Friday, February 24, 2006

Moore's Care of the Soul continues as guide

Two recent commentaries reference Moore’s Care of the Soul. Lawrence Cunningham who teaches theology at the University of Notre Dame, wrote "Catholic spirituality today - What does it mean?" for Commonweal magazine. His synopsis has been reposted to Catholic Online. Cunningham observes,
"The enormous popularity of spiritual writing in the past few decades is a broader sign of interest in spirituality. Thomas Moore’s The Care of the Soul was on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list for years. Kathleen Norris’s Dakota and her Cloister Walk made the same list. Both authors drew on Catholic sources, although only Moore had a Catholic background (he had been a Servite friar). His work had a largely Jungian patina. Norris, a Presbyterian, used monastic sources to introduce her contemporary audience to the teachings of traditional Christian spirituality."

Also this week, Lt. Cmdr. L.E. Peterson, in his regular feature Chaplain’s Corner for, writes about a Washington Post (free registration required) article called "The Inside Out Solution" by psychotherapist and business psychologist Douglas LaBier. It appeared on the front of the paper's Health section Tuesday 14 February, 2006. LaBier says peace of mind doesn’t come from balancing home and work, rather the focus needs to shift to "getting your inner and outer lives in sync." The transcript for LaBier’s online session about balancing public and private life is also available online.

In his response to LaBier’s comments, Peterson writes,
"Nowhere in the article did he use the word Spirituality or Spiritual Life, but these are the religious traditions that have connected the inner (spiritual) self with the outer (worldly) self for many generations. Amazingly, spiritual traditions are focused on Meditation and prayer, Relationships (connections with others), Healthy living, Music/Art/Nature as blessings of creation, and Serving God and the world...

"Many books have been written through the years on Spirituality and its disciplines. Back in 1940,* Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life was written by Thomas Moore. The book focused on recognizing and cultivating our soul/ spirit/ inner self. It recognized that when our spirit is cared for and nurtured, then our ability to cope with the "things" of life is improved. It is well worth your effort to read his book."
Peterson urges readers to tend the roots of their lives. This seems to guide attention in the right direction.

*Note: Thomas Moore was born in 1940. Care of the Soul was published in 1992.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Religion and spirituality on a university campus

In his student newspaper column, For the Love... In light of Valentine's Day, some common ideas on love, Jamie Anson of The Daily Evergreen at Washington State University writes,
"Last week in a five part series on religion, Daily Evergreen readers learned about the many ways in which the spiritually convinced and the spiritually skeptical are influenced on campus.

Love is regarded as something of a spiritual experience by many if not most people. A quick survey of the radio is a testament to love’s dominance as subject matter. Whether you are an indie-rock skeptic or an emo-punk aficionado, a hip-hop hustla or a country-grown romantic, you are working with a definition of love.

It was the contemporary writer, psychotherapist and theologian Thomas Moore who wrote, 'We are all philosophers — not in a professional sense of course, but as we imagine the way things are, the way we should behave, and the reasons why things turn out the way they do.'

In the end it really does not matter if you revel in Romantics or contend that love was invented in the Middle Ages by the likes of Andreas Capellanus, the verdict is final: you cannot be alive and not have a definition of love. It is simply too central to the human experience.

This working philosophy of love has amazing implications. In many ways it is the utter definition of a person. It determines everything from how they interact with others to how they expect to be treated, and even a slight change in that working philosophy has the power to completely transform someone.

It is not surprising that love is virtually the only theme that runs seamlessly through comedy, tragedy, drama, horror and mystery. Not only is love thematic across genres but it dominates much of the Bible, Torah and the Koran. This working philosophy is very important, affecting not only the individual but entire cultures."
Religion and students at Washington State University:
February 6
Tolerance and faith inseparable at K-House
February 7
Campus group brings Jewish students together
February 8
WSU Christian community strong
February 9
The trials of a misunderstood faith
February 10
A belief niche for the skeptical

In the issue with the final part of the series, the editorial says,
"Students should take advantage of this unique time in their lives and the unique opportunities college life can afford to develop a more mature appreciation of those religions with which they are not familiar. College is a time where we can meet others from different cultures and religions to help form our own values and beliefs independently from our families. It is a time to learn from more than just a textbook, but from our peers, to become tolerant, respectful citizens...

With people dying each day as a result of religious differences, we would extend that many religions are in danger of being isolated from each other. Every faith could benefit from a tolerance of others that is nurtured in all levels of practice. This can be achieved today, it doesn’t have to result from vague platitudes and it really doesn’t need to involve the religious. Respect can have a tremendous impact on a local level."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Sexual intelligence includes ribald humour

In a review of Kim Cattrall's Sexual Intelligence for the National Post on Wednesday, February 8, Chris Knight notes:
"One of the more interesting digressions has to do with the link between sex and humour, and the fact that both coitus and comedy begin with a kind of foreplay, involve revelation and end with a climax. "It makes me realize how important it is to have dirty jokes, and to be vulgar about sex. It's not a deviancy," says Thomas Moore, author of The Soul of Sex."
The documentary will be available for purchase in Canada in April.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Consumer associations with soul branding

Based on feedback to last week's post, here's another link about soulful consumption. In the Winter 2001 issue of Design Management Journal, Jeffrey F. Durgee wrote an article, "Soul Branding: How to do it" that talks about five approaches to emotionally connecting the consumer's associations with a particular brand through:
- One's past,
- One's self,
- The otherworldly,
- Loved ones, and
- Humankind and the planet

Durgee acknowledges Thomas Moore's work in this exploration, and says,
"Most writers about the soul suggest it is an entity closely connected with the individual-- that each of us "has a soul." Soulfulness and spirituality, however, are also associated with forces that are independent of us: "mana," "ch'i" or simply "spirit." Spirituality is also experienced in relationships with loved ones and with general societal concerns, such as the environment and workers' rights, as well as with early, archetypal experiences. Possessions that are old or that reflect important past experiences are felt to have a lot of spirituality or "soul." The soul thrives on time for reflection, conversation, reverie, beauty, and rest. Art, therefore, is very pleasing to the soul, a fact that has obvious importance for product design and aesthetics."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Moore stimulates talk of "soulful consumption"

In today's column in the Appleton Post-Crescent, Kathy Fredrickson talks about businesses linking to a customer's 'soul' needs. Her discussion is based on the work of Thomas Moore and she highly recommends Moore's Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life.

Fredrickson tells readers,
"My husband works with an architect who has made it his life's work to understand and practice the soulfulness of design. The passion and conviction he feels for the spirituality of a space wins the hearts and business of his clientele. His approach isn't from classical business practice. It mirrors the teachings of Thomas Moore (a modern-day priest turned consultant, not the Sir Thomas of the 15th century)."
She describes "soulful consumption" as:
-- captivating
-- personal
-- natural
-- imperfect

Fredrickson also refers to design principles based on Moore's work, written by Jeffrey F. Durgee and Robert W. Veryzer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in their 21-page PDF document that's featured in a Barque: Thomas Moore as Catalyst entry for 1 May 2005 under the headline Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life Resources.