The Soul, Our Common Currency

I live in California on the San Francisco Peninsula, it is crowded. Here, along the shore of the bay, you can not escape the people. The roads are congested with people all trying to get somewhere and usually at the same time. All roads seem to be one giant inconvenient crush. The nine county bay area is home to about seven and a half million people, a reality that is hard to escape when your just trying to get home. I live on the Mid Peninsula and the congestion here is mild compared to the east or south bay. The cost of living here is mind numbing. Beyond my bay area home the world, in many ways, is unraveling. There does not seem to any region on our muddy speck of beautiful dirt, planet earth, free of social, economic, military, religious and or a political urgency/emergency. We have yet to recover from the latest blow to our world economy and one has to ask if the system is not broken. Certainly here in the States we have abandoned much of what built the strongest economy the world has ever known and wealth is gravitating to ever larger collections in fewer and fewer hands. That is a trajectory that will not sustain a vibrant broad-based economy and those who rally to stay on such a course do so at their own peril. With money, people like to consider it their own. We like to think about ‘my money’ as if it actually were our money. My name is not on the money anywhere. Governments print money, the value of the money is assigned by official decree and could not be more subjective. Capitalism is the guiding principle, a competitive system where value is determined by the amount one person has relative to another. It is a manufactured system that has only ever been known to work well when it is inclusive, when wealth is broadly distributed to include as many people as possible. Without a strong measure of socialism, capitalism always fails the population at large and as it does it includes fewer and fewer people with the privilege of economic comfort.

Along with the crush of my seven and a half million neighbors I have a collection of people; family, friends and business associates who more intimately impress me and influence my emotion, mindfulness and priorities. Why are these people and their wants, desires and expectations here, interfering with my priorities, with my wealth, with my success in life?

I have always imagined that success is a spiritual reality. I believe that as spiritual beings success is a spiritual application and pursuit of spiritual success should demonstrate success across all concerns in life. That the spirit has the strength to carry that load while making an example of just that. This approach, to fundamental spiritual-social-economic success, supports the notion that spirit gave life to animal as opposed to the other way round. That without spirit the animal is dead and it is spirit that exists even without its animal host. The animal is plagued with many problems and it is not at all clear that we know our spirit source. Animals do generate spiritual expressions that are every bit as temporary as the animal host, and our spiritual source, or creator, is displaced by these spiritual distractions we are so fond of.

It is the soul then that is the durable spirit able to lend life to animal forms. The soul is like money. We imagine it is our soul, that we can save it. The soul is not ours, we belong to it and the holy grail of spiritual success is to release the temporary spirits, of which we are so enamored, and allow the soul to walk in the company of its creation. To be an animal who knows its creator by giving the soul an animal home. As creator, the soul understands all spirits and is a stranger to none. All who ever have been and all who will be, are known by the soul. It is our salvation. Without choosing to accommodate attributes of our soul we have an estrangement, or separation, from the soul. The soul enjoys us no matter and none of us are a stranger to it. We can only make the soul strange to us but we can never be a stranger to our soul.

It seems the soul must live beyond the confines of time and space in a place of such intimacy that all is known and no mystery is possible. The animal, on the other hand, lives bound to time and space seeking a permanence that it can not know except for the soul. To fully know the soul, the animal must surrender all that displaces the soul and admit that it is but a host for spirit with no durable attribute except for the soul. To be divine is to be one with the soul and the animal. It seems to require a certain subtlety of choice and disposition unfamiliar to animal psychology. Something akin to death but unattainable through death. In death we may well unite with the soul but I will guess that we must be of a disposition that is like, as opposed to simply ‘known of’ by the soul if we are to make the segue. There are qualities that are absolute and are this segue, compassion, understanding and truth. It remains a mystery as to why these simple attributes, and their supportive disposition, are so elusive to the animal.

I have had some success with this absolute segue but never as a public demonstration or example of daily life as an openly successful mystic. It is surprisingly difficult to know the success I have known privately, in the context of being a person known to be mystic and by that mysticism, also a success. These thoughts and considerations, read here, are simply the unavoidable musings of my mystic mind. It is what fills me up and moves me forward. I am driven to write and post this as an exercise in personal growth, an effort to realize a promise that has eluded me and tempted me forward.

