Shira and Ari Evergreen's Reviews > At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst

At the Root of This Longing by Carol Lee Flinders
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May 26, 11

bookshelves: activist-essentials, gender
Read from April 26 to May 01, 2011

Spirituality often comes with mandates to maintain silence or to strive for egolessness, but women are oppressed, so they're often forced to be silent or egoless. In addition, many religious traditions add to this oppression. How then can a woman reconcile her spirituality and her feminism?

Carol Lee Flinders is a spiritual seeker and meditator in the Gandhian tradition. In this book she outlines the path she took towards an integrated, feminist spirituality. Along the way she talks about coming-of-age rituals and the embodiment of the goddess in young women reaching menarche, the tough balance between dedicated meditation and the distractions of family, and the need for enclosure and transformation in both spiritual and female life.

Flinders talks about Gandhi's promotion of stayagraha as the path to creating an India so sure of herself that not only could she shake off British oppression, she would remain inviolate against further colonization. She asserts that women need a similar sense of "soul-force" to bolster our feminism; if we can all see ourselves as emanations of the earth mother, our feminist action will be steadfast in the face of challenges, and we can transform our societies and our world.

I really loved this book and I think it would be worth reading for anyone who cares about the state of the world, and who may be looking for answers to help cure its ills. Any activist working in any area will find this book useful and illuminating. Spiritual seekers may enjoy the integration of ideas and stories from a variety of traditions.
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