Life seems always intrusive, demanding and often exhausting. It is not an easy world we live in. All human beings face challenge and demands. Our bodies often thrive with the exhilaration of challenge, our minds need stretching with ideas and the need to focus, even when tired. But there is a part of us, the inner life where our thoughts and hopes and longings live and it is easy to neglect.
Once we realize we are not just a self, with an outer life with demands, but we also have an inner world that needs to be cared for as well, we are better able to integrate our whole life. This inner world, called the soul, is the life center of human beings.
“The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
The soul is the deepest part of us and it simply needs connection to God. When it does connect, our view of ourself and the world changes.
Soul is a word often related as our emotions. Its evidence comes through the expression of our art, music and poetry ..”the baring of the soul.” But in fact, it is more than emotions. It is the seed bed of our will and mind and as a result effects our emotions and integrates our human actions. Keeping it healthy is what causes many a psychologist to be employed.
We all agree there is the need for the mental health profession. But psychology is not the end-all cure for the deep needs of man. Psychology is limited because it centers primarily on self-care; and we all know how difficult it is to maintain that approach. It takes more than self-care to begin the inward journey of caring for the soul.
I like what author, John Ortberg writes, “Martin Seligman, a brilliant psychologist with no religious ax to grind, has a theory that it’s because we have replaced church, faith and community with a tiny little unit that cannot bear the weight of meaning. That’s the self. We’re all about the self. We revolve our lives around ourselves.”
What we find in modern society is the more we focus on self, the more selfish we become; and as a result, the less content we are with the meaning of our life. That focus manifests itself in restlessness all around ~ in family life, in the work place, and our entertainment and media arena. We live in an epidemic of anger and discontent.
But when we view the soul as more than the shallow life maintained and centered in self, our journey may begin to find true identity and a healthy balance. It may lead us to our understanding of true self-worth. And isn’t that the cry from deep inside? Who am I and where do I belong?
When we explore why we were created, it naturally leads us to a spiritual path towards the meaning of life. When we face a hardship, illness or death, a loss of job which turns our thoughts internal we soon find, if we open the door to seeking the reality of our inner world, we come up questioning. Questions of relevance who we are and have become. The revelation of God wanting a personal connection is the only self ‘thing’ that really matters.
When we return to man’s beginnings and the breath of God within, doesn’t it make sense there is a life force needed in all of us that God alone provides? Breath is the deepest part of our being. It provides us life as a living soul.
Perhaps the greatest exhilaration and challenge in life is to explore and develop that relationship with God and his son, Jesus, and to be a community of faith, to understand our connection and explore the depth of being ~ as a living soul.