I’m so glad I got to review this book, The Echo Within. Len Sweet commented on it in an endorsement saying, “In this so beautiful book, Robert Benson provides the sky in which your soul can soar. You can fly.” He says it much more poetically than I could, but the end result is the same; this is a wonderful and beautiful book. I’m sure I will be processing it for some time. There are so many profound “one line” thoughts…that capture the essence of a lifetime of experience and conversation.
Over and over, with each turn of the page, my heart was resonating with affirmation, agreement, and understanding of the words that I read. I realize this is the goal of the poet-writer, to elicit this type of response, but I also know this is not a gimmick for this book. The Echo Within is real. The Whisperer and the Voice is real; I have heard it and I am following it even now as I write this review.
I enjoyed the casual and friendly writing style of Benson. Coincidentally, I recently had ordered and received another book by Robert Benson. I have yet to read the book, In Constant Prayer (Part of the Ancient Practices Series Edited by Phyllis Tickle), but it is on my bookshelf having recently arrived just a couple weeks before the opportunity to review The Echo Within presented itself. It is interesting to me that this sequence of events has unraveled in the context of the story of finding one’s calling and life vocation. Interesting indeed.
There are wonderful nuggets throughout the book that were bonuses for me. I loved the excerpts and quotations from Thomas Merton, Annie Dillard, and Robert Mulholland in particular. I was also introduced to the Academy for Spiritual Formation (I was unaware this organization existed prior to reading The Echo Within). I have no doubt that I’ll be sharing other words influenced by this book in my journal and on my blog; still lots to be unraveled in my head and heart from this read.
The Echo Within is a profoundly affecting, honest look at the myriad ways we are drawn into our life’s best work.
Written out of his own lifelong search for and response to the calling voice of God, Robert Benson recounts his discovery of the meaning of vocation, work, and purpose through the ups and downs inherent in family life, professional choice, and spiritual experience. With clarity and insight, and in the elegant prose for which he is known, he gently invites and encourages readers to find such deep truths for their lives as well. In particular, he illuminates the way for readers to explore:
- ways to sense the Holy in our pursuits, both in the pursuits themselves and within ourselves.
- how to fall into our vocation and chart a course toward it at the same time.
- how to love the work we do, and the process of doing it.
For anyone beginning a new career or sensing a needed change in their life or wrestling with a transition suddenly thrust upon them, Robert Benson delivers wisdom, humor, and heart in what he’s learned about listening for The Echo Within-and how it can help us discover our calling.
Robert Benson has written more than a dozen books about the discovery of the sacred in the midst of our ordinary lives, including Between the Dreaming and the Coming True, Home By Another Way, and Digging In. His work has been critically acclaimed in a wide range of publications from The New York Times and USA Today to Spirituality & Health and The Benedictine Review. He is an alumnus of The Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation and was recently named a Living Spiritual Teacher by SpiritualityandPractice.com. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.