Robert L. Weber & Carol Orsborn
Nonfiction 2015 / 233 pages
My friend Kathy and I are exploring books on developing and affirming our spirituality in our latter years. The Spirituality of Age is our first choice, and I must say I am disappointed. I would like to re-title it The Psychology of Age. It is filled with psychological advice, perspective, and counsel, that ties very loosely to spirituality, in my mind. This is the major contribution of Robert L. Weber, PhD, a former Jesuit and clinical psychologist. Carol Orsborn, PhD, has her doctorate in History and Critical Theory of Religion. With her degree, and Weber’s former vocation as a Jesuit, the book is replete with religious and bible references that, try as I may to translate into secular experience or ignore, became tedious and boring. Furthermore, the entire book is about the lives and stories of Weber and Orsborn. There is nothing I find quite as irritating as an author telling his/her story because they are so egotistical to think it alone informs others. A story here and there to elucidate a point is welcome. But this book is almost 100% their stories. Yawn me to death!
HOWEVER, my conversation with Kathy was enlightening! She was less critical and gleaned some useful pieces from this book. We had a good conversation about one of the questions incited by the book ... What does mature spirituality look like? The words we used, for us, included acceptance, being present, spaciousness, quiet, prayer and meditation, being in nature, and being in our bodies. A good question from the book we are both pondering is “What does the divine want to awaken in you now?” My current answer is gratitude and clarity. We also spoke about letting go of old beliefs AND creating new ones.
I think the most profound part of our discussion was around loss, and how loss contributes to our sense of the spiritual. Health issues, loss of strength and stamina, and of course, the loss of very important people (and pets) in our lives, has raised a question for us, i.e., how to be with loss as part of our spiritual practices.
All in all, we had a great conversation, even though I am not enamored of the style of writing of these two authors. For those of you who are tracking my posts on Buddhism and on spirituality, please note that Kathy and I are next reading Awareness by Anthony de Mello, and will discuss it in late June. We invite you to read along if you wish!