The soul is a mysterious, hidden, innate part of ourselves that persists in quietly promoting an alternative way of living to us, one that focuses on congruency, integrity, purposefulness and meaning. It calls us to live out our deepest longings and creativity. For us to listen to the yearnings of the soul is like calling us to light up the deeper shadows of an inner cave. We don’t want to lurk in the shadows or to touch the hidden snake or black widow or other threat that hides in the shadow. As a child I had a personal bedtime rule: that once I sat on the bed, I would not put my feet below the bed rail onto the floor until daylight because of all the snakes that at night lived there.
My fear of the dark and what lay there in wait for me kept me safe from the “snakes” and later, for years, from looking at the true self within the shadowy areas of my self. In my early forties I heard this said within: “I have an agenda for my life.” I didn’t know who the “I” was that could have an agenda for life or really who I was at all. I was, at that time, the roles that I populated—wife, mother, volunteer—and no more. That inner offering was probably the first word from my soul that I heard clearly. If it had tried to speak to me earlier, I had ignored it.
The soul, the deep-soul self, calls us to live out our created purpose. And mysteriously, I see the deep-soul self is also the place of communication and communion with God, for God created each of us with a purpose in mind, and I believe, needs us each to fulfill our own purpose on the world stage. So I see the deep-soul self and God within as the same voice calling us back to who we truly are.
To live soul-fully is to listen to that shy voice within, which promotes itself and its agenda in the quietest way, and to do what it asks. Beneath the shouts of the cultural voices, our internalized parents’ voices and friends and relatives who try to keep us in our place, the voice of the soul is offering a fresh, new, integral alternative to the cultural paradigm. To heed that quiet voice is to begin to live more authentically, more purposefully than we have before.
Of course there is a cost to paying attention to the deep-soul self in a culture that is above all advocates activity, doing, and accomplishing. The deep-soul self longs to join with the ego in crafting a life that will deeply satisfy and fulfill the person. In accomplishing this we need to give up our outer orientation—our dependency on what others think of us, and the centrality of our self in everything. Then we have to be willing to travel an unknown path to a I-don’t-know-what-kind-of-future.
How a spiritual journey unfolds reveals the way one’s deep-soul self connects to the personality and ego of a person. These join together express the whole person, not just a limited part of us. As we live into the life we were created to live, more and more of who we are gets expressed. We bring our whole selves to the table, to communion with God. We express who we are in all our potentialities. We are connected with God and every living creature and thing. Our inner and outer selves become integrated, undifferentiated. As we journey along on the soul’s agenda, we relax deeply, trust incredibly, and love extravagantly. No more fears of snakes under the bed or in the shadows. Faith and trust, love and compassion rule our lives and fuel them as well.