The Soul’s Journey – Have I Lost my Mojo?

November 6, 2019

Recently my sister called to check on me and as the conversation unfolded I realize she had some concerns about me. She told me her daughter Amy thought I had lost my Mojo. I was both fascinated and alarmed by the idea that I had left such an impression on my niece.

I thought I should check precisely what Mojo means and found out that the traditional meaning is magical power, a spell or talisman. However in the Cambridge English dictionary it describes Mojo as a quality that attracts people to you and makes you successful and full of energy.

How disconcerting! What had I said to give that impression?

I went to my journal to assess what has been happening in my life at the time of the conversation. To my surprise I had been at my beautiful place in Cortes island and recall feeling particularly joyful and positive at that time. Obviously this had not been translated in my discussion with my niece. My curiosity mounted. What resulted in the impression that she passed on to her mother?

My sister explained that she thought it was connected with a conversation about spirituality and that Amy believed I had lost my belief. A light shone dimly through the fog surrounding my recollection. I recalled sharing with Amy that I had found the simplicity of my earlier beliefs had been transcended by a complexity around holding opposites. I was feeling less clarity and more confusion about my path but I was not concerned as I knew I was in good company. Eminent author and Jungian analyst James Hollis suggests that signs of a spiritual maturity were that, “ The mystery will transcend our desires for clarity and certainty.” The mystery perhaps had become more mysterious after the following transition that occurred last year.

I have just concluded Sapiens by Noah Yuval Harari and I am feeling disturbed. For 25 years I have lived with the belief we are spiritual beings having a human experience and not the other way around. Suddenly this is in question. Previously I had been reading Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond an equally depressing saga of human viciousness and brutality. Where I asked myself, in the bloody, violent, competitive, destructive story of our genus was there any indication of underlying spiritual beings? It was a strange moment to consider letting go of something that had so powerfully influenced the journey of my life and has helped me find meaning in my own experiences. Suddenly like a match extinguishing itself in the dark the light was gone.

Then I asked myself a question. What remains if I let go of this concept of the eternity of a Soul moving from incarnation to incarnation in some mysterious way I did not understand. What would then remain? I went for a walk allowing this confusion and lack of clarity to be absorbed in the exquisite beauty of a Vancouver evening. I noticed no distress I just felt different. I sensed it was yet another evolution of my worldview and there have been many.

I reviewed what remained: I still believed in a guiding force that I call the inner compass in my life. I continue to relate to the concept of the unconscious with all its unseen power over me. I will continue to seek meaning in my life and unravel my own psychology and explore this mystery I am part of it. The driver of this I still choose to call Soul ,for now I give up the need of immortality. I felt a sense of relief.

Then I saw an enormous gift from this transition. It seems to me that the preciousness of this one life expands once one can no longer rely on anything to follow. It creates a sense of responsibility to the collective to support its positive unfolding. I came across a relevant quote from James Hollis that seemed inspiring, “What I long for is an experience of this life that I would not trade for an eternity in those Elysian Fields.”

I have certainly been undergoing a transition in my belief structure. However I always believed continuing change is a positive and not negative. It is as though all the beliefs I have ever held are to some degree like those nesting Russian dolls and the new one both replaces and embraces the old.

I called my niece to ask her what she had meant and she seemed bemused. “Those are mum’s words, not mine”, she said. “I was just sharing our conversation and perhaps not doing a very good job.”

I laughed; it was another lesson in not making assumptions. The good news is my Mojo seems intact and to quote the words of Julian of Norwich “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

NB I came across this wonderful poem by my friend Ann Ladd who writes beautifully about the sense of deconstruction on the spiritual journey.

Humble Journey

My certainty is tattered and torn

shredded beyond recognition

It is frightening, though inevitable

to dismantle the platform

that gave me a view of the world

that allowed surety of

purpose an action

 

The world as it is!

