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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Moore: "To incorporate" is more than "to know"

On page 10 of the March 2009 (42:3) Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association newsletter, Rev. Wayne Walder interviews Thomas Moore, this year's featured speaker at 2009 Convo in Ottawa, Canada, November 11-16, 2009.

Moore talks about teaching his daughter, his early years, the role of a holy person, and showing appreciation. He also asks a question about UU approaches for Walder to answer at the end of the interview.

During the interview, Walder asks about competition, fear and jealousy among ministers, "We have a shyness or a fear of being criticized by our colleagues. There is of course, a wonderful support system among our colleagues, AND a significant amount of jealousy, competition, and mistrust. People are shy about bringing their insights into the light."

Moore responds,
"When you spoke, I was thinking of a group I was with when I was in my 30’s and 40’s – a group in Texas that was a group of psychologists trying to create an outgrowth of Jung’s psychology. We were not a formal group but we knew who was in our group. One thing I really noticed, there was a great appreciation for each other. There was a great wish for each other’s success. We all wanted the others to succeed, I think. That was one thing that was really strong.

This was unusual for me because I had been teaching at a University where the opposite was the case. At the University there was all this envy and jealousy and whenever you succeed, your job was threatened. It was a very strange situation. I was in that position myself, I saw some need, I responded to it. I had very large enthusiastic classes. And it shocked me that my colleagues hated that – they wanted me to fail. And I thought what kind of an organization is this where the people in it want me to fail? It’s a very strange situation. And that’s where the envy and jealousies came through. It’s so different from this other group – just the opposite. What was the difference? It’s really hard to say. One difference in the Jungian group was that we were all engaged in creating something."
[...]
"When I stuck my neck out where the world thought I was crazy, I would get a letter from one of my friends in this group telling me how great they thought I was. They told me how much they appreciated my ideas. Those letters and that support meant everything to me. I didn't have to have it from others in the world, but if I got it from my peers, it meant everything. And it kept me going. What I’m saying, I think is, you might consider putting together some "habits of appreciation". If people could understand how important it is to hear appreciation for their work, in a very real way, they might do it. I don’t mean just standing up and giving someone a gold watch, that kind of thing. But in a very real way, saying: "I’m behind you," "People may not understand what you’re doing, but I’m really behind you on this." I think that kind of thing within a community would help tremendously."
At the end of the interview, Moore talks about UU ministers modeling what they learn and want to teach others. Moore says, "If you incorporate wisdom or spirit into yourself, and are transformed by it, people will notice. I don’t think personally – and this is based on my own experience – I don’t think it’s necessary to have vast knowledge of all these different resources. What I have to be able to do, what you might consider, is to notice how "what you are learning", melds with "what you already know". Because then what we know and what we learn can come together as a new dimension of "who we are". When I do that, I’m not trying to find one more thing to use as an example. I’ve become deeper. What I discover also helps me give more colour and depth to what I already know and can teach."

A Unitarian Universalist minister on sabbatical responds to the interview, showing her appreciation for Moore’s observations.

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