"Wrestling with God" book with Barbara Falconer Newhall
My book has arrived, and I'm delighted!

Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith


"Any seeker of any faith will be blessed to read the words of this fine author and observer."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Click to learn more about "Wrestling with God"

What Happens When You Drop Your Cell Phone Into the Sacred Buddhist Sand Painting?

Monks of the Yellow Hat Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism create a sand paining in    Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism created a sand painting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in December, 2014. A photo of the Dalai Lama is at left. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The red-robed monks have spent days creating this intricate Tibetan sand painting. It’s a sacred mandala. At its center sits the Ashokbhya Buddha. Meditating on his image will help you overcome your anger and hatred. In his hand the Ashokbhya Buddha holds the vajra scepter representing unshakable enlightenment. The painting is nearly finished, and it is exquisite.

Yellow Hat Tibetan Buddhist monk grinds sand into the edge of a sand painting in Santa Fe NM. Photo by Barbara Newhall

A monk tapped sand onto the border of the mandala, which depicts the Akshobhya Buddha, the Immovable One, who embodies unshakable peace–equanimity–in the face of conflict. Photo by Barbara Newhall

You lean into the painting for a closer look. You hold your cell phone over it to snap a picture. The phone slips from your fingers and drops with a thud. Sand scatters. White sand mixes with green and one corner of the priceless, sacred mandala  is destroyed.

What happens next?

Not a thing. The monks tidy up. And the next day a visitor asks about the jagged bare spot in the mandala (That would be me. Because, no, I’d never hold my cell phone over a sacred Buddhist sand painting, would I?). A monk smiles with equanimity.

“Nothing is perfect,” he says.

A few days later, in an act symbolizing the temporariness of all things, the monks — with equanimity — swirl the sand on the table, mixing it together, destroying their week’s work.

PS: Just so you know, the word Islam means equanimity — surrender to what is.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like “Religion Scholar Huston Smith at 93: ‘Be Happy!'”  or  “Buddhist Teacher Jack Kornfield on Sex, Drugs and Enlightenment.”

A sand painting created by the monks of the  Drepung Loseling Monastery of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism that depicts the Immovable Buddha is partly destroyed by accident when a visitor drops her cell phone onto it. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Tided up, but imperfect, the Santa Fe sand painting depicts the immovable Ashokbhya Buddha at its center. Photo by Barbara Newhall

For more about my newly released book, Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith, go to WrestlingWithGodBook.com. In the book, Buddhist teacher Martin Verhoeven tells the story of how he maintained his equanimity when a man pointed a gun at him during his 650-mile bowing pilgrimage up the California coast.

Video of the creation of a Tibetan sand mandala at Sonoma State University in 2011.


Today: Radio Host Bob Dutko and I Get Real on WMUZ-FM Radio

Bob Dutko talks about God’s sovereignty and his daughter’s sudden death.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Conservative Christian radio host Bob Dutko will be calling me up at 2:30 ET today to chat about my new book, Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith.

Bob’s nationally syndicated show is broadcast out of Detroit at WMUZ [Read more…]


Now’s the Time to Order “Wrestling with God” — And Read My Lake Michigan Story

Lake Michigan with a colorful sky at sunset, seen from Michigan. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Sandy Lake Michigan at sunset. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

More about Lake Michigan in a minute.

First — if you haven’t already done it, now’s a good time to order “Wrestling with God”. You can get both the Kindle ebook and the paperback through Amazon, or you can order the paperback through your local bookstore. It’s also available as a Nook ebook. To find out more, visit WrestlingWithGodBook.com. [Read more…]


TV Host Phil Cousineau: “‘Wrestling with God’ Is a Riverflow of a Book”

River running through Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, in September. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, in September. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

A riverflow . . . that’s how author Phil Cousineau describes my book  Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith. 

And that’s exactly how it felt to be caught up in the stream of radically diverse [Read more…]


It’s Launch Day for “Wrestling with God” and I’m Hoping You’ll Buy a Copy . . . or Two or Three

Author Barbara Falconer Newhall joyfully shows off her copy of Wrestling with God with cover design by Michelle Lenger. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

It’s launch day for Wrestling with God. It’s out there and ready for you to buy, and I’m hoping, hoping, hoping you’ll go to Amazon or your local bookstore (in person or on their website) and order yourself a copy . . . and maybe one or two for friends and family.

The book now has its own site where you can read about it and order it. It’s  WrestlingWithGodBook.com. [Read more…]