We thought some soul-salving words might be good for us all as we start this new year. Here are a few audio offerings that hold out hope, help and guidance for trying times.

The Dalai Lama, one of today's great spiritual leaders, has touched the sensibilities of people around the world. The Dalai Lama in America: Live in Central Park, recorded in 1999 at a huge gathering in New York City, presents his graciously modest yet eloquent approach to finding happiness, joyfulness and inner peace. He urges us to become aware of our own potential and our own purpose and encourages us have the confidence to change our lives and change the world.

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, who has helped thousands of people find the resources to cope with tragedy, wrote Living a Life That Matters well before September 11th, yet after that unthinkable atrocity it has taken on added significance. In a time when we all have become more cognizant of what really matters, his profound, practical advice about doing well by doing good, about the necessity of friendship, generosity and self-sacrifice resonate with power and purpose.

Restoring Faith: America's Religious Leaders Answer Terror with Hope, edited and introduced by Forrest Church, includes excerpts from 10 sermons delivered immediately after the tragic events of September 11th. The bracing, eloquent words and voices of these priests, ministers, rabbis and imams underscore that what was meant to tear us apart has brought our free, wonderfully diverse nation together. These crucial messages composed and spoken in the moment stand as a moving testament of hope and an enduring reminder of what really matters. All publisher profits will go to September 11th charities.

Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.

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