Robert J. Wicks is a clinical psychologist at Loyola University, Maryland, and is the author of more than 50 books including Riding the Dragon. All of the world's wisdom traditions put great value on perspective — "how we view ourselves and the world." A mature and healthy perspective gives us both openness and clarity, two prized virtues in the adventurous spiritual life.

Tapping into his vast experience in psychology, Wicks affirms the portals of positive psychology, narrative therapy, the psychology of gratefulness, studies of post-traumatic growth, and the multitude of scientific studies of happiness. He begins with a chapter on the capacity to be alone and to make the most of mindfulness. We need time, space, and silence to nurture these capacities.

In a section on "Seeing Ourselves More Completely," Wicks celebrates six virtues which represent character strength: wisdom and knowledge, courage, love, justice, temperance, and transcendence. These have been developed and explored by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman.

Another aspect of a mature and healthy perspective is the ability to be grateful and joyful about the daily gifts of life. To nurture these spiritual practices is one way of preventing what Wicks calls "Spiritual Alzheimer's."

The art of seeing in the darkness stems from accepting impermanence, moving from self-centeredness to acceptance and compassion, and making meaning. Equally important is overcoming the roadblocks to openness and change. Wicks concludes that a healthy perspective is "worth all the effort. It is both the psychological pearl of great price and the calm in the storm."

As usual, the author provides a treasure-trove of thoughts, quotations, and spiritual insights which combine to make these meditations on perspective both distinctive and immensely appealing in their accessibility.