"Without any understanding of man's deep-seated urge to self-transcend, of his very reluctance to take the hard, ascending way, and his search for some bogus liberation either below or to one side of his personality, we cannot hope to make sense of our own particular period of history or indeed of history in general, of life as it was lived in the past and as it is lived today. For this reason I propose to discuss some of the more common Grace-substitutes, into which and by means of which men and women have tried to escape from the tormenting consciousness of being merely themselves. .... human beings have felt the radical inadequacy of their personal existence, the misery of being their insulated selves and not something else, something wider, something in Wordsworthian phrase, 'far more deeply interfused'." (Aldous
Huxley, "Appendix" from The Devils of Loudun, Penguin Books, 1971, 313f.)

Course: Developing Your Own Spirituality, Unit IV

Idealizations & detachment, social presence & obedience

JMarieWEB201401JMichael Whelan 2
(Starts 6pm Thu Nov 7)
In Unit IV – the final Unit in this Course – we will pay particular attention to four major issues in spirituality: Idealization – a psychological process whereby we pursue an image of the way things should be rather than a conversation with the way things are; detachment – a subtle but profound disposition that comes to us as a grace when we learn to receive it; social presence – all spirituality is essentially and irrevocably social, never merely private, always focusing our lives on building and maintaining living relationships, in other words, community tending; obedience – attentive listening,

facing what must be faced, submitting to the truth of experience no matter what, is the stuff of any life of substance.

Participants will be given notes as an aid to an adult conversation. They will also be encouraged to do listening exercises to facilitate the integration of the material in the notes. 

Facilitators/Presenters: Michael Whelan SM PhD and Marie Biddle RSJ MA MTh
Where: Aquinas Academy, Level 5, 141 Harrington Street, The Rocks, Sydney
When: Four Thursday evenings, 6pm - 8pm, November 7, 14, 21, 28, 2019
Cost: $150/person (including notes)

Nobody will be turned away simply because they cannot afford to pay. Offer a donation if you cannot pay the full registration fee.

Week One – the person as idealizing: the essential human journey is one of emergence and unfolding, an inside out process; the destructive process of living according to an idealized image – even a “religious” image – must be understood and countered.

Week Two – detachment: the human journey is a never-ending process of moving on and letting go; all the great religious traditions recognise the importance of embracing this inherent detachment pattern; detachment lies at the heart of the Christian vocation.

Week Three – social presence: there is no such thing as private spirituality though all spirituality will be deeply personal; all spirituality is essentially and irrevocably social; spirituality necessarily finds expression in an appropriate social presence, on the basis of social consciousness and social conscience.

Week Four – obedience: critical to the whole process of developing a well-grounded personal spirituality is the willingness to continual hear and heed what is happening; we are generally too quick to assume this or that about reality or simply impose our pre-definitions; a healthy life formation process is always a conversation.

For further information please telephone 02 9247 4651 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please register before the course starts so that notes will be available.

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