Autumn Years


You've arrived at that delightful time in life when you have fulfilled most of your social responsibilities. The kids are grown and you no longer have to hold down a job. You have greater freedom to be yourself.

Many people see this as a time for winding down and taking it easy; yet it can be the most meaningful, valuable, and cherished period of one's life — a time to reflect on life's experiences, a time to cultivate one's inner wisdom. It is an ideal time to pursue one's spiritual growth, and there is no better way of doing so than through contemplation, a form of spirituality found in all religious traditions.

Robert and Elizabeth King discovered their own contemplative practice in their later years and enjoy sharing what they have learned with others. Robert, a professor of philosophy and religion, recently completed a book on contemplation and action. Elizabeth, a professional writer, has authored several books on spiritual themes. Their most recent book, Autumn Years: Taking the Contemplative Path, is one they co-authored.

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This is a beginner's guide to contemplation for anyone in the second half of life. It's also a love story. Elizabeth and Robert first met as children but reconnected in their sixties when they learned that each was on a late-life journey of self-discovery and spiritual adventure.

In Autumn Years they describe the practice of contemplation as part of a strategy of successful aging. Recognizing that there is no single contemplative path, the Kings provide a simple, reader-friendly guide to a number of contemplative practices: sitting meditation, centering prayer, walking meditation, and loving-kindness meditation.

The authors introduce readers to other meditative practices as well. Uniquely, they show how contemplation can foster intimacy. Among the fruits of contemplation for those in the second half of life are inclusive faith, life review, leaving a legacy, living with mystery, and endless exploration.


Praise for Autumn Years

"This book is written for anyone growing older who feels a tug toward spiritual seeking, and since more than 76 million baby boomers — the generation that legitimized spiritual seeking — are growing older, it has a considerable potential audience.... This brief introductory volume is both personal and personable, as a spiritual guide should be, and is recommended for beginners as well as those having difficulty seeing how Eastern spiritual practices can enrich a Christian's faith. It sets a standard as the market for 'mature spirituality' books continues to develop."
Publishers Weekly

"This is a wise, personal, and useful book for all those who are in the journey of aging. This includes all of us! Autumn Years teaches and asks us to remember who we really are. It is a beautiful gathering of guidance, practices, and insight."
— Joan Halifax, abbot of the Upaya Zen Center

"The Kings are an original and provocative witness to the contemplative life of the twenty-first century. They show that marriage is as much a spiritual journey as monasticism. They will also inspire many in the second half of life to discover that youth is only the beginning of the human exploration of wonder, divine passion, and holiness."
— Laurence Freeman, O.S.B., director of the World Community of Christian Meditation and author of Jesus: The Teacher Within

"In Hawaii, wise elderly community members are called kupuna. Their function is to help younger people find their way in life and thereby to align themselves with mana, the Great Life Force. In these latter days of malls and materialism, the Kings are among our American kapuna. They remind us that the autumn years are not merely indicators of physical decline but, as significantly, a time of harvest and of balancing outer with inner concerns. Autumn Years invites readers into the intimacy of the Kings' meditation room and their lives. In words and images as clear as the Colorado stream near their house, they share their contemplative path to fuller, richer, more meaningful lives. A delightful, comforting, and practical guide to wise living."
— Reynold Feldman, executive director of Aloha Medical Mission, Honolulu, and author of Wisdom: Daily Reflections for a New Era




Workshops

Recovering the Contemplative Dimension of Faith

Robert and Elizabeth offer a two-day workshop on present-day contemplative practices. Designed for the young at heart to enrich their spiritual lives, this workshop offers practical instruction in several forms of contemplation. Drawing on Christian and Buddhist traditions, the workshop is presented in an ecumenical spirit with opportunities for discussion and feedback.

Finding Purpose in the Autumn Years

The Kings also offer a weekend workshop for persons seeking meaning in the latter half of life. Participants are invited to consider what they might let go of at this time in life, as well as ways in which they might call forth and develop the inner gifts that will enable them to harvest the wisdom gained through years of experience.

For more information about either workshop, you may write us at mail@autumnyears.org or P.O. Box 571, Green Mountain Falls, CO   80819.




Elizabeth and Robert at their home in Colorado


Robert Elizabeth
A graduate of Harvard and Yale, he taught at DePauw University in Indiana and Millsaps College in Mississippi prior to retirement. He is the author of The Meaning of God and most recently Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh: Engaged Spirituality in an Age of Globalization. Author of A Guide to Christian Meditation, Where Soul and Spirit Meet, and Every Good Thing, she also writes for Guideposts. For many years she has led workshops and retreats throughout the Midwest. Prior to her marriage to Robert, she wrote under the name of Marilyn Morgan Helleberg.


Copyright 2004, Robert and Elizabeth King. P.O. Box 571, Green Mountain Falls, CO   80819
Comments can be sent to mail@autumnyears.org.