My Soul, My Soul
What is our soul? It is not simply a hypothetical entity occupying space in our forehead. It is a conscious force at the core of our being, a unit of consciousness, a microscopic drop of the essence of God. Our soul can never die – it is the immortal part of us. But sadly, it is mostly a relatively dormant energy and its God-like qualities remain latent within us.
It is very difficult for us to relate to our soul because we are so immersed in the physical world and our soul is so ethereal – it is far beyond the level of consciousness we use to function in this world. Hidden in the attic of our body, the eye centre, we starve our soul of love, oblivious of its needs. There it sings its sad song as it constantly calls to the mind. This great sadness of our soul is the fire of longing that burns within – longing for its release from the despotic grip of the senses, its entrapment in the body and the oppression of the mind.
Mirdad tells us: “Rejoice because your heart has been seized with the Great Nostalgia; for that is a promise irrevocable that you shall find your country and your home.”
When the soul’s deep longing is ignited in us Mirdad likens us to “sleepwalkers in a world which is apparently wide awake, following a dream which those around us neither see nor feel.”
Although we are mostly unaware of the state of our soul, there are times when we have a faint inkling of its existence. In One Being One, a quote from S. Radhakrishnan explains:
Off and on, in some rare moments of our spiritual life, the soul becomes aware of the presence of the Divine. A strange awe and delight invade the life of the soul, and it becomes convinced of the absoluteness of the Divine, which inspires and moulds every detail of our life.
Rather than wasting so much time on nurturing the body and pandering to the mind, we should focus more on our soul so that we can release it from its bondage. Great Master gives us this inspirational disclosure: that the soul merges in the Lord as soon as it turns its attention towards him. Then that which remains dormant in us becomes manifest.
By pandering to the mind we turn away from our soul and focus our attention on the personality and the five senses. But our true reality extends beyond this, to the subtle, invisible realms where our soul is more at home. It is from their perception of these subtle realms that the Masters speak and act. Their words and actions attract our attention – because they awaken something deep within us, something that both stirs our souls and draws us to them.
But mostly we perceive a world where we are separate and alone as we strive to survive – in a world where intentions are somewhat irrelevant and we are not consciously aware of the effects of our actions and thoughts. However, the perception of the Master is very different: He perceives a world in which we are never alone, where the universe is alive, conscious and intelligent and where, rather than being irrelevant, the intention behind an action determines its effects – which extend far beyond the physical world.
In a lovely explanation of intention Hazur Maharaj Ji explains the benefit of parshad:
Actually when parshad is given, it is not the candy which is the parshad, it is the Master and the disciple. It is the Master’s intention in giving the parshad that makes it parshad for the disciple. It is for the advantage of the disciple … and the Master’s good wishes are the parshad for the disciple. The candy is just a means. You can’t take the good wishes in proxy for someone else.… Parshad doesn’t pass through to the disciple by eating it; it passes through by other means.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
We have now come to the Master with the intention that this life be used to free our soul from the mind and the senses. Doing this requires a different relationship with our mind. The author of The Book of Disquiet writes:
My soul is impatient with itself, as with a bothersome child; its restlessness keeps growing and is forever the same. Everything interests me, but nothing holds me. I attend to everything, dreaming all the while.… I’m two, and both keep their distance — Siamese twins that aren’t attached.
This explains the relationship between the soul and the mind. Both are tangled up in the body. Each has an awareness of the other, but they pull in different directions.
This unfortunate mind–soul relationship is the trap that keeps the soul in the creation and away from its essence. Maharaj Charan Singh tells us that even when the soul has withdrawn from the body to the eye centre, it is still attached to the mind and retains its identity. Even when it leaves the mind, the impressions of karmas still cover the soul, and they keep the soul away from the infinite. This is the power of the impressions we create – they are so strong that even between the mind and Sach Khand those impressions are still with the soul.
It is the power of these impressions that fuels our ego and causes us to neglect our soul. If we could only take control of our mind and curb our relentless desires, we would be able to reduce the impressions we create and weaken their power and hold over us. But our ego is far too strong. It constantly pulls our attention outside, away from our soul as we create ever more binding impressions. The unfortunate result is that our soul remains an ethereal concept.
Eknath Easwaran likens the fight to control our ego to a battle. He writes that the subject of the Bhagavad Gita is:
The war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage if he or she is to emerge from life victorious, and that the language of battle is often found in the scriptures, for it coveys the strenuous, long, drawn-out campaign we must wage to free ourselves from the tyranny of the ego, the cause of all our suffering and sorrow.
The War Within
We will never reconcile the relationship between our soul and our mind while we have an egotistical attitude. The Masters so often tell us of the importance of humility on the spiritual path. Generally humility is associated with self-worth in an egotistical sense. But true humility is a quality of the soul. It isn’t any outward display or something we can feign, for humility – being of our soul – is a quality that is unconsciously reflected in our actions and attitudes. Golda Meir, a former prime minister of Israel, put it into perspective when she said: “Don’t be so humble – you are not that great!”
We are told that humility is the hallmark of all saints. The Great Master tells us that “the ornament of Sach Khand is humility.” And Swami Vivekananda explains humility this way:
The concept of humility does not mean “crawling on all fours and calling oneself a sinner.” … Each human being is the Universal; recognizing and feeling oneness with everyone and everything else in the universe, without inferiority or superiority or any other bias, is the mark of humility.
The Complete Works of the Swami Vivekananda, Vol. 1
Sincere humility is how one feels inside; it is a non-judgmental state of mind. A humble person is not himself conscious of his humility.
Through our practice of meditation we begin to lose the arrogance and pride of the ego, which is then replaced by the natural humility of our soul. Our daily meditation is the time when we rekindle the trust and love of our soul – the process in which we slowly reconcile the relationship between our mind and our soul. It is to free our soul from the constraints of the mind and senses, and launch it on its homeward path.
Maharaj Charan Singh has said that our intentions and motives go a long way – they have far-reaching effects. Our asking for initiation indicated our intention to realize our soul and go back home to Sach Khand. By receiving initiation that intention has been put into motion, and it must come to fruition. For Maharaj Charan Singh, explaining Baba Jaimal Singh’s letter to the Great Master in Spiritual Letters, says:
The day you are initiated you have reached Sach Khand.… It means your roots have been planted there, the seed has been planted. It will sprout one day.… It is assured that one day the seed will sprout, the soul will reach its destination.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II
And as Mirdad said: ‘That is a promise irrevocable.’