Monday, April 15, 2013

Give Me Soul!

I was speaking with a psychologist friend about what we each were looking for in relationships. While sharing with him my desire for psychological visibility and heart-to-heart connections, he said, “Monte, you are looking for soul!”

Soul: being, life, vitality, the essence of the individual’s identity, the breath of God breathed into us, distinguishing us as “human” rather than animal. Sharing soul in relationships is to share our innermost being, the essence of our true self (good, bad, and ugly; what Pascal called the “glory and the rubbish”), and the divine breath within each of us.

Sharing the news of our lives, email chitchats, even cheering one another on in our quests, are all great things in a relationship. However, keeping up with what is happening in our lives is not the same thing as sharing our souls with one another. Let me quickly add here that neither is baptizing the people around us with every passing emotional or psychic storm in our lives the same thing as sharing our souls.  

In sharing your soul, you open wide your heart: “This is who I am, where I am on my journey, my deepest emotional experiences in life.” This kind of sharing goes deeper than the mere communication of ideas, concepts, and of broadcasting the daily news of your life. It is the difference between spitting out data and opening your heart: the difference between being good buddies (what I call “friendlies”) and the truest of companions.

You sometimes feel the emptiness, don’t you? Possibly there was soul and now there isn’t. Maybe it is the yearning for a relationship you have yet to experience? Even if it’s only for a fleeting moment, you know something is amiss in many or all of your relationships. I think what you are feeling is the loss or absence of soul. Fernando Pessoa describes this experience in his poem, “There is a sickness worse than sickness.”

My soul came apart like an empty jar.
It fell overwhelmingly, down the stairs.
Dropped from the hands of a careless maid.
It fell. Smashed into more pieces than there was china in the jar.

This is what it is like to lose soul. When soul is missing life has “come part,” “smashed into … pieces.” It is a sickness worse than sickness: a disease more deadly than any germ. When a relationship loses soul, you experience a cavernous emptiness – an emptiness that cannot be filled by data, only soul.

While I cannot remember ever not looking for soul in my relationships, I can remember early on in life wanting what I was not giving. I would talk about love, and fear, and pain, and dreams, and quests, and would do so with great specificity, but rarely from my heart: usually, only from my head. I intellectualized and conceptualized … but words emptied of soul only touches heads, never hearts.

Most friendships are on the data-sharing plan; few involve a deep connection of souls. This is probably because such connections require trust and vulnerability — a willingness to be transparent regarding your true self, your weaknesses and your strengths, your fears and your hopes. It is within these relationships where your soul becomes stronger, brighter, deeper, and where your life takes on a meaningfulness that both strengthens you for your quests and adds emotional depth and richness to your life. These are the relationships that blow the cool breath of life into your inner world.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013

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