Sunday, May 03, 2009

Are you caring for your soul today?

Averroes, like many important Muslims who wrot...Image via Wikipedia

From Thomas Moore's CARE OF THE SOUL - chapter 6, page 119 -

"In the soul, power doesn't work the same way as it does in the ego and will. When we want to accomplish something egoistically we gather our strength, develop a strategy, and apply every effort. The power of the soul, in contrast, is more like a great reservoir or, in traditional imagery, like the force of water in a fast-rushing river. It is natural, not manipulated, and stems from an unknown source. Our role with this kind of power is to be an attentive observer noticing how the soul wants to thrust itself into life. It is also our task to find artful means of articulating and structuring that power, taking full responsibility for it, but trusting too that the soul has attentions and necessities that we may understand only partially."

According to the book cover, Mr. Moore "is a leading lecturer in the areas of psychology, mythology, and the imagination and he lived as a monk in a Catholic religious order for twelve years, having degrees in theology, musicology, and philosophy." For whatever reason, I had predetermined that the book was probably written from his Roman Catholic point of view, while in fact he speaks of the soul really from his disciplines of psychology, mythology, and the imagination - perhaps, so far anyway, not neccessarily tilted from his Roman Catholic faith side - his degrees there being in theology, musicology, and philosophy. So, coming up against a "different" or more diverse representation of the soul than that I expected, how do I feel about the book so far - like it, not, am suspect from a Christian point of view, disappointed that he views the soul from other than what I expected?

I am NOT disappointed - rather from my own rational, perhaps simplistic point of view, I find this book provokes my awareness of a gift from the only unknown source that I feel comfortable in crediting and that would be God. I embrace the concept that my soul is part of the total gift of life from my Creator and that viewing it as "a great reservoir or, in traditional imagery, like the force of water in a fast-rushing river," gives me tremendous comfort and grounding knowing that I've probably just tiptoed into the water of what my soul is capable of achieving while in this mortal life and that through awareness of the gift, perhaps I can hope to grow into a life to be worthy of that for which it was intended.

So, I'll be continuing in this book and looking for the message that is there for me and my soul together to interpret or not.

Have you found books in your library borrowing or buying that you thought you would know all about and suddenly found a new concept that you either totally disliked or totally embraced? Do you cast aside books with which you disagree or labor on? Do you read an occasional book because you should? Do you think your soul (the shrinking or the expanding soul) has anything to do with the book selections you make?

I hope you think about and care for your own soul this day and perhaps in doing that you 'll be caring for someone else's as well. Happy Sacred Life Sunday!

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  1. I adored reading Eco's The Name of the Rose, so I thought his next book, Foucault's Pendulum, would be a treat. WRONG! It was so much about the occult and darkness that it revulsed me. I forced myself to finish it and never will do anything like that again.
    Nowadays, soul has much to say about the books I read. A book that makes me yearn, that expands me, that calls me to a higher level will get read first, not necessarily all at once. I will also read books to learn something, but that is soul-expansive as well.

  2. Barbara, I so relate to your words. Reading has become so much fun for me in retirement. I own way too many books but I love reading several at a time. It's a mind game with me that I can read them, put them down, go to another mood another place and then actually go back and remember where I was before in the "other" book. I've also found that I can just close them and NOT go back without regret. The Brothers Karamazov may be my last gritted teeth, I will finish this book! I'm not sorry I read it again, but it was a long read. I'm just breezing through a couple now and loving the stories and the experience of new tales in my brain. I do believe the joy of reading expands one's soul....this comes from a person who I think remembers reading one book in junior high school - it was "Clara Barton, A Nurse". My love of reading came from somewhere, I don't know where but I find it such a gift! Thanks for your comments on your reading and soul-expanding habits:)

  3. ss--there was already so much to comment on from the post and then i got to the comments. never ending fodder for conversation :-)

    i about fell over when i saw your book "clara barton". that is one of the few books i remember reading as a girl other than a slew of nancy drew books which i adored.

    as an adult i usually have at least four going at a time. i love choosing them depending on what or how much i want to "learn". there is always something to be offered and many that i pick up again and again always seem to have something "new" that has been written in since the last time i read those same pages.

    thanks for continuing to share thomas moore with us since i have not yet felt compelled to take him off of my own bookshelf :-)


  4. I wonder if you would like "The Gift" by Lewis Hyde. He's not particularly religious in his writing, but he has a wonderful way of discussing how "gift" works in life/art.

  5. Lucy,
    Thanks for your comments. Funny we both remember "Clara Barton/A Nurse" - I suppose that was on the recommended reading list, ha, as if there was such a thing when I went to school. I do love the learning aspect and the discussion with others about a book either liked or disliked.

    Nice to hear from you again. I've not heard of "The Gift." I'll have to take a look and see if I dare place another book on my always growing list. Thanks for the recommendation.