For some time now, people have been saying that they prefer spirituality over religion.
They no doubt think about religion in the usual way as a belief system to join, a set of rules and customs to adopt, a particular place to go, and a community and leadership to follow.
Julie Ann's ConsciousSHIFT guest, Thomas Moore - author of Care of the Soul and his latest book, A RELIGION OF ONE'S OWN, who spent 12 years as a Catholic monk - thinks this view of religion is too limited. Rather than reject religion, he encourages us to redefine and re-imagine religion.
In an increasingly secular world where rationality is privileged over spirituality, and where religion is, at best, seen as a topic to be avoided in polite dinner conversation, it’s no surprise that many of us, in the process of “losing our religion,” have also lost track of our souls.
Without the spiritual compass once provided by organized religion, many yearn for something more - suffering depression, stress, aggression, and a sense of purposelessness as a result.
Something essential is missing from modern life. Many who’ve turned away from religious institutions —
and others who have lived wholly without religion — hunger for more than what contemporary secular life has to offer, but are reluctant to follow organized religion’s strict and often inflexible path to spirituality.
Tom proposes a return to religion — a radical, dynamic, and fluid religion tailor-made to our unique values and spiritual needs, and explores the myriad possibilities of creating a personal spiritual style, either inside or outside formal religion.
Drawing from a diverse wealth of traditions ranging from Greek mythology to Saint Francis, Tom urges us to begin by “never again sensing any conflict between one tradition and another” and follow their bliss, working intuitively to create a religion that is truly their own.
Tom joins Julie Ann to explore how to use the time-honored elements of the religions to craft our own religion out of our personal experience and inspiration, and to start by reflecting upon your approach to religion: reframing, renewing, and re-imagining what it means to you.
Whether you are happily rooted in one tradition, a spiritually independent seeker who draws upon the wisdom of many religions, or someone who has never had any religious education or participation, this exploration will help you bring religion down-to-earth - and into the very heart of your life.
These ideas, which Tom develops in his new book, may mean that crafting your own religion involves staying with your long-held tradition and rediscovering its value, arranging its components into a personal "rule" of life. Seekers may draw from many traditions and from nature to formulate a way of life and a practice that is not secular but is not religious in the usual sense.
You'll enjoy Julie Ann and Tom's exploration of the benefits of contemplative living as revealed in a more original and imaginative spirituality.
Thomas Moore is the author of the bestselling book Care of the Soul and 15 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.
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