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Quiet Voice of Soul How to Find Meaning in Ordinary Life

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ISBN-10: 1558743391

ISBN-13: 9781558743397

Edition: 1995

Authors: Tian Dayton, Dayton

List price: $13.95
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We hear the word soul in song lyrics and read about it in books and poems--it has been analyzed and scrutinized by songwriters, poets and researchers throughout history. Though soul may seem mysterious, it is hardly inaccessible. It is with us all the time, quietly waiting to be discovered. In this soulful work, Dr. Tian Dayton opens our eyes to the many truths and expressions of soul--through family, relationships, feelings, play, the universe and spirituality. The soul is not only ephemeral but fundamentally ordinary and familiar. It is available to us at all times and exists in all things. The thought-provoking quotes, illustrative vignettes and practical exercises in this marvelous…    
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Book details

List price: $13.95
Copyright year: 1995
Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date: 3/1/1995
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 246
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

Self Answering The Call Of The Self
How shall I grasp it? Do not grasp it. That which remains when there is no more grasping is the self. -Panchadari
When our son was in third grade, I asked him why he didn't want to sign up for after-school activities. His eyes deepened. He stood up and looked out the window, and I could see he was turning in on himself before he replied. "To be honest, Mom, I don't have time."
When I asked him what he meant by that, he explained. "I need to come home and have time to play, to watch cartoons, to be with you, to play with all the toys in my room, sometimes just to walk around my room, maybe go to the store and have time to play with my friends in the building." He said that all day people told him what to do, and there was no way he was going to put himself in a situation where people were going to continue to tell him what to do after school.
To me this reflected a simple and direct understanding of what made him happy and rounded out his life to his satisfaction. He understood the joy and the serenity that simple things brought to him. He seemed wholly unfettered by the thought that he might be missing out on something or that he was not doing what his good friends at school were doing. He was not anxious that he was not following their program because he was in touch with what felt good to him.
I have always enjoyed my son's company because he is so present in the moment. Being with him can make the most ordinary activity seem fun and exciting. To be in tune with the moment is to be in tune with life's subtle pulse and to have at your fingertips the wisdom of saints and sages. Ultimately, becoming more spiritual will not make life something different. What will change is how we experience the life we have.
Instead of standing on the shore and proving to ourselves that the ocean cannot carry us, let us venture on its waters just to see. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
SOUL AND SELF
We have now discovered that it was an intellectually unjustified presumption on our forefathers� part to assume that Man has a Soul, ... that there is a power inherent in it which builds up the body, supports its life, heals its ills and enables the soul to live independently of the body, ... and that beyond our empirical present, there is a spiritual world from which the soul receives knowledge of spiritual things whore origins cannot be discovered in this physical world. But ... it is just as presumptuous and fantastic for us to assume that matter products spirit, that apes give rise to human beings, ... that the brain cells manufacture thoughts and that all this could not possibly be other than it is. -Carl Jung
The individual self is the channel through which the soul finds expression. If it is tangled in the ropes of self-hatred, false identity and confusion, the soul will have a difficult time shining through. When life is confusing or overwhelming, or when our lives allow little room for personalized variation-in a troubled family or an autocratic workplace, for example-the self goes into hiding. When this happens, we learn to look outward rather than inward for answers.
Often soul is not regarded as a part of ordinary life, but as something belonging to the sphere of religion or metaphysics. But individually we have the right to open communication with soul, just as we have the right to feel the sun on our face and to breathe the air that surrounds us. Access to soul energy enhances access to ourselves, and to a deeper reality. Although we cannot necessarily describe this other reality, we can experience and share it with others who also are able to experience it.
Many people who seek an inward path go into therapy to begin to untie their personal knots and solve emotional issues. Most paths to self have two or more people to anchor the experience or create a holding environment, whether it is the relationship between guru and disciple, therapist and client, sponsor and sponsored, pastor and parishioner, teacher and student, or individual and group. It appears that we need a guide to show the way and to help anchor the way as we seek ourselves, someone who is willing to walk with us as we keep ourselves on our path. As C. S. Lewis said, "It takes two to see one."
In my work as a psychodramatist, I do not heal my clients. Rather, I involve people in the process of accessing their own internal healer. A trusting relationship with a teacher or guide is important to "hold" our growth process, but the ultimate responsibility remains with the self. Therapy is both a process of dismantling and reexamining problem aspects of the self and rebuilding and reshaping from the inside out. Healing and soul growth are part of the mystery of life.
