Archive for the 'soul' Category

Heart and soul

July 28, 2015

There’s a recording on YouTube of Peter, Paul, and Mary singing “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” with Andy Williams on his show.  It’s a Bob Dylan song.  For some reason, I particularly like this recording of it.

It’s a song.  I recognize that.  It’s only a song.

But I am interested in what I can see behind the line “I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul.”

Because sloshing soul material back and forth between lovers can be so wonderful, but trying to do that with ego-selves can be a disaster.

And I’ve never quite understood what we’re supposed to think about the relationship being implied by the break-up phase covered in the song.

Of course, some of what I see in the song, and in the line more specifically, has to do with how the singer(s) interprets the song.

I think the narrator missed the boat on this relationship.  I think this woman knew how to love as uninhibitedly as a child and she knew how to exchange love deeply, at the level of souls.  I think “the original vagabond” (Joan Baez’s words in “Diamonds and Rust,” usually taken to refer to Dylan) didn’t get it.

Men who have been overwhelmed as children by too much adult emotion (for example, from their mothers) sometimes assume it’s always going to be dysfunctional like that, that it’s going to be an exchange of heavy, human ego-generated emotions.  They shut down.  They won’t try again as adults.  They can’t try again as adults because they haven’t really developed in this area since that trauma.

The exchange doesn’t have to be about excessive ego-based emotions, but for it to be about something purer, the lovers have to know how to pull the ego out of the way so it can.  Then the souls slosh, back and forth (having the slosh go in both directions is very important).  It’s an incredible feeling.

Maybe it’s an incredible feeling to be adored by thousands of fans in an arena, I wouldn’t know.  And maybe Dylan has experienced the sloshing of souls back and forth, as well, I wouldn’t know that, either. (Dylan’s song “I Believe” gives me reason to think he might have at some point, although I may be reading into that interpretation the personal experience of the singers I’ve heard covering that song.)  But I don’t think the song “Don’t Think Twice” reflects that stage.


“Please relay this message”

March 19, 2015

Suppose you got such a request from the soul of someone who is locked outside of the person to whom the soul is related.  The connection between the physical incarnation of the person and their soul became so tenuous that the physical person was no longer sufficiently in touch with their soul, and their soul was locked out in the cold.  Kind of like going for a space walk and then finding oneself locked out of the mothership.

There’s a soul who has made that request of me:  “Please tell my person to get in touch with me so we can re-connect.”

Well, I can’t get this person to even accept that such a connection is possible, I can’t get them to listen to me, much less have a direct dialogue with me, during which I could try to suggest how, if they were willing, I could try to teach them to find and expand their connection to their higher self.  They do not appear to want to have contact with me.

But their soul is a great buddy of mine.  In fact, Gita refers to him as my Buddy.  For a long time, I’ve thought my Buddy extended down into his person, that my connection with this soul, the physical person was in on, too.  But Gita advised me not to assume that other people are as integrated with the vast reaches of ourselves beyond the tips of our iceberg that is our self in our physical body as I am.  (This integration is what allowed me to help my mother at her passing.)  She said to me, “Find out if this person is connected enough to their soul to be in on the relationship with you.”

So, are you?

In the meantime, I am trying to figure out how to deal with their soul.  Does that soul have to keep waiting out in the cold while their person reads books on love and maybe becomes willing to have life experiences that will re-open their connection with their soul?  How much do I take that soul into my heart, even temporarily, if that is not going to happen at the other end?  What is my responsibility, what do I feel called upon to do, what would be enabling, what would be cruel not to do, what do I actually feel capable of doing?

Not sure.  Gita says I should put the question out there, wait for an answer, and act according to that answer (or the lack thereof).  That plan is certainly an improvement on doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

I hope I have taken the first step with this post.



Touchy subjects

June 23, 2013

Today’s daily meditation from Richard Rohr quotes John 20:17’s “Do not cling to me” and interprets it in the realm of mysticism:  “Why? Because you can’t! He is no longer bound by this one body. Christ is consciousness itself pervading all things—waiting and hoping for its inner yes!”

But how about a more literal interpretation, as well, here:  Don’t cling to the souls of people who have died.  And if you die, don’t cling to people left behind.

I suspect we leave behind pieces of ourselves in our loved ones whether we’re aware of it or not, and that state of affairs can make it difficult enough after the death, but clinging wholesale to the whole person — that really gums things up, I think, and that situation I think we can be more aware of and do something about.

[An aside here is that I think a very well-developed soul will leave whether we cling to them or not — their more rarefied substance slips through our grasp willy-nilly.  They’re just “Gone, gone, gone, really gone.”]

