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O'Brien, M.S. (2002). YOUNG-EISENDRATH, POLLY & MILLER, M ELVIN E. (eds.). The Psychology of Mature Spirituality. London: Routledge, 2000. Pp. 256. Hbk. £50. 00; Pbk. £16. 99.. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(1):116-118.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(1):116-118

YOUNG-EISENDRATH, POLLY & MILLER, M ELVIN E. (eds.). The Psychology of Mature Spirituality. London: Routledge, 2000. Pp. 256. Hbk. £50. 00; Pbk. £16. 99.

Review by:
Michele Sang O'Brien

Ideas about a topic like spirituality are forged out of personal experience as well as intellectual orientation; thus, some knowledge of what informs this reviewer's perspective seems pertinent. My longing to experience and understand the workings of spirit in human life resulted in a dissertation investigating the relationship between commitment to women's spirituality and the development of ego identity, along with years of teaching graduate studies in human development. It also led me on a journey through diverse spiritual practices that call forth direct experiences of the transpersonal dimension, a journey contained for seventeen years in Buddhist meditation practice and analytical psychology. As a result, a cognitive understanding of my lived experience is grounded in the notion of spirit, a term which comes from the Latin word for breath, indicating its essentialness to life. For me, any discussion about ‘mature spirituality’ must have the religious impulse and the notion of ‘spirit’ at the centre. I see the core concern as a consideration of the maturation of one's psychological relationship to the elusive mystery that is essential to life. Young-Eisendrath's and Miller's view of the core concerns essential to a psychology of mature spirituality focuses more upon the notion of ‘mature’ than of ‘spirit’. In the introduction, they portray spirituality as a developmental process, which ‘begins in infancy/childhood out of our dependency on others and engages us across the lifespan with a transcendent source which is intimate and there’.

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