Have you ever wondered what it means to have soul?
The word "soul" is used in so many different contexts across so many different conversations, how do you decipher meaning from it? To be an "old soul" or a "lost soul" or a "young soul at heart," are all concepts you have heard, but what meaning does it hold to you?
A new article from Dr. Judith Rich examines this question of what "soul" is, and who has it. She helps to clarify what is meant by word "soul" and the significance it holds. I've added some of my favorite excerpts below:
The quality we call soul is what instantly takes us from the mundane to the sublime, from the surface to the depths. Soul is what pierces through our carefully-constructed defenses that protect us from life's harsh realities and throws cold water in the face of our denial.
You'll know soul is present when you can no longer lie to yourself about whatever it is you've been pretending not to know. Soul demands nothing less than the truth.
You'll know soul is "up" when you find yourself out on the dance floor of life, dancing your own dance and singing your own song. And you discover that you always knew the steps and the words.
You might even think of your soul as the fingerprint of your DNA, for while you cannot see the soul itself, you can see its imprint, and you'd be wise to pay attention to the tracks it leaves.
To read the full article, click here.
What does having soul mean to you? In what places or experiences does your soul feel happy?
"Whatever you believe about your body, your cells believe too. They don't question anything you think, feel, or believe. In fact, they hear every thought, feeling, and belief you have." - Rhonda Byrne
"We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” - E.E. Cummings
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” - Dalai Lama
I recently came across this article describing 7 Key Practices to Cultivation Compassion and thought it was worthwhile to share with you.
It is not only important to show compassion for others, but also to show yourself compassion to restore peace and balance to your body/mind. It can be difficult to comprehend how a simple compassionate presence can make a difference in your healing process. However, try some of the suggestions in this article for 2 weeks and let me know how it works out for you. You might also be a witness to your thoughts and actions for 1 hour a day and notice if compassion is at the wheel.
Compassion is sensitivity to suffering, not just of others, but also for yourself. Being mindful and kind to yourself can help lead you towards peace.
The 7 Practices from this article include:
The Truth Shall Set You Free
"Always go directly to the Source of all wisdom, all understanding. Turn within to Me. You can listen to what others have to say and teach, you can read books, but never accept anything outer as the source of all wisdom, for true wisdom can only come from within. Be guided by those inner promptings, that intuitive feeling that urges you on. Recognise My still small voice at all times coming through the noise and hub all around you. No outer noise or confusion can hide that still small voice once you have come to know It and trust It and live and work from and by It. This is the greatest gift being held out to all mankind, not to just the few. Learn to be still and listen listen listen, and you will hear and will know the truth and the truth shall set you free."
Part of the Turning Inward journey is relearning how to relate to yourself while healing, including showing yourself compassion. This means tuning in to your suffering and being kind, caring and supporting to yourself (as you would be to another).
This is by no means an easy thing to do. Especially when society molds you to be so critical of yourself. You are constantly bombarded with messages from media that you are "not enough," not thin enough, not strong enough, and not healing quickly enough. These thought patterns can become entrenched in your brain as you become your own worst critic and are quick to beat yourself up. However, it's important to remember that this inner critic is part of you too, and he or she deserves your compassion.
This article from Kristin Neff beautifully explains why we need to show compassion to our inner critic, and I highly recommend taking a moment to read it in its entirety. She explains that your inner critic is a piece of you that ultimately wants to help, that you are acting out of concern for yourself. But as you realize what the goals are of your inner critic, I urge you to challenge yourself to change the language your inner critic uses to achieve these goals. Instead of negatively condemning yourself, change your limited thoughts to balanced thoughts and look to find the harmony, peace, and compassion that you deserve, and that will support your healing.
Some of my favorite parts from Neff's article are excerpted below.
We confuse our thoughts and representations of ourselves for our actual selves, meaning that when our self-image is under siege, we react as if our very existence is threatened.
And it's a double whammy because when we criticize ourselves, we are both the attacker and the attacked. This type of chronic stress can eventually lead to anxiety and depression, undermining our physical and emotional wellbeing.
It's tragic because self-criticism makes us feel horrible and doesn't effectively motivate productive change. But if we look closely -- our inner critic cares. There is some safety need it is trying to meet. Our inner critic wants us to be happy, but doesn't know a better way to go about it. Let's say you criticize yourself for not going to the gym, calling yourself a "lazy slob." At some level, your inner critic is reacting out of concern that if you don't go to the gym you won't be healthy, or that you'll be rejected by others. We can be kind and compassionate to this part of ourselves, because at some level it has our best interests at heart. And believe it or not, by giving compassion to our inner critic, we are moving out of the threat defense system and into our other safety system.
Learn to treat your whole self with compassion. Realize your critic is concerned about you, and use that concern to create an action step that supports your forward movement.
What have you beat yourself up about lately? How does your inner critic scold you? What is the real message you wish to send yourself?