Yes, to answer Art Garfunkel’s question, space men do pass dead men’s souls on the way to the moon, so to speak — the ones that have not made their journey.

So I think it’s a good idea to disentangle ourselves from our loved ones before death and to keep ourselves from emotional behavior that would lead to a re-entanglement after their death until the dust has settled.  I suspect it takes about a year for the dust to settle in that regard.

Lighthouse, revisited

March 10, 2013

The song says, “I believe that the heart does go on.”  (That would be the theme from the Titanic movie, sung by Celine Dion, “The Heart Will Go On.”)  Well, it’s pretty clear to me that something goes on after we die.  Does it matter if we don’t believe that while we’re alive?

When my dad died, my mom didn’t realize he was dead until the person with her said so, took the pulse, etc.  She thought he was finally asleep comfortably.  I don’t think my dad knew he was dead either.

When my mother called me with the news of his death, I was already feeling inexplicable exhaustion.  I realized that going to bed was not an option, as I would need to help guide my mother through what came next.  But I lay down and asked Jordan to wake me if I didn’t hear the phone.  (It was about 9:00 at night.)  I got centered in myself, reached out for spiritual help, and to my surprise, the exhaustion increased.  And then I sensed my dad.  As if he were coming towards me, and I realized I must be a sort of bright light he could perceive because it was close by, and I communicated to him, “No, no, don’t come to me, turn yourself in that direction [indicating the direction towards which to rotate himself] and go with those nice folks, they will take you where you’re going,” and he did.  And he left and my severe exhaustion (which I had come to realize was his, and which was my first indicator that he needed redirection — I knew I could not have borne that exhaustion) lifted.

My dad had no belief in God, in an afterlife, in anything following death — I suspect he thought it would be oblivion.  I think he initially left his body to escape the pain he was in, but he died as he did that, there was no going back, and he needed to complete the journey.

So I think it’s important whether we believe that some part of us survives the death of our bodies.  We need to leave once we’re dead.  Too many souls of people who don’t realize they’re dead, or who don’t want to be dead (he’s not the first I’ve encountered), clutter the spiritual atmosphere on earth, and then we all have trouble hearing our guidance — hearing anything, for that matter, from beyond our world and space-time environment.  Ethereal pollution, maybe we could call it.  When our time on stage is up, we really do need to leave, go back stage and take off our costume and make-up, and go to that cast party that’s being held elsewhere, so that those of us still performing can hear.  A lack of belief (which overlaps with atheism) does have a downside to people other than the disbeliever, I think.

What I would submit as an idea is that people keep in mind the possibility that their consciousness will survive their death — just keep it in the back of the mind as a possibility.  So when you go, you have a set of directions in your back pocket, something already programmed into your GPS, so to speak, and you can really Go.

I wonder if Jesus was such a lighthouse, and if that role of his became confused with other narratives about his mission.

It has struck me that the apparently fairly common symptom of mental illness that the person believes they are Jesus can be resolved once we see that being a lighthouse is not a role unique to one person;  that would not make us Jesus, it would just make Jesus one of many (at least in that respect), a “many” that may include us (or not — I’ve met people who they were doing one thing spiritually, when it was pretty clear to me they were doing something else).  And it wouldn’t mean we share all of the attributes of other people, including Jesus, who are lighthouses.

I know plenty of people who “get ghosts,” and in many circles what I’ve just written would not raise any eyebrows.  I am also aware that to people who don’t “get ghosts,” what I wrote may seem a little far-fetched, unbelievable, the product of a “fevered” (or worse) mind.  I don’t think it is, and I put this post up in the hopes that it will help people who are rationalists and unbelievers have a rational, if still as yet unbelievable, road map whose directions they can follow at some future time, if they should find themselves in need of one.

I told this story to Gita some weeks ago, and she told me that providing this kind of redirection to a confused soul is some kind of recognized good deed in some belief systems.  That’s where I live, I guess, somewhere between the rationalist world around me, in which I am an outlier in these respects, and religious belief systems elsewhere, in which I would fit right in about this but probably not about plenty of other things.

Falls and phoenices

March 1, 2013

Is that the plural for phoenix?

I’m thinking about public figures, especially politicians, who take a fall.  Some rise up again later, and I was wondering about why some do and some don’t.  Clearly behaviors that are used after the fall make a difference — the apology (or not), the PR firm hired, the length of withdrawal from the fray, the willingness to take whatever the next step turns out to be for reinvention.

What I’ve wondered recently is whether one variable could be how much the individual truly believed they deserved their (first) success in the first place.  If they harbored misgivings about how they came to be elected or land the nomination or whatever, and then they fall from grace in a scandal, do they have the wherewithal to think of their situation in terms of, “Well, this is interesting;  I wonder what will come out of it and how this all serves my greater good”?

