- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Avery; 1st Edition, 1st Printing edition (January 9, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159240829X
- ISBN-13: 978-1592408290
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 177 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hardcover – January 9, 2014
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So this is an introductory book for people who want to go deep (24), providing as it does, the basic materials from which you might `build your own religion' even if that experience is a re-invigorated one within an existing tradition albeit beyond being coerced or being obliged . It is about getting in touch with that which is real (40) but not necessarily extra-ordinary - hence being sensitized to that which is already around you. It involves developing a philosophy for life, having values and mining what is gold, from the traditions available to you, to form a spiritual life (30-31). He provides some sensible guidelines for managing this process as to be alert to the frauds and pitfalls that are `out there' (37ff)! Importantly he notes that opening to a new spirituality may arise from epiphinal life changing moments or events. Similarly that developing an integrated spirituality requires psychological work on the self and an integrated sexuality (parts 2 and 3 of the book).
After this he moves on to more nuanced experiences of the spiritual, making room for angels and guides and being open to their guidance and help in everyday life (part 5) before concluding with an informative section on living spirituality in a secular world.
Central to the reviews around this book have been the question of the utility of the advice on offer here. And it is with these issues that I now engage. For Moore, without a religious or spiritual orientation, most of us will go nuts to some extent, manifest, as he suggests in how we manage thru life with pills and substances (altho I would make some space for those for whom pills make up for what genetics overlooked).
So keep in mind the entry level nature of this book - its for someone looking for ideas as to how to develop their own approach to spirituality and who may be looking for some validation for the way they may be going about it. His first points here that the sacred is in fact all around us and that in the first instance it is about being open to and beginning to sensitise oneself to it, be it that one finds the Spirit in differing ways (in nature, art, music and so on) and getting one's act together. But note that this is a journey and increasing one's sensitivity and growing as a person takes time. It would have been helpful if his section on sexuality had taken in Mantak Chia's work on the mirco-cosmic orbit. This process is essential for balancing emotional and also managing and transforming sexual energy (and I agree that it takes a little to adapt to Chia's language and style). While these exercises help integrate the self generally, it is also an essential piece of training and skill development for anyone seriously considering embracing celibacy.
I find however, some gaps in the structure of his book. Most of us don't go from Mozart or estatic experiences of nature to a deep communion with angels, guides and Gods. He could have done here with a chapter on `taking the chair' as Jack Cornfield observed. How to not just meditate but to go beyond this to contemplation, to being absorbed in the Spirit. While he wrote about listening for angels and guides, looking for intuition thru tarot and the like, I feel he missed the essential step of having first waited upon and invited angels and guides, not so much into one's life, but certainly into awareness - and this takes time. As a therapist I would often pray for the capacity to `read hearts' and this would occur at times when I needed it; typically in the form of a coherent insight into the person I am sitting with, accompanied with a sense of deep stillness and peace. But such messaging doesn't run like a garden tap.
In the last part of his book, he really heads home to `his own patch' - developing essentially his home cloister/monastery, or at least parts within it. A place for prayer, incense, symbols and silence that lift one higher. I asked myself was this real? And then of course I realised that this is exactly what I had done in my home. And this is where Moore's major idea is restated - his aim being not to weaken our reliance on the world's religious and spiritual traditions, but to intensify such experiences, but without much of the garbage that such traditions have developed over time. It is not so much cherry picking religion, but sorting the wheat from the chaff.
Moore started off being trained as a Roman Catholic priest, but that was just part of his journey and formal learning. He is in my view what Emerson defined as a scholar: Man thinking. In the last chapter of "A Religion of One's Own" he spends 5-6 page on the spirituality of H. D, Thoreau, one of his gurus. Moore lives in New Hampshire and mentions places like Concord and people such as Emerson and Thoreau and Dickinson all the time. He has had a successful career as a psychotherapist, and also as a lecturer in a wide range of settings.
Importantly, he has Irish roots: he studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and brings in W.B. Yeats and Samuel Beckett often, too. The Italian Renaissance is huge for him, esp. Marsilio Ficino [fi chino], see Wikipedia. He writes a lot about alchemy and other "lost arts," and his eclecticism has gotten him both praise and condemnation.
Moore has no hidden agenda and rejects proselytizing. What he proposes is that we sift through all the spiritual and religious material we have available -- past, present, future -- and create a spirituality of one's own. It can be vast or small, traditional or individual, whatever we find that works. I'd say in sum, he advocates finding what's helpful and useful to one individually and incorporating that into our lives -- both visibly and internally. He writes much about displaying and creating art. I am recommending this book highly to my closest personal friends. Moore's message has power to assist both us as individuals and our society as a whole.