Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Soul: The Connecting Force in Life

Writes scholar of mythology, anthropology, and psychology Michael Meade in his book, Awakening the Soul: A Deep Response to a Troubled World . . .

Most ancient people and traditional cultures imagined some sort of soulful presence that accompanied a person throughout the course of life. Such notions now confound people. A narrow sense of rationality and logic dominates modern life. Many modern people doubt that there is any such thing as a self-defining human soul. Yet, there is and must be something essential in each of us – something not simply born of genetics and biology, or bred from some random selection of genes. At the deeper levels of being, each person born must be, in some way, unique. Otherwise, life becomes nothing but duplication, imitation, and blind mutation.

One of he few things that can stand against the vacancy of mass culture and the onslaught of extreme change is the sense of an animating inner soul that makes each person uniquely and essentially valuable. As the original agent of our lives and source of our talents and gifts, the human soul stands against the loss of meaning and purpose so characteristic of modern cultures.

Although an elusive concept, soul has traditionally been seen as the underlying substance and distinct force of each person's character and way of being. By virtue of our souls, we are each connected to the essential pulse of life, to the core powers of imagination, and potentially, to the ancient inheritance of humanity. Thus, the soul is both ancient and immediate; it is enduring as well as spontaneous. It is in the depths of the human soul, where mystery resides, that history can be continually remade.

When everything seems to be falling apart, soul is the missing ingredient; but the problem is that the presence of the human soul cannot be proven in logical, scientific terms. We cannot analyze, categorize, or contain it; yet we can tell when it is missing. Those who seek to prove the existence of soul are simply not meeting the issue at the right level. The soul is part of the deeper, more intuitive levels of human understanding, where simple reasoning must give way to things that are not only irrational, but also numinous and mysterious.

The rational mind reels and falters from all the irrational blows coming from both cultural and natural disasters. A greater psychological awareness is required and a deeper understanding needed if despair would be avoided. As the underlying and unifying forse of life, the human soul carries an inheritance of resiliency and a capacity for innovation in the face of disaster. When life becomes severely polarized, when people become alienated and isolated from each other, it is soul that has gone missing.

. . . [T]he loss of soul not only diminishes the sense and meaning in human life, it diminishes and wounds the world. We are most lost and feel most abandoned when we have lost touch with soul, for it is the connecting force in life. Since soul serves as the underlying connection of all things, it has the power to move all things. Thus, soul is the primordial and primary source of meaningful change and true transformation.

Michael Meade
Excerpted from Awakening the Soul:
A Deep Response to a Troubled World

Greenfire Press, 2018
pp. 21-22

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Thomas Moore on the “Ageless Soul”
The Soul’s Beloved
Unique . . . Yes, You!
Awakening the Wild Soul
In the Garden of Spirituality – Andrew Harvey
In the Garden of Spirituality – Caroline Jones
Marianne Williamson on America’s “Cults of Madness”
Thomas Moore on the Circling of Nature as the Best Way to Find Our Substance
Soul Deep
The Soul Within the Soul
The Source Is Within You
Spiritual Caregivers as “Soul Companions”
Arthur Kleinman on the “Soul of Care”
Our Memory of Eden
Seven Principles for Living with Deep Intention
A Sacred Pause
You Are My Goal, Beloved One
The Soul of a Dancer

Opening image: Patricia Pinto.

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