Ten years in the writing, this awesome mapping of the spiritual journey is a watershed work by a psychotherapist with 25 years of Zen training. James Hillman was one of the first to delineate the differences between the ascending spirit and the descending soul. John Tarrant uses illustrative material from his clients, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, and Greek mythology to amplify this assessment, identifying character as the matrix where they meet and integrity as an inward practice that helps us find our place in the world. "By holding soul and spirit together, we rescue love for the spiritual world and allow earth to be enlivened by Heaven."
Throughout the book, Tarrant describes the various descents into darkness that are part and parcel of our spiritual development. Here is where we experience our shared lot with humanity through suffering, loss, betrayal, and despair. The author counsels us to embrace the darkness: "Darkness is our foundation, the mysterious source of incapacity and blessings: we return to it again and again, whenever growth is needed."
With intensity and lyrical passion, Tarrant unpacks meanings: humility is a discipline that makes an opening for you; meditation is a tool that deepens our awareness; emptiness is a gate for spiritual initiation; imagination is a brightness of being; and silence is a fertile field for all that is precious in life. This is the kind of extraordinary book you have to give as a gift to those closest to you so you can talk about it late into the night.