Item description for The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth by Gerald G. May...
Overview A psychiatrist and spiritual counselor explains how such challenges as doubt, dislocation, and transition are essential to authentic and healthy spiritual growth, encouraging readers to embrace feelings of fear, emptiness, and despair in order to develop a mature spiritual life. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.
Now in paperback: a distinguished psychiatrist, spiritual counsellor and bestselling author shows how the dark sides of the spiritual life are a vital ingredient in deep, authentic, healthy spirituality.
Gerald G. May, MD, one of the great spiritual teachers and writers of our time, argues that the dark 'shadow' side of the true spiritual life has been trivialised and neglected to our serious detriment. Superficial and naively upbeat spirituality does not heal and enrich the soul. Nor does the other tendency to relegate deep spiritual growth to only mystics and saints. Only the honest, sometimes difficult encounters with what Christian spirituality has called and described in helpful detail as 'the dark night of the soul' can lead to true spiritual wholeness.
May emphasises that the dark night is not necessarily a time of suffering and near despair, but a time of deep transition, a search for new orientation when things are clouded and full of mystery. The dark gives depth, dimension and fullness to the spiritual life.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.1" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.5" Weight: 0.38 lbs.
Release Date Dec 13, 2013
Publisher Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN 0060750553 ISBN13 9780060750558
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 Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth?
The Dark Night of the Soul May 14, 2007
For years I have tried to understand St. John of the Cross's meaning of this phrase. Dr. May has taken the thoughts and writtings of St. John and brought it to an understandable level.What does it mean to suffer pain in this life? Is it something that only I suffer or is it a common experience among all of us? Dr. May answers the question and explains the beauty of St. John's words and the debth of spirit in the story of St. John's own life.
Gentle growth Mar 14, 2007
In his last book published before his death, Jerry May unfolds his vast knowledge and understanding of the spirtual state known as the Dark Night. Contrary to what one might think, the Dark Night is not the same as clinical depression, nor is it dark and depressing. Rather, it is, in the words of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, "obscure," because we don't understand what God is accomplishing in us. It is a very comforting and illuminating book. No one can make these Sixteenth Century saints clearer in the light of modern psychiatry like Gerald May, MD. An excellent book.
Needed during my Dark night.... Aug 10, 2006
While I didn't feel this book was incredible, probably due to my lack of knowledge about works of John and Theresa .... ...however I read this book while I was going through my own dark night of the soul..it was the whole reason I bought it..I had broken a leg and was on some type of soul journey..It helped me calm some fears, and helped me further my spirituality quest...it aligned with some other things I was reading at the time, and led me on a search into buddhism.. If you are looking for a book that' self help..this probably isn't it.. but if you want someone to make sense of all the things you feel about your spirutuality, espicially in the "dark night" ...this may be the book for you. I do recommend this book, however I only gave it three stars because I wasn't blown away by it, and once I felt better...I kinda didn't care to read it :/..but it made it's impact on me nonetheless.
They Say the Darkest Hour is Right Before the Dawn Apr 16, 2006
In this book, profound but obscure like the material with which it deals, psychiatrist Gerald May describes a process of spiritual growth that is operational in the difficult seasons of life.
Drawing from the experiences of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, he explores a journey of consciousness that leads us into the recognition of "our deep and irrevocable communion with the Divine".
It is a path through darkness, a path of letting go, a path of abandoning oneself, losing oneself, and in so doing ultimately finding what is real. The following quotes reveal something of this journey:
* The darkness of the night implies nothing sinister, only that the liberation takes place in hidden ways, beneath our knowledge and understanding.
* Although not knowing may itself seem like a bad thing, I am convinced it is one of the great gifts of the dark night of the soul.
* The spiritual life for Theresa and John has nothing to do with actually getting closer to God. Union with God is neither acquired nor received; it is realized, and in that sense it is something that can be yearned for, sought after, and - with God's grace - found.
* The dark night helps us to become what we are created to be: lovers of God and one another.
* ...we are not only born with God at our center, but we are born with a heart full of desire for God. This yearning is our fundamental motive force; it is the human spirit. It is the energy behind everything we seek and aspire to.
* Liberation, whether experienced pleasurably or painfully, always involves relinquishment, some kind of loss.
* Sometimes the only way we can enter the deeper dimensions of the journey is by being unable to see where we are going.
* ...in worldly matters it is good to have light so we know where to go without stumbling. But in spiritual matters it is precisely when we do think we know where to go that we are most likely to stumble.
* When we cannot chart our own course, we become vulnerable to God's protection, and the darkness becomes a "guiding night," a "night more kindly than the dawn."
* We cannot achieve our own liberation or fulfillment; we would not even know where to begin. But neither does God reach down from the sky and manipulate us like puppets. ...the process of the dark night is neither accomplished on our own nor worked within us by God alone.
* Though we don't realize it at the time, when habitual senses of God do disappear in the process of the dark night, it is surely because it is time for us to relinquish our attachment to them. We have made an idol of our images and feelings of God, giving them more importance than the true God that they represent.
* The darkness, the holy unknowing that characterizes this freedom, is the opposite of confusion and ignorance. Confusion happens when mystery is an enemy and we feel we must solve it to master our destinies. And ignorance is not knowing that we do not know. In the liberation of the night we are freed from having to figure things out, and we find delight in knowing that we do not know.
It is comforting to come to understand that what we may experience as painful, dry, and difficult periods of life are often seasons of deep becoming. It is another way by which we learn that, as the Lord said it to St. Paul, "My grace is sufficient; my power is made perfect in weakness".
The Dark Night of the Soul Mar 3, 2006
simple easy reading.Presents spiritual development as a natural process and times of darkness as opportunities for deepening and growth which changes the panic of the dark to stillness and inner process with a hope filled light worth continuing toward.