Contemplating the Soul
I wonder what you think about the concept of a soul?
I find myself believing that there is overwhelming evidence to their existence through the teachings and writings and poetry of humanity over the millennia.
Life within, that is not biological or chemical, has been identified by different cultures at different times in different histories by various names – yet each has identified that life force that animates from within and is mystery by its nature.
I have spent my life tending to souls. I have experienced souls that were disquieted, dis-eased, and broken. I have experienced souls that were creating new worlds, and revealing new wonders, and expressing beauty hitherto unseen. Working with souls can be breathtakingly awe-filled and take one dangerously close to nihilism.
Braid in part is a work based in this understanding that souls can be broken and frayed by the trauma and hard places of life. Braid is a work that believes that the gift of presence and relationship can still a disquieted soul over the course of time.
We have a wonderful opportunity to attend another celebration of the soul that is being held in San Francisco this week.
The Global Climate Action Summit is a gathering of world and industrial leaders to advocate and encourage practices that will restore the environmental soul of our world a soul which at the moment is very much disquieted.
Many of the speakers and programs will revolve around the hard sciences and the data that track how sick the planet is becoming. The summit will encourage industrial and political practices that have been engineered to be a medicine for a sick planet.
However, there are also gatherings and speakers who will speak to the brokenness of the earth’s soul. The Dalai Lama, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Governor Jerry Brown and Ms. Patricia Espinosa Cantello of the United Nations will gather at Grace Cathedral on Wednesday, September 12, at 4 p.m. to reference the soul of the planet that is broken and needs healing.
A soul that is intimately linked to our souls. For everything ultimately exists in relation one to the other. These guests will be advocating for balance, balance that will bring an end to the disquiet.
A poem by Mary Oliver invites us to ponder the possibility of the soul of all living things and begin to consider the mystery and the gift that is within each of us.
Some Questions You Might Ask
Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
Who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?
Mary Oliver, House of Light, 1990