I spent an exciting week on Cape Cod! The adventure included a five-day seminar led by Thomas Moore entitled Psychotherapy, Spirituality and the Soul. (Not to worry … the sessions were over at noon every day. The rest of the day was play!)
Thirteen years in the monastery seasoned his wisdom, but so did his experience as a university professor and a psychotherapist for 35 years.
He’s written several best-selling books including Care of the Soul and the recently released Care of the Soul in Medicine. A large measure of his work has entailed illuminating the connection between our psychological self and our soul. He doesn’t see a separation between the two. In fact, on the first day of the seminar, he explained that psycho is a Greek word meaning soul. So it’s no surprise that he maintains that psychotherapy should be invested in the caring for the soul. I agree.
Moore described the soul as “who we are at our depths.” He had more to say about it which is summarized well in Care of the Soul. Here it is:
“Soul is not a thing, but a quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart, and personal substance. I do not use the word here as an object of religious belief or as something to do with immortality.”
Moore points out that the soul is usually hidden from view—from our surface consciousness. Details of everyday life, such as filling out forms, driving to work, fixing lunch, parenting kids, cleaning the bathroom and heading off the onslaught of constant problems, prove distracting.
All of these things can rob us of our peace, trigger anxiety, disrupt relationships and make us unhappy. Such symptoms, Moore says, are ways our soul communicates to us. If we listen closely while emptying our mind of preconceptions, we’ll discover what we truly want and need.
I have a personal example of how stress was my soul’s method of communication.
Picture this: You’re sitting in the passenger seat, whizzing down the road at 75 miles per hour, passing and being passed by cars, trucks and anything else that might be coming down the toll road. And what are you doing? You’re trying to write the next post for your blog. The words aren’t coming … not even a topic!
That was me coming home from the seminar. My friend, Don, was driving.
After four hours of driving, we decided it was time to take a break. We stopped at a lush picnic area. No highway bustle or noise here—just tranquility.
With the green of nature all around us, we sat quiet for several minutes—soaking it up, rather letting it soak us up. The key was in the letting.
The birds were singing. A cat wandered along a nearby path. The breeze was cooling … I knew I was experiencing what it means to be attuned to my soul—what it means to care for the soul.
Through that experience, I learned firsthand that solutions—call them soulutions—aren’t about changing or fixing things on the outside of us, but on the inside. A shift.
When it was time to head back to the car, I took the lush oasis with me. As a result, the words—for the blog—came with ease, and the topic was a no-brainer.
I welcome your thoughts.