“My life work is an attempt to ground the pure, visionary spirit in the imperfect, intoxicating sensuousness of worldly life,” says Thomas Moore, author of 16 books that strive to teach millions how to deepen spirituality and cultivate their soul in every aspect of life.
Among them is his 1992 Care of the Soul, which sold more than 200,000 hardcover copies.
Following on its heels was “Soul Mates: Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship.”
In this tome, the man with a PhD in religion from Syracuse University, strikes a nerve.
John Bradshaw, author of Homecoming says: “From time to time I’ve been jolted by an extraordinary book which stops my world. It forces me to look at reality in a different way — a more expansive and meaningful way. [Soul Mates] has provided a missing piece for me.”
What is a soul mate?
Moore explains: “A soul mate is someone to whom we feel profoundly connected, as though the communicating and communing that takes place between us were not the product of intentional efforts, but rather a divine grace. This kind of relationship is so important to the soul that many have said there is nothing more precious in life.”
In “Soul Mates,” Moore mingles his study of myth, image, and dreams to form a manual for fostering many kinds of soulful relationships — friendships, marriage, work, play, and family.
While diving into the 259-page hardback is the most powerful way to engage with Moore’s practical ideas, the following is a preview of the five sections, as well as an excerpt from Chapter 1. — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine
The Soul in Love
- Attachment and Flight
- The Mystery of Intimacy
- The Magic and Alchemy of Marriage
- The Family of the Soul
- Friendship and Community
The Intimate Imagination
- Conversations and Letters
- Creative Illusions in Romantic Love
- Sex and Imagination
Shadows of Intimacy
- Pathologies of Love
Pleasures of Soul Mates
- The Soulful Relationship
Excerpted from “Soul Mates,” by Thomas Moore. Copyright ©1994 by Thomas Moore. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Attachment and Flight
When we consider the soul of relationship, unexpected factors come into view. In its deepest nature, for example, the soul involves itself in the stuff of this world, both people and objects. It loves attachments of all kinds — to places, ideas, times, historical figures and periods, things, words, sounds, and settings — and if we are going to examine relationship in the soul, we have to take into account the wide range of its loves and inclinations.
Yet even though the soul sinks luxuriantly into its attachments, something in it also moves in a different direction. Something valid and necessary takes flight when it senses deep attachment, and this flight also seems so deeply rooted as to be an honest expression of soul. Our ultimate goal is to find ways to embrace both attachment and resistance to attachment, and the only way to that reconciliation of opposites is to dig deeply into the nature of each. As with all matters of soul, it is in honoring its impulses that we find our way best into its mysteries.
The soul manifests its innate tendency toward attachment n many ways. One way is a penchant for the past and a resistance to change. A particularly soulful person might turn down a good job offer, for example, because he doesn’t want to move from his hometown.
The soulfulness of this decision is fairly clear: Ties to friends, family, buildings, and a familiar landscape come from the heart, and honoring them may be more important for a soulful life than following exciting ideas and possibilities that are rooted in some other part of our nature.
A radically attached person may lead a sedate life because he seldom likes to leave home; he may even decide not to buy an automobile for that very reason. Many writers and artists have exhibited this soulful orientation away from worldly activity.
Emily Dickinson, for example, spent her entire mature life at her family’s homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts. In a letter of 1851 to her brother Austin she wrote, “Home is a holy thing — nothing of doubt or distrust can enter its blessed portals. … Here seems indeed to be a bit of Eden which not the sin of any can utterly destroy.”
The soul’s intelligence may not arrive through rational analysis but through a long period of rumination, and its goal may not be brilliant understanding and unassailable truth, but rather profound insight and abiding wisdom.
This penchant of the soul for the complications of life plays a role in personal relationships, our ultimate theme in this book. Relatedness means staying in life, even when it becomes complicated and when meaning and clarity are elusive.
It means living with the particular individuals who come into our lives, and not only with our ideals and images of the perfect mate or the perfect family. On the other hand, honoring the particular in our lives also means making the separations, divorces, and endings that the soul requires. The soul is always attached to what is actually happening, not necessarily to what could be or will be.
Dreams, which have much to teach us about the nature of the soul, sometimes portray our many ways of being attached to the past. They may take us back to places we once visited or where we lived long ago. A dreamer may begin telling his dream by saying, “I was in the bedroom of the house where I grew up, and some of my favorite dolls were gathered around me.”
People will sometimes say, “‘I’ve tried to put this divorce behind me, but in spite of my wishes I find myself dreaming of my former husband.” The soul is inclined toward the past rather than the future, toward attachment to people, places, and events rather than detachment, and so it is not quick to move on. In outer life, we may leave a person or a place, but in memory and dream the soul clings to these former attachments.
For more information, visit careofthesoul.net.