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Original Self: Living with Paradox and Originality Paperback – Illustrated, August 7, 2001


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Original Self: Living with Paradox and Originality + Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ordeals + Care of the Soul : A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 7, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060953721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060953720
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The original self is the person "who came into this world full of possibility and destined for joyful unveiling and manifestation," according to bestselling author Thomas Moore. "This is the person who comes to life in us briefly as we get married, start a course in school, or try on a new job--before worry and cynicism have set in."

In essence, it is our soul that Moore speaks of, and it is his unwavering conviction that our greatest task is to stay true to our original selves. Using a highly approachable format of brief essays (two to four pages), Moore offers his reflections on how to do just that. Each essay leads with a thought, such as, "Life needs a point of entry, a crack in our defenses" or, "Beneath the favorite tale of the moment a deeper story always lies waiting to be told." From there Moore moves into the eloquent depths of his ruminations on the original self--words that are beautiful and provocative yet never heady or bogged down with self-importance. In fact, his writing manages to be simultaneously poetic and pragmatic--the signature of a great thinker and humanitarian. Each essay is illustrated with a woodblock print, offering further meditation on a theme. Moore openly admits that he hopes this book will become a keeper--one that dwells on a household's shelf of lifetime books. No doubt it will Mr. Moore, somewhere between Emerson and Thoreau. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Cynics may roll their eyes at the publication of another book by Moore--eventually, they will imagine, he'll saturate his market. But this new, slender volume from the bestselling author of Care of the Soul deserves a wide readership. Indeed, in a rare reversal of the usual publishing pattern, this offering is much more satisfying than the books that made Moore famous. This may be, in part, because it is short; Moore does not fall into the trap here of repeating the same point. The 50 or so short reflections that comprise the book each open with a quotation and then an aphorism of Moore's own making. Emily Dickinson's famous "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" is followed by "The project of being a self is the surest way to feel like a person." A line from the Song of Songs precedes "Our deep human sexuality will be fulfilled only when we discover that the lover we seek is divine and beyond finding." Then come Moore's essays, some of which echo themes from his earlier books--e.g., the soul (or lack of it) is central to modern malaise, and we should seize the moment while still seeking the transcendent. Best of all is the art: a woodcut by Joan Hanley graces each essay. Presented in an unusual and attractive square format, this may well prove to be the rare gift book--and the rare Moore title--with substance. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Thomas Moore is the author of the bestselling book Care of the Soul and fifteen other books on deepening spirituality and cultivating soul in every aspect of life. He has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, and a psychotherapist, and today he lectures widely on holistic medicine, spirituality, psychotherapy, and ecology. He lectures frequently in Ireland and has a special love of Irish culture. He has Ph. D. in religion from Syracuse University and has won several awards for his work, including an honorary doctorate from Lesley University and the Humanitarian Award from Einstein Medical School of Yeshiva University. He also writes fiction and music and often works with his wife, artist and yoga instructor, Hari Kirin. He writes regular columns for Resurgence and Spirituality & Health and has recently published A Life at Work and Writing in the Sand. He is a patron of Re-Vision, a London center of spirituality and counseling, and on the board of Turning Point, a bereavement counselors training program in Dublin, Ireland.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I find it very thought provoking.
Amazon Customer
Thomas Moore is a specialist in awakening and empowering self-understanding, love and acceptance.
Peggy A. Morin
Spirituality in a language i understand.
ken horst

