Journal and bibliography to accompany Spiritual Connection in Daily Life 2020 audiobook

Journal for Spiritual Connection in Daily Life audio

Study Guide for Groups Using Spiritual Connection in Daily Life

This is a 6-week model, with each session being 1-2 hours

One individual should take the lead for each session, and take responsibility to move the others through the spectrum of topics in the time available. (If it fits with the tone of your group, beginning with relaxation and silence, and ending with silence will help to bookend the sharing, and invite the ‘more than’ into the time you spend together.)

I am hoping to add on the website different models for groups over time as I get suggestions from others.

Week 1

To prepare:

  • Read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.
  • In Chapter 3, read, answer and respond in notes to Questions 1 (and 2).

In the group:

  • Briefly discuss feeling, sensing, and “knowing in your gut.” Mention that comparing scores with others is not very useful and can get in the way, yet looking at changes in your scores over time can be useful. There are no right answers. The scores are for your personal use and to help you to find specifics. The details of your experiences or the feeling of lack are much more important. I would suggest not mentioning your scores in the group discussion, but rather focusing on the details of experience. You can use the check-list method. (E.g.: “Recently, have you have this experience? If so, describe how it felt, and the circumstances where it happened.”)
  • Share your responses to Question 1 (Awe) in Chapter 3: I am spiritually touched by the beauty of creation. And if time begin to share some on Question 2.

Week 2

To prepare:

  • Read Chapter 10: How and Why to Communicate Using Daily Spiritual Experiences.
  • Answer Chapter 3: Questions 2, 3, 4, 5. Jot down some notes.

In the group:

  • Briefly discuss Rules of the Game from Chapter 10: How and Why to Communicate.
  • Share the experiences you thought of when you answered questions 2 (Presence), 3 (Connection), 4 (Closeness), 5 (Desire).

Week 3

To prepare:

  • In Chapter 3, read and answer Questions 6, 7, 8 and 9.
  • Read Chapter 6: The Flow of Love, and take notes on your answers to the invitations to respond.

In the group:

  • Share your responses to Questions 6 (Love directly), 7 (Love through others), 8 (Selfless caring), 9 (Acceptance, mercy).
  • Share your responses to various invitations in Chapter 6: The Flow of Love.

Week 4

To prepare:

  • In Chapter 3, read and answer Questions 10, 11, 12 and 13. Jot down notes.
  • Read Chapter 8: Yes! and take notes on your answers to the questions there.

In the group:

  • Share your responses to Questions 10 (Strength), 11 (Comfort), 12 (Guidance), 13 (Help).
  • Share your reflections in response to Chapter 8, Yes!

Week 5

To prepare:

  • Read or skim Chapter 4: Why Numbers and Chapter 5: “Studies Have Shown.”
  • In Chapter 3, Answer Questions 14, 15, 16.
  • Read Chapter 9, Translating God Share your answers to the questions there.

In the group:

  • Share about your answers to Questions 14 (Joy), 15 (Gratitude), and 16 (Peace).
  • Reflect on your responses to Chapter 9, Translating God.
  • Do you think Chapter 5: Studies Have Shown, contains any implications for your life?

Week 6

To prepare:

  • Read Chapter 7: Connection vs. Alienation and take notes on your responses.
  • Read Chapter 12: What Now, What Next, reflect on what next for you.
  • Answer the full set of questions and reflect on any changes from when you first took them.

In the group:

  • Share your reflections and responses to Chapter 7: Connection vs. Alienation.
  • Do you think there is a way you personally would like to use the questions in the future? If so, share about that.
  • Look at the full set of questions and share particular experiences for you as you revisited them that you have not shared with the group before.



Check-List and Open-ended Versions of the 16 Questions

Some people find that giving themselves number answers on the questions just gets in the way. If you are one of those people, remember that you can go through the book without even bothering with the numbers. You can use the items as prompts to explore the questions in an open-ended way. The book is the best resource for the open-ended approach, with its spaces to respond and prompts to do so, including possible ideas from other people.  After answering each question, if you had this kind of experience, you can jot down some notes about what it felt like for you, and where and when it occurred.

