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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Moore says he now writes as a monk in the world

On Thursday 10 July The Point with Mindy Todd in Cape Cod hosts Thomas Moore on NPR to discuss his "Book On Creating Personal Spiritual Styles", A Religion of One's Own. The program description includes:  "Thomas Moore believes that individuals can fashion a religion of their own, whether one is inside or outside a religious practice, and that we can find a sense of purpose that satisfies us not only spiritually but also intellectually and emotionally." This radio interview is approximately 17 minutes.

Optimism pervades talk about religion's future

Listen to Thomas Moore talk about "Creating a Personal Spiritual Style" on Enrichment Hour with Mike Schwager recorded 20 July 2014. Schwager, broadcasting from Fort Lauderdale, interviews Moore in New Hampshire by telephone.

The hour-long radio program about Moore's new book A Religion of One's Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World. is divided into four segments. (You can skip the advertisements at the end of each segment.) During the third segment Moore differentiates between "raw passion" and "strong feeling" in discussions about current Middle East tensions. The final segment focuses on Moore's 2010 book, Care of the Soul in Medicine: Healing Guidance for Patients, Families and the People who Care for Them.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"Spiritual but not religious" Americans in NY Times

Mark Oppenheimer mentions Thomas Moore's new book A Religion of One's Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World (Gotham, 2014) in his New York Time's piece "Examining the Growth of the ‘Spiritual but Not Religious’" published online Friday.

Oppenheimer describes Lillian Daniel’s book When ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’ Is Not Enough (Jericho, 2013), Linda A. Mercadante's Beliefs Without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but Not Religious (Oxford, 2014) and Courtney Bender's book The New Metaphysicals: Spirituality and the American Religious Imagination (Chicago, 2010) before considering Moore's book. He quotes:
 “Every day I add another piece to the religion that is my own,” Dr. Moore writes. “It’s built on years of meditation, chanting, theological study and the practice of therapy — to me a sacred activity.”

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Moore's book considered one of the best of 2014

Spirituality & Practice chooses Thomas Moore's A Religion of One's Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World as the Best Spiritual Books of 2014 (So Far) in the category Devotion. It's at the top of the list, described as "a sumptuous work of creativity and insight for our times when many people want to craft a personal religion."

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, S&P's co-directors write about the selected books, "These are titles that have most impressed and inspired us. Since we only review books that we want to recommend to you for your spiritual journey, this selection actually represents the best of the best."

S&P's review of A Religion of One's Own includes, "As a student of the many quests for meaning, both sacred and secular, Moore is an advocate of mysticism and in a fine and flowing section of the book pays tribute to Christian mystic Simone Weil, Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, pianist Glenn Gould, religion historian Karen Armstrong, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, religion scholar Karoly Kerenyi, artist Georgia O'Keeffe, Trappist monk Thomas Merton, theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and psychologist James Hillman. This idiosyncratic group illustrates the mix of perspectives that can be gathered together as each of us does the exciting work of curating readings, spiritual teachers, and resources for our day-to-day living."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Moore shares how to cultivate a personal religion

Watch CJ Liu's interview with Thomas Moore recorded Wednesday 2 July 2014 for her show "Fire it Up with CJ". Liu explores answers to the question, "How could you honor and embrace the merits of following a religion, but have the freedom to pursue your own spirituality by yourself?" while discussing Moore's new book, A Religion of One's Own. During the 47 minute video interview, Moore recommends ways for listeners to develop their own religious approaches.

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.

Friday, July 04, 2014

What is the soul's hunger? Where are you headed?

Read the transcript of  Deborah Kory's interview "Thomas Moore on the Soul of Psychotherapy" in which  Moore says:
"I'm not interested in helping a person get along in life, and I'm not interested in helping them improve or get better as a person. That's more of an ego kind of project. I'm interested in the soul, which is deeper.

When someone comes to me for therapy, I'm always listening at a very deep level, because I want to know what their soul is hungry for. I listen to their stories and look for where they are getting in the way of their soul’s unfolding. What is trying to emerge? Where are they headed in spite of themselves? 
When they discuss his new book, A Religion of One's Own, Moore responds:
"I don't think anyone should be confined to one particular system of belief. I wrote A Religion of One's Own to make that clear. It could also be 'a psychology of one’s own.' It’s important to honor the traditions and you can study any branch of psychology you want, but I think if you really want to be someone who is alive in what you're doing and not just following a system, then you want to make it your own in some way. I happened to take it pretty far in making it my own." 
During their talk about dreams, Kory shares one of her recurring plane dreams. She continues, "So often we therapists get habituated to using language that really lacks imagination. Even in this one minute improvisational therapy that we just did, the myth and the story and the way that you responded just now was almost with a kind of excitement. As opposed to, 'Tell me about your sleep hygiene' or 'what are your automatic thoughts?' That kind of rote diagnostic way of relating to clients."

Kory asks about ending psychotherapy with an analysand:
"Kory: Do you tend to see people for a long time? How does therapy end? You don't want to make them better, so how do you know that they're done?
Moore: There's no done.
Kory: There's no done?
Moore: No. There's no done. There can't be.
Kory: I like that."

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Include ordinary daily actions in your own religion

For Contemplative Journal, Tom Rapsas shares his reactions to Thomas Moore's new book, A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World under the headline "Are you 'spiritual but not religious'? It may be time to create your own religion".

Rapsas writes, "In this new spiritual world, we look to formal religions for insight but create and follow our own path. Our religion becomes a personal one, rooted in the practices and rituals of our daily lives. For Moore, this means 'the sacred and the divine' are found in the everyday activities and settings we may take for granted."

Rapsas includes passages from the book, then comments on their meaning in his own life.

Moore: "You are born with spirituality; you don’t have to go looking for it. It is a huge presence that wants to live through you and be embodied in your life. The key is to see how the holy and the ordinary work together. . . . to appreciate ordinary activities for their sacredness." (page 82)

Rapsas: "As one who has always defined myself as 'spiritual but not religious,' Moore has me rethinking that hazy classification. I now see that, in fact, I started my own personal religious practice years ago and that it continues to evolve and grow. And I ask you, dear reader: if you also define yourself as 'spiritual,' and haven't started yet, is it time for you too to develop a religion of your own?"