The soul is always open to reveal itself to the sincere seeker. And because the soul is naturally positive and unpretentious, it projects a receiving spirit to all. As such, the soul can help us maintain not only a physical, mental, and emotional sense of wellbeing, but when operating at a high level, can also be a powerful force for the world.
This is because the soul is who you really are. The soul is a finder and revealer of universal truth and mirrors the highest principles of human existence. A universal truth is knowledge that transcends doctrine. A Hindu can find benefit in a Hebrew proverb and a Christian can be inspired by a Sufi poem when viewed from the unifying perspective of the soul.
Only the soul understands how to love the self as the other, and the other as the self. Whether one is an atheist or a theist, in the right circumstances, silence is golden when compassionate action is implemented.
The moment we embrace a path guided by the light of a universal truth, life then becomes more than a mere system of thought. Life becomes a way of soul seeking, a way of soul finding, and a way of soulful living with soulful others in the material world.
Although immaterial, the soul gravitates to all things of true substance. Anything that has integrity and coherence, an inherent wholeness about it, the soul's intelligence recognizes as a reflection of its own nature. This intelligence is the mind of the soul, located at the deepest center within every human being and within the being of all living things.
When we discover our soul mind, we awaken to a level of consciousness beyond ordinary awareness. The soul mind sees all things as part of an interrelated web of a greater wholeness. The soul mind has this capacity because it is an open systems intelligence. The material, or "closed systems," mind, on the other hand, is made up of inherited beliefs, opinions, or any limiting model of reality that we take for actual reality.
There is a relationship between close-mindedness and mental dullness. A material mind is shut off from the light and spaciousness the soul mind by its nature produces. Enclosed within its own boundaries, the material mind tends to be narrow, rigid, and oppositional.
Accessing the soul's intelligence can both refresh and strengthen the material mind and yet expand its horizons. An open mind tends to be porous, flexible, and strong, as long as it stays rooted in the fertile soil of the soul. A closed mind is like a hard stone at the bottom of a dried-up stream. An open mind is like a flourishing tree near the bank of a flowing river.
Mysticism, a frequently misunderstood term, is really nothing more than an open systems approach to spirituality based not upon a belief or a concept, but upon actual experience. Mysticism is the treasure house of spiritual technologies, providing the seeker with maps for the journey of consciousness as well as means to reach higher states of awareness and love. Spiritual experience at its best, both expands and stabilizes the material mind by rooting consciousness in the mind of the soul.
The soul's intelligence encourages thought, including every one of the physical senses, to stretch beyond the consensual grids of ordinary cognition and perception, but not as a way to abandon the world and daily responsibilities. The soul mind connects the material mind more intimately and meaningfully with others, with the earth, and ultimately, with the entire universe.
This high-grade connective capacity of the soul enables consciousness to enlighten the material mind because the soul's intelligence at its core is a substance of light, a luminous being of affectionate awareness. Although the soul's intelligence is by nature empathic, its structure is its own strength. Inner poise and mental sharpness are essential characteristics of the soul mind and formulate its energy "backbone." While the material mind tends to be anxious and neurotic and easily drained of energy, the soul mind is able to connect and resonate empathically with other minds in its vicinity and abroad, yet without being easily exhausted.
Because the soul's intelligence is intimately connected to the heart of being, it resonates more immediately with love than with any other emotion and has continual access to its wellspring. When we strive to connect with others from a higher frequency of non-judgment, for example, we sense others with more clarity and understanding. Understanding is empathy with boundaries and instrumental in the maintenance of the soul's hygiene in the material world.
A healthy state of mind is re-energized and refueled not only through sleep but also through the practice of meditation. Unlike sleep, meditation has been clinically found to produce a coherent brain state of relaxed alertness. Relaxed alertness gives the mind entry to presence.
Presence, by its very nature, is a positive energy state of being. When the mind is in presence, it looks neither forward nor backward. Only the regretful past and worrisome future is able to create negative stress upon the mind.
Being in presence helps to shift awareness into a new key. As the material mind learns to open up to the expansive and fecund field of the soul mind, the result is that something gets quickened in us beyond our physical senses. We awaken to the grander senses of the soul.
How do we know when we have experienced the soul's senses? Every time we are touched by awe, enthusiasm, attunement, and resonance, for example, we experience life with the senses of the soul.
In my book, Meditations for the Soul, I provide meditations and awakening exercises to activate and strengthen these deeper senses that can help us access and maintain presence. This is why every moment is potentially a soulful sense experience. Only when our mind is fully and freely present to being, are we then more alive.
Think of these moments: a sunrise or sunset, a gaze into the eyes of a beloved, a moonlight-drenched earth awash in softened hues, the birth of a child, the peace-filled dying of a seasoned soul. Even a seemingly ordinary moment can trigger a soul-sense experience: the smell of rain, the dance of light's shadow through a gauzy curtain, a moment of thoughtful silence. These and so many other tastes and glimpses of soulful reality, that seem to suspend the self in time, would seep into our very pores if we would but allow them entry.
Our soul mind also makes its journeys into "darkness" when the tides of the ocean of light momentarily recede. All of us from time to time have been drawn into those dark nights of longing and sorrow. These slower movements of the soul have their own rhythm. Their cadence resonates with the moon's waxing and waning phases and with the daily rising and setting of the sun.
In our soul's dance with love in any one of its forms, love can seem to move toward and away from us, bringing us happiness one moment and sadness the next. The soul mind has the ability to contain both extremes and all that lies between in a spacious wholeness of acceptance.
This continuous cycle of darkness and light, empty and full seen now in the larger context of wholeness, reveals the rhythmic patterns occurring within our soul mind throughout the inner seasons of our lives. Knowledge and acceptance of these cycles has a great capacity to stabilize the material mind as it calibrates to the frequency of its true center. The soul mind is the true center of the self, as instanced in the wise saying, "And this too shall pass."
Everyone has the potential of companionship with one's own soul and the soul of others. In essence, the soul is the inner physician that heals all ills and bridges all distances. For it is indeed the soul and its perpetual breath of life that makes each of us whole, moment by moment, day by day, and life by life.
Neale Lundgren, PhD, is a therapist, a former Benedictine monk, a poet, and a musician. He received his doctoral degree from Emory University in psychological, philosophical, and religious thought and has taught at St. ...