Spirituality is often confused with a make-believe quest to silence desire. Yet desire is the lifeblood of an awakened life; without it, we lose our hunger to grow beyond our own limitations. Curiosity, perseverance, and love – all forms of joie de vivre — depend on the muse of desire for cultivating purpose, conviction, and strength. But how do we locate our deepest desires? How do we overcome the fear of passion and silence our own longings? What can we learn from erotic life (of which sex is only a small part) to deepen spiritual practice and creative work? This month’s guest interview is with Polly Young-Eisendrath, psychologist, writer, speaker and Jungian analyst.
Seekers Session Recording and Transcript
Guest Interview with Polly Young-Eisendrath
Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D., is a psychologist, writer, speaker and Jungian analyst who has published 15 books including The Self-Esteem Trap, The Cambridge Companion to Jung, and Women and Desire. Her most recent book, The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Discovery, is a meditation on the healing power of love – based on her experience with her spouse who died from early onset Alzheimer’s disease — that attempts to answer the question “What is love, anyway?”
Polly came to psychology and psychoanalytic training through the doorway of Buddhist practice, taking formal Zen vows in 1971. As a psychoanalyst and a mindfulness teacher, Polly is optimistic about the gradual emergence of a fresh view of the human mind from the dialogue between psychoanalysis and Buddhism. Along those lines, Polly directs Enlightening Conversations, a non-profit organization that sponsors conversational conferences between esteemed psychoanalysts and Buddhists teachers in different cities in the US.