Therapy is a step on the way to soul realization, not an end in itself. If we spin forever in the cycle of sorting out the past without continuing the movement toward soul and self, we may become victimized by our own search. The goal of therapy is to make the unconscious conscious, to bring psychological and behavioral patterns and repetitions into the light. Then we can see the patterns for what they are, understand their cause, release them and reintegrate them back into our unconscious in a resolved state. In the process we achieve a less contaminated vision of who we are, and of that part of ourselves that is alive and connected to spirit.
In this light, we can see that the self and the soul are truly a source of nurturance that is always available. When we do not see the soul as this, we deny ourselves a fundamental source of sustenance. When we sww the soul as something we have to attain or run after, we diminish it in depth and breadth and throw it outside the self onto the pile of objects that we must acquire. The soul can never be acquired by running after it. Only by sitting in stillness with it can we come to know it.
The path to soul is a path of gradual involvement. It is a process of getting to know the soul and self through direct experience. The reason a therapeutic process is so helpful on the road to self is that, when we sit quietly with ourselves, all of the unfinished business, the old hurts and unquenched longings, begin to rumble around and make themselves felt. If we cannot remain present through this process of feeling our painful feelings, sorting through them and resolving them, we cannot remain present with ourselves. When we have sorted out the problem and learned methods of being with our inner pain rather than running from it, we can sit through these feelings and eventually get to serenity with self, and through that, to soul.
All too often the therapeutic process is regarded as an end in itself when actually it is a path, a process to connect us with our soul. Some use therapy as a means to build spiritual consciousness. If we seek only spiritual consciousness and refuse to work through our own darkest depths, what we pursue is God thinking or the practice of thinking spiritual thoughts because we have read or heard them and recognize their benefit. We need to go deeper to contact our spirit, the soul that lives within us, that soul we can contact through quiet and meditation. Once we have learned to access the soul through stillness, we can then draw this consciousness actively through ourselves andinto our lives.
My greatest teachers are the afflicted. Go to them in jails, in hospitals, and ask, "Why do you want to live?" I walked through bospital corridors, going into rooms, asking people who had things I was afraid of, "Why do you want to live? How do you manage?" They were always honest and willing to help. Some said, "Sit down, I'll tell you." Others said, "Come back, I�ll make a list for you." What impressed me was that the list did not contain pages of philosophical discussion about the meaning of life. They said things that were so simple. �I painted a picture� said someone with no fingers: a brush had to be tied to her hand. �I looked out the window, and it is a beautiful day." �The nurse rubbed my back. " "My family called and an coming to see me." The lists just went on with simple daily events. And I began to realize that this is really what life is about. -Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.
The Shadow Self
Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people. -Carl Jung
When there are parts of ourselves that we feel are not acceptable, either to ourselves or to our world, we cast them into a darkness deep in our psyches. These parts of ourselves coalesce to form what Carl Jung called the "shadow self," or the self whose existence we attempt to deny. Although we deny this self consciously, unconsciously we fear that we carry within us something monstrous that threatens to rear its head if we do not use our psychic energy to keep it hidden.
Inevitably, however, that monster refuses to stay hidden. What we refuse to see or acknowledge in ourselves, we identify readily in others. Often we are projecting our unwanted characteristic onto another person, attributing it only to them rather than accepting it as part of ourselves. It is an unconscious attempt to give voice and shape to that part of ourselves we have silenced. When we have a powerful reaction to a characteristic that we classify as negative or difficult in another person, it is worthwhile to ask ourselves if any, part of that characteristic exists in us.
Those parts of of ourselves that we feel are well hidden are only too evident to those around us. When we hold paw of ourselves in darkness, refusing to own them in the light of day, they are still present in the emotional environment we create. Then the classic double message results. People close to us feel one thing, perhaps anger, but see and hear another, perhaps our message of sweet accommodation. When the messages we send feel mixed to those around us, they become confused and find it hard to locate and relate to us for any substantial length of time.
Clearly, the parts of ourselves that we refuse to bring into consciousness speak loudly nonetheless. A way to resolve this dilemma is to bring them to consciousness and allow them voice. When they are brought to consciousness, owned and shared, they lose their inner grip. They no longer need to be acted out because now they can be talked out.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" can be understood as the walk through our own dark side. Without the understanding gained in such a walk, we cannot be fully present with our own inner selves, our path to our individual souls.