The number answers of frequency (many times a day, every day, many days, some days, once in a while, never) give the questions traction in the research. They have allowed researchers to see if they are connected with or predict other things. And they make us think of specific moments. But some people just cannot get over competitive feelings, or feelings of inadequacy or self-criticism if they do not ‘score’ high enough. I tried in the book to emphasize that there are no right scores, and the people can ignore the scores, but some people just cannot. So please try these other options if you are one of these people. The important thing is noticing the experiences, and whatever way works for you is the best way. And this checklist format can prime us to notice these things.

Regarding scoring of this version, a simple yes/no: 1/0, should be adequate.

Recently . . .

1. Have you been spiritually touched by the beauty of creation?

2. Have you felt God’s presence, or the presence of the divine or holy?

3. Have you experienced a connection to all of life?

4. Have you felt close to God, or to the divine or transcendent as expressed in other words?

5. Have you desired to be closer to God or in union with the divine?

6. Have you felt God’s love or divine love for you directly?

7. Have you felt God’s love or compassionate love for you through others?

8. Have you felt a selfless caring for others?

9. Have you accepted others even when they have done things you think are wrong?

10. Have you found strength in your spirituality or religion?

11. Have you found comfort in your spirituality or religion?

12. Have you felt guided by God in the midst of daily activities?
Or: Have you felt divine guidance in the midst of daily activities?

13. Have you asked for God’s help in the midst of daily activities.
Or: Have you asked for help from a higher power as you go through the day?

14. During worship, or at other times when connecting with God, have you felt joy that lifts you out of your daily concerns?
Or: At times when connecting with the “more than” have you felt joy that lifts you out of your daily concerns?

15. Have you felt thankful for your blessings?

16. Have you felt deep inner peace or harmony?

© Lynn Underwood. For personal use only. Contact Lynn Underwood for permission to duplicate or distribute. and to register for non-profit use at no cost.


Some Poetry Collections

There is a lot of poetry available on the web, but having the hard copies of the poems in book form can be good as it can separate you some from the attentional tugging of the interweb. Here are some collections you may wish to explore.

The Redress of Poetry, by Seamus Heaney

A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry by Czeslaw Milosz

Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation ed. Roger Housden

The Essential Rumi, Coleman Barks

Ballistics: Poems by Billy Collins

Twenty Poems to Nourish your Soul by Judy Valente and Charles Reynard

Collected Poems of WH Auden

The Collected Works of W.B.Yeats – Volume 1: The Poems ed. Richard Finneran

T. S. Eliot: Collected Poems, 1909-1962

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

Poetry as Prayer: Gerard Manley Hopkins (Pauline Books and Media)

Poetry for the Spirit ed. Alan Jacobs

Honey and Salt, Carl Sandburg

Selected Poems: Galway Kinnell

Gourd Seed by Coleman Barks

The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers

Human Chain by Seamus Heaney

Philokalia by Scott Cairns

Yevtushenko Selected Poems Penguin Modern European Poets Series, UK

Wislawa Szymborska Poems New and Collected

New Enlarged Anthology of Robert Frost’s Poems ed Louis Untermeyer

Life is Simpler towards Evening, Ralph Wright

Seamless, Ralph Wright

Prayers from the Ark by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold, trans. Rumer Godden

Grooks, by Piet Hein

The Book of Psalms

Everyman’s Poetry: Four Metaphysical Poets

Everyman’s Poetry: George Herbert

The Way of Chuang Tzu translated by Thomas Merton



Books for further reading

Here are a sampling of non-fiction books I have on my shelves that are relevant to the book, and might be useful for further reading and resources for exploration.

