Presence and Encounter: The Sacramental Possibilities of Everyday Life
by David G. Benner, PhD
The most vital and significant moments in life are moments of encounter. Whether we encounter ourselves, others, or God, these moments let us know that life is meaningful. And presence is what makes encounter possible. When we are truly present, everything that has being becomes potentially present to us.
In this unique resource, David Benner invites us to live with more presence so we can know the presence of God more deeply in our lives. Drawing on over thirty-five years of experience integrating psychology and spirituality, Benner examines the transformational possibilities of spiritual presence and encounter in fresh, exciting, and practical ways. He helps readers understand the personal and interpersonal dimensions of presence and encounter, revealing how they mediate Divine Presence and serve as sacraments of everyday life. His rich meditations are presented in a voice that is intelligent, compassionate, and engaging. The book includes end-of-chapter reflection exercises for individual or group use and a foreword by Richard Rohr.
David G. Benner (PhD, York University; postdoctoral studies, Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis) is an internationally known depth psychologist, author, spiritual guide, and personal transformation coach who lives in Toronto, Ontario. He is a faculty member of The Rohr Institute’s Living School for Action and Contemplation, where he serves as a master teacher. Benner has authored or edited more than twenty books, including Soulful Spirituality and Spirituality and the Awakening Self. He lectures widely around the world and has held numerous clinical and academic appointments. For more information, visit his website at www.drdavidgbenner.ca or his Facebook page.
Praise for Presence and Encounter:
“Having journeyed with Dr. Benner in a Transformational Coaching relationship for the past year and having experienced profound shifts through reading his many books before that, I am privileged to recommend the book you hold in your hands. I am excited about the potential for a beautiful unfolding in your life as you encounter practical sacredness, wisdom held humbly, and God’s luminous presence within these pages.”
—Lisa Whelchel, actress; author of The Facts of Life: And Other Lessons My Father Taught Me and Friendship for Grown-Ups
“With his trademark blend of scholarship and accessibility, psychological insight and spiritual depth, David Benner has done it again. Presence and Encounter goes to the heart of spiritual formation and direction, awareness of Divine presence. Whether in Eucharist or casual encounter, it is awakening to Presence that makes encounter possible.”
—Gary W. Moon, executive director, Martin Institute and Dallas Willard Center, Westmont College; author ofApprenticeship with Jesus
“I always learn when I read David Benner. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that Benner expresses what I already know deep down inside, and he does so with such intelligence and eloquence that my heart just soars!”
—Ruth Haley Barton, founder, Transforming Center; author of Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community
“In Presence and Encounter David Benner provides a simple but profound guide to experiencing the presence of Christ (even in absence) in everyday life. Every day holds sacramental possibilities if only we learn by God’s grace to be present and to authentically encounter and dialogue with each other and with God. I highly recommend it!”
—Siang-Yang Tan, professor of psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary; author of Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective
“This book is a profound articulation of how the Divine Spirit pervades all things in the universe: the life force in all living things, the spirit that takes the form of our own spirits within us, and the energy that keeps the electrons in orbit in the atoms of a rock. This all-pervasive Spirit is what Jesus promised in John 14 when he said in effect, ‘The age of Jesus Christ is over. Now comes the age when God is a Presence as Spirit.’ Presence and Encounter clearly illumines our possibilities to be such a Presence to ourselves and each other that we experience in our encounters not just the dynamics of personalities but the numinous Presence of God.”
—J. Harold Ellens, author of Light from the Other Side: The Paranormal as Friend and Familiar (Real Life Experiences of a Spiritual Pilgrim)
“Presence and Encounter immediately draws a reflective reader into the essence of human living. It exquisitely points toward the possibilities of being totally engaged with all that is present in each moment–being available without reservation to oneself, to others, and to the Loving Presence that holds all. It is filled with joyous invitations to explore.”
—Jeannette A. Bakke, author of Holy Invitations: Exploring Spiritual Direction, spiritual director, teacher, and retreat leader
“The words ‘presence,’ ‘awareness,’ and ‘encounter’ have experienced a vogue reappearance in recent years. But who is explaining these esoteric and ethereal concepts? My friend David Benner, that is who. In his probing, yet down-to-earth style, David gives us more insight into a spirituality that is at once contemporary and ancient. His work is winsome and practical; he explains and captivates like few can on topics this rich. If you have followed Benner’s work you will love this project. If this is your first book, you are in for a feast!”
—Ron Martoia, Transformational Architect (www.RonMartoia.com)
Six-week Online Discussion Group:
Between Monday, October 20, and Friday, November 28, Dr. David Benner will be hosting a six-week online discussion of Presence and Encounter on his Facebook page, with an additional feed through Twitter.
Each week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, he will offer an excerpt drawn successively from the 14 chapters of this book and a question to aid readers’ reflections.
No registration is necessary; readers are invited to turn up and share in the conversation in ways that work best for them.
Readers are encouraged to purchase a copy in advance so they’ll be ready to engage over the six weeks of discussion.