Finding God in the Body

Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body, director of the Refuge Meditation Group, & columnist at Elephant Journal. Finding God in the Body turns inward to examine the human condition, meeting personal suffering with heartfelt insight and transformative practice.

It steers clear of the wishful thinking, unfounded beliefs, and cynicism that define much of the spirituality genre. Ben Riggs leaves no stone unturned, addressing each stage of the journey as he explores the space between fundamentalism and atheism to uncover a spirituality that resonates with the modern, Western mind. Then he binds that view to an actionable path of self-analysis, prayer, and meditation, which introduce the reader to the God of the body. This book is a much-needed addition to the corpus of spiritual literature, and a must-read for all modern seekers.

[09/15/18]   Benjamin Riggs is at Blue Sky Yoga in Monroe, Louisiana today. He is teaching a contemplative Christianity workshop. Anyone interested in enlarging their spiritual life will enjoy the material covered, which includes both prayer and meditation. This workshop aims to make God less of an idea and more of a direct experience, active and present in all of our affairs. If you are in the area, please stop by at 1 pm.

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Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

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amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with action, spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve...

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Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

Finding God in the Body is $0.99 on Kindle today!

Running a promotion over the next 7 days where the price will increase incrementally until it returns to its original price. Get it now.

amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with action, spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve...

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Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

Looking for a book that offers a modern view of spiritual practice with detailed instruction for meditation & contemplative prayer? "Finding God in the Body" is a free download on Amazon today only!

https://www.amazon.com/Finding-God-Body-Spiritual-Modern-ebook/dp/B01MXO8PCV/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with action, spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve...

Hope Rising

DAY 22: Benjamin Riggs

Music is a melodious stream; or, one might say, strategically placed moments of silence. These gaps allow the music to flow, and without them, there is nothing but clamor. And so it is with the stream of life. To live is to die. To pass from one moment to the next, we must shed the skin of the previous, and it is emptiness that allows for this process to unfold.

Growth is dependent upon space, or room to grow. This space is the strategically placed point of nothingness at our core. It is the poverty in which we all share, and it is in this poverty that we find God.

The unconscious wants to be made conscious; the formless given shape; potential yearns to be realized, and our True Self incarnated. If the Gospel’s say anything - anything at all - they say that God longs to be born into this world and that we are his midwife.

Entering our poverty is braving the wilderness. It is answering the call to adventure. Poverty manifests in the life of some as emotional insecurity and for others as financial hardship, but at its core it’s that point of nothingness: the womb from which God is born.

In our poverty we suffer the pains of childbirth, but not for naught. Each push exposes the artifice of ego, bringing us closer to the indwelling presence of God - the ground of meaning that substantiates our life. This the great mystery swaddling our lives: suffering is redemptive and poverty a source of great wealth. The struggles and hardships encountered along the spiritual path are not obstacles. They are the path, and narrow is the path that cuts through the wilderness in route to life; so narrow, in fact, that only in our poverty can we pass. For to live, we must first die. This is the “Sign of Jonah.”

Benjamin Riggs is the author of “Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West.” He is also a featured columnist for Elephant Journal, host of the Finding God in the Body podcast, and director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA. Ben has studied Buddhism and Contemplative Christianity for the past fifteen years in both Christian and Buddhist monasteries in India and the U.S. He lives in Shreveport, LA with his wife and son.

Contemplative Light

I had a great conversation with Ben Riggs on the latest podcast episode. Hope you enjoy. It is also available on iTunes if you prefer to listen through your iPhone app.

https://www.contemplativelight.com/podcast/the-contemplative-light-podcast-episode-eight-ben-riggs-on-the-12-steps-and-contemplative-spirituality

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Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

Finding God in the Body seamlessly interweaves Buddhist and Christian themes to outline a contemplative spirituality that enables us to a happier, more fulfilling life. Order on Amazon:
amazon.com/Finding-God-Body-Spiritual-Modern/dp/0692760229

amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve-St...

