8 Introspective Books That Will Lift You Up
Once, a few years ago, as I juggled the demands of being a radio correspondent and writer while learning to parent my stepdaughter and tend to my aging mother, I felt myself coming unmoored. In need of radical intervention, I signed up for a week-long silent retreat at a Jesuit community in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. On my first morning there, I sat with my "spiritual director," tapping my watch and announcing that I'd given myself a deadline: seven days to relocate my calm center. We laughed at the incongruity of imposing a timetable on such a goal, but I was determined that by the end of my stay I'd be ready to face reality again, with renewed grace and insight. So I prayed. I meditated. I read Thomas Aquinas, Kathleen Norris, Saint Augustine. I walked in the woods. Gradually, the cacophony abated.
Of course, it didn't stay that way. And like most of us, I can't afford to regularly step out of the world to get my bearings. I need shortcuts to sanity, which is why I turn to the books on my nightstand—for solace, for stimulation, for exaltation.
Here are eight volumes with different approaches but the same core message: To serve our true purpose and find joy, we must first look inward.