A Devotional Toolkit for Times of Crisis
Practices from the World's Religions
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Devotion is a many splendored thing. It bursts forth from a believer's love for and deep dependence upon God. Or it simply acknowledges that there is something greater than ourselves some harmony, some consciousness, some unity operating in the universe.
During times of crisis, many people feel the need to vary and expand their repertoire of devotional practices. This “toolkit” consists of a wide variety of methods used by the world’s spiritual traditions with links to full reviews of the resources that describe them.
The Power of Affirmative Faith by Bruce G. Epperly contains 28 daily affirmations of faith for Christians to use in their ever-evolving life in the Spirit.
The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons from an American Sensei by George Leonard uses colorful anecdotes and thoughtful philosophy to explain this martial art that enhances composure, harmony, self-sufficiency, and spiritual centeredness.
Altars Made Easy: A Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Sacred Space by Peg Streep is the definitive handbook on setting up a sacred place in your home, garden, or office as an oasis of silence, centering, and creativity.
Body Guards: Protective Amulets and Charms by Desmond Morris is a beautifully photographed volume filled with descriptions of the protective powers associated with certain religious objects, rocks, plants, and animals.
Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils by Gabriel Mojay explores 40 oils that have been known to regulate and relax, settle the mind, boost morale, help one achieve clarity, uplift the spirit, and enhance love.
Freeing the Creative Spirit: Drawing on the Power of Art to Tap the Magic & Wisdom Within by Adriana Diaz demonstrates how the art we create can tap inner feelings, playful energy, and the Divine within us.
Blessing: The Art and the Practice by David Spangler outlines a variety of ways to integrate this spiritual art into everyday life as an expression of gratitude, reverence, and connection with others.
T'ai Chi as a Path of Wisdom by Linda Myoki Lehrhaupt is a paean to this Taoist spiritual practice of body movements, stillness, balance, and beauty.
Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind and Body Harmony by H. E. Davey demonstrates the way of calligraphy and explores the close connection between art, meditation, and self-mastery.
Chanting: Discovering Spirit in Sound by Robert Gass and Kathleen Brehony is an excellent overview of this ancient practice used in many traditions for prayer, meditation, and as a means of discovering Spirit.
Sacred Circles: A Guide to Creating Your Own Women's Spirituality Group by Robin Deen Carnes and Sally Craig explores this popular expression of women's spirituality and offers insights into ways to set up a group for storytelling, rituals, and discussion.
Grace at This Time: Praying the Daily Office by C. W. McPherson is a devotional guide to this cornerstone of Anglican spirituality, which is regarded as a conversation with God.
Sweat Your Prayers: Movement as Spiritual Practice by Gabrielle Roth demonstrates five major rhythms that draw out the dancer within us and actualize the sexual, creative, and sacred aspects of soul.
Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson is a book and 53-card set that is based upon Native American wisdom about the spiritual lessons that can be learned from animal stories.
Dream Gates by Robert Moss is a six-cassette, nine-hour audio workshop on ways to enhance your recall and to use dreams for guidance and creativity in your daily life.
The Heart of the Circle: A Guide to Drumming by Holly Blue Hawkins is a fine manual on drumming as a vehicle for spiritual development that has an essential role in many rituals and ceremonies.
Essential Feng Shui: A Step-by-Step Guide to Enhancing Your Relationships, Health, and Prosperity by Lillian Too explains ways to tap into auspicious energies in the environment of your home and office.
Plum Village Chanting and Recitation Book by Thich Nhat Hanh is an invaluable devotional resource that draws together the verses, chants, ceremonies, and gathas used regularly by the monks, nuns, and laypeople of Plum Village, a monastery and lay practice center in Southeastern France.
Guru Yoga: An Oral Teaching by Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche translated by Matthieu Ricard examines ancient Tibetan teachings on the relationship between a master and a disciple with commentary on the four empowerments that ensue.
The Haiku Box by Lonnie Hull DuPont contains word tiles, a blank journal, and a paperback book describing the essential features of this Japanese art form.
Praying With Icons by Jim Forest provides a succinct and profound overview of this revered art form that is used in the Eastern Orthodox tradition as a visual meditation and an aid to worship.
Dr. Judith Orloff's Guide to Intuitive Healing: Five Steps to Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Wellness by Judith Orloff explores ways of tapping this invaluable resource that she puts together under an umbrella of dreams, gut feelings, and imagination.
Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest by Christina Baldwin suggests ways this practice can become a tool for self-exploration and personal renewal.
Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool by Lauren Artress shows how this form, which dates back to ancient times, is now being used as a walking meditation tool, a pathway to soul, and a means of accessing intuition and creativity.
Lectio Divina: The Ancient Practice of Praying the Scriptures by M. Basil Pennington explores this Christian practice of reading the Scriptures slowly and deliberately with the intention of listening to how God speaks through them.
Healing Mantras: Using Sound Affirmations for Personal Power, Creativity, and Healing by Thomas Ashley-Farrand presents 50 chants in Sanskrit associated with removing obstacles, mastering fear, and cultivating self-empowerment.
Milagros: A Book of Miracles by Helen Thompson and Paddy Bruce is a wonderful little book explaining the traditional Mexican talismans that have been used for centuries as petitions for divine assistance or as offerings of thanks for blessings received.
Healing Mudras: Yoga for Your Hands by Sabrina Mesko draws out the meaning of these hand gestures and notes how they are related to meditation practices, yoga, the chakras, mantras, and colors.
Sounding the Inner Landscape: Music as Medicine by Kay Gardner reveals the devotional aspects of music as droning, toning, mantra, and chant.
When the Oracles Speak by Dianne Skafte explores ways in which individuals can receive "guidance, knowledge, or illumination from a mysterious source beyond the personal self."
The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred by Phil Cousineau is the quintessential traveling companion that unfolds the various stages of this type of sacred journey.
The Prayer Bead Box by Manuela Dunn Mascetti and Priya Hemenway contains a little book that traces the history and uses of prayer beads plus a string of 108 sandalwood beads in a velvet sachet.
Living Prayer by Robert Benson contains a superb chapter on the significance of his prayer rug, which doubles as a picnic rug and mat for the celebration of the Eucharist.
Wheel of Great Compassion: The Practice of the Prayer Wheel in Tibetan Buddhism edited by Lorne Ladner contains a useful overview of this practice that is designed to help individuals purify negativity, collect virtue, and move forward on the path of enlightenment.
A Place for God: A Guide to Spiritual Retreats and Retreat Centers by Timothy Jones examines this devotional experience and includes information on more than 250 retreat centers where people have savored silence and gone on inward adventures.
The Seeker's Guide to the Rosary by Liz Kelly examines the history, meaning, and practice of this discipline whose purpose is to cultivate a deeper love of God.
The Rule of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist by the North American Congregation presents a structure for other Christian communities and groups who want to formally state their vision, life, and practice.
Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller gives many examples and spiritual exercises to demonstrate how Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others have created sanctuaries in time for devotional activities.
Signatures of Grace: Catholic Writers on the Sacraments edited by Thomas Grady and Paula Huston contains seven essays that celebrate the aesthetic and theological impact of the seven Catholic sacraments.
Create Your Personal Sacred Text: Develop and Celebrate Your Spiritual Life by Bobbi L. Parish suggests resources to use from the world's religions, devotional writing, essays, poetry, hymns and songs, and much more.
All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time by Robert Ellsberg contains inspirational material on the lives and legacies of 365 saints who can be embraced as part of our spiritual family.
Bearing Witness: A Zen Master's Lessons in Making Peace by Bernie Glassman shows how helping others can be a devotional act when it emerges from a life based on unknowing, witnessing to other's joy and suffering, and healing of self and others.
Feasting with God: Adventures in Table Spirituality by Holly W. Whitcomb presents sixteen rituals organized around the communal and devotional aspects of eating.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony Gift Set by Anthony Man-Tu Lee looks at the evolution of this ritual, discusses its aesthetic and philosophical meanings, and provides step-by-step instructions on creating a one-hour tea ceremony.
Totems: The Transformative Power of Your Personal Animal Totem by Brad Steiger is a handy resource for individuals seeking access to this Native American spiritual practice involving animals.
A Candle at Midnight: Keeping Vigil as a Path Through Depression by Marcy Heidish outlines eight ways to keep vigils and elaborates with details of actual rituals.
Quest: A Guide for Creating Your Own Vision by Denise Linn draws on the author's Cherokee roots to explain six goals of this Native American practice.
The Spirited Walker: Fitness Walking for Clarity, Balance, and Spiritual Connection by Carolyn Scott Kortge spells out the connections between sole and soul in her instructions for intentional strolls.
Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America by Natalie Goldberg demonstrates how writing can become a spiritual discipline and a tool to keep the senses alert.
Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope is a vigorous and thought-provoking overview of the psychology, philosophy, and practice of yoga.