The Soul’s Journey – Tending To The Soul

October 26, 2021

“Perhaps it is time for me stop seeing the soul as a thing but as wonderful metaphor for my deepest self to support meaning and development on life’s journey. Soul becomes assumed based on the principles of depth psychology but requires attention to flourish. I encountered something I wrote regarding the soul back in 2013 that inspired me long before this blog, “as you feed me so shall I blossom.” It now has a new sense of mystery attached to it. So with a renewed sense of confidence I can begin to write again.”

So with this insight and inspiration on soul I freed myself from the anchor that had been holding me back and I began to write again. Reviewing my previous blog raised some curiosity about the past 25-years. I realized that I had begun attending to the soul without really knowing it. In 1993 I began to meditate more as a tool of stress management than anything else yet I sense it stimulated something deep within me. From that time on I began to experience features of an inner life I had never previously imagined. In hindsight I believe it began a process of awakening my intuition.

Julia Cameron in her beautiful book Blessings states, “Synchronicity, coincidence, reinforcement and serendipity – these are friendly companions that speak to me clearly of higher realms”. I would add to this dreams, metaphor, signs and symbols. Since I began this journey of finding meaning in my life, I have counted over thirty such experiences that have reinforced my belief in our inner guidance system and helped guide me onward. (Ironically before 1993 I have almost no recollection of such things although I suspect they may have occurred and I was unaware.) Some were so powerful like my psychic love affair that they had long lasting impact. I have kept a record of them all and title them Moments of Awe and Wonder. Each became a reinforcement and affirmation of earlier experiences and they continue to inspire me during times of confusion.

I realize it all starts by having an intention but then requires paying attention. They became a living experience of John O’Donahue’s perspective that if we allow time for soul we will come to a sense of its dark and luminous depth. What started with meditation expanded to include studying dreams, exploring signs and synchronicity, walking in appreciation of beauty, reading poetry, listening to sacred music, visiting sacred spaces, contemplation, soul focused retreats, reading oracles, morning reading and contemplation on being and writing on soul and the deep heart.

As I began to pay attention, more and more of the magical and mysterious began to show up. Some seemed inconsequential but others more powerful. What they all had in common was that they made no sense to my rational thinking. As James Hollis once observed, ” my rational side is still confounded by these offenses to our Western notions of causality”.

I have learned to accept there are certain rules to these experiences,

1) They are generally to be acknowledged as supportive of my inner journey not the ego’s desires. I don’t own them; they are numinous in that they approach me. I have to let go of any expectations that I am the architect or that I create them.

2) As I experience them rather than create them, I must accept them as gifts to be appreciated and released. They become affirmations on the amazing nature of the mystery and help me to accept that which makes no sense to my rational mind.

3) They can provide guidance and support at various stages of the journey yet they are temporary signposts. Once the gift has been received and acknowledged they don’t return in the same form.

4) No-one can really learn from another’s mystical experiences. I sense that each of us to honour the wisdom of our own deeper selves.

The Soul’s Journey – What’s all this soul stuff anyway?

October 6, 2021

It is more than disconcerting for one whose blog is titled SoulClarity and who writes regularly under the banner the Soul’s Journey to find their current concept of soul has abandoned them.

Twenty-five years ago I had a “eureka” moment about the soul. It resulted from a powerful psychic encounter when the words of Theillard de Jardin “You are a spiritual being having a human experience not a human being having a spiritual one.” not only helped explain my experience but also became my new reality. Accompanying this belief was a sense that my soul was where the divine and the human intersect.

This held as my truth for twenty-five years and was supplemented by a series of incremental beliefs regarding: feeding the soul, polishing the soul like a diamond, opening the soul like a rose. It became the source of the inner voice – my primary guidance. It was a wellspring of love, compassion, beauty and joy. I found it in music, poetry and the language of symbols, signs and synchronicities I encountered on my journey. It created life force and positive energy; it provided the call to a larger life; it was a focus for meaning and growth in my life.