Bedevilled by its shocking

unfairness and cruelty,

graced by its generosity

and indescribable beauty,

reluctant acceptance

humbles me,

leaving only the choice

of attitude and action

in a given moment.

I choose forgiveness and

loving-kindness.


The Soul’s Journey – Exploring the Power of Belief

June 8, 2019

WC Fields“Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.”

W.C Fields

For much of the eighties I suspect that this quote by W.C Fields summarized my worldview. The beauty of this belief is that as long as you were upright there was the possibility of it coming true. Recently I have become fascinated by the power of a belief to influence external circumstances. There are so many stories of miracles, manifestation, positive life change, and mystical experiences that it raised the question of how and why so many different beliefs appear to have power.

The Power of My Parent’s Belief

My parents truly believed that God would provide. Their belief came from scripture. In Philippians 4:19 it states “And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” They believed this and there was always just enough even if it took a miracle to accomplish it. On one occasion I heard them discussing the fact that they could not meet the mortgage payment on our house in a lovely part of London and unless God showed up with some solution we would be forced to move. The next day an envelope containing a significant amount of currency arrived with a note to my father saying, “God asked me to send you this.”

Is The Proof In The Pudding?

These types of miracles were not uncommon in Christian circles and of course were presented as evidence of their one true God. However one thing I have learned about belief is that you can’t manufacture it and once it has evaporated it has no power for you any more. I recall more than once my mother saying to me, “you have got to have faith and my response “mum you can’t ‘got to’ with faith”.

More Miracles?

In the early nineties I began to let go of my atheism to embrace a concept of the new age called manifestation. The basic premise is to set a clear intention then bring positive reflection and visualization on the outcome and the inherent power of the universe will eventually work. This was best marketed in a book and video package titled The Secret that presented miracles just like the Bible. And despite eminent critics like author and depth psychologist James Hollis crying, ‘hogwash”, it works – at least for a time to people who truly believed it. Even yesterday a friend of mine was describing utilizing just such a technique to achieve a breakthrough in their career.

Back to Christianity

In the late nineties I came full circle and embraced Christianity in what was called “the new thought” form at the Unity Church. It had a much nicer, mother/father God and no crazy notions about salvation through blood. Everything in scripture was to be explored as mythic guidelines for living. At the centre was a core belief that if you were in right relationship with God then all good things would be yours. Financial success, relationship and health were easily attained however if you fell short then each of these would suffer. So if someone got sick, you could heal yourself as long as you were good with God. (I realize now it was basically The Secret with an added sense of responsibility and guilt.) At the time my belief had its own power in the manifest world. I have a record of a number of occasions where I appeared to defy science through instantaneous healings. It served me well until one day it no longer made sense and as Hollis mentions, “When the energy leaves the symbol all you have left is a dry husk.”

The Esoteric Exploration

In the year 2001 I began a much more esoteric exploration that embraced many of the wisdom traditions – Sufism, Buddhism, Jewish Mysticism and Christian Mysticism. At the mystic level beliefs are not so much about getting things but more about how to live. Loving kindness, compassion, mindfulness, equanimity, sympathetic joy for others became measures of one’s life. I was also introduced to depth psychology and Carl Jung. I learned that true change required me to understand myself at a deeper level and that spirituality was no longer enough. The path to true change was through psychology and understanding the unconscious. The quest for things was replaced by the desire for meaning.

Embracing The Mystery

Why is belief so powerful no matter what you believe in? It is truly a mystery although I sense it is part of the journey toward change and personal growth. Perhaps we need something to believe in to coax us along the yellow brick road. Once the belief loses its power for us we can never go back we have to go forward or stay stuck. My current belief too has its own power to manifest through dreams, complexes, signs and synchronicities all connected to my belief in the power of the unconscious.

At times like this I go back to the Sufi poet Rumi as my exponent of the mystery.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to Sleep

Rumi – exquisitely interpretated by Coleman Barks