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Benjamin Shalva



seminars and workshops

Shalva Travels the Country Writing & Teaching on the Following Topics…

• Ambition Addiction: Taking Control of Your Ambition in Five Effective Steps

• Spiritual Cross-Training: Creating Your Own Blend of Spiritual Paths

• Mindfulness 101: Mindfulness Practice for Everyday Life

• Inner Light: Jewish Meditation for the Busy Mind

• Tuning in to the God Channel: A Meditation Journey through the Kabbalah

• Yoga & Kabbalah: Two Traditions, One Path




ambition addiction

Ambition is a blessing. It is a key motivator driving people to achieve their hopes and dreams. But for many, accomplishment is never enough. In a culture obsessed with fame and celebrity, the burning desire for acclaim, conquest, and domination can be overwhelming—to the detriment of one’s personal life. This is ambition addiction: the all-encompassing yearning for success at any cost. 

Self-described ambition addict Benjamin Shalva has written an insightful and illuminating book for anyone who wants to control that destructive strain of ambition and live with integrity. He identifies the signs and symptoms of ambition addiction and profiles iconic achievers to help readers identify unhealthy motivations. Then he reveals the five steps to living a fulfilling life of healthy, productive ambition in which grand but elusive fantasies give way to the true happiness of the here and now.

ambition addiction PRODUCT DETAILS

Publisher: Grand Harbor Press (November 15, 2016)

Language: English

Paperback: $14.95, 5.5” x 1" x 8.2”, ISBN-10: 1503938638, ISBN-13: 978-1503938632

E-Book: $3.99, ASIN: B01GFJZBDA

Audiobook: $9.99, 5.2” x 0.5” x 6.8”, ISBN-10: 153186824X, ISBN-13: 978-1531868246

ambition addiction INTERVIEW RESOURCES


  1. What is ambition addiction?
  2. Is ambition a bad thing? What's the difference between healthy ambition and ambition addiction?
  3. Who is affected by ambition addiction?
  4. What are the signs of someone who suffers from ambition addiction?
  5. How does ambition addiction affect individuals, families, colleagues, and communities?
  6. If someone suspects that they suffer from ambition addiction, what are steps they can take to curb their addiction?
  7. You speak about a "road to recovery" from ambition addiction. What are the steps on this road to recovery?
  8. You self-identify as an ambition addict. Why? How have you worked with ambition addiction in your own life?
  9. Can one ever cure oneself from ambition addiction?

Praise for Ambition Addiction

“This is a well-written, hard hitting book that will be invaluable for many people. Prescribed reading for those in the fast lane.” 


“There’s the life you and I think we want. That’s a sickness, really, and one that AMBITION ADDICTION diagnoses thoroughly yet entertainingly. Then there’s another life, a real, genuine, truly joyful life of service that you and I can lead. It’s right here, right now—all it takes is the knowledge and presence of mind to face some very real facts. Shalva's book is bracing medicine for those of us caught up in the stress and hunger and busy-ness of this fast, fast world.” 

— Waylon Lewis, founder of ELEPHANT JOURNAL

“In AMBITION ADDICTION, Benjamin Shalva has written a simple, practical, and often profound guide for all of us struggling to check the oversized fantasies prowling around our heads and re-engage with the real life passing us by below. It's honest, humorous, sincere and, most of all a wonderful tool for self-reflection.” 



spiritual cross-training

On a quest for enlightenment, Benjamin Shalva journeyed through the wilds of Tibet and took a pilgrimage to a white-walled monastery in Rhode Island. He wrestled with demons, danced with temptresses, and sang with hundreds of voices under the stars. Now, using the lessons and techniques gained through years of religious exploration and inward reflection, Shalva offers simple and powerful ways to connect with your spiritual self, whether it be in a place of worship or the yoga studio, or even while sitting in traffic, working late at the office, or kneeling in your garden.

