December 3, 2015

Be Soulful, not just Spiritual.


It is such an intense and chaotic thing to be human, and at once the beauty of it silences all of my qualms.

To be flawed in mind, in body, is that which causes the multiplicity of life. I observe some on their path seeking immutable truth, discarding the truth that is relevant and decisive to their own experience and they are thirsting to death. I decided that I wouldn’t be thirsty, that I would drink from every well I came across in my search for being.

I wake up, the sound of the alarm clock rocking me out of the folds of my subconscious maundering. I awake and think of a boy that I have been dating. I don’t want to, because I don’t want to need him. I want to choose him. Alas, I offer myself the grace to be human—that’s all that I want to be.

I also have gotten a later than usual start to my day. I haven’t been as disciplined about my routine lately, my life has been beautifully full. Normally I would berate myself for not sticking to my schedule but this morning I am reminded of a card that my Grandmother gave me last year, “Make plans, but don’t be so rigid that you can’t change them.”

My mind sometimes wants to judge situations and people. I often find my ego speaking of its superiority. I offer it some grace, and remind it gently that its inferiority complex is, again, showing. That despite the ego’s mania, I do love it, because it its a broken part of myself that needs healing.

I am reminded this morning that I am a human being because of my flaws, my imperfection. I remind myself this morning that this is a beautiful thing—it is real. While much of my spiritual practice is about transcending thought patterns, and outdated paradigms of living, there is a very soulful side to my practice. I see people around me only seeking to transcend their experience, to attain those higher states of consciousness. They seek an all pervading Truth. While I honor this, and the discipline that is needed to cultivate a launching pad in which to rise above, and become engulfed by that Reality, I also am aware that that is not the only work.

I suspect that much of this pursuit of transcendence is motivated by a desire to escape. I heard a Buddhist monk explain once that we must be careful that we do not use “meditation as a Prozac.” This hit me dead between the brows. I must be in touch with reality. This is where my mindfulness practice grows from. I stay mindful so that I might be aware of who, and what, I am.

I become soulful, not only spiritual.

When I engage with my soul I am interacting with all of the parts of myself that dance together. The light and the shadow, and how they interplay. It is important for me to be in touch with myself so that I am aware of my motives, my behaviors, and my actions—those become my character. I cannot work on myself if I am not willing to plunge into the primordial soup of my own being. Sometimes that soup is toxic. I must come to that negativity and call it out, love it, and heal it—I must accept it.

This is where I find those small truths that propel me on the path. As my awareness grows so does my ability to forgive myself. I begin to heal from the traumas, from the pain, and alleviate my suffering. As my suffering lessens I am more capable to help relieve the suffering of other beings. I become more in touch with the inner workings of human beings, and am more aware of the suffering of others, and how that expresses itself.

I am a human being. I must be soulful if I am to be spiritual. I must learn the truths about myself before I can experience the Truth. Those small awarenesses feed me, water me, in my search for transcendence. I am reminded of Carl Jung who said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Participate in your evolution.


Relephant Favorite:

Seven Directions to Spiritual Growth.


Author: Jacob Crisp

Editor: Travis May

Image: Flickr/Alice Popkorn

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