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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

A fully lived life includes the arts and spirituality

Penguin Books shares "A Conversation with Thomas Moore" with the twelve questions offered to book clubs for A Religion of One's Own. When asked, "You talk about your spirituality as an ever-evolving entity. How did it change over the course of writing this book?" Moore's answer includes:
"Like all my books, I began with a question I couldn’t answer: Is it possible or even desirable to live your own religion today rather than bind your soul to an institution? In the course of writing, I was able to sort out many important and subtle issues. I feel that the writing of the book has intensified my own spirituality, and I’m more convinced of the ideas in the book than when I began. I found it especially helpful to study the lives of certain remarkable men and women I thought would well embody the idea of a religion of one’s own. I had planned on using Glenn Gould as a main example. I’ve admired him since my teen years. But I took a few important lessons from him and went on. Thoreau became more important than ever. He was someone who lived this philosophy and wrote about it in detail. I think that Walden and his journals are the main inspiration for my book. Emerson and Dickinson, as usual, were also key resources for me, and reading them yet again, I was inspired to create my own religious movement, even if it turns out to be a movement of one.
I’m more convinced than ever that the arts must come back as essential ingredients in a serious and fully lived life, along with spirituality. They go together. Hillman used to say that I was first a musician and then whatever else I was. He never knew how to categorize my work. I see more now how important the arts are to me, especially music, and I now incorporate them more into my daily life. I prefer meditation with art than what people often call mindfulness meditation." 
The twelve discussion questions may also enrich a personal reading of A Religion of One's Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World.

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