More from Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. I share this because his philosophy around soul informs my approach to life and myself. I am grateful to return to his wisdom after many years and discover the counsel to simply be in my life as soulfully as possible rather than strive to be someone better and more evolved. Growth is inevitable as long as you’re open. But it doesn’t have to be so complex and painful. We don’t have to feel guilty when we don’t measure up to what are actually impossible standards. We will all fail. We will all hurt many people, especially those closest to us. It’s how we live in response to these inevitable perils of life and relationship that matters. I’ve always resonated with Moore’s soulful approach. It is compassionate, gentle and gives us permission to be our full quirky selves.
On the meaning of soul:
“‘Soul’ is not a thing, but a quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do with depth, value, relationship, heart, and personal substance. I do not use the word here as an object of religious belief or as something to do with immortality. When we say that someone or something has soul, we know what we mean, but it is difficult to specify exactly what the meaning is.”
The first paragraph of the book:
“The great malady of the twentieth century, implicated in all of our troubles and affecting us individually and socially, is ‘loss of soul.’ When soul is neglected, it doesn’t just go away; it appears symptomatically in obsessions, addictions, violence, and loss of meaning. Our temptation is to isolate these symptoms or to try to eradicate them on by one; but the root problem is that we have lost our wisdom about the soul, even our interest in it. We have today few specialists of the soul to advise us when we succumb to moods and emotional pain, or when as a nation we find ourselves confronting a hose of threatening evils. But within our history we do have remarkable sources of insight from people who wrote explicitly about the nature and needs of the soul, and so we can look to the past for guidance in restoring this wisdom. In this book I will draw on that pas wisdom, taking into account how we live now, to show that by caring for the soul we can find relief from our distress and discover deep satisfaction and pleasure.”