Many of us have been trained to think of spirituality as the sole provenance of religion; and if we have come to feel that the religious are not the only ones with access to a spiritual life, we may still be casting about for what, precisely, a spiritual life would be, without a God, a religion, or a solid set of spiritual beliefs.
In Waiting, best-selling author Marya Hornbacher uses the story of her own journey beginning with her recovery from alcoholism to offer a fresh approach to cultivating a spiritual life. Relinquishing the concept of a universal “Spirit” that exists outside of us, Hornbacher gives us the framework to explore the human spirit in each of us–the very thing that sends us searching, that connects us with one another, the thing that “comes knocking at the door of our emotionally and intellectually closed lives and asks to be let in.”
When we let it in and only when we do, she says, we begin to be integrated people. And we begin to walk a spiritual path. And there are many points along the way where we stop, or we fumble, or we get tangled up or turned around. Those are the places where we wait.
Waiting, you’ll discover, can become a kind of spiritual practice in itself, requiring patience, acceptance, and stillness. Sometimes we do it because we know we need to, though we may not know why. In short, we do it on faith.
Marya Hornbacher is the author of two best-selling nonfiction titles, Madness: A Bipolar Life and Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia. She has also authored a recovery handbook, Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the 12 Steps, and a critically acclaimed novel, The Center of Winter.
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