Acknowledging and working with our own dark side is vital to soul growth and self-awareness. Conducting our lives as if we do not have a dark side forces significant parts of the self into hiding and creates a fake, unstable personality in which we constantly have to pretend those aspects don't exist. We weaken our position by not accepting fully where we are and we send a negative message to the self, telling it to hide in shame. This hiding gives negative feelings power. They build frusuation and come out in rash, irrational, often destructive ways. Disowned aspects of the self can become dangerous if they are not accepted, worked through and integrated.
The alternative is not in seeking to be perfect. We need not be perfect to be good, productive, healthy people. In fact, that very drive toward perfection can create and strengthen the shadow self. What we seek is balance between our inner and outer expressions of self.
The soul and the self, in order to be experienced, need to be known. Disowned aspects of the self literally cast a shadow over the soul that keeps it from being seen and felt.
If only there were evil people somehwere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? -Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Getting To Know Yourself
The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. -John Milton
Most people come into therapy in an attempt to rid their personalities of what they perceive to be undesirable aspects. But in the process, rather than get rid of parts of themselves, they learn to work with the troublesome areas and reintegrate them in a new way. In fact, getting to know ourselves is one of the more rewarding and powerful adventures we can have. It is a lifelong task because the self is in continual evolution. The more comfortable we are with ourselves, the easier it will be to get out of our own way and allow the deeper pulse of life and love and spiritual energy to flow through us.
Sometimes we see the therapeutic process as a sort of psychic diet in which we come in overweight and leave slimmer, with less psychic baggage. Ultimately, any responsible therapeutic process leads us toward ourselves rather than away, and helps us to get our personalities in clear enough perspective that they do not overwhelm our souls with unmet needs and unquenchable desires.
The therapeutic process can also help us get in touch with our natural healing forces. Tapping into these forces and working with them to relieve the psychic system of toxicity, pain and undesirable self-concepts is part of healing. When the emotional pain is purged or released, we are free to see things differently and can examine ourselves more openly.
Inner growth involves a shift in perception. Carl Jung said that we never really solve a problem; we simply go to the top of a mountain, or a high place within ourselves, and learn to see the situation differently. These shifts in perception create shifts in self-concept and shifts in the way we live our lives. In getting to know ourselves we are not going on an archeological dig for a hidden self, but learning to see evidence of the self in all things. We are allowing the self to emerge, not battling it to remain hidden, and inviting the self to come forward in a self-accepting, self-caring way so that we can better know it.
We can take this caring position with ourselves, creating an inner climate of love and acceptance in which we would no more squash the self because we find it undesirable than we would squash the child who is innocent and filled with life and excited to share her discoveries, her joy and pain, her excitement and despair.
To be loving to the self is a much more demanding task than being in love with the self. To this end, you might treat your emerging self the way a grandparent would. A grandparent has lived long enough and has enough separation from the grandchild to understand the value of indulgence and to allow the child a wide berth for self-exploration, while still being a compassionate and safe point of reference, grounding and boundary setting. When the self has to prove itself to be acceptable to us, we will never live without anxiety. In order to be fully experienced, the self needs just to be at rest in our compassion and love.
Know then thyself, presume not God to Scan: The proper study of mankind is man. -Alexander Pope
False Identification
Every real object must cease to be what it seemed, and nor ever be what the whole soul desired. -George Santayana
Christianity teaches that the spirit of God is within us. Vedanta philosophy holds that there is only one true identification: with the eternal self that is present in each of us. Any other identification, with things outside of ourselves, is a false identification. Placing meaning where meaning is not and cannot be generated causes us to move away from our own soul.
Unfortunately, false identification is what we do much of the time. For instance, while Morgan was shopping, a careless driver rammed his car. Angry and hurt, he complained to his friend Sarah, "I got a dent!" For a moment, Sarah stared at him with some bewilderment, since Morgan didn't look dented visibly. Belatedly, she realized that Morgan was referring not to himself, but to his car. Morgan's identification with his car was so strong that when his car got dented, he reported that he was dented.
Of course, this can be simply a way of speaking, but it can also reflect a deep identification with the things we own. When we identify falsely with people, places and things outside of ourselves, we lose a piece of our soul to them. When we allow the objects in our lives to carry more meaning than we carry within ourselves, we feel diminished and smaller than everything that surrounds us. We engage in a child-like relationship to the people, places and things that we have accumulated. We assign them authority and we indenture ourselves to that authority.
There is nothing everlasting about a table or a painting or a car, but the human spirit is eternal. That link with eternity is available to us at all times, waiting for us to tap into it.
Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; Reality can be attained only by someone who is detached. -Simone Weil