"One has to pass through atheism to faith; the old God must be quite pulverised and forgotten before the new can reveal himself to us." -George Tyrell
After years of Zen practice I returned to the Benedictine Catholic roots of my meditation training. An exposure to the works of the Pali Canon, the ancient Buddhist sutras, and the writers and teachers who study it made me reconsider my relationship to the foundational spiritual texts of the Judeo-Christian West. Through this lens of Eastern and Western thought I re-encountered the Psalms. The texts awakened in me a spiritual stirring I thought I had left behind.
In the crush of modern life there is no way to keep up with the Divine Office, a cycle of reading the Psalms each day that enables the contemplative to cover the whole book in two weeks. I had to slow things down. I decided to study one Psalm a week, meditate on it deeply, and write my impressions and insights in this blog. This is a three-year project, which pulls me out of the harried race of work and accomplishment that engulfs our lives.
In my other work I write on mental illness on the site Practicing Mental Illness and in the book Resilience: Handling Anxiety in a Time of Crisis. I have also published work on healthcare, meditation, religion and politics. These topics, as well as my experience as a husband and father, and friend and dog owner, heavily influence the work I present here.
I do not have the audacity to compare myself to others, like CS Lewis, Robert Alter or Thomas Merton, who have contemplated and written about the Psalms. Nor do I dare emulate the Buddhist commentators like Stephen Batchelor and Red Pine (Bill Porter) who so influence me. I just read the words and write what comes to me. I hope you find something edifying in my work, and I encourage you to undertake spiritual reading and contemplation for yourself.
- George Hofmann