My mysticism is empirical, I do not read or follow, I am a spiritual being and expect that spirit communicates directly, that by my choice my spirit supports guides and mentors me. If my choice is true my spirit is true and divine existence is the option that presents. The secrets known to the soul are known to the animal who allows the soul to be the spirit it hosts. Working on this public spirituality does seem to agitate the spiritual environment that we share and it has the look and feel of the crush I experience on the road when I am just trying to get home. It feels oppressive, inconvenient and those feelings displace the soul. The soul knows no discomfort and being uncomfortable displaces the soul.

I write by divination and discover what I will write as I write. That is how the soul has become a topic for my blog. As I consider the soul it begins to present as something that makes sense. I believe we have one soul that is common to all and that its only judgement is to accept us as we are. It has a vastness that allows it to be known by and through countless persons. It draws no comfort from pain or suffering and instead is as a siren that would draw us away from harm and into its boundless goodness and benevolence. It is common to all of us. The suffering that we know can not endure and perhaps ignoring the suffering of others is also like that. The soul knows of our pain and would have us release it choosing instead what lasts, the qualities and attributes of the soul. Compassion/Truth/Understanding. These are absolutes and the soul, being free, unbound by time and space, present only now, is of an absolute nature. I believe it would have us form a community by which the soul is given form, a person, an animal to host it. I believe we have a subtlety in our awareness that is as a germ that will give rise to our divine nature and the soul will once again appear as a human being to remind us of our true nature.

There is a tension that pivots on this impending concern and while I look to see my way across the valley, the darkness that is this tension seems inevitable. The soul knows no darkness and my journey would celebrate the soul. How then to make the soul my companion and make the timeless trek to where I already am?

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2014

When Love Fails

Love. What is love? Is it just a choice we make to insulate our emotions from less desirable feelings? Do we love others or is love something we have for our self that we in turn share with others? It is very personal and I expect that no one can love another without first loving their self. We may be part of a community that helps us to love our self and we may truly regard another person, so affectionately, that we are in love. People who love must love themselves if there is to be any love for others.

There are many expressions of love. Love of family and friends, of people in general, of life, of different things and activities, and no discussion of love is complete without the illusive complication that is romantic love.

Let us look at romantic love. Different cultures approach it differently and have different considerations. Across all cultures, I think our hopes and aspirations concerning love, are largely the same and this is true for romance. Certainly love is fraught with failure. It only takes one participant to ruin a marriage and family. Those who are innocent bystanders in such a failure are left to make the best of it and often the salvage falls to one person who steps up to carry the load. This of course is the case when children are involved and a marriage has become poisonous. In such a situation one person can be the difference while the other is so toxic as to threaten everyone’s welfare. Of course both parents in a failed marriage can be supportive and work for the good of the family. That is so easy, so obvious and simple but it is rarely the case. Often neither parent consider the best path forward.

Love is very personal and romantic love is as personal as we get. When a loved one uses this intimacy to harm their partner the violation is durable. Such a person does not love their self or they would not do such a thing. I think, the cause of this sort of dysfunction is often due to misplaced worth. Many people think it is someone else’s responsibility to make them happy. When this type is not happy, they blame the person they have charged with the task, of their happiness, for the failure.

When love fails badly where can a person turn for the resolve to do and build what seems best? It is important not to treat a toxic ex in kind, especially while the marriage is coming apart and then while raising children in the aftermath. There is something that is not love, it is similar but it is not fragile and it has a strength that is inexhaustible; compassion. Compassion is indifferent. It makes no judgement of worth. It is enough. We can choose not to make our self available to it but it is always available. There is no weight greater than it and it can not break. It can not have, and knows, no favorite. Its measure is the same no matter what, it is boundless. We choose it and it is there.

Compassion is an absolute because of its qualities or at least its qualities demonstrate its absolute nature. I consider absolutes touchstones for whatever God might be. It would be a failure to define God and so I am comfortable with whatever God might be and when I consider God I do so by observation of the absolutes; compassion, truth and understanding. When we define God we simply create God in our own image and we all know how troublesome that has been. I have no concern for what God might think of me, if God can even do such, and instead, I strive to do what is best. I do not care about being right or wrong. I see right and wrong as the two sides of the same worthless coin whose purchase has no value. In doing what is best it is not possible to be wrong and there is no need to be right.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013