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Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

One day only: Finding God in the Body is a free download in the Amazon Kindle Store. Please get your copy below and pass on the offer by sharing this post.

amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with action, spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve...

amazon.com

Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

Many affirm the existence of God but fail to practice the presence of God. Finding God in the Body outlines a modern path of spiritual practice that invites God to be born into the world through our lives. This book offers clear instruction in the practices of contemplative prayer, meditation, and self reflection. Order on Amazon today.
amazon.com/Finding-God-Body-Spiritual-Modern/dp/0692760229

amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve-St...

[10/03/17]   "Human character evermore publishes itself. The most fugitive deed and word, the mere air of a thing, the intimated purpose expresses character. If you act you show character; if you sit still, if you sleep, you show it." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

amazon.com

Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

Looking for a book that outlines a modern view of spiritual practice? A path of meditation and prayer that reconnects you with the body where God is experienced as an intimate, intensely personal, and deeply affecting presence? Checkout Finding God in the Body. Available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback. Order below:
https://www.amazon.com/Finding-God-Body-Spiritual-Modern/dp/0692760229

amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve-St...

Longview Healing Arts

Finding God in the Body#meditation #workshop September 16th. 11:30--3:30
Register at longviewyogastudio.com #bepresent #mindfulness #meditationisforeveryone

Finding God in the Body workshop with Benjamin Riggs at Longview Yoga Studio Sept. 16th. Please share with any friends you know in the area.

Finding God in the Body#meditation #workshop September 16th. 11:30--3:30
Register at longviewyogastudio.com #bepresent #mindfulness #meditationisforeveryone

[08/31/17]   An infinite God is coextensive with all that is because it is the Isness of all that is. The only fact, so to speak, that is ever present is being. Every “thing” that has being participates in God by virtue of that being. If some ‘thing’ is true, which is to say, actually exists⸺then it has being. It derives that being from the ground of being, God.

Just as God is not a being but Being-itself, God does not exist, but is Existence-itself⸺to state otherwise is to beg the cause of God’s existence, thereby disqualifying it from consideration of the title “God.”

The revelation of being is inextricably linked to the possibility of experience; if we “is,” then Isness is reverberating at our core. In other words, if we are alive and awake, so too is the possibility of experiencing God here-and-now. In any given moment⸺whether at ease or stressed out and afraid⸺we need only relax down into silence of the Body and reconnect with the immediacy and vitality of God’s indwelling presence.

This is the function of prayer and meditation.

[08/29/17]   “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blue Sky Yoga -Ruston, Louisiana

Sign up!! Blue-sky-yoga.net

elephantjournal.com

Racism comes by Executive Order.

Following this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, it should come as no surprise that racism is alive and well. The overt hatred, bigotry, and ignorance chased a climax through a maze of civil unrest, conventional violence, and an act of domestic terrorism to finally arrive at a peak level of disgust with President Donald Trump’s “Many Sides” speech.

elephantjournal.com This statement is, to many white Americans, surprising and controversial.

amazon.com

Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

Looking for a book that outlines a modern view of spiritual practice? A path of meditation and prayer that reconnects you with the body where God is experienced as an intimate, intensely personal, and deeply affecting presence? Available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback. Order below:

amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve-St...

amazon.com

Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

From Benjamin Riggs: "I wrote Finding God in the Body because I think meditation and contemplative spirituality has the ability to transform lives, and therefore the world. I prefer a down to earth approach to spirituality based in practice, not mere belief. I have practiced Buddhist meditation for nearly 20 years, and it is unsurpassed as a system of practice, in my opinion. I think the principles and insights elicited by Buddhist meditation are perfectly compatible with Christianity, and I go to great lengths to demonstrate this in the book. Furthermore, I believe when Judeo-Christian language is used to express those principles and insights, the practice is made more accessible to Westerners. If such a book sounds interesting to you, it may be purchased on Amazon using the link below. Have a great day."

amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve-St...

patheos.com

Centering Prayer in 5 Easy Steps.

patheos.com Insights & Musings to Stir Your Soul

refugegroupbr.blogspot.com

And the Greatest of These is Love.

"Love sees life in everything. It recognizes the life that abides within every creature. Love is patient, kind, and endures all things, as anyone who has attended a wedding knows. Our knowledge, plans, and strategies will reach their wit’s end, but love never tires."

refugegroupbr.blogspot.com This post is an excerpt from my book, Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West . To purchase, click here. ...

