This is a contemplative reflection on the spirituality of healing, the fruit of the author’s lifetime in conducting spiritual direction and psychotherapy, drawing on his lessons from Thomas Merton and study of the mystical path. It is largely written in the form of a memoir of his own recovery from the traumatic wounds of his early life (abusive father, abuse by his confessor in the monastery, a dysfunctional marriage) and his road to healing and wholeness. But it is not just about his story—it is an invitation to the reader to reflect and resonate with the lessons that apply to their own stories.
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The beauty and illumination of Jim’s language, whether he is writing about trauma or God’s presence, open the heart. To read this book is to be changed forever.
Bonnie Badenoch, Author of The Heart of Trauma: Healing the Embodied Brain in the Context of Relationships
To read this book is to receive the transmission of one of the great living mystics of our age. James Finley inhabits the sacred territory he maps for us in these luminous pages--a landscape drenched in love, rooted in the sacred ordinary, where our most devastating wounds become portals to the divine encounter. Jim’s story is riveting, his insight transcendent, his invitation truly life-changing.
Mirabai Starr, Author of Wild Mercy and Caravan of No Despair
James Finley has pursued the contemplative life seriously—inside and outside of the monastery—and part of that through the healing of his own wounds. That combination allows him to bring a whole, wonderful balancing act to theology and spirituality. James Finley is a healer. I believe his poetic words will help many people on their healing journey.
James Finley, a clinical psychologist and spiritual director, is one of the core faculty members of the Center for Contemplation and Action (with Richard Rohr). A former novice under Thomas Merton at the Abbey of Gethesmani, he is the author of a classic book on Merton, Merton’s Palace of Nowhere: A Search for God through Awareness of the True Self. He is host of the CAC’s podcast, “Turning to the Mystics.” Other books, Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God (HarperOne, 2004); The Contemplative Heart (1999). For decades he has led workshops and retreats around the country; he is a leading figure in the integration of psychology and spiritual direction, drawing in particular from insights from the Christian mystics.