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Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Language of Soul


Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws at you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these, there's time, the Bastard Time.”
John Steinbeck

In his autobiography, Confessions, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that once “a great princess,” when told the peasants were starving because they had no bread, replied, “Let them eat cake!” The phrase was attributed to Marie Antoinette to illustrate her utter disregard for the poor, but in truth, it was about Rousseau's yearning for brioche to go with the wine he had stolen! We're all yearning for something, I guess.

In fact, yearning is so much a part of the human condition that one has to stop and ponder it for a moment. It doesn't matter who you are, or how much you have, there is always a burning desire for something more, something different, something new. It drives us and makes us restless. When we're poor, its the yearning for basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter, clean air and clean water. But once those are provided, the yearning doesn't stop. It becomes yearning for more status, to move up the ladder. And then there's the ever-present longing for the ideal soul-mate, that shows up even when we already have a perfectly good partner. We are a species who tries to buy our way out of yearning—clothes, cars, toys, houses, furnishings, jewels, drugs, alcohol—you name it. We are always adding “stuff” in our attempts to satisfy that lonely gnawing in the gut.

What if we knew that all craving represents a deep and powerful desire for union with one's lost self? We know at our core that Soul is involved because it's never satisfied with anything superficial. But getting to it is a whole other order of business. The image in my mind is climbing a very tall ladder out of a deep pit in the earth. We can see the light at the top, but we're never certain that we're getting closer. This is the way the Soul calls to us to keep climbing—“Keep yearning, keep looking for me,” it says, “You won't find me in all these shiny objects or dark spirits. You will only find me by looking in.” As long as our craving keeps us looking outside ourselves for replacement parts, we will never find the union we're seeking. It's inside, sitting by a toasty fire with a nice cup of tea, waiting for us to show up.

                                                In the Spirit,

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