man who is both a spiritual practitioner and award-winning scientist, this is a groundbreaking and life-changing book. For the first time, Essential Spirituality shows how you can apply the seven practices central to all the world’s major religions in your daily life.

In his decades of study, Dr. Roger Walsh has discovered that each of the great spiritual traditions has both a common goal and seven common practices to reach that goal: recognizing the sacred and divine that exist both within and around us. Going beyond Care of the Soul, Essential Spirituality integrates the spiritual principles of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism into one truly rewarding way of life in which kindness, love, joy, peace, vision, wisdom, and generosity become an ever-growing part of everything you do.

Filled with stories, exercises, meditations, myths, case histories, prayers, and practical advice, this extraordinary book has the power to change your life now.

Acclaim for Essential Spirituality

“Energetic, engaged, and occasionally electrifying…Roger is thoroughly grounded in actual spiritual practices, without which any writing on spiritual topics remains anemic and untrustworthy. The field of spiritual books has been looking for its own Lewis Thomas or Carl Sagan, and I believe Roger Walsh may be that one.”
—Ken Wilber, author of One Taste and A Brief History of Everything

“Deceptively simple.  Its power is rooted not only in Dr. Walsh’s formidable intellectual capacity to effectively deal with a vast body of religious literature but in his own deep spiritual practice in a multitude of disciplines over many years.  An important contribution.”
—Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now

“An absolute masterpiece…Essential Spirituality is helpful to both the unseasoned and seasoned seeker.  The writing is deep, simple, and clear yet at the same time poetic and musical.  A must read.”
—Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., author of Love is Letting Go of Fear

Read more praise for Essential Spirituality

The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind

Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D.


Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama


1.    Unveiling the Sacred
2.    Discovering the Seven Practices
3.    Using This Book
4.    Spiritual Practices: What Do They Do and How Do They Do It?

The Seven Practices

Practice One: Transform Motivation: Reduce Craving and Find Your Soul’s Desire

5.    The Secret of Happiness
6.    Exercises to Reduce Craving
7.    Find Your Soul’s Desire: Redirect Motivation
8.    Exercises to Redirect Desires
9.    The Higher Reaches of Desire

Practice Two: Cultivate Emotional Wisdom: Heal the Heart and Learn to Love

10.    The Gift of Love
11.    The Challenge of Difficult Emotions
12.    Reducing Fear and Anger
13.    Cultivate Love and Gratitude
14.    The Higher Reaches of Love

Practice Three: Live Ethically: Feel Good by Doing Good

15.    The Value of Virtue
16.    What is an Ethical Life?
17.    Exercises in Ethical Living
18.    The Higher Reaches of Ethical Life

Practice Four: Rest in Peace: Concentrate and Calm the Mind

19.    Your Meandering Mind
20.    Develop a Peaceful Mind
21.     The Higher Reaches of Concentration and Calm

Practice Five: Awaken Spiritual Vision: See Clearly and Recognize the Sacred In All Things

22.    The Healing Power of Awareness
23.    Exercises in Awareness
24.    Seeing the Sacred in All Things
25.    Exercises in Sacred Seeing
26.    The Higher Reaches of Vision

Practice Six: Cultivate Spiritual Intelligence:  Awakening Wisdom and Understanding Life

27.    What is Wisdom?
28.    Awakening Wisdom
29.    Exercises in Wisdom
30.    The Higher Reaches of Wisdom

Practice Seven: Express Spirit in Action: Generosity and the Joy of Service

31.    The Spirit of Service
32.    Developing a Generous Heart
33.    Exercises in Generosity and Service
34.    The Higher Reaches of Generosity
35.    Enjoy Your Self: Awakened Heart, Awakened Mind

Source Notes
Further Reading