- Explains why an encounter with the shadow is a painful but inevitable stage in spiritual development
- 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
- Tells the stories of many 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 recover from loss of faith and move from spiritual naiveté to spiritual maturity.
Zweig examines the yearning that sets us on the 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 shadow-work to separate from abusive teachers, reclaim spiritual authority, and heal from betrayal.
With guidance for both inspired seekers 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 spiritual practice.