The main thing we are concerned with on our quest to feel whole and complete again is to entice the unconscious mind back into awareness that it is a part of the Soul and NOT a separate identity as the ego would have it believe.
The soul is the only part of us that holds the full awareness of who we are; it knows we are whole, complete, beautiful, radiant, loving, generous and free beings and so when we set about to put ourselves back together again it makes sense for us to learn about feeding and strengthening this part of ourselves.
But how do we do this?
Well it seems that we have an inbuilt mechanism that does this for us. Psychologists call this our organismic valuing system; a system that works to help us reach our full potential as human beings. The organismic valuing system works whether we are conscious of it or not BUT we will reach our full potential quicker (though not necessarily more easily) if we co-operate consciously with the process.
Reaching our full potential relies on us being able to rediscover the truth of who we are at soul level. The unconscious mind does not want us to remember this and so to all intent and purpose it is our enemy here. HOWEVER we are not left without an ally for we have at our disposal our conscious mind too.
The conscious mind is our friend. It is freer than the unconscious mind and it has no agenda save the agenda it chooses for itself. It can either choose to feed on food (data/information) that reinforces the thoughts and beliefs of the unconscious mind thus contributing towards feeding the pain body of the fragile ego OR it can choose to feed on food that may offer a different perspective on life, moving us towards integration of mind, body and soul. The choice is ours.
Love is the only ‘food’ that can nourish our entire being. We know this because when we feast on it not only we do feel our souls expand we also feel our minds becoming less agitated and our bodies less tense. This is because love activates our body’s parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for restoring the body to homeostasis through the relaxation response.
SO choosing to feast on LOVE is good for us but what does this look like in practice?
Well we need some tools to help us. One such tool is MEDITATION.
It would be very strange if in taking the decision to feed our souls we did NOT come across the practice of MEDITATION. As Neale Donald Walsch (author of the Conversations with God books) says ‘A commitment to meditation is a commitment to your soul, to be with your soul, meet your soul, listen to your soul.’
The unseen elements of life vibrate at a different frequency than the visible things of life; to access the realm of the soul we need to move away from noise into silence, away from speed into slowness, away from activity into stillness and away from company into the solitude of our deeper selves. This is what MEDITATION allows us to do. When we meditate we find that our perspective on life widens and becomes more balanced as the souls perspective comes to sit alongside the perspective of the mind. In this way we begin to experience the realm of the soul as a felt reality and not as something that is merely held in the mind as a rather nice but ‘woolly’ concept.
As our perspective on life alters in this way we may find that we decide we want to live differently, in a way that is more supportive of our new found perspective.
For example we may decide to follow the urgings of Ghandi when he implored us to ‘become the change we want to see in the world.’
This is what happened to me. I decided that I wanted to see more love in the world and that in order to achieve this I had to become more loving myself. This simple decision prompted me to seek out new food (data/information) about love so that I could feed myself a diet that was perhaps more extensive and fulfilling than the limited diet I had previously been used to.
Seeking out books to read on the subject opened me to new insights about the nature of love and in particular offered me a spiritual perspective that, if not lacking previously, had been severely limited. I began to feast upon the new insights I had discovered and found that they literally fed my soul and further fuelled my desire to live in accordance with the nature of my soul.
That’s when life began to get really exciting as I realised that I could be an active participant in creating the life I wanted to have rather than merely being a passive receiver of what life brought me.
I began to seek out evidence of love at work in the world around me and when I found it I rejoiced and gave thanks for it. I sought out stories, films, books, articles, music and drama that celebrated love as a virtue while at the same time limiting my intake of those that didn’t.
I began to look for opportunities to practise being loving in my every day life, including ways to be kind to myself as well as to others.
In the beginning when we start to consciously feed our souls in this way it can feel a little artificial at times. We can feel like frauds as if we are pretending to be something that we are not. But if we keep on acting ‘AS IF' this acts as a catalyst for the goodness already there within us to emerge and once we embark on the journey into feeding our souls we find, as Rumi did, that there are in fact ‘hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.’
It is worth taking time to explore which ways may work for you.
Crucial to this is the ability to SLOW DOWN, REFOCUS and OPEN ourselves to new experiences, thoughts, insights and practices.
I have come to believe that anything that helps to loosen us from the rigidity of habit that characterises the realm of unconsciousness (be it bodily or mental) can help to re-orientate our lives so that we live in accordance with the wider perspective offers to us by the soul.
We may encounter resistance BUT I have come to see resistance is our soul’s way of speaking to us urging us to give something new a try.
Here are a few of the things that I have found useful on my path towards ‘putting myself back together’.
Connecting with nature
Listening to music
Not taking myself too seriously
Deep diaphragmatic breathing
HOWEVER no matter what we do we must remain conscious that we are trying to ‘put ourselves back together again’ and be mindful that the unconscious mind can use even the most spiritual tools for its own purpose if we are not watchful enough. (The story of the Pharisee in the Bible who thought he was better than the sinner springs to mind!)
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. It covers a vast subject and this short blog cannot do it full justice. As always I’d love to hear from you. If you have any comments to add or experiences to share then please leave them in the boxes below. Thank you.
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.