Item description for The Awakened Heart by Gerald G. May...
Overview "May is addressing the problems faced by all who deny themselves loving relationship with others and with God by the compulsive drive for efficiency, recognition and success. . . . (The Awakened Heart draws) on the wisdom of biblical prophets as well as philosophers such as Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, William Blake, Martin Buber and Thomas Kelly. . . ".--The Christian Century.
Publishers Description Chapter OneBearing The Beams Of LoveAnd we are put on earth a little space That we might learn to bear the beams of love. William BlakeThere is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies. We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake. It is the human desire for love. Every person on this earth yearns to love, to be loved, to know love. Our true identity, our reason for being, is to be found in this desire.I think William Blake was right about the purpose of humanity; we are here to learn to bear the beams of love. There are three meanings of bearing love: to endure it, to carry it, and to bring it forth. In the first, we are meant to grow in our capacity to endure love's beauty and pain. In the second, we are meant to carry love and spread it around, as children carry laughter and measles. And in the third we are meant to bring new love into the world, to be birthers of love. This is the threefold nature of our longing.You can find evidence of the longing in great art, music, literature, and religions; a common universal passion for love runs through them all. Psychology offers evidence as well; the passion for love can be found at the core of human motivation. There is even evidence in neurology. The researcher Paul MacLean says the highly developed human cerebral cortex makes possible the insight required to plan for the needs of others and gives us a concern for all living things.But for real proof you must look at your own longings and aspirations; you must listen to the deep themes of your own life story. In most of us the desire for love has often beendistorted or buried, but if you look at your own life with honest and gende eyes, you can discern it in yourself as a deep seeking of connectedness, healing, creation, and joy. This is your true identity; it is who you really are and what you exist for. You have your own unique experience of desiring love, but there is something universal about it as well; it connects you with all other human beings and with all of creation.You probably already know your longing very well. You have felt it as hope for relationship, meaning, fulfillment, perhaps even a sense of destiny. Think for a moment about what has prompted you to do what you have done in life. When you have tried to be successful in your studies or work, what have you been seeking? When you have wanted to be pleasing, attractive, or helpful to others, what have you really been hoping for? Remember some moments in your life when you felt most complete and fulfilled; what did you taste there? Recall also feeling very bad, alone, worthless; what were you missing?If you pause and look quietly inside, you may be able to sense something of your desire for love right now in this moment. Sometimes it is wonderful to touch this deep longing; it can seem expansive and joyful. At other times it can be painful, lonely, and even a little frightening. Whether it feels good or bad, its power and depth are awesome. When the desire is too much to bear, we often bury it beneath frenzied thoughts and activities or escape it by dulling our immediate consciousness of living. It is possible to run away from the desire for years, even decades, at a time, but we cannot eradicate it entirely. It keeps touching us in little glimpses and hints in our dreams, our hopes, our unguarded moments. We may go to sleep, but our desire for love does not. It is who we are.Sometimes, in moments of quiet wonder, it is possible just to be with our desire. We can sense its power and beauty even when it aches for fulfillment. In truth it is an utterly simple thing. I can remember experiencing it in childhood, standing in a field and looking at the sky and just being in love. It wasn't love for any particular thing or person. It was more like being immersed in an atmosphere of love, feeling very alive, very present in the moment, intimately connected with everything around me.Now and then we experience the same simplicity as adults. But for most of us it does not last very long. We have difficulty just being; we think we must get on with more important things. We have to be efficient. In becoming adults, we have been conditioned to believe that efficiency is more important than love.Efficiency and LoveEfficiency is the how of life: how we meet and handle the demands of daily living, how we survive, grow, and create, how we deal with stress, how effective we are in our functional roles and activities.In contrast, love is the why of life: why we are functioning at all, what we want to be efficient for. I cannot specifically define love, but I am convinced it is the fundamental energy of the human spirit, the fuel on which we run, the wellspring of our vitality. And grace, which is the flowing, creative activity of love itself, is what makes all goodness possible.Love should come first; it should be the beginning of and the reason for everything. Efficiency should be how love expresses its why. But it gets mixed up so easily. When I was a young parent, I wanted to take good care of my children (efficiency) because I cared so much for them (love). This was the way it should be. But soon I became preoccupied with efficiency. What were my kids eating? Were they getting enough sleep? Would we be on time for the car pool? My concerns about efficiency began to eclipse the love they were meant to serve.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.99" Width: 5.32" Height: 0.65" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2000
ISBN 0060654732 ISBN13 9780060654733 UPC 099455014007
Availability 0 units.
More About Gerald G. May
Gerald G. May, M.D. (1940-2005), practiced medicine and psychiatry for twenty-five years before becoming a senior fellow in contemplative theology and psychology at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Maryland. He was the author of many books and articles blending spirituality and psychology, including Addiction and Grace, Care of Mind/Care of Spirit, Will and Spirit, and The Dark Night of the Soul.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Awakened Heart?
Deeply contemplative, not an easy read but worth it Apr 26, 2007
I actually bought this book because I thought it would help me open up to *romantic* love, as in, to meeting my potential partner/soul mate/twin flame. It was none of that, but it did help me open up to Love -- the greater love for life, for people, and especially for myself and God.
This book was not an easy read, but it was worth it. While reading, little light bulbs went on in my mind as several realizations became clear and obvious. I've read a great deal of spiritual material before, and had become almost against the word 'God' because it connotes a judgmental creature looking down upon us. This book does not go into "defining" God, but refers to the term a lot. As a result, I was able to return to being okay with the word and really feel what Gerald May was talking about.
It was really worth the money, and it's one of those books that you read 2 years later and realize how much deeper is becomes the next time around.
Profound Mar 8, 2007
This was not a book I could read without stopping. It's truth hits my heart hard; and gives it pause. Each page invites meditation. I will keep it in my library for further study. It gives Amazing Insights to the connection between mental and spiritual health.
Powerful book Mar 5, 2006
This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. A friend passed this onto me and I remember reading the first 20 pages on a bus and not being able to stop crying. It was so beautiful and it made me look at myself and others differently. The one thing that we are all searching for is Love. That is the fundamental purpose of life. Absolutely amazing book in it's simplicity and beauty.
Inspired Writing Nov 8, 2001
It happens that sometimes in moments of silence, honesty and surrender we become aware of our deep desire for love - both to love and to be loved. This deep desire is our true nature and it is God's life in us. This is May's simple thesis. The power and beauty of his book is that he unabashedly celebrates this love and slowly gets us to become aware of and appreciate its presence and also to recognize the ways we seek to stifle it or twist it or run away from it and some of the reasons why we do this. Like his other works, May here again blends his unique experiences of prayer and psychology into a touching re-affirmation of our heart's basic goodness. His book opens an inner door to a greater trust in the instincts, intuitions and spontaneous acts of love that arise from that sacred space. How courageous for a man to write about and value the apparent "weaknesses" and "vulnerabilities" of love in a time when the "virtues" of efficiency and action are so exalted. By now, having read most of his works, I feel like a friend. And so as a friend, I say, thank-you Jerry.
Clear direction for being with God Oct 26, 2001
What a deeply enriching book! I have had to read it a few pages at a time to savor and feel my way through what is being said. I reccommend this book to any spiritual seeker, even though the book is loosely Christian in orientation.
This author is the best contemporary spiritual guide I have. I wish he would write more!!