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Care of the Soul: The Spiritual Imagination

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

Photo Credit:Thinkstock/Anastasia_Aleksieieva

What is the role of imagination in matters of ultimate concern? This is one of the top issues in the spiritual life and certainly in religion: many religious and even spiritual people are suspicious of the imagination. They are afraid that speaking of metaphor, story, poetics, and image takes something important away from the essential focus of their lives. They believe that fact is more important than insight, values, or understanding. They want to know where Noah’s Ark landed, not what it represents.And yet, the religious traditions are mainly stories. The Gospels tell story after story about Jesus’ activities, and then relate story after story that he himself tells. At one point he says plainly: “I speak in parables.” That is to say that Jesus is the most ardent champion of the imagination. Zen Buddhism, like Buddhism in general, is also full of stories. The Sufis tell hundreds of stories about their favorite foolish character, Nasrudin. And these stories take you to a place of spiritual discovery.In 18th-century England, when the industrial revolution was under way, the poet William Blake tried in h …

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 The Soul of Christmas, from Franciscan Media.

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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