A NEW YORKER BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A profound exploration of the spiritual power of nature--and an urgent call to reclaim that power in everyday life.
Since the beginning of time, humankind has looked upon nature and seen the divine. In the writings of the great thinkers across religions, the natural world inspires everything from fear to awe to tranquil contemplation; God, or however one defined the sublime, was present in everything. Yet today, even as we admire a tree or take in a striking landscape, we rarely see nature as sacred.
In this deeply powerful book, the bestselling historian of religion Karen Armstrong re-sacralizes nature for modern times. Drawing on her vast knowledge of the world's religious traditions, she vividly describes nature's central place in spirituality across the centuries: from the Book of Job to St. Thomas Aquinas, from Lao Tzu to Wordsworth, and from the Stoics to Jainism and beyond. Throughout, she reveals how we have lost our sense of the divine, and how we can get it back.
Armstrong explores the power of silence and solitude, the nature of personal sacrifice and the need to reconnect with sorrow and compassion--and how greater contact with and appreciation for nature can help us in unexpected ways. In bringing this age-old wisdom to life, Armstrong shows modern readers how to rediscover nature's potency and form a connection to something greater than ourselves.
KAREN ARMSTRONG is the author of numerous books on religious affairs, including The Case for God, A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha and The Great Transformation, as well as a memoir, The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages. In 2008 she was awarded the TED Prize and began working with TED on the Charter for Compassion, created online by the general public, and crafted by leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. The charter was launched globally in the fall of 2009. In 2013 Armstrong was awarded the British Academy's inaugural Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding and in 2017 the Princess of Asturias Prize for Social Sciences. She lives in London.