Saturday, April 04, 2009

Care of the Soul

Getting my hands on a copy of Thomas Moore's, Care of the Soul, I flipped it open to discover, as often happens when I purchase a used book, interesting underlining from the last book owner. In this case, the underlining begins in the author's Introduction to his book. A brief sharing here -

"Therefore, this book, my own imagination of what a self-help manual could be, is a guide offering a philosophy of soulful living and techniques for dealing with everyday problems without striving for perfection or salvation."

The author continues, "The emotional complaints of our time, complaints we therapists hear every day in our practice, include -

emptiness, meaninglessness, vague depression, disillusionment about marriage, family, and relationship, a loss of values, yearning for personal fulfillment, a hunger for spirituality

All of these symptoms reflect a loss of soul and let us know what the soul craves. We yearn excessively for entertainment, power, intimacy, sexual fulfillment, and material things, and we think we can find these things if we discover the right relationship or job, the right church or therapy. But without soul, whatever we find will be unsatisfying, for what we truly long for is the soul in each of these areas. Lacking that soulfulness, we attempt to gather these alluring satisfactions to us in great masses, thinking apparently that quantity will make up for lack of quality."

I am eager to dive further into the book's text and if you're a regular reader of MindSieve, you know you'll receive a quote here and there, along with my questions - always my questions, probably never my answers!

The brief sentences that I've shared with you make me wonder about our world population's yearning for its collective soul in this time in global history that those "things" we've gathered to feed our souls are obviously NOT feeding our souls. Regrettably in many cases, our grasping for things has robbed us of even an ability to feed our bodies, or care for them healthwise personally, or healthwise globally. The poorest of our poor globally do not have the time that I do to ponder whether they can care for their soul or not - to care for their soul in order to escape the emptiness of their daily struggle for existence probably does not rate as highly as whether they will have a drink of clean water today or a bowl of watered-down something or another to eat. But for those of us, including me in that us, who have "everything" - homes, cars, pets, clothing, jewelry, computers, and more gadgets to play music than there is music - do I, do we do enough to protect, to feed our souls? It's a question I'm going to explore with Thomas Moore in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I think I can count the ways that I currently feed my soul. Are there enough ways for me? Can you, do you, do I, find our bodies better fed than our souls? Should we be stepping on the scales? What kind of scales can I, can we use for this measurement? I've got some good questions brewing for myself - how about you - hungry?
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  1. Anonymous7:05 AM

    If you like Thomas Moore's writings, check out a blog dedicated to his work, Barque, at It links to a free forum where you are invited to share your thoughts and reflections of his observations. Barque has just passed its fourth anniversary. Come celebrate!

  2. Ah, Sunrise Sister, you found another of my favorite books. You should see the underlinings in my copy! In all my books! I am always concerned that this devalues my books such that I am timid to give them away. Glad to hear that underlinings are appreciated.
    Indeed our bodies are often fed better than our souls. Both get their share of junk food, alas. This book gives a rich array of suggestions on to how to carefully nurture one's soul, allow it to grow and develop.

  3. i am so excited you are going to read this book since it is on my shelf and i haven't gotten to it yet. i know you will offer many tasty tidbits!

    it's interesting, but in my limited experience the people who seem to have most connection with their "soul" as i think moore is mentioning are those classes just above abject poverty...the people with just enough stuff, but not so many other distractions. hmmmm. i'll have to ponder that a little more.

    and re: the "underlinings"...i have a professor who says if you are NOT underlining in your books it is a travesty. how else will those that follow you (children, etc.) know what was important to you? (unless of course you have an active blog or massive writings they can follow :-)

  4. Questions. Yes. We like to answer than ask questions. Which result in a society that doesn't know how to reflect on their actions which often leads down the road of destruction.

    This is the benefit of spiritual direction. A good director ask more than offer answers. This is the reason I trained as one. In order to learn how to listen to my wife because I got tired of being told, Just listen, don't fix me.

    So... as you asked, what is the weighing scale for the soul? I ask, how loving are your relationships? Which ones bring up your fears, jealousy, desires, and therefore making you feel unloved? Which ones bring you closer to the Heart of your soul?

  5. Anon - thanks for the tip. I'll be checking out the Thomas Moore site.

    Barbara - so glad you recommend this book. And underlinings ---- my books look like a kid with a loose pencil has been at work. My favorites and re-reads get a little ridiculous but still I go on. I'm looking forward to more of this publication!

    Lucy - no doubt you'll hear about this book. I've barely started it and my underlining is very busy! Care of the soul best at "just above poverty level" - that's an interesting thought.

    Roy - thanks for your responses. I work on my listening skills but they still have a long way to go.

    Thank you, thank you for your responses! Taking in what readers have to say after a blog is completed is so rewarding to me.