Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ministry message is outside traditional hierarchy

Celebrating the paperback release of Thomas Moore's Writing in the Sand (Hay House, 2009) this summer, Rev. Edward Townley praises Moore's prose after outlining the plot of Miguel de Ghelderode’s play Pantagleize, by suggesting:
"... I was in the company of a spiritual Pantagleize, listening intently to his gentle voice as we walked together through the explosive, raging battlefield of contemporary biblical scholarship, history, interpretation, absolutism, faith and doubt. Hidden mines explode around us, bullets whiz by our heads, the noise of attacks and counter-attacks is deafening and the air is so filled with accusatory dust that breathing is nearly impossible. There are too many different armies to even count; but they are fortunately much too busy trying to destroy each other to even notice quiet Pantagleize and his nervous but eager companion, pausing amid the confusion to appreciate the incredible beauty, love and spiritual support offered by the true message of Jesus of Nazareth – a message that continues to grow and blossom even in the midst of the increasingly noisy but essentially meaningless battles that rage around us."
In "A Fresh Eye on the Gospels: A Review of Writing in the Sand" posted 18 May 2010 on, Townley shares:
"The subtitle of Moore’s book is "Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels," and its basic premise is that the true message of the ministry of Jesus Christ is so powerful, so earth-shaking in its full implications, that people have, for 2,000 years, been avoiding it by misreading the gospels, and by keeping Jesus himself locked within the stonewall structure of traditional church.
The book is rich in examples, comfortable in its use of all four gospels, gentle in its implicit understanding of the fear-based, limited vision that has denied the presence of these elements within each individual and moved them instead into a hierarchical religious structure. None of what Moore has to say is new; a strong mystical stream of fresh vision and personal empowerment has been flowing through the overall Christian movement since its earliest days – often opposed and repressed by those maintaining a more conservative and traditional view. I think Moore is correct in his insistence that Jesus himself was not conservative, and he was not a traditionalist. And I think he explains and defends his viewpoint beautifully and gracefully. Writing in the Sand will move and delight those whose own hearts have been guiding them in this direction. And it may even inspire those most resistant to its message to be still and quiet long enough to realize that, whether they agree or not, there is absolutely nothing in the message to fear.
Townley is senior minister at Unity of Greater Hartford in South Windsor, Connecticut and writer of The Secret According to Jesus: Living a Joyful Life.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

The soul prospers in the failure of perfection

"The Prosperity of Perfection" entry on the Simple Mind Zen site considers Thomas Moore's quote, "The soul prospers in the failure of perfection." This entry focuses on vulnerability and the openness needed to share ourselves deeply with others.

The post quotes one of Moore's favourite authors: "In the story, In Praise of Folly, Erasmus says, "it is precisely in their foolishness that people can become friends and intimates. For the greatest part of mankind are fools... and friendship, you know, is seldom made, except among equals."

It concludes with the idea that self love contributes to intimacy:
"We need not only to know more about ourselves, but also we need to love more of ourselves, in an unsentimental way; that is the way to oneness. Tolerance, "honoring that aspect of the self that may be irrational or extreme is the basis for intimacy," writes Thomas Moore. We have fewer expectations of perfection, less judgement; less and less are we separated by these notions. We come to recognize that the soul, in its meanderings, tends to move into new and positive areas in spite of, and because of the oddities expressed."

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Radiate the best within you to share with others

Jerry Bridge titles his review of Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul in Medicine with a quote from the book, "... a hospital without soul is a body repair shop”. Bridge writes, "In my view, if you work in healthcare then you must read it, give a copy to your CEO (unless that’s you, in which case you should make it required reading for your entire staff). This is an engaging, accessible, and inspiring work in which Moore presents us with a new vision for medicine – a vision that takes us beyond medicine as a physical science, matrix of prescriptions and treatment plans and sophisticated machines."

Bridge asks a few questions to prompt for a soulful environment:
"A soulful place of healing can be expressed in so many ways and on many levels. Healing and a sense of well being can be invoked through the use of color, light, architecture, imagery, sound or quality of conversation.

* Does your hospital or practice environment feel soulful?
* Does your organization employ imagery, color, water features, art or statues to help evoke spirit or imbue well being?
* What are the daily conversations that constitute the culture your workplace?
* What are the opportunities for making amends, letting go of resentments or acknowledging accomplishments?
* Are there plans for creating an integrated, holistic approach to care that involves some of the various aspects of healing as described above?"

He ends his review with a quote by Moore about the medicine Buddha, "You are always going to radiate some attitude or message; you may as well radiate the best you have. Treating soul and spirit in distress eases anxiety, helps relationships, and offers a sense of meaning and hope that will otherwise be elusive."

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sex addict quotes Thomas Moore in journal entries

EDITOR'S NOTE: Linked site contains visual sexual content unsuitable for young viewers. The complete Journal entries on the site, quoted below, do not depict visual sexual content found elsewhere on the linked site.

