The spiritual practice of play is recommended in all the world's religions. Hindus believe that the universe was birthed as part of divine play. However, we in the West have had a hard time accepting the truth that spiritual growth has to do with lightening up, going with the flow, surrender, nonproductivity, and joy.

Drew Leder, associate professor of Western and Eastern philosophy at Loyola College, understands this playful dimension as evidenced in his recent book Spiritual Passages: Embracing Life's Sacred Journey. In this new paperback, he shows how spiritual disciplines can be viewed as "challenging and meaningful games." There are chapters on celebrating the ordinary, acceptance and forgiveness, loving the self, the generous heart, contacting the divine, claiming inner freedom, the wonder of creation, and dancing with time and eternity. Leder wisely includes "seeing your shadow" as a spiritual discipline. Helpful hints and related readings round out each section. It is salutary to see someone with such a substantive grasp of world religions celebrating the playfulness of the soul.