July 24, 2016
“Somewhere on the journey to progress, we seem to have lost our soul.”
Kerplunk! Buzz kill!
I remembered that sentence from an article by Homaira Kabir about the need for awe in the workplace. I don’t remember much else, but that line continues to echo in my head.
It begs questions.
What is a soul? What does awe have to do with soul, if anything? Have we lost ours? So what? Have I lost mine?
To arrive at my own definition of soul, I looked up lots of answers from famous people, and I realized there are as many answers as there human beings. To me, soul is the part of me that is more familiar to me than my body but beyond my ability to articulate. It’s the part that isn’t altered as my body alters. It is the essence of me that I suppose if I’m honest, I hope is immortal. It’s the part of me that is connected to an organizing principle in the universe that I don’t understand, but I respect. (This definition pretty much covers the awe factor for me.)
My soul is what gives breadth and depth and meaning to every area of my life, including my work.
When I remember to check in with my soul–actually it happens when I remember that I have soul, because oddly, I’ve discovered I can forget–no matter what trouble I’m in, I’m okay.
When I’m not connected to my soul, I’m untethered. It’s easy for that to happen. Throw me a curve ball and I forget who I am. It’s that quick. That’s why ‘who do I want to be in this situation?’ is one of the most important questions in my self-intervention repertoire. Somehow it seems to reel me in and reconnect me with the essence, the best, of who I am. It puts me back in touch with my soul.
Staying in touch with my soul is is one of my reasons to continue reading the work of philosophers and sages and scientists. It’s why I make room for meditation, and why I continue to work on becoming more and more honest with myself about myself. My strengths and my limitations. My joys and sadnesses. My dreams and wonderings and bone-deep desires and longings. I meditate and try to mindfully meet as many moments as possible so that there is less and less between me and my soul and that sense of being home, regardless of the chaos around me.
Maybe this is what it’s all about, recognizing that home is a place that we can’t articulate with words. We can only meet our soul, come home, when we slow down enough to experience it.
Maybe that’s what that author meant when he said we’re losing our souls to progress. That we’ve become so preoccupied, caught up in keeping our minds so full and our bodies so active, that it’s almost impossible to interrupt the cycle and spend time with our souls.
So most mornings I will continue to meditate for just a few moments, because a commitment to anything more will likely result in me finding a way to avoid or forget the intention. After I get my coffee, I’ll sit down with a dignified posture and lower my gaze. I’ll tuck my chin under slightly and relax my shoulders, soften my front body (my jaw and chest and belly), and bring my attention to my breath. And then I’ll simply rest in the present moment, allowing myself to meet up again with my soul.