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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Province of the Soul


A thousand years ago...Spirit was accepted everywhere as the true source of life. Today, we have to look with new eyes at the mystery of existence, for as proud children of science and reason, we have made ourselves orphans of wisdom.”
Deepak Chopra (The Book of Secrets, p.3)

It was Rene Descartes, in the 1600's, who, in his quest for absolute truth, said, “I think, therefore I am.” From that point forward, humanity moved in the direction of an evidence based world. Prove it, and I'll believe it. In that movement, the head/brain became the purveyor and arbiter of all legitimate and ultimate reality. For reasons of simple survival, we needed to move in that direction; away from the superstition and blatant ignorance of the dark ages. We can credit scientific exploration with that progress. However, in the process of developing our thinking brain, we may have lost touch with, and lost confidence in, our feeling one.

There is a part of the human psyche that rests squarely in the mystery. It cannot be located, it cannot be explained in words, it cannot be reached by thought. It must be experienced. Interestingly, science has led us to many realizations about this human component, such as the fact that the body—all of the body and not just the brain—has intelligence. Science cannot explain, however, why personalities develop differently even in identical twins, or why we experience strong emotions in the presence of natural beauty. Wonder is not the province of the scientific brain. It belongs to the soul.

In a spirituality group last night, we tussled with the big question, “Who am I?” We tried to identify the essence of our identity. Are we the voices that talk incessantly in our heads; is our essential self found in our thoughts, in our actions? When one participant spoke, she repeatedly patted her chest with her open palm. “I am here, observing,” she said. She did not pat her head, she tapped her heart. That's the seat of the mystery—one part of our amazingly intelligent body that has its own “brain.”

What the heart understands may not, as my grandmother would say, make a lick of sense to the brain. It's not economical, it's not efficient, it's not organized. It's extravagant, even wasteful. It wastes energy on such emotions as love, compassion, concern; on outrageous wonder, awe and passion. It can be broken by love and by hate. That's psyche—that's soul. And who among us would want to live without it?

                                                           In the Spirit,

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