Friday, May 23, 2008
By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. We imagine it as distant and inaccessible, whereas in fact we live steeped in its burning layers . . . This palpable world, which we are used to treating with the boredom and disrespect with which we habitually regard places with no sacred association, is a holy place." -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, from The Divine Milieu**
What are you telling us, Pierre? That the whole world and everything in it has soul? Oh yeah. Well said.
With so much soul available, I have to wonder why we humans have such a hard time hanging on to our souls. In so many cultures, throughout time, there have been mechanisms in place by which a person could "retrieve" his/her soul. It's a big part of what all shamans do and have done for thousands of years.
Currently in the culture in which I live, soul retrieval takes many familiar forms: psychotherapy, of course, but I also think acupuncture, true therapeutic massage, a trip to the chiropractor, osteopath, homeopath, Reiki master, yoga class, meditation, listening to Sylvia Sumter deliver one of her soul retrieving sermons, even a good haircut from a really wonderful hair person can bring back lost pieces of soul.
A good conversation that clears the air with someone you care about will always bring soul back to the relationship, and so to the people involved as well. The right music, played at the right decibel level, can bring the soul back beautifully. All the arts contribute to soul retrieval, I think.
Lovemaking at the right moment with the right person can definitely call back the soul, sometimes even extra souls who arrive in bodily form nine months later. Certain kinds of sex (and I'm not judging anyone here!) fracture the soul and send parts of it packing.
I see people every day who are missing large chunks of soul. You know that blank look? Think about that famous mug shot of Charles Manson, the one with his open, staring eyes. I don't think he had much soul left at that point. It isn't always that extreme of course. Vital bits of soul escape whenever a person is grieving, after betrayals and other kinds of loss, though extreme illness, like cancer, can often bring the soul back into the body. Weird, isn't it?
Why is the soul so slippery? Couldn't it do us all a favor and hang in no matter what's going on? I guess not!
One of my favorite forms of soul retrieval involves stopping to smell the roses. I'm talking literally. Here are a few pics that might bring back the soul. Better yet, get out there right now and find some beautiful living growing thing. Give it a good sniff. Ahhh ... soulful!
**Thanks again, Rob, for the perfect quote to accompany today's thoughts.