Mindful Christianity Today

Here is a great and easy read. Ben sent me a copy, and I confess I underlined his thoughts as I would Merton, Rohr or other contemplative authors. It is the story, and journey of his struggle of faith and his candid life story of experiencing God through his search in Christian meditation and Buddhist thought. It will positively impact your spiritual journey.

Mindful Christianity Today

Thank you so much, Mindful Christianity Today

Here is a great and easy read. Ben sent me a copy, and I confess I underlined his thoughts as I would Merton, Rohr or other contemplative authors. It is the story, and journey of his struggle of faith and his candid life story of experiencing God through his search in Christian meditation and Buddhist thought. It will positively impact your spiritual journey.

patheos.com

The magical missing ingredient to happiness.

Tom Rapsas reviewed Finding God in the Body for Patheos. Check out his review below:

patheos.com Insights & Musings to Stir Your Soul

amazon.com

Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

Finding God in the Body Kindle edition temporary price reduction. Now $4.99.

amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with action, spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve...

revsusanhetrick.com

Review: Finding God in the Body | Rev. Susan Hetrick | Words and Pictures

A review of Finding God in the Body by the Rev. Susan Hetrick. You can order Finding God in the Body on Amazon here: amazon.com/dp/0692760229

revsusanhetrick.com When I was asked to review Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West , by Benjamin Riggs, I was absolutely delighted. The title alone drew m...

mailchi.mp

Jesus Was Not Polite Company / The Role of Myth in Spirituality

Included in this edition of the Finding God in the Body newsletter by Benjamin Riggs: Jesus Was Not Polite Company and The Role of Myth in Spirituality (podcast).

mailchi.mp In this episode of the Finding God in the Body podcast, I talk about the role myth plays spirituality. I cover everything from storytelling, to Buddhist tantra and Christian mysticism, all the way up to groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. 

Claire Layrisson Wellness

Love this from Finding God in the Body - "We can hear phone calls, paperwork, and emails calling us back to project becoming. This is the undercurrent of insecurity pushing the idea that we must earn, not only love and acceptance, but the right to be. It takes courage to keep sitting." Om, baby!

amazon.com

Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West

Someone named Bill shared a review on Amazon that is ultimately critical of Finding God in the Body, but is thorough and thoughtful. So much so, it is worth sharing here for anyone interested.
It is titled: A Well Written Book I Disagree With

"Finding God in the Body by Benjamin Riggs is the book about almost everything my conservative Christians friends worry I might believe. That doesn't automatically make it a bad book (neither does it automatically make it a good one) but it certainly made for an interesting read. On one level, Finding God in the Body is a well written, frequently insightful book containing some really useful spiritual practices and perspectives; on another, reading it felt a little like reading a caricature of myself, drawn by one of my more conservative friends. Whatever else it was, this book certainly was a good reminder to me that Christian theology is not the binary we like to make it into, but large room with a lot of shared furniture.

Because my overall reaction to the book was fairly complicated, I want to address a few aspects of it independently and will try to finish with a broad gestalt impression.
The writing

Riggs is a talented author and Finding God in the Body clearly benefits. His thoughts are well organized, he takes a warm, usually non-challenging, tone, and skillfully weaves narrative moments into his broad argument. While the ideas are deep and certainly challenging the read in itself is easy and quite compelling. While I did get a little bogged down in two of the thirteen chapters, the book as a whole is fundamentally read-able.
What I agreed with

There are several great insights in Finding God in the Body (not the least of which is that God is to be found within the Body). Riggs' overall project seems to be to represent some of the best of western and Tibetan Buddhist wisdom, insight and practice, in the idiom of Christian mystical and monastic/contemplative tradition. As such, the book participates robustly in the conversations around the relationship between eastern wisdom philosophy and Christian theology (I caught particular resonances with Thomas Merton, Joseph A Loya, and Heiromonk Damascene). Without launching into a defense of God's working in all peoples throughout history, I want to affirm Riggs' basic project here; we should all welcome attempts to bring the best of eastern and western thinking into conversation with one another.

