Why are we suffering as a result of external stimuli filtered by our internal complexes and held within?
Marcus Aurelius has a powerful concept that explains this:
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any time.”
This insight may not encompass the deeper reactions and induced suffering of the meme—those elements of the mind-body complex that have been experiencing, causing and creating suffering for generations. “Memes” are our genetic inheritance in terms of historic habits and patterns of behaviour, thinking and feeling. A “meme” is based on a thought-form or idea that creates behaviours, yet is not based on actual reality. Memes spread like thought viruses within cultures, affecting generations. The word, “meme,” coined by British biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, uses evolutionary principles to explain ideas being spread, yet the affect on the human mind and society is one worthy of exploration.
To break away from generations of falsehoods, and distorted conditioning, requires a shift into awareness and out of reactivity.
It is not what is happening that causes the most suffering, it is our reaction to what is happening. When awareness shifts, our whole reality shifts. It is the kind of awakening described by Nisargadatta Maharaj:
“Awareness is love in action.”
Awareness itself involves the motion of love. So why do we feel disconnected? The disconnection we feel is really a disconnection from our souls.
One of the biggest challenges facing our society is the removal of “soul” from our daily vernacular. We don’t talk about our souls.
Just because we don’t talk about it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Our soul is calling, inviting us to listen. Will we hear the call, follow the omens, and awaken to share in the love of Spirit?
William Blake writes in The Marriage of Heaven & Hell:
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.”
Imagine living in a world of wide-eyed awareness and complete perception, an infinite world.
Imagine how life would be if we came to the realization how wonderful and perfect life really is, and if with this affirmation we were able to transcend all the difficulties and suffering?
For if we were to fall in love with our souls there would be a lot less to prove, a lot less to steal, a lot less to cling to. The love inside and desire to serve others would naturally be expressed more and more. From a genuine place, love is love.
When we force love, control it or cajole it, it ends up being sullied.
Love is the greatest message and the greatest messenger from our souls, the deepest place within every human being.
I have done a lot of explorations. Seeking answers and contemplating the soul’s journey, understanding the nature of life, and the Buddha’s teachings about suffering and changeability (impermanence) does help, yet it doesn’t resolve all the world’s problems. I am in a human body, after all.
To me, the most productive practice for reaching higher states of awareness is to be in nature, whether with the ocean, plants, forests; it all starts with stillness. Some places of high vibration (temples/cathedrals) can also be that way, yet many of them are cluttered with noise and people’s energy, as well as the fear-based energy many of these old religions radiate.
Recently I discovered an amazing forest temple far-removed from people. It is dead-quiet, so silent, you feel like you are disappearing. Endlessly arising depth from stillness. For me peace, silence and stillness are the language of the soul.
The greatest expansion of groupthink since the industrial age began has been in the realm of materialism, creating physical structures….expansion, development and advancements in knowledge and science (our heads). Science is fashioned via logic, proof and evidence. Through this refinement and acquisition of knowledge, science has often followed a reductionist path, hence rejecting empiricism, imagination, emotion, and spirit.
The role of spirit has been almost entirely ignored. Hence, the state of the world today (admittedly a slight over-simplification!). My hope is that we can start to bring together eastern and western approaches/ world views together to create a synergy, and forge a new path. This is an optimistic dream, but dreams can change, and people have an infinite ability to change…so it is possible. The Mayans predicted that 2012 was the year when the two polarities of east and west start to merge, the beginning of balance and moderation perhaps?
(Since the dream has been a “false God,” a new dream can be created – a dream of peace, love, and respect for Gaia, our sacred earth.)
My fear is that we’re going to have to go through a period of difficult shifts before we can recreate our thoughts aligned to Spirit. I see the people around me still living and expanding the Western dream with such vigour and energy, that I don’t know if they’ll be able to stop their ill-fated trajectory. The beautiful soul of earth is so peaceful and forgiving, but there are realities and physical laws that need respecting. Western man has such a disregard for the soul of the planet, that it has created a tragic void in our hearts which is leading us to self-destruction.
What can we do about it?
Soul is a component of love, a tangible force which presides over our lives, and “animates” our beings. Soul is the part of us that lives on beyond our physical deaths. It is the part of us that reincarnates. Soul is based in our bodies, but has a non-local component, like all spiritual entities it is not physical, and not bound in any way to the physical.
Our soul speaks to us in our dreams, in our desires, in our yearnings, in our love, in our connection with nature. Soul is our connection to God. Soul is in our connection to loved ones.
Joni Mitchell sang:
“I remember that time you told me “love is touching souls”
Surely you’ve touched mine
cause part of you pours out of me
in these lines from time to time.”
We are all one when you look at Earth from space. The Earth is a living entity which supports and sustains us. Our lives, our future, our planet, are all connected. Wishing for you and for the entire planet a healed and reconciled Spirit, and a soul alight with the joy of being alive. Your soul deserves it.
We can do more to heal our souls.
I think that as a society, our biggest challenge is that of healing our souls.
Soul is our connection to God. What if we were to fall in love with our souls?
Photo credit: https://manishasahu.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/what-should-we-value-more-the-soul-or-the-body/