Sheltering Walls: Soul

I wrote yesterday of the Universe and of the sheltering walls that all within it create for us. We may only receive glimpses of these kinds of cosmic sheltering walls, but the truth is that there is nothing in us or around us that wasn’t once a star before it exploded.  The Universe around us has made us and keeps us.

How about the universe within?  I’ve spent the last three weeks asking adults, teens and children in our Religious Exploration program what the word “soul” means to them. It doesn’t get any better than what one of the children offered this past week:  it’s like, you know, it’s who you really are.

Franciscan Fr. Richard Rohr observes that we walk around as two selves:  the self that is our ego personality that has been created by things and people around us over many years, and the self that is who we really are.

We experience glimpses of our real self from time to time.  If we are attentive, we can invite those experiences more often by cherishing the ones we receive.  The real self feels more expansive than the ego.  The real self feels deeper than the ego.  The real self surprises and perhaps even frightens in the sense that it takes us to places that might knock the ego off balance.  The ego fears not being in control. The real self shows up by surprise and says:  I want to do this. The ego counters:  but wait, maybe it’s not the right thing to do.  Wait until later.  Take some time to think about it.  The real self has clarity. The ego, knocked off balance by that clarity, will create a cloud of uncertainty to slow down any decision that might be made out of the clarity of the true self.

Point?  There is a true self within each of us that can offer us more security and strength than anything or anyone around us, but it comes at a price.  The ego must and will be knocked off its perch.  Mind:  the ego will not be destroyed by the true self.  The ego will learn that it works best and is safest when it functions within the sheltering walls of the true self.

Bob Patrick

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