As someone who has a connection to something other than the world of matter being all there is, but has no affiliation to any organised religious doctrine at all, I found this an interesting and thoughtful read on the Benedictine journey of faith.
Firstly, Christopher Jamieson passionately argues that for many reasons we need a connection to something other than the endless striving of consumerism. He is clearly, despite his years in Worth Abbey, VERY in touch with the outside world. There's a real understanding of, for example, the trades union movement as something which provided something quite powerful in terms of creating a sense of community.
I've always had a sense of my own need for periods of silence and reflection. What I particularly found interesting in Jamieson's book was the earthy practicality of Benedictine 'Rule', with a strong emphasis on how each person relates to every other in their community. This is a very humane approach to spirit, not attempting to force feed the reader into Bendictine or even Christian supremacy, but a clear and compassionate discourse for thoughtful, heartful and listening connection between individuals and as a foundation for society. An egalitarian, not a competitive approach.
This is an excellent introduction to Benedictine monasticism, and how those of us who are not, and can't be, monastics can benefit from the Rule of St Benedict in our lives. In contains wonderful insights and also down-to-earth practical advice. After a short section of how "busyness" damages our lives, Abbot Jamison discusses, in seperate chapters, the key monastics steps which can help us - Silence, Contemplation, Obedience, Humility, Community, Spirituality, and Hope. There is also a short example of Lectio Divina, and a helpful bibliography. At the end of each chapter are suggestions for further investigation - both on-line and in book form. I read it through in one sitting, and have since gone back and read it again.
As a Roman Catholic who has often wandered far from his spiritual roots whilst searching for some meaning to life, I looked forward to receiving my copy of this book, having seen the Worth Abbey documentary - The Monastery. Invariably a slow reader, I nevertheless finished reading this fine work in two short afternoons. If ever there was a book to make us take a good look at ourselves, this is it! Although, there is so much positive religious spirituality bursting out of every page, it's still, on every level a very practical book and not at all dry or boring - which I confess I thought it might be. Christopher Jamison is to be highly commended for putting pen to paper and coming up with this work. For a monk, he certainly keeps in touch with the world in which we live today and if anyone buying this publication imagines the author to be stereotypically religious, be prepared to have your ideas changed! I commend this book to anyone of any faith who seeks to get nearer to the Creator.
Abbott Christopher has written a beautiful book, and read beautifully and calmly for its audio book equivalent! This book inherently addresses the root cause aspects of most issues that interest individuals and society at this time, with only a little direct mention of such usefulness. It is a calming, easy, and pleasant read. It ought to be a stable text for everyone, and available in schools, hospitals, healing areas, many related such places, and generally everywhere, for easy access. I does not require a particular religious belief or other background from the reader, though undoubtedly is written employing Christian undertsandings and The Guidelines of St. Benedict. This text cannot be recommended more highly for everyone, within the remit of its content! The information contained therein is, however, to be acted upon in one's life, else it would become just another book one reads and forgets. The insights and helpful content are far more important than that, on all scales in our lives. Happy and inherently restful/pleasant/calming reading. Enjoy, and integrate at your leisure into your life (for the benefit of many, yourself and well beyond...)
This is a perfect gem of a little book even if you're not a Christian. I always feel I have drunk at some wonderful spring when I come into contact with the Abbot of Worth Christopher Jamison and can't do him justice in a review. The book is soothing and challenging (my selfishness) This paperback was bought as a gift for someone as I already have a copy. I will probably buy more in future. My suggestion is to buy the hardback as you will come back to it again and again.
One of the best self help books out there. Finding Sanctuary is about finding peace. Written by those who know, monks who are practiced in separating themselves from the world of worry and stress, with a few hundred years of tradition to back them. Not really a religious book, I believe only one of its chapters concentrates on belief, it covers all areas and also questions how the reader can find happiness in the modern materialistic world. Finding Sanctuary is very simple, very accessible and very effective. And you don't need the building to make it work for you.
Christopher Jamison has achieved his aim of writing an accessible and extremely useful book for those who want to develop spiritually. This is a relatively easy read and, at 180 pages, can be finished in quite a short space of time.
Drawing extensively upon the Rule of St Benedict, Mr Jamison promotes spiritual disciplines which offer an attractive and practical antidote to the unrelenting busy-ness of everyday life in the western world. Chapter by chapter, he extols the benefits of silence, contemplation, obedience, humility, community, spirituality and hope and does so in ways which are informative, stimulating and helpful to those of us who want to grow continually closer to God. Christopher occasionally refers back to 'The Monastery' TV series for illustrative purposes, but such references are relatively few and anyone who missed the programmes will not be at any great disadvantage.
The one reservation I had when reading this book was the apparent, underlying notion of 'many different paths lead to the same God' - something to which I personally don't subscribe. Having said that, I would heartily recommend 'Finding Sanctuary' to Christians and non-Christians alike.
This book is a fascinating critique of modern society which helps you re-evaluate where you are, how you got there, where you are going, and how to structure your life to find sanctuary. It contains old truths packaged in an accessible way, to help you apply them to your own life. It is easy to read, practical in its advice, and provides further sources for deepening your understanding and awareness. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking to find peace and harmony in their lives, whether you are Christian or not. It is especially written for people who have no knowledge of the Christian faith but equally caters for people who do. I have bought this book for other people and talk about it a lot. If you can watch the Monastery on you tube or vimeo or somewhere else ( I am not sure if it is available) or buy it I would also really recommend this as well(TV programme made by the author).