Just Begin

A Sourcebook of Spiritual Practices

Dann E. Wigner

Oct/2018, 248 Pages, PAPER, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9781640650626



• Spiritual practices for beginners and practitioners all in one volume
• Spurs people of faith to deeper self-awareness, holistic living, and prayer

Just Begin is an indispensable reference tool for the interested spiritual practitioner who wants to add new methods and exercises to their mystical "toolbox." In simple terms, basic steps, and encouraging language, Dr. Wigner introduces readers to more than 40 different practices from Eastern and Western traditions, encompassing everything from mindfulness to music, yoga to the Lord's Prayer. In each short description, the focus is to "just begin" to practice and experiment, grow, and develop spiritually on the way. No one can take a journey without taking the first step, and Dr. Wigner provides the first steps for multiple practices in various religious traditions. These spiritual exercises will help spur people of faith to deeper self-awareness, holistic living, and prayer.

The book's sections are organized around types of practices: Meditating, Listening, Being, Sensing, and Embodying, with a final section: Doing. Each chapter forms a short three to five page introduction to a mystical practice, consisting of segments on definition, background, how to practice, resources for further study, journal prompts and discussion questions, and common problems that sometimes "get in the way" of one's practice.

Read an excerpt

Audience: Educational settings: churches, seminaries, college campuses, with older youth and adults

Dann E. Wigner, is a mystical theologian and religious sociologist with a doctoral degree in theology and sociology from University of Durham, United Kingdom. A member of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, the American Theological Library Association, and Spiritual Directors International, he is a spiritual advisor and adjunct religious studies professor at Middle Tennessee State University and teaching librarian at the University of the South. He lives with his wife and son in Sewanee, Tennessee. Follow him at www.dannwigner.com.

Section 1: Meditating
1. The Jesus Prayer
2. The Lord's Prayer
3. lectio Divina
4. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
5. Reframing
6. Observing
7. Journaling
Section 2: Listening
8. Centering Prayer
9. Clarity
10. Loving-kindness Reflection
11. Letting Go
Section 3: Being
12. Practicing the Presence of God
13. Sitting Meditation
14. Stargazing
15. Non-judging
Section 4: Sensing
16. The Rosary
17. Praying with Icons
18. Body Scan
19. Mindful Eating
20. Drumbeat
21. Fasting
22. Labyrinths
23. Pilgrimage
Section 5: Embodying
24. Body Flow: Pilates with Mindfulness
25. Body Flow: Yoga with Centering Prayer
Resources for Further Study

"Maybe the best advice for those who want to weave spirituality into their lives—whether meditation, prayer, or anything else—is to Just Begin. In this work, subtitled Sourcebook of Spiritual Practices. religious studies professor Dann E. Wigner introduces 40 different practices from Eastern and Western traditions—from mindfulness to music, yoga to the Lord's Prayer. There are plenty of choices, if we can only begin."
––Publisher's Weekly

"Dann Wigner offers a contemporary updating of classic Christian practices that can help Jesus's followers actually live the life he promised. Practicing these exercises with the flexibility Wigner suggests leads toward the 'union with God' that is the Jesus life. Quoting Merton, Wigner reminds us that we're all beginners who must begin every day doing what helps us become who we want to be tomorrow."
––Dr. Fred Meeks, Emeritus Professor of Religion, Wayland Baptist Seminary

"In a world in which, as Dann Wigner puts it, 'motion is our default setting' pausing to engage in spiritual practices can seem like an impossible task. Yet God desires relationship and promises to meet us as we are. With Just Begin, Dann Wigner, deconstructs twenty-five spiritual practices into a 'how to guide,' lowering the hurdle for beginners by describing each practice in simple language appropriate for people of all ages. Wigner even anticipates common questions of beginners. Spiritual directors, Christian educators, school chaplains and anyone leading a community of faith will want to have at least two copies—one to have and one to lend. Just Begin is a welcomed addition to any library of books about spiritual practices. As Wigner invites his readers, find the one or ones that resonate with you and 'just begin.'"
––Jenifer C. Gamber, Assistant to the Rector and Day School Chaplain at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.

"Dann Wigner's insights as a religious studies scholar who practices what he preaches make Just Begin an essential guide for opening up centuries' worth of spiritual practices for those seeking wisdom in the present day. This book has just the right blend of gentle guidance and practical advice for the next steps on your spiritual journey."
––Gladys Ganiel, Queens University Belfast, Ireland

"Just Begin is author Dann Wigner's admonition to those who ponder adding a spiritual discipline to their daily schedules. Just Begin is written as a resource. Dr. Wigner has found just the right approach to surveying the spiritual disciplines. The book is full of wit, wisdom, and wonder. I anticipate using it as a teaching tool and as a personal reference in my daily practice."
––The Rev. Pat Russell, Spiritual Director

"Ready to live more fully? Dann Wigner's book, Just Begin: A Sourcebook of Spiritual Practices, opens doors to deeper intimacy with oneself, others, and God. This book is beautifully balanced, includes a wide range of spiritual practices, and encourages readers to adapt these to their own preferences. The greatest quality of Dann's book is its accessibility and value to all of us in our various stages of spiritual development. So let's get this treasure and just begin!"
––The Rev. Dr. Madoc Thomas, pastor of New Home United Methodist Church, Lubbock, Texas

"Just Begin is about discovery, meaning, and grace. Through a variety of spiritual practices, you are invited into stillness and quiet. In these open spaces of time and rhythm, you can listen to your soul and encounter the whisper of God. For this contemplative person, the book was an amazing guide to options that invite one to go deeper and to just "be" in the presence of our God!"
––Cookie Cantwell, Youth Ministries Coordinator, St. James Parish, Wilmington, North Carolina

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  • Spiritual Practices
  • Meditation

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