The adult web site, Cassandras Journey expresses [Cassandra's] "personal journey from unassuming girl next door to voracious sex addict." In her Journal section, "Cassie" refers to Thomas Moore as her "favorite commentator on the subject of sex ..."

14 July 2010: "Fetishes — what’s up with that?"
"Too often, it seems to me, sexual fetishes are depicted and portrayed as weird, lamentably necessary ways in which certain individuals feel compelled to realize their sexuality. It would be more fair and constructive, I think, to talk about fetishes as idiosyncratic ways in which couples relate to one another sexually. As Moore explains, "the point of sexual experimentation may be to sense together, in mutual generosity and complicity, the joy of transcending rules and expectations. In this spirit communities have often celebrated important religious festivals with orgies and other kinds of sexual license, breaking into the realm of spirit by means of sexual overstepping." Maybe we’re not overstepping because of a unilateral fixation or selfish route to satisfaction, but instead because we want to go somewhere uncommon together."

7 July 2010: "Soulless relationships"
"Thomas Moore, the philosopher and former monk who wrote the bible on sex (The Soul of Sex) and the bible on love (Soul Mates), has a lot to say about what happens when erotic experience is absent from life. Life, properly lived, he passionately explains, is itself an erotic experience, an act of love, and what happens in the public sphere is entirely and indelibly connected to what happens in one’s bedroom. Essentially: if your sex life sucks, that soils everything else (and by sex life we mean erotic life, because one can actually experience eroticism without sex)."

7 July 2010: "Tomato ecstasy"
In this post about the relationship between food and sex, "Cassie" quotes Thomas Moore:
"When we fail to notice the essential juicy, lush, and meaty vibrancy of tomato, somewhere inside us our ‘heart’ shrivels up, our succulent fecundity is unrecognized and uncalled-for. We too are dry and mealy, and longing for something to break us open and make us feel alive and flowing." This is a passage called "Tomato ecstasy" in a book by a Zen priest, as quoted by my favorite commentator on the subject of sex, Thomas Moore."

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Love is an opening into eternity, divine mystery

In today's post, "People who need people" on her blog Namaste, Bitches, Holly Westergren refers to Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul in her discussion of love. Westergren opens by sharing:
"There is only one man on earth who I believe I have truly loved and still love in the way people love people in movies. I also believe he loved me back, as best he knew how, though how can anyone really be sure of these things? But, the farther away I get from that love, the more I see how real it was, or maybe that's the illusion, who knows. He's a Pisces, too. A water sign. I swear, Pisces men might be the death of me yet. I've got not a single drop of water in my astrological chart, you see. It is entirely possible that I should just drink more water instead of pining for Pisces men. But, as Thomas Moore consoles in his beautiful gift to the world, Care of the Soul, "The soul apparently needs amorous sadness"."
In her talk of love, she continues,
"This man I loved and still love and always will love once said to me, "Nobody needs each other anymore." It's a sad state of affairs if this current is truly running rampant through our collective consciousness. I know what he meant, though. As a culture, we are afraid to need each other. Perhaps we are afraid to need altogether. Especially those of us who have been conditioned to be fearlessly independent, hard-working, successful and accomplished, in a culture that defines those things materially."
Westergren observes,
"I think roles between men and women are terribly warped in our culture. Women are afraid to need. Men are afraid to be needed. Both fears stem from the same place: a discomfort with vulnerability. Somehow needing each other has become a weakness, an admission that you can't figure things out for yourself, that you're helpless and lost, a feeling that so many of us have been programmed to avoid at all costs."
She quotes Moore's "prescription for those who are searching for love but can't seem to invite it in."

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Reviewer considers Care of the Soul and Jung

Kevin F. begins his short review of "Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore" with:
"Thomas Moore, influenced heavily by Carl Gustav Jung, and a contemporary of the archetypal psychology school that sprung from Jung's psycoanalytical movement, puts on quite a breathless show here with this wonderful book."
Kevin then shares his personal reflections about Moore's and Jung's views before concluding:
"Pragmatic without being staid, Moore proves to be a nuts and bolts Healer who is not afraid to get his hands dirty with the nastier things in all of us in order for recovery to begin.

Highly recommended, this!"

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Appreciate the soulful nature of your business

How do you bring a soulful attitude to your business? In their article "Soul survivors" for Fast Thinking, Stephen Malloch and Bridget Armstrong share signposts based on Buddhist concepts, to create sustainable businesses. They write, "For us, Soul is an orientation to living, a way of appreciating life. Soul loves simple details and community. For Thomas Moore "Soul is ... a quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart and personal substance." The three signposts that Malloch and Armstrong elaborate are:
    "Everything changes - let go of the past, and change what needs to be changed
    Interbeing - be aware of the impact of your actions, and seek collaboration with companions
    Beginner's mind - let go of preconceptions, and appreciate what's in front of you"
They suggest, "Through discussion with business companions and with business coaches working from the principles laid out here, you can discover what is getting in your way, and start creating a great business that feeds and expresses your Soul."