I wonder whether people whose house has been built, not upon sand, but with a flaw in its foundation, implode when they fall.

Do we ask them to take the fall nonetheless?  I think we give them a raincheck until they can fall safely.

If they continue to repeat the pattern, eventually they will find themselves with new teachers and classmates, as the old cohort moves on.

I’ve been getting seemingly random wrong-number phone calls, on both my cell phone and my landline, in which there is a pause followed by an automated “Goodbye!”  I’ve wondered what it might represent metaphorically, and all I can come up with is what might happen when a soul is finishing up its final incarnation and makes good on a promise to bid one of those serial “I won’t jump because my parachute is defective” folks goodbye before she does.

Freeing souls

December 9, 2012

I was reading Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for today, which begins with a passage from Isaiah:  “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me . . . he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.”  Isaiah 61:1

Father Rohr connects this to Jesus’ ministry in a sort of metaphorical way, but sometimes I think what Jesus was really trying to do was to get unstuck some people’s souls that were more literally trapped, that his mission was similar to that of a traditional shaman but he used other methods.

I think Jesus’ teachings were in a sense secondary to a more targeted mission of figuring out why all these souls were getting stuck in their development.  I also think his strategies for helping people get unstuck have been in part misunderstood, that accommodations and study aids, as it were, have been mistaken for the real deal, but for me, his mission was hugely important, even if I don’t see it as Christians do.  I think people were having trouble connecting viscerally to “God” and I think thinking of “God” in the terms provided by Judaism and Christianity have been ways for helping people to try to connect to the universe more effectively and successfully.

The problem now, I think, is that people have gotten too wrapped up in literal interpretations of devices meant only for opening up the heart.  Once the heart has been opened, I think more abstract conceptualizations are then available and that we should be open to them.

The following really has nothing to do with the rest of this post, but I’ve been wanting to link to this song for awhile.  It’s “Jesus” by Amos Lee.

Merging and enmeshment

October 29, 2012

This post is inspired by my viewing and listening to Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas singing what turns out to be a Bob Dylan tune (in other words, I didn’t realize this at first), during the Transatlantic Sessions, series 5.

A little after the three-minute mark, they sing together.  Their respective expressions I find very moving and their very different voices blend beautifully.  For me it’s a wonderful experience aesthetically, but it’s also an illustration of how we can relate to each other.

I think so often we end up enmeshing with each other using the part of ourselves that is only our personal identity and is managed by our ego.  These jockeys interact with each other, and with many of us, using them we cross one another’s boundaries and become enmeshed — extensions of one another.  This can manifest in trying to tell other people what to do or in bleeding for them.  Suggestions can be good, compassion is good, but trying to be someone else or to live their life for them is a dynamic that ultimately fails (and damages).

Merging our spiritual selves with the divine works.  And we all have the divine within us, too.  Rohr’s daily meditation for today speaks to that.  Those aspects of ourselves allow us to merge with each other.  Merging with each other through our souls, on a sort of spiritual exchange platform, is fine, I think.  (And I think those mergers are temporary, even if the effects can be long-lasting.)  The outer parts of ourselves can interact in other ways, like singing harmony with one another, and maintain their needed boundaries.

So I see in this video two people separately going deep into their respective selves while also interacting with one another.  I suspect they connected with each other on multiple levels through the (musical) experience.  To me it’s what we should be doing with each other, even without the music.

I noticed after listening to the video multiple times that many of the commenters to the video also noticed the passage that caught my attention too.  I think we all are attuned to the same sense of what works — we know it when we see it, even if we can’t do it or don’t analyze it.  I am grateful that musicians have preserved in their realm a public demonstration of this core human dynamic.

Book covers

September 23, 2012

I picked up a couple of used books when I ran an errand at the supermarket just now.  One is a paperback, essential works of the founding fathers, but two are hardbacks, neither of which I have much interest in reading, but I really like the cover art.  One was published in 1953, the other in 1956.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with them, but I felt they were worth the small donation.

I also wanted to buy the books and take them home so I could mull over a book metaphor I’ve known for a long time, that our souls are like the book, our outer human character like its cover, and we work at minimizing what obscures the book, in order to let our soul shine through.  Getting caught up in these book covers struck me as indicating something, but I’m not sure what yet.


May 15, 2012

Somebody was asking, in connection with a book she’s writing, about the experience of the creative act of writing.  I replied (this was in email),

I’m not really a writer, but when I write, it’s as if someone gives me a boost up into the saddle of a trail horse you ride while you’re on vacation, and then it feels like I’m up in a cloud, only I’m only aware of having been in the cloud in retrospect, after I’ve come out of it, when the writing has stopped.  My (deceased) husband used to tease me about ‘going into letter-writing mode’ — it’s like a trance of sorts, I think.

