Defining "soul" is like catching a butterfly on the wing
without wounding it. We hear the phrases "soul
growth" and "soul evolution" without really
understanding fully the meaning behind the words. We
have been conditioned to think vertically; earth/physical
is down; heaven/spiritual is up. We learn that we must
perform many great feats to "climb the ladder" to
success, fulfillment, happiness, and spirituality.
Carl Jung suggests that the greater part of one's soul
lies outside of oneself. Robert Bly writes that the
stakes of our soul's boundaries are set thousands of
miles out in space! When reaching for Spirit, a ladder
(or ladder-like thinking) is no more useful to us than it
was to Babel with their tower.
How can we approach soul growth, maturity, or
evolution without falling back on the linear, ladder-like
thinking of our culture? Everything in our experience,
from early schooling, to politics and religion, has
Taking up more space...
Holistic philosophy of the 21 century concerns the
relationship of Body, Mind, and Spirit. We can add
"soul" to those three and expand it to a four-way
relationship. We understand "body" as physical; "mind"
as mental/communicating, and "spirit" as the primal and
immanent life-force of all living things. "Soul" may be
regarded as spirit individualized and perfecting itself
through a developing consciousness of understanding,
connection, and experience of the whole. This is not
done by a 1., 2., 3., up the ladder we go, but by
taking up more space; i.e. expansion.
To take up more space physically, on the New York
subway for instance, is not suggested. To take up
more space mentally; expounding one's opinions or
judgments on others, is not suggested. What is
suggested is that we live and be in the world as if
everything we think, say, and do is of utmost
importance to and influence upon everyone else. That
is holistic philosophy in a nutshell. It is also perennial
philosophy as taught by all the major religions of the
world from the beginning of recorded time. Remember
what Carl Jung and Robert Bly said about soul? Its
location is way more outside of ourselves, and its
boundaries are set thousands of miles out in space.
Why do some of us find that so hard to believe? Why
do some of us think that our secret thoughts, words,
and deeds have no effect on others? Why do some of
us think and feel that we are alone, separate, and
divided from one another? Why do some of us not
care about any one else, much less ALL of us?
Perhaps we will never know the answers to these
questions. Maybe all we can do is strive to live our
lives as responsibly and consciously as possible,
respecting and uplifting all those that we meet, and
devote some time each day to connect, reflect, and
experience the mystery of Spiritual Oneness. And, as
we evolve, we will take up more space. Possibly we
will then realize the truth of our soul's boundaries as
envisioned by Robert Bly. Maybe the mission of our
soul is to experience the "oneness" here on earth that
we experienced at that boundary point thousands of
miles out in space when our souls were created.
Once I read that the next evolutionary point for
humanity is "starship". No, not the star-ship
Enterprise, but the actuality of our souls gaining a star
for a body. When we have evolved past the lessons of
this earth as human beings, we become a "star being"
with the lessons of star beings. Talk about taking up
After reading what Carl Sagan said about the cosmos,
I could believe, if not imagine, almost anything...He said
that for every grain of sand on every beach on earth
there is a star! With that in mind, I bet that there is a
star out there somewhere with my name on it! Yours
(To get in touch with your Soul answer the following
questions. Writing your answers down after meditation is most
1. Jot down your impressions of "soul"; your mental
pictures, symbols, feelings.
2. What is your favorite soul food?
3. What song touches your soul?
4. When you were a child (from 3 to 7 years old),
what did you most like to do?
5. At the same age what personality trait got you into
the most trouble?
6. Even though you got into trouble then, how could
that trait be used today as a positive force in your
soul's expansion (taking up more space)?
7. What did your parents, teachers, grandparents, etc.
praise you for as a child?
8. How are you still like that little child?
9. How would you describe "soul" to a child?
10. Who is the most "soulful" person you know and
THINGS I'D RATHER BE...
(From an elder lady's point of view)
IN MY RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER
I'd rather be enjoyed than confronted.
I'd rather be confronted than disliked.
I'd rather be disliked than envied.
I'd rather be envied than slandered.
I'd rather have fun than argue.
I'd rather argue than gossip.
There's nothing worse than gossip.
IN MY RELATIONSHIPS WITH MEN:
I'd rather be liked than desired.
I'd rather be desired than laughed at.
I'd rather be laughed at than criticized.
I'd rather be criticized than patronized.
I'd rather be patronized than ignored.
IN MY RELATIONSHIPS WITH MY CHILDREN:
I'd rather be listened to than told, "how it REALLY
I'd rather be told how it really is than thought "stupid."
I'd rather be thought stupid than thought cruel.
I'd rather be appreciated than respected.
I'd rather be respected than placated.
I'd rather be placated than blamed.
I'd rather be blamed than alienated.
IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY SELF:
I'd rather be PERFECT, but lacking that...
I'd rather be gentle than smart.
I'd rather be smart than confused.
I'd rather be confused than hurt.
I'd rather be hurt than be unkind.
"I'd rather be happy than right."
....Although, I like being "right," a lot!
8/16/98 (revised 12/15/2006)