Sacred Desire

Growing in Compassionate Living

Nancy K. Morrison Sally K. Severino

Is the call to spirituality embedded in human biology? Authors Nancy K. Morrison and Sally K. Severino draw on cutting-edge research, including the recent discovery of brain "mirror neurons" and the elucidation of the physiology of social affiliation and attachment, to make a bold case that we are, in fact, biologically wired to seek oneness with the divine. They have termed this innate urge "sacred Desire."

In their new book on the subject, Sacred Desire: Growing in Compassionate Living, Morrison and Severino, both highly esteemed academic psychiatrists, draw on neurophysiology, relationship studies, research on spiritual development, and psychotherapy to show how spirituality is intimately connected with our physical being. The authors offer several clinical examples of how recognizing sacred Desire can advance a person's healing and they provide an action plan for using Desire to move from fear to love of self, others, and all creation.

In addition to psychiatrists and neurophysiologists, who will undoubtedly welcome this significant contribution to their fields of study, Sacred Desire is sure to appeal as well to the much wider audience of spiritual seekers looking for intellectually and scientifically credible ways to understand spirituality in today's world.

Foreword by Paula Huston / ix

Introduction / xi

1. Womb of Compassion: The Beginning of Life and Love / 3

2. The Grace of Gazing / 10

3. The Widening Boundaries of Life and Love / 23

4. Living in Sacred Desire / 34

5. The Distortion of Desire / 46

6. Beyond Distortion: Reconfiguring Our Past Today / 61

7. The Healing Power of Desire: Practical Steps to Loving Self and Others / 73

8. Redemptive Attuning: Desire’s Continuing Journey / 102

9. Incarnated Spirit: The Work of Restoring Community / 123

10. Toward a World of Compassion: Beginning to Live and Love Globally / 138

Glossary / 157

Acknowledgments / 161

Notes / 163

Index / 175