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Care of the Soul: Spiritual Complexes

Don't ignore or repress your complexes, instead try to befriend them

<em>Edit Article</em> Care of the Soul: Spiritual Complexes

Photo Credit: Phathawut/Thinkstock

When it comes to dieting, my willpower buckles when I’m faced with mashed potatoes and gravy. I may have just read a book on eating only green veggies, and I’ve resolved to go the Spartan route, but I can’t pass up the basic food that I associate with my mother and grandmother and cozy dinners with beloved family members in my childhood. It probably doesn’t help that I left home at an early age for a boarding school. My diet problem is not so much that I lack the willpower but that my “Warm Irish-American Family” complex is so strong and deeply planted in me.A psychological complex is a set of emotions, memories, anxieties, desires, and habits focused around a theme—my need for family comfort, for example—that urges a person in a certain direction that may or may not fit his or her conscious and rational purposes. For example, you may do certain things automatically, desperately, and compulsively in spite of yourself.Most of us have a certain collection of complexes that shape our lives and identity. They are not bad things, yet they cause trouble when they get out of hand. It helps to get to know them …

Thomas Moore has been a monk, a musician, a professor, and, for the past 30 years, a psychotherapist practicing archetypal therapy with a spiritual perspective. His latest book is A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World.

About the Author

Thomas Moore is the New York Times best-selling author of Care of the Soul, as well as many other books on deepening soul and cultivating a mature spiritual life, three of which have received the Books for a Better Life Award. At turns he has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, a psychotherapist, and an S&H columnist. 

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This entry is tagged with:
HabitsPsychologyEmotional HealingSpiritual Beliefs

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