Not only does Riggs participate in the conversation, he adds to it significantly. The overall premise of the book is that we can benefit from paying attention to the the body as such beyond our thought-life (what Riggs refers to as the "false-self") and Riggs helpfully expounds quite a few techniques drawn from both eastern (primarily Buddhist) and western mystic traditions. He combines the practical directions well with the "why" of these practices, Chapter 11 How to Meditate with the Body is particularly good in this regard. Before laying out a helpful contemplative practice, Riggs explains the need as follows:
Busyness is the false-self's response to shame and insecurity. If our spiritual practice is to be transformative, then it cannot be characterized by this busyness. We cannot think our way out of disembodiment. This is where many of us throw our hands up in frustration. We get mad because thinking about things is all we know. We feel stuck.
...
The false-self system is a closed circuit system. It ignores any information that does not originate within itself. It disregards emotion, intuition, inconvenient truths, and challenging points of view. A closed mind cannot feel, listen trust, be still, or be silent. It is so closed off that it only sees itself. This breeds corruption. The mind keeps turning to itself to solve problems that it created. In a disembodied mind, the criminal is in charge of the crime scene. If we hope to escape this cycle, we must find another vantage point.
This overall project, insofar as it comes down to encouraging spiritual pilgrims to listen to, value, and honor the body—to find that the body is an image of God—is one I heartily approve of. It strikes me as a vital corrective both for contemporary western Christianity and for western culture as a whole, which has tended towards the modernist error of isolating the intellect as "true person" and the only final subject of improvement. Further, I cannot get over how happy I am that he offers practical advice for the reader wanting to develop a habit of body-mindfulness.
But...

At the end of the day though, I part ways with Riggs on a basic level. He seems (ironically to my mind) to have accepted far more of the modern, western understanding of the world than I do or could think wise. In focusing on the body, Riggs somehow has managed to ring himself in as a deconstructed materialist. I am confident that he would dislike and want to challenge this characterization but I am tempted to say that Riggs ultimately rejects the transcendent (I suspect that he believes he has found it and that the natural is, in and of itself, the transcendent).

Our disagreement comes down to this: I am a supernaturalist and, so far as I can tell, Riggs is not. Where I want to argue that the body (and the mind) are images which have value in themselves, to which even more is added by the fact that they also point beyond themselves to God, Riggs seems content (and insistent) to say that the body points to itself alone. He he has found God in the body but seems to have concluded that God cannot therefore exist outside the body. As a result, his treatments of Jesus (chapter 8) and myth (chapter 7) suffer significantly. Where I believe that myth is an image of transcendent Truth clothed in particularities of history, culture, and story, Riggs claims "The primary function of myth is to move beyond the surface and penetrate our inmost core, laying bare our human nature" and so, his reading of myth focuses on the wrapping and mistakes it for the substance within.

So too, when Riggs turns to talk about Jesus, he dismisses all accounts of the supernatural as literary and poetic licence (oversimplifying the text and thereby making the equal-and-opposite mistake of the fundamentalist who insists on an entirely literal reading of the bible). The result is a Jesus of Nazareth who is no more or less divine than any human person and who works well as a model, and maybe even savior-by-example, for us but not at all as a friend, or lord. At the risk of sounding too damning, Riggs knows a good deal about Jesus but doesn't even claim to know Jesus. In fact he worries that those of us who do make such a claim, are committing the idolatry of worshiping that which is outside of ourselves (Jesus) in place of the divine within ourselves. My only real response to him there is a total acceptance of the accusation. I have given my allegiance to Jesus as external to my own being.
Bringing it all together

My final characterization of Finding God in the Body is that, while it contains a useful, and even necessary corrective cephallophilic culture and Christianity of our day, the book ultimately suffers from a pendulum like over-correction based in Riggs' rejection of the transcendent. He has read his Joseph Campbell but not his C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; he has recognized myth but not realized that it might be fact at the same time. Ultimately I would argue that Finding God in the Body represents an important voice in the conversation about spirituality, philosophy, and being, and we are the richer for having Riggs as a part of it, but he has missed the main thing and his work suffers for it."

amazon.com That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with spiritual practice. Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world's traditions--Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve-St...

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Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body, director of the Refuge Meditation Group, and a featured columnist on Elephant Journal.

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