Thomas Moore


American Contemporary Author, Catholic Monk, Lecturer on Archetypal Psychology, Mythology and Imagination, Psychotherapist, best known for "Care of the Soul"

Author Quotes

To live with a high degree of artfulness means to attend to the small things that keep the soul engaged in whatever we are doing, and it is the very heart of soul making. From some grand overview of life, it may seem that only the big events are ultimately important. But to the soul, the most minute details and the most ordinary activities, carried out with mindfulness and art, have an effect far beyond their apparent insignificance.

If we imagine ourselves as being every bit as huge, deep, mysterious, and awe-inspiring as the night sky, we might begin to appreciate how complicated we are as individuals, and how much of who we are is unknown not only to others but to ourselves.

The whole point of life is the fabrication of the soul.

Truth is not really a soul word; souls is after insight more than truth. Truth is a stopping point asking for commitment and defense. Insight is a fragment of awareness that invites further exploration. Intellect tends to enshrine its truth, while soul hopes that insights will keep coming until some degree of wisdom is achieved.

Wisdom is the marriage of intellect's longing for truth and soul's acceptance of the labryinthine nature of the human condition.

The soul is more interested in particulars than in generalities. That is true of personal identity as well. Identifying with a group or a syndrome or a diagnosis is giving in to an abstraction. Soul provides a strong sense of individuality - personal destiny, special influences and background, and unique stories. In the face of overwhelming need for both emergency and chronic care, the mental health system labels people schizophrenics, alcoholics, and survivors so that it can bring some order to the chaos of life at home and on the street, but each person has a special story to tell, no matter how many common themes it contains.

True conversation is an interpenetration of worlds, a genuine intercourse of souls, which doesn’t have to be self-consciously profound but does have to touch matters of concern to the soul... Conversation may also relive us from the pressures of everyday activity and decision-making, opening us up to undisclosed levels of our experience. Soul resides in the overtones and undertones, not in the flat body of literal events. Conversation performs a pleasurable and gentle alchemy on experience, sublimating it into forms that can be examined. Experience itself takes wing from conversation... Conversation is the sex act of the soul, and as such it is supremely conducive to the cultivation of intimacy.

Suffering forces our attention toward places we would normally neglect.

The soul is interested in eternal issues, even as it is embedded in the particulars of ordinary life. This, the interpenetration of time and eternity, is one of the great mysteries explored by many religions and is itself the subject of many mythologies.

Perfection belongs to an imaginary world... Ordinary failures in work are an inevitable part of the descent of the spirit into human limitation. Failure is a mystery, not a problem.

Soul is not about function, it is about beauty and form and memory.... For the soul, then, beauty is not defined as pleasantness of form but rather as the quality of things that invites absorption and contemplation.

Jung equates the unconscious with the soul, and so when we try to live fully consciously in an intellectually predictable world, protected form all mysteries and comfortable with conformity, we lose our everyday opportunities for the soulful life. The intellect wants to know; the soul likes to be surprised. Intellect, looking outward, wants enlightenment and the pleasure of a burning enthusiasm. The soul, always drawn inward, seeks contemplation and the more shadowy, mysterious experience of the underworld.

Our hospitals are generally not equipped to deal with the soul in illness

Care of the soul is a fundamentally different way of regarding daily life and the quest for happiness. The emphasis may not be on problems at all... Care of the soul is a continuous process that concerns itself not so much with "fixing" a central flaw as with attending to the small details of everyday life, as well as to major decisions and changes... Our souls are inseparable from the world's soul... "Soul" is not a thing, but a quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves... Observance is homeopathic in its workings rather than allopathic, in the paradoxical way that it befriends a problem rather than making an enemy of it... All work on the soul takes the form of a circle.

Death doesn’t erase a relationship, it simply places it in a different context.

All endings are an initiation.

Art teaches us to respect imagination as something far beyond human creation and intention. To live our ordinary life artfully is to have this sensibility about the things of daily life, to live more intuitively and to be willing to surrender a measure of our rationality and control in return for the gifts of soul... Leonardo da Vinci asks an interesting question in one of his notebooks: "Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?" One answer is that the eye of the soul perceives the eternal realities so important to the heart. In waking life, most of us see only with our physical eyes, even though we could, with some effort of imagination, glimpse fragments of eternity in the most ordinary passing events. Dream teaches us to look with that other eye, the eye that in waking life belongs to the artist, to each of us as artist... Without art we live under the illusion that there is only time, and not eternity.

We live in a world that trusts logic, and from that commitment we distrust desire; but if we lived in a world that validated desire, we would know how to trust it.

Where there is no artfulness about life, there is a weakening of the soul.

We are drawn into intimacy by possibilities rather than by realities, by the promise of things to come rather than by proven accomplishments, and perhaps by seductions that are darker than the bright reasons to which we admit.

We can end the impossible quest for the perfect structure - the happy family, the completely satisfying marriage, the unbroken friendship. We can find some purpose in the failures, the intimacies that never got off the ground, the possibilities that never took flesh. The soul does not share the spirit’s love of perfection and wholeness, but finds value in fragmentation, incompleteness, and unfulfilled promise.

To lose a friend is to suffer the loss of worlds, and to be lacking in friendship altogether is to be cut off, in a deeply felt way, from a richly self-defining way of being in the world.

To the soul, the ordinary is sacred and the everyday is the primary source of religion.

There is nothing neutral about the soul. It is the seat and the source of life. Either we respond to what the soul presents in its fantasies and desires, or we suffer from this neglect of ourselves. The power of the soul can hurl a person into ecstasy or into depression. It can be creative or destructive, gentle or aggressive. Power incubates within the soul and then makes influential its influential move into life as the expression of soul. If there is no soulfulness, then there is no true power, and if there is no power, then there can be no true soulfulness.

This is the "goal" of the soul path - to feel existence; not to overcome life's struggles and anxieties, but to know life first hand, to exist fully in context.

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American Contemporary Author, Catholic Monk, Lecturer on Archetypal Psychology, Mythology and Imagination, Psychotherapist, best known for "Care of the Soul"