Psalm 46

"we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea"

I have a new book coming out in October. The Shape of Joy is now available for preorder (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, 

The Shape of Joy continues my project of integrating faith and psychology. After many books that have been very faith forward, The Shape of Joy is my most psychologically focused book, keeping my eye on our mental health crisis and sharing much of the literature coming out of the field of positive psychology. I talk about humility, ego volume, mindfulness, gratitude, mattering, meaning in life, the small self, and awe. All to have a conversation about a joy that is increasingly missing or fragile in the world and in our lives. The Shape of Joy tells the surprising story about how transcendence is good for you. Joy isn't found by turning inward. Joy is found by turning outward. Joy has a shape. Happiness has a geometry. 

In Chapter 1 of The Shape of Joy, entitled "The Collapse of the Self," I quote Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
The point I make in quoting Psalm 46 is a point I also make in Hunting Magic Eels: We need to lean upon a reality more sturdy than ourselves. As I share in The Shape of Joy, psychological research is revealing just how unsteady and unhappy the mind is when it is left all alone, when we're trapped inside our heads to stew in anxious worry or depressive rumination. Left alone with our thoughts we are very unsteady creatures. The mind needs to make contact with and rest in a reality that is independent of its own subjectivity. Especially when the storms of life begin to howl. Especially when our dreams crash and burn. Especially when we face heartache and failure. 

Here, then, are the mental health benefits of transcendence. In making contact with God the mind finds refuge, strength, and help in times of trouble.

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