Meeting the Shadow of Spirituality: The hidden power of darkness on the path (formerly The Holy Longing)
In every mystical tradition, saints and poets speak eloquently of the soul’s search for the divine, its yearning for the gods, its longing for heaven. This holy longing for something transcendent leads us to sit still, eyes closed, as the splendors of spring pass us by. It urges us to lose ourselves in one another in ecstatic embrace. It guides us to teachers and priests who offer a direction for our devotion.
In her counseling work with clients from every religious denomination, Dr. Connie Zweig found that this universal yearning – a secret feeling with many disguises – lies hidden at the source of our life stories. The obscure object of our desire calls us to follow it, and we respond, even unknowingly. We pursue a romantic union, imagining that it will finally meet our deepest needs. Or we long for the light of god and undertake a demanding religious practice or discipleship, hoping that it will quench our thirst. Or we a chase a vision of the ideal home or community, which promises an end to our wandering. In this way, a life story unfolds, invisibly shaped by the object of our longing.
But sometimes our spiritual yearning goes awry. We may misplace it onto concrete objects – sex, food, drugs, alcohol – and our longing becomes a craving, held captive in a substance. Or we attribute it to an authoritarian personality who abuses us, leaving us feeling shocked and betrayed. Or we direct our holy longing to the other world, devaluing the pleasures of human life. Or worse, like cult members or fundamentalists, we mistake death for transcendence and sacrifice our lives for uncertain paradise.
If you feel a gnawing yearning beneath your other yearnings no matter how many desires you satisfy; if you feel disillusioned with traditional religions but seek spiritual values and practices elsewhere; if you suffer from religious abuse and demoralization but long to rekindle the flame of faith, then this seminar can guide you from spiritual innocence through loss to spiritual maturity. You can learn to: Identify the hidden object of your holy longing; detect it as the seed of your life story; uncover your encounter with spiritual shadow; learn spiritual shadow-work to recover from religious or spiritual abuse; reclaim your own light; reclaim your independent thinking; reclaim your authentic feeling; reclaim your body; reclaim action on your own behalf; reclaim your images of the divine.
If we learn to hold the tension of our yearning, to honor the restlessness of the soul rather than resist it, our holy longing points the way home.
The Holy Longing Interview:
- TheHolyLonging: Spiritual Yearning and Its Shadow Side
New Dimensions Radio Interview with Connie Zweig
The Holy Longing Video Interview (please go to 00:12:40 where Connie Zweig’s interview begins):
“Who do we spend our entire life loving?”