Are you in a spiritual group? Do you lead one? Then I urge you to RUN and get this book.
The goal of healthy spiritualities is to explore the question of who am I in relation to my god or the gods or my own divine nature? Yet, too often, our spiritual leaders fail us. "As their egos become inflated with success, some may come to feel that they deserve to sit on a golden throne, build empires, and increase their authority and fame without limit. As they use power to serve the ego’s agenda, the danger grows. Soon, they do not have power; power has them. And that power becomes an unconscious complex, acted out on the stage of the most sacred arena of life."
Zweig has returned to this dreadful dance between our need for spiritual enlightenment and awareness and the darkness that all to often arises when we entust this guidance into the hands of another. But its not all about "out there" spiritual fulfillment, but also the trap of expecting our romantic partners to fulfill our need. Even falling into destructive addictions, unconsciously believing that food or alcohol will meet our needs. Zweig argues that the "trick" is to stop trying to fix it or satiate it and, instead, to listen to what it is trying to teach us.
The first part explores the longing for something larger than ourselves, not just Deity, but romantic union and spiritual communion. The second part "After the Fall" explores religious and spiritual abuse. The final chapter ("Rekindling the Flame") offers specific ways readers can integrate this yearning into their spiritual development, such as using imagery, shadow work, and creative expression.
It's a dense book, beautifully written. There is a lot going on here, and it took me (a normally fast reader) months to make my way through it. It was worth it.
~review by Lisa McSherry
Author: Connie Zweig, Ph.D.
Park Street Press; 5th Ed.
Revised Edition of Meeting the Shadow of Spirituality
pp. 304, $19.99