“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak” Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati. A dear friend brought this to me one day to get my opinion for an art project she was planning. Ever since the quote has floated around in my brain. I love the profound simplicity of it, eight words strung together whispering the wisdom of the universe.
What is the soul? We like to think of ourselves as ‘having’ a soul, when in fact, we ‘are’ a soul currently living in a body. I believe C.S. Lewis said something to this effect. The reality is we are a soul; many use the term spirit interchangeably with soul. Our souls are eternal, they are the essence, or source of our being; soul is linked to the Divine Source, to God. The physical body is very temporal, fragile, designed to house the soul for a time so that soul can learn from the experience of being human. From dust the body was created, and to dust it will return.
The mind is not the soul, so what is the mind? It’s difficult to separate the parts of our being because the parts are very interconnected; we are mind, body and spirit. For the sake of explanation, we can think of the mind as basically having 2 parts: the egoic mind and the functional mind. Some include the intellect as part of the mind separate from the egoic and functional minds basically categorizing the mind as both reactive and intellectual. From that perspective we are both reactive and intellectual, as well.
The egoic mind is our ego; the part of who we are that often takes center stage and prattles on endlessly, the prattling known as our “self-talk”, or thoughts, in other words. This side of ego is very self-centered; the negative, critical side of who we are. The ego chatter often acts as “Captain Obvious” stating what already is, or states opinion, and is oh, so judgmental toward most everything, including, and especially toward, self. Ego likes to control, is the voice of fear, usually unfounded fear, and the voice keeping us from stepping too far outside our comfort zone. Our ego can be God-centered, as well, and it all boils down to the emotion attached to each. Human emotion keeps us from rising to our fullest potential, but the other side of emotion we don’t often consider.
God-centered emotion transcends human emotion to seek the Divine and realize our connection, our oneness with God, or Divine Source. The God-centered side of ego is peaceful, quiet, full of wisdom, and patiently waits for us to decide self-centered ego needs to take a backseat and allow spirit to come forward. Since our purpose is to learn from the experience of being human, it would make sense listening is a huge part of the experience, and what are we to listen to? The world is built around catering to the self-centered ego. We would be a lot better off in the short and long run if we could duct tape the mouth of ego shut once in a while! Meditation and prayer is all about quieting the voice of the mind and listening to our soul, or spirit. It is through our spirit the voice of God will speak.
Divine Source, or God, is the purity of love, nothing more, nothing less. Love is all-inclusive. We need look no further for more to fill the cup of love than the purity of God. Within love there is mercy, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, comfort, peace, guidance, security, wisdom, and patience; everything we need for every situation or circumstance in our lives. We are part of Divine Source, an extension of the One, interconnected with the Divine and one another. Because of these attributes I want to learn more, become more merciful, compassionate, and forgiving. I choose to seek higher wisdom and truth.
Organized religion lends positive and negative attributes to the Eternal God, two sides of the coin, as it were. God, the Father, embodies the fullness of love, but is also given to punishment, is harsh and moody at times, demanding, and seemingly inconsistent. Isn’t it interesting these are characteristics of man, as well? Approaching God with this mindset is to approach from the human side of emotion. We are concerned with pleasing God so as not to incur His wrath, accounting for each sin lest one be forgotten landing us in hot water with the Almighty. In other words, our approach is fear-based, focused on me and my behavior, and therefore steeped in human emotion. The more I study spiritual philosophy the more convinced I become man has created God in his image instead of the other way around. The Divine journey leads us to a higher level of understanding, a look at life from the bigger picture, but in order to do so our approach needs to be through divine emotion rather than human emotion. It is here, we find ourselves at a crossroads. Each of us decides how we will approach the Divine; through human or divine emotion. Our decision will decide and guide the journey.
Having spent the better part of my adult life approaching God with fear-based emotion, I decided to change course and approach from divine emotion, from the realization that God loves, understands the limits of my humanity, desires relationship with me more than I desire relationship with Him, and from there I was able to abandon all fear I will fail God and consequently be punished. Looking back the mindset seems silly now, but oh how easy it is to fall into! We naturally operate from our human-centered emotion. It is only when we become aware there is another side to who we are, the spirit-self, when we have the opportunity to change our perspective, our beliefs, and seek to live from God-centered emotion. For me, in part, this means I no longer feel threatened by people or circumstances I have no control over. I have learned to be compassionate and loving toward self first which allows me to extend compassion and love toward others. Lofty words and ideas for sure; lest any get the wrong impression, I don’t wear flowing robes or flowers in my hair, nor do I prance and twirl through life! I am first and foremost real, don’t mince words with others, and some days I struggle to choose peace over emotional chaos. And, the truth is we are all a jumble of many faces, emotions, and reactions, are we not? No one, and I mean no one living on the earth lives entirely from the spirit because we are all on a journey of learning and becoming. Some are farther along than others, some just beginning their journey, and still others have yet to begin, and may never in this life. But the choice remains before us, nonetheless. If I want to hear the voice of wisdom, experience God, be enveloped and clothed in peace, and begin to see the potential residing within, I must quiet the mind, the ego chatter, for the voice of the soul intertwined with Divine Love whispers the wisdom of the universe…..