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Rainy afternoon writing gives reason to revisit Thomas Moore's movingly ecumenical words on bodies, wounds, and the poetics of illness:
Illness is to a large extent rooted in eternal causes. The Christian doctrine of original sin and the Buddhist Four Noble Truths teach that human life is wounded in its essence, and suffering is in the nature of things. We are wounded simply by participating in human life...[and] to think that the proper or natural state is to be without wounds is an illusion.

....Our wounds remind us of the gods. If we allow sickness to lead us into wonder about the very base of experience, then our spirituality is strengthened. ....We can only approach the gods through poetry, and if disease is the disguise of the gods, then our medicine will have to be full of art and image.

....When we relate to our bodies as having soul, we attend to their beauty, their poetry and their expressiveness. Our very habit of treating the body as a machine, whose muscles are like pulleys and its organs engines, forces its poetry underground, so that we experience the body as an instrument and see its poetics only in illness.
Highlights taken from Moore's much-scribbled-in chapter, "The Body's Poetics of Illness," in his 1992 Care of the Soul


Editor said…
Hi Rach,
Thank you for taking the time to share these quotes from Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul. You may be interested in his more recent book, Care of the Soul in Medicine in which he focuses on the poetics of illness and the soul's needs for healing. It's published by Hay House. If you're close to Toronto, Ontario on April 14, 2011, come to the Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation to hear Thomas Moore talk about soul and spirit.

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