Everyday Mysticism


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A Contemplative Community at Work in the Desert

Ariel Glucklich

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Price: $45.00
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A scholar’s experiences inside a contemplative working community in Israel’s Negev desert

In this thoughtful and enlightening work, world renowned religion scholar Ariel Glucklich recounts his experiences at Neot Smadar, an ecological and spiritual oasis that has been thriving in the arid Southern Israeli desert for a quarter century. An intentional community originally established by a group of young professionals who abandoned urban life to found a school for the study of the self, Neot Smadar has thrived by putting ancient Buddhist and Hindu ideas into everyday practice as ways of living and working. Glucklich provides a fascinating detailed portrait of a dynamic farming community that runs on principles of spiritual contemplation and mindfulness, thereby creating a working environment that is highly ethical and nurturing. His study serves as a gentle invitation to join the world of mindful work, and to gain a new understanding of a unique form of mystical insight that exists without exoticism.

Ariel Glucklich is professor of theology at Georgetown University, specializing in Hinduism, the psychology of religion, and anthropological approaches to religion. He is the author of eight previous books, including Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul, which won the American Academy of Religion award for best book (2002) and the award for best book in Philosophy and Religion by the Association of American Publishers (2002).

“There are few mystics in the modern and postmodern era. Yet Glucklich has found them in the everyday life of this community. His artful narrative about the spiritual life makes this a thoughtful, engaging, and important book.”—Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Santa Barbara

“A thoughtful, engaging, and important book.”—Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Santa Barbara

“In this important book, Ariel Glucklich depicts, with novelistic sharpness, a hardworking community in Israel with little traditional creed or cultus. Instead, Neot Smadar presents itself as "a school for self-inquiry." Its largely post-religious residents strive to know life better by looking within while living with others.”—Robert Ellwood, University of Southern California

“Glucklich’s sympathetic, immersive approach to the intentional community Neot Smadar and what it calls “Self-inquiry” is utterly fascinating. This engrossing study is a must read. As a scholar of Christian mysticism, I have learned so much from this engrossing book.”—Julia Lamm, Georgetown University

“The Neot Smadar community has baffled observers for decades, but Glucklich has lived inside it and gotten to know its members intimately, taking  “participant observation”  to a new level. This remarkable book will provide knowledge about the modern search for psychological liberation.”—Benny Beit-Hallahmi, University of Haifa, Israel

“Glucklich's intimate narrative and compelling analysis of an encounter with the people of Neot Smadar demonstrate how mystics can communally and corporally embody contemplation. Spiritual practice is intertwined with everyday social and even economic routines.”—Andrea R. Jain, author of Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture
ISBN: 9780300212099
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
280 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
18 b/w illus.