Monday, July 19, 2004

Soul :: part 2 

Epiphanies can be daunting.  The curtains draw back and something I always knew to be true, but never dared believe, is revealed - yet instead of welcoming this knowledge, embracing it as a long lost friend, I turn away from it, preferring the familiar comfort and safety of disbelief.  Finding the hard protective outer shell momentarily softened, melted away, and seeing myself naked in front of the mirror, rather than wonder at the truth and honesty, I rush to cover up and hide behind the disguise of normality.
It came as a jolt to realise that nearly three months had passed since the counselling session which resulted in this post.  I knew at the time that it was a kind of watershed; I felt an awakening, a discovery of a truth deep within.  I knew I had to record it, because I also knew that I would forget - or cause myself to forget.  And so it has been.  At first, a glow of new understanding, a flush of energy and confidence, an internal commitment made but then reluctantly (or was it with relief?) laid aside as the full extent dawned of the practical commitment that would be necessary: selling our house and relocating somewhere cheap - very cheap - in order to finance a career change.  Then the subsequent weeks characterised by retreat – camouflaged so subtly as consolidation that I didn’t notice, yet all the while I was withdrawing from that promise of possibility, returning by degrees, without ever intending it, to the old familiar self-image.  Acceptance of what I seemed to have discovered felt like too great a change, too challenging, too demanding - a relinquishing of control, a risk of exposure.
I had inadvertently driven myself into a corner.  By thinking in terms of different 'parts' of self, by 'discovering' a 'hidden part', I'd unwittingly created a model that seemed to demand step change, a coming out, a new beginning.  We tried to explore this 'part' in the counselling sessions, but 'it' seemed to retreat, overpowered by my verbal, rational self.  I began to see an image of this 'part' as a timid little furry creature poking its nose out of its burrow, sniffing the air, and darting back at the first sign of threat or danger.  How could I side-step the power and influence of verbal, controlling self so as to allow this 'other part' simply to be and grow? 
This model wasn’t working for me.  Valid as the experience three months ago may have been, rationality was busy chipping and hacking away, building its own interpretation, reconstructing the experience, turning it into something subtly different.  I was stuck again, up against another barrier of my own making.
Then somewhere along the way, and I honestly can't remember exactly where, a minor miracle happened.  Perspective flipped - what if the object of my searching wasn’t something secret, embryonic, hidden within, dominated by the gatekeeper of left-brain rationality, and so forever its subject?  What if instead this whole controlling, verbal, rational, left-brain self is but the tangible manifestation of a larger whole, and what I seek is something much greater, much more expansive?  And to find it I don’t reach inwards but instead reach out, since it extends out into the universe – indeed, in a sense it is the universe, linked and intertwined with all other manifestations.
What if this ‘hidden part’ is my soul? 
"You are not a human being in search of spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience."  
 - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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