The Holy Longing: The Hidden Power of Spiritual Yearning

Overview

What is the urge that drives people to search for God, to join religious movements, or to undertake a spiritual practice? In her counseling work with clients from every religious denomination, Connie Zweig found that this universal yearning-a secret feeling with many disguises-often lies hidden at the source of our life stories.

The obscure object of desire calls us to follow it, and we respond, even unknowingly. We pursue a romantic union, imagining that it will finally meet ...

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Overview

What is the urge that drives people to search for God, to join religious movements, or to undertake a spiritual practice? In her counseling work with clients from every religious denomination, Connie Zweig found that this universal yearning-a secret feeling with many disguises-often lies hidden at the source of our life stories.

The obscure object of 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.

But sometimes our religious yearning goes awry. We may attribute it to an authoritarian personality who abuses us, leaving us feeling shocked and betrayed. Or we may direct our holy longing to another world, devaluing the pleasures of human life. Or worse, like cult members or fundamentalists, we may mistake death for transcendence and sacrifice our lives for 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 or a friend or family member suffer from religious abuse but long to rekindle the flame of faith, then this book can guide you from spiritual innocence through loss to spiritual maturity.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The longing to know God is probably the most powerful innate force among humans, according to Zweig, a counselor and non-denominational minister. "Perhaps you, too, feel a yearning beneath your other yearnings that gnaws at you, despite the fulfillment of so many desires," she suggests in her preface. Yet Zweig, who specializes in Jungian-based shadow work, also understands the dark side of this holy longing-"the inherent pitfalls that can result when religious yearning goes awry." Unfortunately, this inborn need to commune with the divine can easily be misplaced, causing people to expect spiritual fulfillment from romantic partners or even fall into destructive addictions. She shows how this also causes seekers to become the prey of power-tripping gurus, fanatical religious orders or priest pedophiles. But if it's starting to sound like the "holy longing" is more of a curse than a gift, Zweig assures readers this isn't the case. The longing is our guide, she explains; in many it is our raison d' tre. The trick is to stop trying to satiate it, and instead listen to what it is trying to teach us. Zweig devotes her final chapter ("Rekindling the Flame") to specific ways readers can integrate this yearning into their spiritual development, such as using imagery, shadow work, and creative expression. Because her scope is broad, Zweig sometimes becomes tangential. Readers should stay the course; she is a resourceful teacher who offers many tools for living with our "holy longing." (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A meditation practitioner and Jungian-oriented counselor, Zweig (Romancing the Shadow) spent several years immersed in Eastern philosophy before becoming disillusioned with the lifestyle she had embraced. She was particularly disheartened when various spiritual leaders she had looked up to turned out to have feet of clay. Zweig here discusses the dark side of religious longing. She notes that the individual's search for a personal relationship with God often leads to obsessions with sex, food, and drugs and sometimes to dependence on charismatic personalities who all too often turn out to be abusive con artists. Based on her own and others' experiences, the book counsels seekers of a spiritual awakening on how to avoid being caught up in cults and how to deal with being led astray. Since the audience for this book is not limited to any religious group, no reader is excluded, though this very wide-ranging appeal is in itself a limitation. Still, no religion has a monopoly on fundamentalism, and people of every religion have historically been taken advantage of by charlatans. For large public libraries.-Mary Prokop, Savannah Country Day Sch., GA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585422043
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/22/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Connie Zweig, Ph.D., is a Jungian-oriented counselor and non-denominational minister in Los Angeles. She is the coauthor of the bestselling Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow. She has taught nationwide about human spirituality, religious abuse and disillusionment, and shadow-work.

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