Cover image for The holy longing : the hidden power of spiritual learning
The holy longing : the hidden power of spiritual learning
Zweig, Connie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, [2003]

Physical Description:
238 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL53 .Z84 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



What is the urge that drives people to search for God, to join religious movements, or to undertake a spiritual practice? In her counseling work with clients from every religious denomination, Connie Zweig found that this universal yearning-a secret feeling with many disguises-often lies hidden at the source of our life stories. The obscure object of desire calls us to follow it, and we respond, even unknowingly. We pursue a romantic union, imagining that it will finally meet our deepest needs. Or we long for the light of God and undertake a demanding religious practice or discipleship, hoping that it will quench our thirst. But sometimes our religious yearning goes awry. We may attribute it to an authoritarian personality who abuses us, leaving us feeling shocked and betrayed. Or we may direct our holy longing to another world, devaluing the pleasures of human life. Or worse, like cult members or fundamentalists, we may mistake death for transcendence and sacrifice our lives for paradise. If you feel a gnawing yearning beneath your other yearnings no matter how many desires you satisfy; if you feel disillusioned with traditional religions but seek spiritual values and practices elsewhere; if you or a friend or family member suffer from religious abuse but long to rekindle the flame of faith, then this book can guide you from spiritual innocence through loss to spiritual maturity.

Author Notes

Connie Zweig, Ph.D., is a Jungian-oriented therapist and non-denominational minister in Los Angeles

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The longing to know God is probably the most powerful innate force among humans, according to Zweig, a counselor and non-denominational minister. "Perhaps you, too, feel a yearning beneath your other yearnings that gnaws at you, despite the fulfillment of so many desires," she suggests in her preface. Yet Zweig, who specializes in Jungian-based shadow work, also understands the dark side of this holy longing-"the inherent pitfalls that can result when religious yearning goes awry." Unfortunately, this inborn need to commune with the divine can easily be misplaced, causing people to expect spiritual fulfillment from romantic partners or even fall into destructive addictions. She shows how this also causes seekers to become the prey of power-tripping gurus, fanatical religious orders or priest pedophiles. But if it's starting to sound like the "holy longing" is more of a curse than a gift, Zweig assures readers this isn't the case. The longing is our guide, she explains; in many it is our raison d'tre. The trick is to stop trying to satiate it, and instead listen to what it is trying to teach us. Zweig devotes her final chapter ("Rekindling the Flame") to specific ways readers can integrate this yearning into their spiritual development, such as using imagery, shadow work, and creative expression. Because her scope is broad, Zweig sometimes becomes tangential. Readers should stay the course; she is a resourceful teacher who offers many tools for living with our "holy longing." (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A meditation practitioner and Jungian-oriented counselor, Zweig (Romancing the Shadow) spent several years immersed in Eastern philosophy before becoming disillusioned with the lifestyle she had embraced. She was particularly disheartened when various spiritual leaders she had looked up to turned out to have feet of clay. Zweig here discusses the dark side of religious longing. She notes that the individual's search for a personal relationship with God often leads to obsessions with sex, food, and drugs and sometimes to dependence on charismatic personalities who all too often turn out to be abusive con artists. Based on her own and others' experiences, the book counsels seekers of a spiritual awakening on how to avoid being caught up in cults and how to deal with being led astray. Since the audience for this book is not limited to any religious group, no reader is excluded, though this very wide-ranging appeal is in itself a limitation. Still, no religion has a monopoly on fundamentalism, and people of every religion have historically been taken advantage of by charlatans. For large public libraries.-Mary Prokop, Savannah Country Day Sch., GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prologue: My Longing for the Light: A Meditation on Upp. 1
Part I Before the Fall: A Guide for Faithful Believersp. 17
Chapter 1. The Holy Longingp. 19
Awakening to Holy Longingp. 26
God Longs for Us as We Long for Godp. 31
The Inner Marriage: A Story of Holy Longing in the Sufi Poet Rumip. 36
Chapter 2. Longing for God: The Hidden Object of Desirep. 45
The Changing God-Image: Involution or Downp. 48
The Changing God-Image: Evolution or Upp. 58
The Inner Marriage: A Story of Holy Longing in the Hindu Master Ramakrishnap. 63
Chapter 3. Longing for the Human Beloved: The Search for Romantic Unionp. 69
Beloved as Parent: The Psychology of Lovep. 74
Beloved as God: The Archetypes of Lovep. 79
The Inner Marriage: A Story of Holy Longing in the Sufi Lovers Majnun and Laylap. 84
Chapter 4. Longing for the Divine Human: The Search for Spiritual Communionp. 91
Priest or Teacher as Parent: The Psychology of Spiritualityp. 94
Priest or Teacher as God: The Archetypes of Spiritualityp. 105
Priest or Teacher as Divine Human: The Teacher-Student Relationshipp. 115
The Inner Marriage: A Story of Holy Longing in the Christian Saint Catherine of Sienap. 117
Part II After the Fall: A Guide for Disillusioned Believersp. 125
Chapter 5. Meeting Spiritual Shadow: Darkness on the Pathp. 127
Encountering the Spiritual Other: The Breakdown of Communionp. 132
The Consequences of Spiritual Abusep. 149
Uncovering Patterns of Abusep. 154
Who Is Susceptible to Spiritual Abuse?p. 164
Meeting the Shadow of Addictionp. 170
Death and Transcendencep. 173
Midlogue: My Longing for the Dark: A Meditation on Downp. 177
Chapter 6. Rekindling the Flame: Shadow-Work for Spiritual Abuse and Disillusionmentp. 183
Communal Shadow-Workp. 185
Separating from a Teacher and Imago Deip. 192
Reclaiming the Lightp. 195
Reclaiming Independent Thinkingp. 197
Reclaiming Authentic Feelingp. 201
Reclaiming the Bodyp. 203
Reclaiming Action on Our Own Behalfp. 206
Reclaiming Images of the Divinep. 209
Finding Our Spiritual Mythsp. 221
Epilogue: Creativity as Practicep. 225
Indexp. 231