Elizabeth Lesser

"Understanding Gender" (excerpt) The Seekers — E. Lesser

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I often turn to Jungian psychology to better understand issues of gender. Jung separated personalities not so much into male and female, but into unique blends of masculine and feminine qualities, which he believed were found in all human psyches in varying degrees of potency. The masculine principle, or archetype, as Jung called it, celebrates rational thinking, heroic power, goal-oriented achievement, and independence. It is transcendent, visionary, mindful. The feminine principle loves to feel; it compels us to nurture; it links sexuality with relationship; and it reveres life and death as natural cycles of nature. It is embodied, intuitive, heartful…

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"Longing" (excerpt) The Seekers by E. Lesser

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Longing is my fuel of choice on the spiritual journey. Spiritual longing is a sort of loneliness for an unknown yet deeply perceived presence. Some call the presence God; some call it peace; some call it consciousness; some call it love. Its source rests in the well of our own hearts. When we slow down, quiet the mind, and allow ourselves to feel hungry for something that we do not understand, we are dipping into the abundant well of spiritual longing. We have grown accustomed to shutting down or blotting out feelings of longing, loneliness, hunger. It's less challenging to feed the hunger with explanations, concepts, or rules (or drugs, food, or drink) than to rest for a while in the depths of the heart's longing. But if we want to open the doors to life's joy and God's peace, we have to learn how to fearlessly explore the full terrain of our human longing…
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"Landscape fo the Heart" (excerpt) The Seekers by Elizabeth Lesser

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In the Landscape of the Heart we meet up with parts of the self that we both desire and fear. The heart longs to feel fully alive; it craves connection and happiness. If allowed to follow its cravings, the heart feels everything: love and loneliness, contentment and gloom, passion and apathy. Like waves on the shore, our hearts normally rush toward joy, then pull back, afraid of pain and loss. Heartfulness is the willingness and the ability not to pull back. If we want to "feel the rapture of being alive," as Joseph Campbell describes the object of the spiritual search, we have to experience the whole ocean of emotions…

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"Open Secret" — Elizabeth Lesser (excerpt) Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

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How do we begin that journey from Once-Born innocence to Twice-Born wisdom? Where do we find the courage to make a big change? How do we use the forces of a difficult time to help us grow? There are many ways, but the first way, the gateway, is to know that we are not alone in these endeavors. One of the greatest enigmas of human behavior is the way we isolate ourselves from each other. In our misguided perception of separation we assume that others are not sharing a similar experience of life. We imagine that we are unique in our eccentricities or failures or longings. And so we try to appear as happy and consistent as we think others are, and we feel shame when we stumble and fall. When difficulties come our way, we don't readily seek out help and compassion because we think others might not understand, or they would judge us harshly, or take advantage of our weakness. And so we hide out, and we miss out.
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