Sacred Desire

Spirituality & Health Magazine

Growing in Compassionate Living
By Nancy K. Morrison
and Sally K. Severino
Templeton Foundation Press, 2009, $21.95

Current research, including that which led to the discovery of “mirror neurons” in the brain, and studies of the physiology of attachment and social affiliation offer evidence that spirituality and a desire to connect with the divine are intimately tied to our physiology. We are “made to desire,” and through clinical examples of the role of sacred desire in promoting healing and wholeness, Drs. Morrison and Severino show that it is not only possible but natural for us to move beyond fear to compassionate understanding and love of self, others, and the world.

“Desire draws us to the threshold of the ultimate Holy, where we can respond to the spiritual and manifest it in compassion,” say the authors. Through case studies and the findings of current research in neurophysiology, relationship studies, and spiritual development, as well as personal anecdotes, Morrison and Severino trace the manner in which sacred desire manifests in human beings from infancy to maturity.

A synthesis of science and spirituality, their work will satisfy those who seek a biological explanation for experiences of the divine and provide a basis for a dialogue between science and spirit that promises to be life-changing.

Dr. Morrison is associate professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Currently in private practice, she is also a speaker and an ordained priest in the Evangelical Anglican Church of America.

Dr. Severino is professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Certified by the American Psychoanalytic Association, she was the first woman president of the American College of Psychoanalysts. She is also a Felician associate of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and, together with Dr. Morrison, leads retreats and workshops based on their work.

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