Author’s Pilgrimage To Romanian Monastery Inspires New Book On Spiritual Life
When author Regina Sara Ryan travelled to Bucharest, Romania in the Spring of 2009, she planned to lead a workshop on wellness and a weekend retreat for women. Much to her surprise, the trip turned into a pilgrimage that took her to monasteries in the Carpathian Mountains. In a remote village, far north of the capital, she received the blessing of a 90-year-old hermit monk, recognized as a saint by the Romanian people. His message—about love in the time of terror—and other highlights of this unexpected pilgrimage, inspired her newest book, Igniting the Inner Life, just released by Hohm Press, Prescott, Arizona.
Ryan, a former Roman Catholic nun, has apprenticed to a spiritual teacher of the Western Baul tradition for the past 25 years. Since the early 1970s she has studied contemplation and mysticism from many faith traditions, and is the author of 9 books in both wellness and spirituality, including: Praying Dangerously; The Woman Awake; and the classic Wellness Workbook, which she coauthored with John W. Travis, M.D. Regina is a freelance writer and editor, and conducts seminars and retreats in the U.S. and Europe.
The inner life is the intrinsic spiritual dimension of existence. To “ignite” it is to make a pilgrimage within, says Ryan, to move from out there to in here in the orientation of life, work, choices and relationships. Her book is directed to those with a focus on spirituality, self-understanding, yoga practice, contemplative prayer or the awakening of the heart’s knowledge, regardless of the religious tradition they follow.
Every major spiritual tradition contains recommendations for building and maintaining an inner lifethrough silence and solitude, through prayer, mantra and ritual, through sacred reading and contemplation, through poetry, nature and symbolism. Igniting the Inner Life is designed to remind readers of what they already know about the life of their souls, and yet easily forget in the busyness of contemporary life. “We can unplug and slow down,” the author writes, “we can work hard while still maintaining our sense of self; we can bless others rather than judge them; we can learn to see ourselves more clearly and build a foundation of self-appreciation and forgiveness.”
Igniting the Inner Life will serve as a welcome friend to any pilgrim who wants to move deeper within. It will encourage long-term but weary travelers to take that next step, and point out common detours or dead ends along this interior highway. Each chapter contains one or more contemporary poems to uplift the reader, and the book concludes with suggested practices and prayers to rekindle the heart’s intentions