Then I find myself reading about a horse who collapsed and died just shortly after winning and be honored for winning a steeplechase race.  I cried, I don’t know whose tears, but it got me thinking over what it might mean to me.  I often think of ourselves as mahout and elephant, where the elephant is our greater selves, the part of the same substance as the greater forces in the universe.

Can a soul perish in some way and not reunite with God?  I think temporarily, but then I think the pieces are restored and reintegrated with one another — everything can be healed, but it may take hard work and great dollops of grace.

This part of the process, the understanding, conceptualizing, and thinking part, I do fairly easily, for better and for worse.  But what I can sense here is that I need to grieve the dissolution, the destruction of somebody’s soul, perhaps my own, perhaps the soul of someone I’m helping to heal.

Grieving is its own skill, I think.  Staying with the sadness long enough and not veering into other emotions, staying with the hurt and fear, the horror, and not turning away from them too soon.  If I’ve put the thing on hold for a long time, I have the tendency to leap-frog from the event to the processing without spending enough time feeling my reaction.

I know I’ve done pieces of this work before, I can even remember where I was standing during some of it.  It reminds me of how sometimes the person one needs to forgive or receive forgiveness from is oneself, not someone else.  Here, in this current situation, I wonder if I need to grieve a catastrophic loss I suffered with the same attention and compassion I would were it somebody else’s — which I would do completely and thoroughly if called to it.

I’ve sometimes wondered more generally if my sense of being that spiritual AAA tow truck driver allows me to heal myself indirectly, that somehow I have lost some piece of what would be necessary for a more direct approach to healing myself.  I am prompted to think this way by my resonating with the concept of the “wounded healer” and by seeming to attract wounded but developed old souls into my life.  A benefit I think I would receive from such indirection would be not having my self-consciousness get in the way, not reacting by putting up a wall, not involuntarily compromising my openness, which is so necessary for receiving help from the universe.  It’s related to my sense that I often do my best work unwittingly.  The possibility that I’m healing myself, regardless of whether it’s true, is helpful for me to bear in mind because it keeps me humble.  I have learned in the course of dialogue with others not to try to attribute the feeling to one of us or the other, and instead to say, “I can hear [this feeling] rattling around in here.”  And then we can deal with it.  Maybe we’re both feeling it, maybe only one of us is, it doesn’t much matter; often just naming it makes it dissipate.  Maybe that indicates that all of us are benefiting from the healing, too.  I can feel grateful to these others for sharing their need for healing with me and in this way helping me heal.

Buddha and Juno

April 7, 2012

My cell phone stopped holding a charge, and since I had coupons from Staples, I was able to get an inexpensive phone there without parting with cash, and then bring it to the Verizon Wireless store and have them transfer my phone number to it yesterday.  The photo I had on the old screen was our Standard Poodle:

While I was comfortable with leaving the picture of the poodle on the phone even after he had died, I was not going to put it on the new phone, and so I enlisted my younger son’s help in taking a picture of an antique wooden painted Buddha head and putting it on my phone.

He did (with a fair amount of muttering), and because the phone announces things on the screen, there’s a banner of text across the Buddha’s forehead.

This morning I took in the papers.  Jordan (same son) has a subscription to the Globe, and there on today’s front page is “Juno” (they’re actually not sure who she is, since the head was sculpted later and the hands are missing, so they don’t know what she was holding, so they have fewer identifying characteristics to go on).  The newsprint copy is shredded a bit at the fold, so I went to print out a picture of the statue off the web, and the best shot of the sculpture, in my opinion, is one (I have no idea if these Globe links will work without a subscription — sorry) of both head (removed for the move and strengthening the body with a steel rod, but will later be reattached) and body.  I printed it out, and low and behold, across the picture as it is printed (not in the original on the web) is a banner of print, which stretches across Juno’s chin.

I am happy to identify Juno with the Buddha, female and male representations of personages with divinity and with human attributes as well.  So, for me, this is great synchronicity.

I was noticing a T-shirt the other day with the slogan about how prayer is the original or greatest wireless connection, or something to that effect.  That adds another facet to this combination of images, although it was my conscious idea to put a picture of the Buddha head on the phone — that didn’t get drawn in through some other means.  And the lack of certainty about whether the statue is Juno I like, too, because while I doubt it’s Diana, the uncertainty allows me to think of it as “goddess” more generically, and that moves me to think about our individual souls and the divinity that I believe exists within them.  So, I can put it all together and get a picture of how through prayer I can reach the divinity in myself.  Jordan would roll his eyes if I told him.