Survival Guide for the Soul

Ken Shigematsu's newest book, Survival Guide for the Soul: How you Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve, is a welcome addition to my library.   I enjoyed Ken's last book, God in my Everything, so I approached the "Survival Guide" with pretty high expectations.  He did not disappoint.  The book is divided into two main sections, the first describes the situation that we find ourselves in.  Ken describes what we live in as a state of the divided self, a conflict between our desire to achieve and contribute to the world and our desire to be relationally connected to God and to others around us.  He calls it the "striving Adam" and the "soulful Adam".  While both these aspects of our souls are important, our current cultural worldview seems to pressure us to live the striving aspect and forget the soulful side, fracturing within us what is meant to be one whole person.

The second part of the book outlines 8 "survival habits for the soul" to help us move from a divided self, torn between achieving and relationships, to a whole self, holding these two aspects in balance in surrender to God and His work in our lives.  Ken writes of these habits beautifully, balancing the practical "how-to" of each habit with personal stories and experiences from his own journey.  I was especially challenged (and encouraged) by the chapters on meditation, sabbath, and simple abundance.  

I highly recommend this book.  It's more than a "How To Guide", it's a companion for the spiritual journey.  Ken's pastoral heart shines through as he writes not as an expert, but as a fellow traveler sharing his own story.  Read it slowly, read it 2 or 3 times. There is a tremendous amount of wisdom that can help shape your life toward wholeness.

Jeff KuhnComment