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At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst [Paperback]

Carol Lee Flinders
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Aug 1999

In this brilliant exploration of the apparent conflicts and tensions between feminism and contemplative spirituality, Carol Lee Flinders uncovers how a life of meaning, self-knowledge, and freedom depends on both.

In At the Root of This Longing, Flinders identifies the four key points at which the paths of spirituality and feminism seem to collide – vowing silence vs. finding voice, relinquishing ego vs. establishing ‘self’, resisting desire vs. reclaiming the body, and enclosure vs. freedom – and sets out to discover not only the sources of these conflicts, but how they can be reconciled.

With a sense of urgency brought on by events in her own life, Flinders deals with the alienation that women have experienced not only from themselves and each other, but from the sacred. She finds inspiration in the story of fourteenth-century mystic Julian of Norwich and her direct experience of God, in India’s legendary Draupadi, who would not allow a brutal physical assault to damage her sense of personal power, as well as in Flinders’s own experiences as a meditation teacher and practitioner. Flinders reveals that spirituality and feminism are not mutually exclusive at all but very much require one another.


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At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst + Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; 1 edition (16 Aug 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006251315X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062513151
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13.4 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 998,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘In the spirit of Women Who Run with the Wolves and Reviving Ophelia, this book has the potential to change women’s lives.’
Publishers Weekly

An eloquent meditation on spirituality. When Flinders convinces us that spirituality and feminism are part of the same truth… the book takes on unbelievable power. Give yourself time to absorb the many complexities of At the Root of This Longing. Then await the profoundly life-altering conclusions you take away.’
San Francisco Chronicle

From the Back Cover

In this brilliant exploration of the apparent conflicts and tensions between feminism and contemplative spirituality, Carol Lee Flinders uncovers how a life of meaning, self-knowledge, and freedom depends on both.

In 'At the Root of This Longing', Flinders identifies the four key points at which the paths of spirituality and feminism seem to collide – vowing silence vs. finding voice, relinquishing ego vs. establishing ‘self’, resisting desire vs. reclaiming the body, and enclosure vs. freedom – and sets out to discover not only the sources of these conflicts, but how they can be reconciled.

With a sense of urgency brought on by events in her own life, Flinders deals with the alienation that women have experienced not only from themselves and each other, but from the sacred. She finds inspiration in the story of fourteenth-century mystic Julian of Norwich and her direct experience of God, in India’s legendary Draupadi, who would not allow a brutal physical assault to damage her sense of personal power, as well as in Flinders’s own experiences as a meditation teacher and practitioner. Flinders reveals that spirituality and feminism are not mutually exclusive at all but very much require one another.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
A few years ago, when I'd made the last revisions and double-checked the last footnotes of a substantial writing project, I relaxed into a kind of fallow spell. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
How can I cultivate Silence without remaining mute? How can I honor respect and love the other half of the human race in the face of what that half has "done" to my half? How can I nurture the interior of Spirit and still hold up my end of the tenuous presence we women have only recently gained in the larger world? As a woman who's found herself drained and badly in need of spiritual repair after a highly "successful" two decades in a "man's game" career, I came to this book hungry and thirsty in the extreme. Carol Flinder's sensitive, patient, beautifully intelligent and courageous exploration of the apparent conflict between women's need to be present and of equal value in the world and at the same time true to the needs of the feminine gives the peaceful rest of reconcilliation as well as the nourishment of understanding. I will read this one over and over. It's that meaningful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally engaging and scholarly! 16 Jun 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Flinders does an outstanding job of reviewing the history and tracing the links of spirituality and feminism that have long been overlooked. She has referenced a plethora of literature to support her ideas and includes some often forgotten and overlooked myths and stories of Goddesses. She outlines 4 stages, or themes relating to a women's spirituality in contrast to feminism, and provides examples of her personal experiences. In addition, she raises points about violence to women and children, and tries to answer the question of how to empower women. I highly recommend this book, for both men and women!
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4.0 out of 5 stars lots to think about 18 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Carol Lee Flinders has embarked on the difficult task of reconciling feminism and spirituality. She, like several other scholars and writers today, recognizes the conflict between these two concepts and also the attraction each has for women. Flinders does a fine job outlining the tensions between feminism and spirituality, including the tension between finding voice and reveling in silence. Her ideas are cross-cultural and sweeping and lead to interesting and insightful connections; her probing of both Ghandi's ideas and the myths of Christian saints offers wonderful complications to the text. She depends too heavily on restating Gerda Lerner's work--I highly recommend readers read Lerner's The Creation of Patriarchy and The Creation of Feminist Consciousness themselves because these histories are well-written and important--though it becomes integral to Flinders' approach. The end of At the Root of This Longing loses its balance a bit and falls into unchecked essentialism, sentimentality, and optimism. However, overall, Flinders does important and articulate work for today's thinking, searching women and rightly emphasizes a balance between the personal and the political. She also points out the importance of working toward reconciliation for future generations.
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By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Feminism and spirituality are at the heart of a personal struggle through which the author gracefully leads the reader. The two systems, often polarized against each other, are reconciled over the course of a lifetime of meditation and activism.
A student and scholar in her own right of women mystics and mystical literature, the author demonstrates that these God-seekers offer hope and lessons which can nourish feminism. The sacred feminine principle holds one key to a potentially brighter future for feminism. There is no preachiness here, no prescribed methodology, because it is recognized that all are part of the divine having the answers within, and that the ideas presented here, must be realized at a grassroots level to change society: Gandhi's struggle for a free India is used as one example.
Finally, if you like Hinduism, Western mystics such as Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila, if you are interested in reading some of the new directions coming forward (I believe) in feminism: this may be the book for you. And, if you are a father of a young daughter, you especially ought to read this book to be informed of what is happening to young girls in patriarchal cultures around the world.
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