Dark Nights of the Soul

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9780142800522: Dark Nights of the Soul

A 'dark night of the soul' is not a psychological syndrome, but a quest for meaning during life's darkest hours: the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, ageing and illness, career disappointments or just an ongoing dissatisfaction with life. Thomas Moore's extensive experience as a psychologist and theologian has taught him that the dark night is a challenge to restore ourselves and to become someone of substance, depth and soul. By using these trying times as an opportunity to reflect and delve into the soul's deepest needs, we can find a new understanding of life's meaning. Dark Nights of the Soul has its roots in a favourite chapter in Thomas Moore's million copy bestseller, Care of the Soul. In this beautifully-written and thought-provoking work he explores our contemporary anxieties and insecurities and shows how these metaphoric dark nights can become transforming rites of passage.

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Review:

When it comes to spiritual growth, we humans are solar-seeking beings; eager for the bright lights of clarity and the bliss of illumination. Paradoxically, we all need to walk through the shadow of the dark night in order to discover a life worth living, according to psychotherapist and spiritual commentator Thomas Moore. Unlike depression, which is more of an emotional state, Moore calls the dark night a slow transformation process, which is fueled by a profound period of doubt, disorientation and questioning. Ultimately, a journey into the dark night will reshape the very meaning of your life. As a self-proclaimed "lunar type," Moore is comfortable leading his clients and readers into the shadows, where ambiguities and mysteries lurk around every corner. He describes the dark night journey in stages, starting with feeling distant from your life even as you continue to go through the motions. The second phase is "liminality," meaning living on the threshold between the known self and the unknown self. This is perhaps the most uncomfortable phase as the dark night may "take you away from the cultivation and persona you have developed in your education and from family learning," he explains. After dwelling in this murky darkness, there's a stage of "re-incorporation," in which one integrates the profound inner transitions into daily life. Like a tour guide to the underworld, Moore leads readers through all these phases, offering tools and rituals for making the journey more tolerable or at least more meaningful. He also speaks to the many arenas and stages of life in which we might find ourselves stumbling through the dark, with chapters on marriage, parenting, sexuality, creativity and health. The scope is ambitious, and at times the structure seems disjointed—but this is perhaps Moore’s best contribution since Care of the Soul, proving once again that he is a wise and formidable spiritual teacher. --Gail Hudson

About the Author:

Thomas Moore is the author of the phenomenal bestseller Care of the Soul. He lived as a Catholic monk for twelve years and later became a psychotherapist, with degrees in theology, musicology and religion.

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