The Way of Soul Is the Way of Life

As conscious egos, we are full partners with our unconscious (so-called because we are not conscious of her/him) Self in effecting a growing union of conscious with unconscious, incarnating it in our life, and creating a life worth living.

The Psyche (Soul) needs us to be its hero, championing the unconscious with compassionate, mindful, awareness, and assisting its emergence into light by bringing it forth into our life.

Our questions to answer are: How might we assist the unconscious and its urge to conscious realization? How might we enable Psyche to know itself? How might we live out the truth of unconscious reality in our life?

“Know Thy Self,” one of the inscriptions in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in ancient Greece, is a message from Psyche to Psyche by way of human consciousness. The Oracle speaks for all to all, hoping for ears to hear.

In our dreams, we perceive dark messages from Psyche, bring the light of consciousness to bear on them, and return each night for more, seeing deeper, knowing more fully, what waits to be known, understood, and acted upon—incorporated into our life—transforming all of life.

The heroic task is to ascend from darkness into light, and descend into darkness with light, and back from darkness into light, on and on… We seek what is unknown, unconscious to us, in order that it might be known, become conscious to us, and through us, to all people.

Ours is a mission of the ages, from the ages: To see with understanding, and to live and act with knowledge—knowing, even as we do, that as the darkness deepens, it also widens, and we plumb the unknown forever: “If you went in search of it, you would not find the boundaries of the soul, though you traveled every road, so deep is its measure”—Heraclitus

In order to fulfill our mission, we have to accept, and assume, the role that is ours to play in the unfolding of the Great Way—the Way of Tao—upon the earth. That Way is the joint way of consciousness with unconscious (Yin and Yang)—conscious dipping into unconscious, transforming experience into metaphor, symbol, poem, realization and ritual—making connections which transform the way life is lived, and going back to draw more from the unconscious source as a wellspring of living water, bringing life to life.

The problem is that we, as conscious egos, can supplant—and have supplanted—the Great Way (the Tao) with our own, personal, way, Xing-out the unconscious as a factor to be taken seriously in our life. Our plans and agendas interfere with our living in allegiance to the unconscious, and working its “will and purpose” into our life. We treat the unconscious as an irrelevant remnant from the distant dawn of the species, a storage room of sorts where we might keep old memories, with nothing helpful to offer in assisting us on our way.

The story of Adam and Eve is the story of the species cutting itself off from the unconscious ground of existence, and going its own way. Our place now is, as it has always been, that of finding our way back to Eden, and living out of our relationship with Psyche/Soul forever.

We take up the work of doing this by realizing that every night our dreams call us to an honest assessment of how things are with us, of how things are in our life.

We cannot kid ourselves in our dreams. But, we can deny what they reveal to us about us, and interpret them to suit ourselves.

Our dreams mean one thing, and we take them to mean another. This is always the downfall of those who consult the Delphic Oracle.

The Delphic Oracle continues to speak to us through our dreams, and we continue to misinterpret what we find there, because we serve our own agenda.

We know what we want, and don’t care what we need, or what needs us. “If we aren’t winning (that is, getting what we want), we are losing!” is the mantra of those who serve their agenda at the expense of every other consideration.

“Mindfulness leads the way.” We have to catch ourselves in the act of turning away from our task of collaborating with the unconscious in undertaking the Hero’s Journey by mothering ourselves, birthing ourselves, overseeing ourselves, into becoming who we are.

We are what we need to do the work that is ours to do, but we have to be mindful to know it.

When we say what we have to say, we hear what we need to hear, and know what we need to know in order to do what needs to be done.

It takes being free of agendas, will, fear, desire, judgment and opinion to say what we have to say, to know what we know. We have to stand apart from our investment in our life, from our stake in having things go our way, in order to live the life that waits to be lived in collaboration with our Soul/Self within.

It helps to have a group, a community, of like-minded people who can remind us of what’s what, and what needs to be done about it. The importance of the group, of the community, is to declare to us, over and over: “I Ain’t ‘cha Momma!” And: “You are your own responsibility!” And: “You have to be doing your own work!”

The importance of the group, of the community, is to declare to us, again and again: “The Messiah is not the Messiah! You save yourself by listening to yourself!”

The importance of the group, of the community, is to tell us, again and again: “Get out of the way, and stop jamming the signals!” The signals are always coming up from our deep Self/Psyche/Soul, hoping we will be listening today.

We jam the signals by thinking constantly about what we want, and don’t want, and how to get it, or escape/avoid it.

All we know is what we like and don’t like, want and don’t want. That isn’t nearly enough. We have to know what our deep Self/Psyche/Soul knows—and incorporate it into our life.