  • Lost in Wonder by Esther de Waal
  • I and Thou Martin Buber
  • Hidden Beauty: Microworlds Revealed by France Bourely, Laurel Hirsch
  • French Cooking in Ten Minutes: Adapting to the Rhythm of Modern Life by Edouard De Pomiane
  • Modern Spirituality: An Anthology, ed. John Garvey
  • I Wonder by Marian Bantjes
  • Reason, Faith and Revolution, by Terry Eagleton
  • The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues on His Way
  • Six Existentialist Thinkers HJ Blackham
  • The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Laurence
  • The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist
  • Descarte’s Error by Antonio Damasio
  • Showings by Julian of Norwich
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Laurence
  • Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth by Ilia Delio, Keith Douglass Warner, Pamela Wood
  • Grace and Necessity, Rowan Williams
  • The Oxford Companion to the Mind
  • Degowin and Degowin’s Bedside Diagnostic Manual
  • Complete Guide to Guys, Dave Barry
  • Leisure the Basis of Culture, Josef Pieper
  • Bergan and Schwann Ignatian Exercises Series
  • Formative Spirituality by Adrian van Kaam
  • Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation by Josef Pieper
  • A Balm for Gilead, Daniel Sulmasy
  • The Greatest Works of Western Art, Thomas Hoving
  • The Natural Way to Draw, Kimon Nicolaides
  • Ways of Seeing, John Berger
  • Art and Soul, Hilary Brand and Adrienne Chaplin
  • Science and Poetry, Mary Midgely
  • Open Hands Henry Nouwen
  • Personal Knowledge, Michael Polanyi
  • The Limits of Language, ed. Walker Gibson
  • Open Mind, Open Heart Thomas Keating
  • The Music of What Happens, John J O’Riordian
  • On Sharing Religious Experience, Gort, Vroom, Fernhout, and Wessels
  • The Four Loves, CS Lewis
  • Passionate Women, Elizabeth Dreyer
  • Love, Human and Divine, Edward Vacek
  • Seeking God, the Way of St Benedict, Esther de Waal
  • Sadhana by Antony de Mello
  • Christian Mystics Ursula King
  • Simone Weil – Attention to the Real, Robert Chenavier
  • The Far Side Collection by Gary Larson
  • The Mystical Now: Art and the Sacred by Wendy Beckett
  • Collected Works of Thomas Merton
  • Desert Wisdom Yoshi Nomura

Web Links from the Book

There are lots of references in the book to websites: music, poetry, articles and essays, art work. This page gives you those links live, so you can click on them and get to the referenced site.

Page 10   Title: Had I Not Been Awake  Author: Seamus Heaney

Page 33   Title: Hubble Photographs  Author:

Page 34   Title: Postscript  Author: Seamus Heaney

Page 38   Title: Dust  Author: Dorianne Laux

Page 39   Title: Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey  Author: William Wadsworth

Page 47   Title: Longing  Author: Stevie Smith

Page 48   Title: Even in the Quietest Moments  Author: Supertramp

Page 48   Title: Hymn 101  Author: Joe Pugh

Page 49   Title: There Is Some Kiss We Want  Author: Rumi

Page 52   Title: Our Lady of Vladimir  Author: Theokotos of Vladimir

Title: Patience  Author: Rabindranath Tagore

Page 78   Title: Vespers  Author: Monteverdi

Page 78   Title: Trío para piano, violín y violonchelo en Sol mayor K496  Author: Mozart

Page 78   Title: King without a Crown (Live from Stubbs)  Author: Matisyahu

Page 78   Title: The Cave  Author: Mumford and Sons

Page 78   Title: 2080  Author: Yeasayer

Page 78   Title: In the Morning  Author: Nina Simone

Page 79   Title: Landscsape: Wheatfields under Thunderclouds  Author: van Gogh

Page 79   Title: Kadinsky Art  Author: Wassily Kadinsky

Page 79   Title: RichD Dancing in the Rain Oakland Street  Author: Yak Films

Page 86   Title: Spiegel im Spiegel  Author: Arvo Pärt

Page 86   Title: Claire de Lune  Author: Debussy

Page 86   Title: Köln Concerts  Author: Keith Jarrett

Page 121   Title: St. Kevin and the Blackbird  Author: Seamus Heaney

Page 125   Title: Mercy  Author: Jessica Powers

Page 130   Title: In Our Talons  Author: Bowerbirds

Page 134   Title: 3055  Author: Olafur Arnald

Title: On Being Called to Prayer While Cooking Dinner for Forty   Author: Patrick Donnelly

Page 135   Title: Ubi caritas et amor  Author: Maurice Duruflé

Page 135   Title: Ubi caritas et amor  Author: Taizé

Page 136   Title: Shoveling Snow with the Buddha  Author: Billy Collins

Title: To the Mistakes   Author: W. S. Mervin

Page 146   Title: Wrong Day-Go Back  Author: Richard Tipping

Page 155   Title: How to Truly Listen  Author: Evelyn Glennie

Page 156   Title: A Spiritual Journey  Author: Wendell Berry

Page 165   Title: Dear God  Author: Monsters of Folk

Draft Audio of Lynn reading Chapter 1: Invitation

Here is the first chapter of the audiobook of Spiritual Connection in Daily Life. It has been substantially revised and enhanced from the 2013 print edition. The entire audiobook is in press and will be out soon.