Making Peace with the Universe: Personal Crisis and Spiritual Healing

Making Peace with the Universe: Personal Crisis and Spiritual Healing

by Michael Scott Alexander

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Overview

The world’s great religious and philosophical traditions often include poignant testimonies of spiritual turmoil and healing. Following episodes of harrowing personal crisis, including addictions, periods of anxiety and panic, and reminders of mortality, these accounts then also describe pathways to consolation and resolution.

In Making Peace with the Universe, Michael Scott Alexander reads diverse classic religious accounts as masterpieces of therapeutic insight. In the company of William James, Socrates, Muslim legal scholar turned mystic Hamid al-Ghazali, Chinggis Khan as described by the Daoist monk Qui Chuji, and jazz musician and Catholic convert Mary Lou Williams, Alexander traces the steps from existential crisis to psychological health. He recasts spiritual confessions as case histories of therapy, showing how they remain radical and deeply meaningful even in an age of scientific psychology. They record the therapeutic affect of spiritual experience, testifying to the achievement of psychological well-being through the cultivation of an edifying spiritual mood.

Mixing scholarly learning with episodes from his own skeptical quest, Alexander demonstrates how these accounts of private terror and personal triumph offer a model of therapy through spiritual adventure. An interdisciplinary consideration of the shared terrain of religion and psychology, Making Peace with the Universe offers an innovative view of what spiritual traditions can teach us about finding meaning in the modern world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231552707
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 11/03/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 519,737
File size: 30 MB
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About the Author

Michael Scott Alexander is associate professor of religious studies and Maimonides Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Jazz Age Jews (2001), winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Problem
1. The Path of Joy
2. Making Peace with the Universe
Part II: The Classics
3. Socrates: An Old Man and His Daemon
4. Abu Hamid al-Ghazali: The Greatest Midlife Crisis in the History of Islam
5. Qiu Chuji: Chinggis Khan Learns to Cherish Life
6. Mary Lou Williams: Jazz for the Soul
Part III: A Recent Case
7. Bobby Sichran and the Divine Presence
Conclusion: Giving Into Gravity
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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