Knowing is the ground of being. The source of doing. “Be still and know”—what’s what, and how things are, and what needs to be done about it. That is where it all begins

Knowing knows what it knows, and what it does not know. That’s knowing!

Seeing with “the third eye” sees what it sees, and what it does not see. That’s seeing!

The kind of knowing that knows, the kind of seeing that sees, stems from being present with what is present with us in its fullness, its allness.

Seeing into the heart of things is the foundation for action appropriate to the occasion. We act from seeing/knowing.

Action that flows from will, desire, fear, judgment, opinion cares not for what is needed, and serves only what is wanted.

Being present with what is present to us in its fullness, its allness, is being present without emotional attachment, without will, desire or fear—or judgment, or opinion!

To live without will, desire, fear, judgment or opinion is to be open to what is happening in a way that sees into the heart of things, knows what’s what, and what needs to be done about it—and what can be done about it—does what can be done, and lets that be that.

Our role is to understand how easily we drift away from the path, turn aside from the way, and wander into wastelands of illusion and deception.

We have to focus on our destiny, our calling, to be stewards of soul, and know that everything depends upon our being loyal, dedicated, and unwavering in our allegiance, faithfulness and fidelity to soul, guarding its interests and tending its concerns.

We have to devote ourselves to learning the language of soul, and coming to know soul.

For example, soul doesn’t care a thing about computer passwords. Passwords belong to a world Soul inhabits, but does not belong to. We may struggle to remember passwords, install software, and backup our computer, but these are not things of soul.

Soul cares about beauty, mystery, poetry, music and dancing.

Soul cares about symbol and metaphor, pathos and love.

Money and due dates are not soulful things. Soul cares more about sandlot football than Super Bowl games. And drama? Oh, please!

Soul is into beach walks and meditation, and yoga that doesn’t go off on what pants you wear.

Soul is all over babies, and anything that has life about it.

What’s trending and fashionable isn’t soulful.

Slow is soulful. Fast is not.

Thunder is soulful. Loud and noisy is not.

Horses are soulful when they are not wearing roses.

Houses are soulful when they are homes and not showcases.

Natural is soulful. Pretentious is not.

Profit, exploitation, wealth and privilege are their own rewards, but they are not soulful.

The list goes on. Pay attention! Make your own list of things that are soulful and things that are not.

We have to make a covenant with one another to move from soulless living to soulful living, and to do so consciously, mindfully, relentlessly, daily.

We are changing the thrust and direction of our life—living with a new purpose and a new orientation—living consciously in light of what is important, essential, to us, because we say so, because we know so.

As we do this, we will be living counter-culturally, and we will not be good for the economy. But, the culture and the economy are killing soul. This is evident by the symptomatic nature of life in the world around us—and it is up to us to get things moving back toward the unconscious source of life and being.

To do so, we have to consciously redefine the sacred for ourselves.

Sacred is soulful. We have to live lives that honor what we hold to be sacred.

Plastic is not sacred. Sports are not sacred. Fast and loud are not sacred. Are not soulful. We have to do less of these things.

Each of us has to make our own list of things that are soulful/sacred, and devote ourselves to the service of the things on our list.

Our lists don’t have to agree. We will transform the world if we live out of our own list of sacred, soulful things—consciously, mindfully, dependably, religiously!

We don’t have to compare lists, defend our list, explain our list, justify our list, ask if our list is sacred/soulful enough. We only have to make a list—and live in ways which reflect its central place in our life.

Make a list of sacred, soulful things, and live from it. Honor it. Devote yourself to it. Live with the list in mind. Live in its service.

We have to make the sacred real in our life, but it has to be what we say is sacred to us, not what someone else tells us is supposed to be sacred. We say so!

We have to live to identify the sacred, and make it holy unto us in ways that are apparent by the way we live our life.

We live to make what is holy, sacred, soulful to us apparent in our life.

Buy into this. Talk your friends into buying into it. You aren’t selling them what you say is sacred, you are selling them on what they say is sacred.

Books are on my sacred/soulful list. I read every day. Music is on my list. I listen to music every day.

Make your list! Tend your list!

Don’t hang out with people who can’t tell you what is sacred to them, or who are not serving it in their life.

If someone tells you something that is sacred to them, ask them how they serve it in their life, and how often they work it into their life.

Work what is sacred to you into your life often. Daily is not too often. See how many things are sacred to you, and how often you can serve them.

The world is dying for people who live in ways that serve and honor soul. They are seeds in the earth, yeast in the dough, lights in the darkness, the hope of the world.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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