During the past quarter of a century although my concept of the divine or transcendent wavered, my sense of soul never did. It remained the eternal soul that gave me my connection to immortality. It was the part of me that could carry past lives (until I had to shed that belief too.) It felt comfortable and supportive; it was like an anchor to my belief system. I related to the language of the great poets and many of the inspiring writers that have guided my journey like Thomas More and James Hollis who refers to soul to as “our essence, our deepest being, our deepest longing, our deepest possibilities.” His words inspired me.

In 2018 I attended a workshop on Transitions. Around this time I read two different books: Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond and Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. It was a synchronicity that I read them in the same year. Sapiens had been recommended by a dear friend and I had waited three years before my hold at the library became available and the other by a young Mexican server at a tea shop I frequent.

I read with great dismay a litany of horrors about our species as it spread out and dominated using cruel, barbarous tactics lacking all human decency. I heard a quiet voice repeat itself over and over. “Where is the spiritual being in all this?” Is this your spiritual heritage?

The concept of a “spiritual being” evaporated like a mist over the bay. It no longer resonated or rang true. I felt shocked. The words of eminent Jungian analyst and author James Hollis sprang to mind, “There are only answers that makes sense to you at this moment in your life, and they will fail you later in your journey. What is seemingly true today will be outgrown tomorrow, when life or our own soul brings us a larger frame through which to view them.”

After 25 years I was being asked to question something that had sustained me on my spiritual journey for so many years. The soul as the eternal aspect of my being had allowed me the gift of feeling immortal, and contributed so much to my spiritual journey. It was as though the proverbial rug had been yanked from under my feet. Yet I did not feel bereft of hope. The words Irish poet and priest John O’Donahue sprang to mind, “The path you took to get here was washed out; The way forward is still concealed from you. The old is not old enough to have died away; The new is still too young to be born.”

I went for a long walk and asked myself what was left of my shattered concept of soul. I still believed in the inner compass or inner guiding voice; I still recognized the psychological concept of the unconscious; I still felt like a meaning seeking part of creation. Although it felt so much less certain, I decided It would have to do for now. However my writing about Soul diminished significantly

Three long years have passed including eighteen months of Covid restrictions. I justified my inertia on the grounds of Covid. I laughed at the billboard stating, “Doing nothing is not the same as having nothing to do.” Still I did nothing. It took a powerful dream and the intervention of a friend to realize I was well and truly mired by this loss.

I began to study different teachers and their concepts of soul (James Hollis, Thomas Moore, Frances Vaughan to name a few) and realized quickly that everyone seemed to believe in soul but what they believed in was somewhat different. It became hard to differentiate in who believed in the soul as a separate thing, and who saw it as part of the unconscious. The lines were blurred yet everyone seems to write about it with great authority. Some concepts of soul are much darker and earthy while others seem positively ethereal and there was everything in between.

I came across a wonderful insight by American psychiatrist Gerald May. “The unique reality of mystery is that mystery can be known without being solved. Mystery can be experienced, appreciated, even lived without being understood.”

Then I had a breakthrough coming from two different sources. Psychologist and ex monk Thomas Moore suggests the soul belongs in the imaginal world rather than the real one and John O’Donahue suggesting that if we allow time for soul we will come to a sense of its dark and luminous depth. If we fail to acquaint ourselves with soul we will remain strangers in our own lives. This helped me comprehend why at times there seemed a complete absence of soul or its qualities on our planet.

Perhaps it is time for me stop seeing the soul as a thing but as wonderful metaphor to support meaning and development on life’s journey. Soul becomes assumed based on the principles of depth psychology but requires attention to flourish. I found something I wrote regarding the soul back in 2013 “as you feed me so shall I blossom.”  It now has a new sense of mystery attached to it. So with a renewed sense of confidence I can begin to write again.