Friday, October 06, 2006

Soul Search

St. Paul said that the human was body/mind, soul, and spirit.

In the Vedanta-Vajrayana scheme that's rougly waking-gross-self, dreaming-subtle-soul, and deep sleep-causal-SELF. Spirit=SELF (Atman).

I spent most of my spiritual seeking period for about 5 years only seeking spirit (causal/nondual) as well as trying to pushing for so-called higher stages of consciousness. That desire gave me an identity and motivated my actions into a more or less unified way. That period of my life then died.

I came to realize there were deep limitations in my search and that I had neglected important aspects of my own life. Particularly on the psycholgical self/bodymind level. I'm still working on those dimensions--and will be forever I imagine--sometimes more intelligently, sometimes less so.

Now I'm shifting more to the subtle. The Soul is the seat of passion, creativity, and one's vocation/mission in this life. It is the deepest aspect of our individuality and it seeks deep commuinon with other souls.

My soul practice has almost always been of the devotional variety. Devotion to the Lord: for creation; for saints, prophets, sages; for (as a Christian) incarnation.

Paul also said that there were three virtues: faith, hope, and love. And of these three love was the greatest. Because love is Absolute, while faith/hope are relative. Love alone ex-ists beyond the pale for there is nothing, from the Absolute perception, to have faith or hope in. The Absolute sees that there is only one substance to all of reality.

That Aboslute however is never separate--in this life I suppose--from the relative. And for Christianity, the relative universe is vastly different thatn it is for Eastern religious traditions as well as secular Western ones--although connections with both no doubt.

The faith and hope of the Christian rests in ideas of the redemption of personhood. In ce traditional Christian language (the language of the Trinity) only God is a person. Not in the modern sense of an individual. That view of God leads to the notion that God is a giant ego up in the sky separate from all this, either observing or supernaturally intervening at certain pionts.

No God is defined as a person in the sense that God alone is ultimately one while simultaneously being the fullest "WE" (Tri-une). The human person is a person to the degree that a human is like God--fully him/herself in comm-union.

At the soul level in other words.

The Abrahamic religious traditions that speaks of creation as "good" and not neutral (Vedanta) or even evil (Gnosticism, Theravada). Talk of a resurrection of the body, of a God who acts in history, calls a people, is building (trying to build?) a kindgom, a judgment and end to history.

The Subtle is where we are with this relative reality in its brightest, fullest. It is for me the scariest aspect of the spiritual journey. For others the most difficult even terrifying is the Nondual--facing the ultimate death of the self-sense.

But frankly speaking I think that phase was "easier"--though that really isn't the right word--for me given that I've struggled with low self-esteem. In other words, I think psychologically my self was ok giving up a certain degree of control to the spirit as almost a distraction. But again not to push that too far. Just that we all always have multiple intentions/agendas within our multiple selves acting simultaneously.

The Ultimate, either as Witness or Formless/Form union allows my ego to just arise as it is and be accepted. But not as anything particularly "special", just as any other form. Freeing experience in many ways, but it can also leave the ego untouched. The Absolute does not transform the ego, it simply drops it.

That is why I fear the movement into my soul. To find my true uniquness in this world. Becuase I know that will only be with others--the deepest fear of my ego--and beyond my control in many ways--the co-equal deepest fear.

We are Souls who have humans not humans who have souls. Now that there has been some freeing on an Absolute side, I feel the call to undergo the deeper transformations of self on a relative scale.

I knew as a little boy that I wanted to be a priest, teacher of some sort, and a father/husband. I figured that was all I had to know of my vocation and God would take care of the rest. But that has not been. It is why I'm 27 and still struggling daily to feel connected to the first two of those triad.

Theer is a sweet spot to the Soul, like a bat, between autonomous forcing and passive non-action. It is particularly difficult with the priest/teacher issue given the social and church prereqs for achieving those.

It is that sweet spot I'm praying for and at the same time (parts of me) fear would actually happen.


At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That is why I fear the movement into my soul. To find my true uniquness in this world. Becuase I know that will only be with others--the deepest fear of my ego--and beyond my control in many ways--the co-equal deepest fear."

My Priest has a favorite saying,"You only know God to the extent you love your enemies." I think its interesting that opening up to others on the flip side requires an equally diffucult opening within the ourselves. Bleeding wounds no matter where you turn. Great Post. BTW, Have you read Zizioulas?

At 3:04 PM, Blogger CJ Smith said...

thanks for the comments bro. never read zizioulas. love to hear what he's up to.

peace bro.



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