In this honest, intimatesometimes embarrassing and frequently funnymemoir with down-to-earth instruction and guidance, Shalva reveals that you dont have to be perfect or singularly focused to accomplish deep spiritual work. By cross-training in three simple exercisessilence, stretch, and songyou can strengthen your spiritual muscles and deepen your personal search for meaning.

Inspiring and refreshingly candid, Spiritual Cross-Training encourages you to trust your own path, grow with an open mind and a light heart, and uncover the truth as you search for your place in the universe.

Product Details

Publisher: Grand Harbor Press (January 5, 2016)

Language: English

Paperback: $12.95, 5.5” x 8.2”, ISBN-10: 1503950484, ISBN-13: 978-1503950481

E-Book: $3.99, ASIN: B012W7BCCS

Audiobook: $9.99, 5.2” x 0.5” x 6.8”, ISBN-10: 1511343125, ISBN-13: 978-1511343121

Interview Resources

Suggested Interview Questions

  1. What is "spiritual cross-training" and how does one begin on this path? 
  2. What is the value of spiritual practice in our contemporary world?
  3. Why is it beneficial to follow multiple spiritual paths instead of one alone?
  4. Why did you choose the three paths of silence, stretch, and song for your spiritual cross-training?
  5. Does one need to meditate, practice yoga, and sing in order to spiritually cross-train, or do other kinds of activities also qualify?
  6. Your spiritual journey has taken you from India to Tibet to Israel to Mexico--does one need to travel far and wide on the spiritual path, or can one find God right in one's backyard?
  7. Can anyone from any religious or secular background spiritually cross-train?
  8. Does one have to believe in God or some kind of higher power to spiritually cross-train?
  9. Throughout Spiritual Cross-Training, you expose many of your personal faults and foibles. Why did you choose to present yourself this way? How does this type of honesty help your readers as they encounter their own struggles?

Praise for spiritual cross-training

“A warmly told and deeply honest tale of one man’s spiritual journey, filled with insight and wisdom gained from struggle and refusal to stop growing. This is a guy worth getting to know.”

— Arthur Green, author of EHYEH: A KABBALAH FOR TOMORROW

“Benjamin Shalva’s SPIRITUAL CROSS-TRAINING is a come as you are guidebook for truth seekers of all generations. Honest, entertaining, and illuminating, this is a cool friend to have on the path.”


“Benjamin Shalva takes us on a powerful journey soaked through and through with authenticity, bare bones honesty, insight, clarity, and humor. This work demystifies some very long-standing and intricately complex practices, making them accessible without sacrificing their core principles and cultural nuances. If you want a glimpse of one of the best possible spiritual futures in Western culture, here it is.”



About Benjamin Shalva

BENJAMIN SHALVA is the nationally renowned author of Ambition Addiction: How to Go Slow, Give Thanks, and Discover Joy Within and Spiritual Cross-Training: Searching through Silence, Stretch, and Song and has been published in the Washington Post, Elephant Journal, and Spirituality & Health magazine. A rabbi, writer, meditation teacher, and yoga instructor, Shalva leads spiritual seminars and workshops around the world.

Shalva received his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City and his yoga-teacher certification from the Yogic Physical Culture Academy in Los Cabos, Mexico. He serves on the faculty at the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington and the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC, and leads musical prayer services for Adas Israel Congregation and Bet Mishpachah in Washington, DC.

A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Shalva lives in Reston, Virginia, with his wife and children.


An Interview with Benjamin Shalva


  • You work as a writer, spiritual guide, meditation teacher, yoga instructor,  musician, and, of course, a rabbi too! How did you piece together such an interesting and varied career?


I always imagined I would find one passion, one path, and that I’d have a neat little business card that would say, “I’m Benjamin Shalva and I do THIS.” In my early teens, I pursued theatre and music—I thought that was my calling. In my late teens, I discovered Zen meditation—I imagined shaving my head and becoming a monk. In my twenties, I fell in love with Jewish text and tradition—so I headed to rabbinical school. Then, in my thirties, during an especially challenging time in my life, I turned to writing for comfort and understanding. And so here I am, forty years old, carrying all of this around in my knapsack, loving it all. Though it does make for a long-winded business card!


