Recently a friend of mine was sharing her challenges with a sleep disorder and the steps she had taken to manage it. It has been a frequent visitor in her life; it no longer seems to get out of control but regularly reappears despite the use of a number of remedies. I posed a question – “If I was your soul and I was trying to get your attention, what do you think I would do?” Probably use my sleep disorder” she responded. I shared with her the lovely story of the prophet Samuel in the Bible who woke three times to hear a voice that initially he thought it was Eli the high priest. Finally in the words of the King James version he responded, “Speak Lord they servant heareth” I encouraged her to reflect on issues that may be occurring in her life when her sleep disruption occurred and to seek out situations when the outcome had been positive.
Recently at a James Hollis seminar he quoted Jung as saying that neurosis “must be understood, ultimately, as the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning.” I sense that all of us face times in our lives when the soul is calling us and we are for some reason unable or unwilling to hear the call. Learning the guises of the soul’s voice can be an amazing gift in avoiding the “cosmic two by four” and finding the joy and satisfaction of undertaking the work of finding meaning in our own lives. Hafiz wrote these beautiful words, “O, what is laughter…? What is this precious love and laughter budding in our hearts? It is the glorious sound of a soul waking up!”
The soul has many voices. Mine can be through my body – sore knees can generally indicate fear of moving ahead, a stiff neck that I am in resistance while my heart feels heavy when I am not feeding it appropriately. Frequently the indicators that I am losing my way are a series of misadventures around the home that suggest I have lost my flow.
In a workshop I attended many years ago, renowned psychologist and spiritual teacher Jean Houston reminded us of the mythic hero’s journey: we receive the call; we resist the call, and like Jonah end up in the belly of the whale. There we experience the discomfort to help us return to the call. Hollis suggested that “We all have appointments with ourselves, but we don’t all show up.” Ignoring the call of the soul is not showing up and perhaps missing the joy of waking up.