Friday, December 08, 2006

Writers ponder the soul's positive disintegration

Today, Rev. Ronald Rolheiser writes about maturing through our dark nights, as positive disintegration in "Growth through dark nights." He mentions James Hillman, Rainer Marie Rilke, and Thomas Moore, quoting the advice Moore gives in Dark Nights of the Soul to people in crisis:
"Care rather than cure. Organize your life to support the process. You are incubating your soul, not living a heroic adventure. Arrange your life accordingly. Tone it down. Get what comforts you can, but don't move against the process. Concentrate, reflect, think, and talk about your situation seriously with trusted friends."
On the Whole Life Times site, Laine Bergeson talks about "Embracing the darkness" through a discussion of projected shadow: "When the ego becomes inflated, so Jungian theory goes, it projects its shadow on others and demonizes them as evil. The shadow lives in us, but because we deny it, we end up finding it in the world around us. This is how the other becomes "The Other," that terrifying foreign being who embodies evil — conveniently, so that we don’t have to."

In addition to Jung, Bergeson mentions work by Paul Levy and Robert Bly. She writes, "Perhaps our greatest task in our work toward a more peaceful world is to learn to accept ourselves as we are, and not as we want ourselves to be. We must tend to and cultivate the soul of our humanity, not with the wish to exclude the darkness and the shadows, but with the desire to embrace them. We must hone our appreciation for the soulful personality, writes American psychologist Thomas Moore in his book Care of the Soul, which is "complicated, multifaceted and shaped by both pain and pleasure, success and failure. Life lived soulfully is not without its moments of darkness and periods of foolishness."

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