On this week’s episode of the Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast, author Connie Zweig discusses her book, Meeting the Shadow on the Spiritual Path: The Dance of Darkness and Light in Our Search for Awakening
Explains why we are drawn to charismatic leaders, what we unconsciously give away to them, and how to reclaim our inner spiritual authority
Explores how to recover from spiritual abuse or betrayal by a teacher or group, including breaking free of denial, projection, and dependency using psychology and shadow-work
Extends #MeToo into the spiritual domain and tells the stories of contemporary clergy and spiritual leaders who acted out their shadows in destructive ways, leaving their followers traumatized and lost
Within each of us is a spiritual longing that prompts us to unite with something greater than ourselves, to awaken to our unity with all of life. Yet, no matter the spiritual path we choose, we inevitably encounter our own shadow, those unconscious aspects of ourselves that we suppress or deny, or the shadows of our teachers and their secret desires about money, sex, and power. Meeting the shadow can derail the journey, but, according to Connie Zweig, Ph.D., we can learn to recover from loss of faith and move from spiritual naivete to spiritual maturity.
Calling on us to expand our vision of religious and spiritual life — and our vision of awakening — to include the human shadow, Zweig examines the yearning that sets us on the spiritual path, showing how it can lead to ecstatic, transcendent experiences or to terrible suffering by projecting it onto an authoritarian teacher, priest, or guru who abuses power. She tells the stories of renowned teachers — Sufi poet Rumi, Hindu master Ramakrishna, and Christian saint Catherine of Siena — whose lives unfolded as they followed their spiritual yearning. And she tells the cautionary tales of contemporary teachers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Catholicism, who acted out their shadows in devastating ways, leaving their followers traumatized and lost. She explains how meeting the shadow is a painful but inevitable stage on the path to a more mature spirituality. She describes how to use spiritual shadow-work to separate from abusive teachers, reclaim inner spiritual authority, and heal from betrayal.
With guidance for both inspired and disillusioned seekers, the author explores how to navigate the narrow path through the darkness toward the light, rekindle the flame of longing, and once again engage in fulfilling spiritual practice.
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About the Guest
Connie Zweig, Ph.D. is a retired therapist and coauthor of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow.Her award-winning book, The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul, extends her work on the Shadow into midlife and beyond and explores aging as a spiritual practice. It won the 2022 Gold COVR Award, the 2022 Gold Nautilus Award, the 2021 American Book Fest Award, and the 2021 Best Indie Book Award for best inspirational non-fiction. Her new book, Meeting the Shadow on the Spiritual Path: The Dance of Darkness and Light in Our Search for Awakening, is available now. Connie has been doing contemplative practices for more than 50 years. She is a wife, stepmother, and grandmother. After all these roles, she’s practicing the shift from role to soul.