Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some of my ideas about Soul

Materialism and its alternative, the duality o...Image by slark via Flickr

In my post of April 19, commenter/blogger Roy asked questions of me about what I thought Mr. Moore meant about the soul - "But what is soul? Is it anything separate from my body, my mind, my heart? Or is it the thread that weaves all of me together? I wonder if it's awareness, consciousness, life itself. Is it the journey towards the Light? Is it the call to be whole as the Father is whole? Is it my relationship with God? Would it help knowing who I am first before knowing how to care for whatever soul is? Or is it enough to simply strive to Love deeply, authentically, without reserve, with all I've got?"

Way to go Roy! Thanks for the questions and here a few of my answers (I'd rather not paraphrase Mr. Moore.)

I believe soul is my spiritual presence, manifesting its life through intellect and emotion. I don't think it's separate from body, mind, and heart - nor do I believe that it is necessarily, as you put it, "a thread that weaves all of me together." So yes, I could call it, as you do, "awareness, consciousness, life itself as well as a journey towards the light." Realistically and logically, although speaking of God is not necessarily always realistic nor logical, I don't believe it is "the call to be whole as the Father is whole" - for expecting to be whole as the Father is just doesn't fit into my mind as an achievable personal goal or accomplishment.

For all of the reflection and self-diagnosis I may engage in, yet, I don't think I will ever truly know myself so I don't want to wait for that eventuality prior to attempting to fill my soul with the nourishment I believe it requires for life and growth. I believe that striving "to love deeply, authentically without reserve, with all I've got" is a tremendous goal and would be an amazing accomplishment, although I don't think that only that will grow my soul to its fullest potential.

I believe soul can be separated apart from our wholeness of body and mind. It is what we are and we yearn to be in relationship to our creator. The yearning and then the filling of my soul's space with God-centered living is the light toward soul expansion for me. My yearning needs sustenance in order to keep alive and will and does go from opportunity to opportunity seeking fulfillment. Without attention to the yearning, I fear my soul will remain static or shrink. The filling of the soul i.e. the expansion or growth of it is fed through my intention to savor God's presence with habitual silent listening, and by active study of God-related literature, art, sound and for living a life of love as set forth in the good news of Jesus Christ.

And that is what I think right now about my soul and because of that , I am ever so grateful for the grace of God's love for my soul - whew!

Last week several of you commented with ways that you find nourishment for your soul. Now, please, please, I know both Roy and I would be so happy to hear your comments about what the definition of soul is to you - anyone out there?
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  1. Breaking a rule here, but two pleases, !

    discussing these topics is a great way to undo any pretense that we are gods. Words fail miserably, our minds gasp for air at the task, our puniness is exposed.
    A young girl went out one day and was struck by the feel of the air. It was as if she had felt the air on her skin for the first time. It was spring time, with soft breezes blowing, that type of day when the air wraps around you and you feel it dancing on your skin. This made her happy almost to the point of laughing out loud, she wanted to dance she was so joyed by this feeling. She ran into the house and got the largest jar she could hold, she made sure it was clean, no smells left behind, She went back out into that wonderful air and smiled. What Joy! She opened the jar, and as if scooping water out of a barrel, or catching a glorious blue butterfly in a net, gathered a small portion of the air, and put the lid on the jar carefully, tightly. She then took that jar and put it in her closet, tucked safely in some sweaters she had on a shelf. The next day she took that jar with her so she could share it with the people she might encounter. A special gift, She sat with her friends in a circle and placed the jar in the center. She told them of her day and how wonderful it felt, but she knew she would be unable to explain just what it was. So she began to unscrew the lid on the jar.

    That is what trying to define soul, or God is to me.

  2. The Greeks spoke of things a composed of Accidents and Essences. Accidents were the outward appearance of things and Essences were the invisible reality of the thing itself. Perhaps they were not far from right, at least as far as the soul is concerned. There is in each of us an awareness of self that is not the same as our body or mind, or any synthesis of the two, although the self requires the presence of body and mind to make itself known. As a theologian, I often talk about us, as humans, as being embodied souls, which is partly what is meant by saying that I believe in the resurrection of the body as the completion of life beyond this life.

  3. Bruno,
    thanks for succumbing to the "please, please" and sending the lovely story about the fresh air being captured or NOT. A story for one to use in future conversations of the soul.... Your "words fail miserably" is another great summary of the attempt of quantifying the soul - as if we ever could! Again, thank you.


    I don't believe I've ever heard the "accidents and essences" take on the soul - if there is such a thing as logical talk about the soul, "accidents and essences" should be a part of that talk. Thank you!

  4. Ah . . . thinking about soul. Today, soul is the deepest me. Soul is the me, the conscious and the unconscious. Soul is the me that hears, sees, feels, thinks, touches. Soul is the me that is dark, mysterious, and unknown. Soul is the me in harmony with the other, in harmony with the Creator, in harmony with the Earth, in harmony with the me in me. And sometimes, not.

  5. Lisa - Reading "soul thoughts" from others, and contemplating our own soul is an activity for a lifetime, isn't it? There's so much there to the soul and so few words to really describe the awesomeness of soul! Thanks for adding your thoughts to the subject!

  6. Hmmm...I have to admit that I haven't put much thought into the definition of my soul. I agree with you in that it is a spiritual presence and that it is not separate from our body, mind and heart. I don't imagine it as a thread as thread can be cut...and I don't think our soul is ever cut. Damaged, yes, but not entirely destroyed.
    I am hesitant to connect my soul to a particular religion as I see our souls connected to life around us.
    Hmmm...lots to think about...

  7. Susanna, Hmmm and nice thoughts you've left here. Thank you! Nice to hear from you.