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Enchantment: soul is a receptive power within us

Dr. Don Meyer, president of Valley Forge Christian College in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania features Thomas Moore's book, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life (1996) in his column, "Think about it: The enchanting world of nature", published by The Phoenix today. Meyer shares Moore's observations about enchantment:
"Moore defines enchantment as "a spell that comes over us, an aura of fantasy and emotion that can settle on the heart and either disturb it or send it into rapture and reverie." He speaks of falling in love and how it effects more than just life with that person. It affects all of life. Everything we see and hear and feel and do is enchanted by the love we have for one other person."
After quoting Moore's view, "In general, it's difficult to imagine being busy and enchanted at the same time. Enchantment invites us to pause and be arrested by whatever is before us; instead of our doing something, something is done to us. This is the way of the soul, which is primarily the receptive power in us; by letting ourselves be slowed down and effected by nature...", Meyer describes his own enchantment, "As I read those words something stirs deep inside of me. It feels somewhat mysterious, even mystical. I guess that's why I like the word enchantment. And I have discovered I don't need to travel far to experience it. I can drop my briefcase off in the kitchen, take off my suit coat and tie, roll up my sleeves and go for a walk in my flower garden and that enchantment comes over me. I feel it as I look at the hydrangeas opening up and just touches of blue and pink appear on those delicate petals."


Monday, July 05, 2010

Listen to your daimon to find your life's work

"Who is the storyteller creating your biography?" — James Hillman

David McInerney opens his blog post, "The Calling: Discovering Our Soul's Work", with the quotation above. He then describes his moves from a well-paid corporate position to becoming a psychotherapist. McInerney quotes Thomas Moore's A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born To Do (2008) about the role of the daimon before writing:
"In addition, some family members thought my decision was misguided, so I was happy to see that at least Moore understood me when he said: "When you consider the spiritual aspects of work, you have to use a logic that is different than the world’s reasoning" (p. 158). Taking this bold plunge by defying convention and watching it all come to fruition is a deeply satisfying part of this journey. Many people are bound by cultural expectations and are therefore perpetually frustrated and unfulfilled.

Connecting to one’s daimon is perhaps the key component in extricating oneself from a soul-numbing job in order to embark on a meaningful path. Unfortunately, the tyranny of technology, religion, and materialism can conspire to cut us off from our innermost selves. Whether it is alienated teens in suburbia or alcoholic bread-winners high on the corporate ladder, many individuals often try to squeeze their souls into a cultural reality that does not allow them to be who they are. To connect to the daimon requires the courage to shine a light on one’s inner world, with all its unpleasant humanness. It takes practice and rigor to listen closely to one’s inner life so that the connection to one’s calling (or callings) can be recognized and teased out. If one lives in a culture which does not support or understand this kind of work, one may never make time for it."
McInerney has a Masters in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

Cultivating soul through education may be elusive

In his blog post "Finding Soul looking for curriculum", Frank Bird writes about soul in education with references to James Hillman, Thomas Moore, Carl Jung, James Kavanaugh and Mary Aswell Doll. Bird considers different associations with soul and includes
"Our rat race society where being John Wayne and never stopping and emailing till all hours of the night and working 24/7 and getting no sleep and pouring down energy drinks (I tend to like the five hour energy shots) is how we live...

Hillman sees our increase in depression as a response to our competitive society. That we are leaving behind something perhaps it is our soul. Hillman authored a best seller, The Soul's Code and Moore authored the best seller Care of the Soul. These two men are not just fly by nights. James Hillman studied under Carl Jung in the 1950’s and Moore, a former monk studying for the priesthood, has a doctorate in psychology and music. Interesting he is a pianist as well as therapist. Both men are concerned about this thing we call soul. In Doll’s article she emphasizes children learning literature in a manner that stirs the soul. By going back to Moore’s first definition, "First, soul refers to the deepening of events into experiences," John Dewey sought to pull experience into learning making it a crucial aspect of his philosophy. I have many times related to context and content being equal partners in learning."
Bird also touches on the ethics of politicians, hoop cheese and smoked turkey in this entry.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Thomas Moore writes about the sounds of silence

Today Barbara Figge Fox quotes Thomas Moore's Meditations (1994) in her answer, "Why I like Gregorian chant". Moore recites some of the selected passages on the CD, Music and the Soul, recorded with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on 16 April 2000.  In Meditations, the full passage about silence is:
"Silence is not the absence of sound. That would be to imagine it negatively. Silence is a toning down of inner and outer static,  noise that occupies not only the ears but also the attention. Silence allows many sounds to reach awareness that otherwise would go unheard — ­the sounds of birds, water, wind, trees, frogs, insects, and chipmunks, as well as conscience, daydreams, intuitions, inhibitions, and wishes.

One cultivates silence not by forcing the ears not to hear, but by turning up the volume on the music of the world and the soul." Page 68
This passage about silence is insightful since Moore also writes about silence for Resurgence Magazine.

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