  • In your first book, Spiritual Cross-Training, you helped your readers develop their own personalized spiritual cross-training regimens. Can you describe a typical spiritual cross-training program?


Spiritual cross-training is not a specific program with predefined steps. It’s a philosophy, an outlook on spiritual practice. Spiritual cross-training teaches that, just as our body is served by athletic cross-training, by training different groups of muscles through a variety of exercises, so is our soul served by spiritual cross-training, by training different spiritual muscles through a variety of spiritual practices. We can benefit, for example, by meditating one week and then practicing yoga the next. Or praying one day and then playing music the next. We mix things up and that’s how we grow.


  • Your new book, Ambition Addiction, identifies ambition addiction as a common malady in our contemporary culture. What exactly is ambition addiction and who might it afflict?


Ambition, itself, can be a wonderful, positive attribute. Without ambition, we would never try new things. We would never make any progress. For some, however, progress and growth aren’t enough. Some of us hunger for that all-or-nothing happy ending, where we are the richest, or the most famous, or the most successful, or the most attractive. Ambition addiction is an addiction to winning, to dominating, to having it all and ending up on top. And it affects not just CEOs and movie stars, but mid-level executives, janitors, ministers, and stay-at-home parents, too.


  • You speak about a “road to recovery” from ambition addiction. What are the steps on this road to recovery?


To recover from ambition addiction, I recommend that individuals follow a five-step road to recovery. Step one: Slow down. This can be one of the most challenging steps for those of us addicted to the fast pace of ambitious activity. So I provide readers with exercises geared to help them downshift and take it slow. Step two: Enjoy. In the midst of mergers and acquisitions, go have an ice-cream cone. Find delight in the simple things. Step three: Give thanks. Create a gratitude practice, a ritual that reminds one that life itself, without any accolades or awards, is a gift. Step four: Donate time. Give time to family, neighbors, even pets. Spend time with those who can’t necessarily get you ahead, but who will fill your life with meaning. Step five: Dream anew. Rather than shoot for number one, shoot for meaningful progress and growth. Create dreams that aren’t just based on ego, but are based on a wider vision for what counts in this life. 


  • You self-identify as an ambition addict. How do you wrestle with ambition addiction in your own life?


I am an ambition addict. I will always be an ambition addict. Every day, sometimes every hour, a part of me yearns to be the most famous and accomplished writer and teacher in the world. But another part of me has appropriately identified this impulse as the cry of my ego. So, every day, sometimes every hour, I practice slowing down, enjoying, giving thanks, donating time, and dreaming anew. I created this road to recovery not out of thin air, but from the very practices I’ve used in my own life. They really work. I will never be free of this addiction, but I’m in recovery now. I’m a lot more patient, I’m a lot kinder than I used to be. And I’m able to enjoy my life so much more than I ever could before.


  • Who are your greatest spiritual and literary influences?


My heroes are the spiritual wanderers turned writers and writers turned spiritual wanderers. I love old masters like Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Kahlil Gibran, Hafiz, and Rumi. But I’ve been most influenced by twentieth century giants like Robert M. Pirsig (I reread Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance every year), B.K.S. Iyengar, Tom Robbins, Thich Nhat Hanh, Billy Collins, Jack Kerouac, John O’Donohue, Pema Chödrön, Martin Buber, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Through their search for meaning, they created gorgeous poetry and prose. Through their incredible writing, they illuminated wonderful paths up the mountain.


  • What is the number one thing you want readers to take away from your books?


In my books, I struggle with tough subjects and wrestle with demons, but my ultimate goal is to give others and myself a path forward that’s full of light and laughter. Yes. I’d love it if, after reading my books, you felt permission to smile, laugh, and enjoy your life.


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