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Friday, January 31, 2014

Let beauty and wisdom guide our spirituality now

The Penguin USA blog shares Thomas Moore's own reflections on his new book A Religion of One’s Own. In this post for the publisher, Moore's musings include:
"From the beginning of this fated journey, I never liked religious behavior that was too pious or moralistic. I seem to have been born with an appreciation of secular life interweaving with a spiritual vision so that neither dominate. In this regard, I think of the interlinking chains and spirals I see all over Ireland, my adopted second home, or the familiar Taoist symbol of yin and yang melting into each other.

 Just as Care of the Soul sprang out of me at the particular point where my ideas and my experience as a therapist matured, now I feel that my worldly way of being religious is emerging at just the right time in our cultural evolution to go public with it. Thus, my new book A Religion of One’s Own. We are now at a point where it’s time to let go of a narrow view of religion. I suggest that we don’t abandon it, even if many sophisticated modern people think it’s superfluous or prefer “spirituality”. Worldly life without a deep form of religion would be secularism, and that is a dangerous, soulless option. Just listen to the way many scientists are talking these days, reducing the richness of human experience to brain studies, for example, and you get a taste of what secularism would be like. As human beings we’d shrivel up.

The new book puts together an array of ideas I’ve been working on for years that together form a personal spiritual practice that I call a religion of one’s own. At the top of my list are the beauty and wisdom of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions. I don’t want to get rid of the established religions but use them now as resources for a personal religious vision. They are priceless for what they have to offer, but the emphasis on belief, authority, empty ritual and moralism has weakened them to the point that they must re-imagine themselves radically. You can be a member of a religion and still have a religion of your own, or you can go off on your own, becoming a seeker or even an atheist, and use the traditions as resources."
Moore invites readers to join him "in welcoming a significant evolution in the human spirit."

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