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 112 people found the following review helpful By sarahbellum on April 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
By an odd chance I read this book right after I finished reading "Tuesdays With Morrie." There is no comparison--where "Tuesdays" is trite and overhyped, dishing out tired truisms as though they were newly discovered insights, this book has so much depth and understated richness that I had to put it down every few paragraphs to allow the words to sink in slowly. It is the opposite of trite in every way.
My only quibble is with the section in which the author discusses depression. He advises not running to a doctor for medication, and instead allowing the pain to teach its lessons. I agree with that in cases where a person is sad or grief-stricken. But in cases of actual clinical depression, that can be dangerous advice. Clinical depression is an illness with a high mortality rate, comparable to tuberculosis, say, or malaria. Would anyone advise a person with the symptoms of tuberculosis to hold off seeking medication?
But the main message of the book is quietly intense. Allowing other people to be different from what we expect them to be, allowing ourselves to be imperfect, not striving all the time, accepting that we are sometimes unloving and needy as well as creative and accomplished--that is powerful and earthy stuff. And it is conveyed without cliche and without sentimentality.
The gentle woodcut illustrations are a perfect addition to the text--both are quiet jewels that shine brighter as time goes on, instead of fireworks that get a lot of adulatory press and then fade from sight forever.
Bravo.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Moore writes with more depth and wisdom than many of the current "writers on spirituality." He gives you no formula, no simple truths. Instead, he takes you to a thought that appears self-evident, and then challenges you to go further, to probe more deeply, to "leave the door ajar" so that soul may slip in. Each essay takes you on a journey that could last an hour, a day, a week, a month. I find that I revisit some of the essays again and again as I dip under the surface a bit more deeply each time. The essays are short and easy to read; the comprehension develops in an ever-deepening spiral of understanding and application.
Each essay carries multiple levels of inspiration and evocation. The quote, the woodcut, the title, and then the text - each conveys a meaning that is both unique and integral to the whole. One is drawn from the image to the poetry, the summative thought, the expanded concept, and then back to the image. At the end of an essay, I often pause and breathe, simply taking it in. I return to the quotes over and over again.
I am curious about the change in wording of the subtitle on the book cover - Living with Paradox and Originality - as compared to the title page - Living with Paradox and Authenticity. One could create an essay on the difference between the two words, and so I wonder about Thomas Moore's "original" intent.
I have already purchased the audiocassette, to play in my car while commuting, as a way to enter and exit the work day with a contemplative focus. I am certain this book will become one that I share with others, offer as gifts, and refer to repeatedly in conversation. Highly recommended, for those who like to dive in more deeply.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In a wonderfully and beautifully written manner, Thomas Moore once again challenges us to question many of the entrapping assumptions we hold onto in our lives -- freeing the unique and individual soul in each of us. The eye-catching woodcuts nicely complement the thought-provoking words. The power of this book's message is found in its layout as well as its words and pictures. My very highest recommendations for readers who are already Thomas Moore fans as well as those who are just becoming familiar with his writings. Just like all of his other books, this is one that can be read, looked at, and experienced over and over again --with new meanings and insights every time.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jo-Anne Aherne on December 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Upon leaving Australia to move to the U.S.A., I weapt when I packed away my extensive library into heavy wooden crates,in an attempt to protect their wisdom, until I could return one day. I only had room to stash a few precious books into my suitcases which were to transport me safely until I arrived at a place where I was ready to rebuild a new library in the new homeland. Thomas Moore's books 'Care of the Soul' and 'Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life' were two of the six I packed. I couldn't imagine life without the nurturing I found within the pages of Thomas Moore's words. They are a pathway back to the safety of the soul when everything seems threatening, changing yet enticing.
I have gifted several copies of his work to friends at appropriate times in their lives when they too needed a constant companion. I lived his words and painted my house in rennaissance colours, played wildly romantic Italian operas, purchased a few antiques to gaze upon their craftsmanship and history and immersed my soul with renewed values around family love and passion for everyday simplicities and sanctuaries. I've lived Thomas Moore's work for several years now and it has made my life rich and rewarding.
I believe it was more than a synchronicity occurence when his recent book "Original Self" came into my life, again, coinciding with a trip to a far off place where I was considering another internal shift. It arrived right at a time when I was entertaining the idea (unfortunately, once again) to sell my soul to do a somewhat souless task. His message was simple but profound, return to my own authenticity and "Original Self" or chance loosing my soul.
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