Tag Archives: Handbook for the Soul

Lessons for Your Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, June 30, 2015

flowers in sidewalk cracks

Lessons for Your Soul

I love reading anything Melody Beattie wrote—including this chapter of the book Handbook for the Soul. Somehow, I can connect with almost everything she writes. (It’s both a funny/ha-ha thing as well as a funny/that was strange! kind of way.)

Like, for example, where Melody wrote that “we are all at different stages of growth, so we each need different things to trigger that connection to the soul.” [1]

That is so true. I have been thinking for a number of recent years about this life I live. When I consider myself, and the things I’ve stopped doing, and I see how far I’ve come. Or, when I think of what is happening in the experiences of people around me, and feel for them. About what is going on in their lives.

I’ve reflected just recently that life is a journey and that we are all at different stages. (My words, precisely.) And then, I read the same words in Melody Beattie’s chapter tonight. In a word, wow.

I also resonate with Beattie’s comment that we all go on automatic pilot, sometimes. (Don’t we, though?) I was just mentioning this to my daughter the other day. Sometimes I don’t realize it until afterwards—how much time on automatic pilot I have spent. And what has this “pilot” been but a limitation? Just keeping time? Making the same-old, same-old. Marking time, setting for second best. That’s what I can get up to, in my head.

Keeping time and zoning out is definitely not staying in touch with my soul.

I’m not sure, but I suspect that even that is part of this journey all of us are on. Hopefully, God willing, I will see whether I can concentrate on getting closer to God. And, that is a good thing. I pray that I may continue much longer than a month in June.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 186.

The Divine in You, the Divine in Me

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, June 29, 2015

Moonrise over water - photo credit Bell of Compassion

Moonrise over water – photo credit Bell of Compassion

The Divine in You, the Divine in Me

This chapter of Handbook for the Soul opened with several challenging paragraphs. Not exactly difficult to understand, but my take-away message was pretty much what I used to title this post.

I had difficulty connecting with Betty Eadie. At first. Yes, she talked about several things I have a great deal of interest in! Near death experiences. Spiritual understanding. Quiet place within. But—can I say that her foundational premise is one I can’t truly grasp? (I think I can.)

However, that’s not the end of it! I mean, the end of Eadie’s chapter. After the initial page or page and a half, I got on board. Really and truly.

Eadie started talking about the different ways different individuals use to get in touch with that quiet place within. Or, openness. I use many of these same ways. To get in touch with God as I understand God. I have noticed that several of these are widespread, all over the world. In many different manners of approaching God, or the Eternal One, or the Divine Spirit. Or, whatever your people or group wishes to call this One.

“Our relationships with other people can also help us grow in spiritual understanding,” [1] said Eadie. So, what I get from this is that growing in spiritual understanding is not just a solitary activity. No, we require relationship. That is friendship and fellowship from like-minded others. (Even not-so-like-minded, if that’s the case!)

I hope my relationships with many are responsible for bringing some peace and serenity into this world. God willing, that’s my prayer.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 182.

Walk through Soul’s Gateway

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gothic arched gate - credit Bell of Contentment

Walk through Soul’s Gateway

Some people consider difficulty we might have with life a problem, a “hole” in our souls. However, I particularly enjoy the expression that Angelos Arrien used: “gateway to the soul.” Moreover, “the need to be who we are always brings us back to soul.” [1]

If I look at the calendar, we are approaching the end of June. This chapter of Handbook for the Soul is near the end of the book. (Yes, we are coming close to the End.).

It seems as if Arrien was correct in relating the short story about the person knocking on the heavenly door. The person was admonished that he (or she) had not been as much themselves during their life and they could have been. Not as much “Elizabeth” or “Kevin” or “Dolores” or “Jack” as each person had the potential for being. (Appropriate for the home stretch, as well.)

More about a “hole” in our souls: not real. (At least according to Arrient.) Instead, our orientation ought to be that of a gateway. Each of us has the potential to go through the soul gate . . . instead of looking “for something to plug the hole, rather than going through the gate to reconnect with their souls,” [2]

Oh, and personality is important for finding a way to open up. I mean, finding like-minded people of the offense. God willing, we each can find God. No matter what kind of personality, or activity type, God continues to draw us into the place where “we” are. Today.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 175.

[2] Ibid, 176.

Journey to Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, June 27, 2015

birch wood path

Journey to Soul

Journeying. Traveling. All of us, each of us is on a journey through life. Some are more aware of the fact that each of us has a soul. Some, less so. Our souls are on that journey, too. (According to Benjamin Shield, the author of today’s chapter in Handbook for the Soul.)

I loved the image that Shield gave us in this chapter: that of Michelangelo freeing his marble sculptures from the stone that encased them. “All he needed to do was chisel away everything that was not the completed sculpture, and it would appear. This is the nature of the soul—perfect, yet hidden. Our ‘marble’ can be chiseled away by the passionate desire to know our soul as well as its obstructions.” [1]

Can one “know” the soul? Or, is it best to hold the soul lightly? As I might wear a loose garment? As Shield says, “being completely present with an open heart and open mind.” [2] I see this as being in the ‘now.’ Being open, with no expectations, no preconceptions, no baggage from yesterday. (Or, realistically speaking, as little as possible.)

Clearing the mind is a good way to attempt being completely present. Breathing is another good way. But what if I am focusing too much on negativity? Self-judgment? Especially if I am reactive towards any person, place or thing in my life? The best way to shake off all of this “past remorse or future insecurity” is to let go.

Letting go. I know how to do that. I’ve done that for a number of years, already. Good to know. I appreciate different takes on similar subject matter. Different riffs on the same theme. As Shield said, “Don’t be fooled into thinking you are alone on your journey. . . . It is simply that we take different paths along our collective journey toward the same destination.” [3]

It’s a relief knowing that. As I said before, good to know, God! Thanks! (And I am not being snarky, either!)

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 171.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 173.

Regaining Soulfulness

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, June 26, 2015

SOUL be the soul of that place

Regaining Soulfulness

Ah, for the old days, when a high percentage of Americans attended church on a regular basis. (I am only being partially serious.) I’m talking earlier in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Actually, by today’s standards, church and synagogue attendance has gone down. However, more people are saying they are “spiritual, but not religious.” Whatever that means—because it means different things to different people.

The author of today’s chapter, Phil Cousineau, said that many more Americans do not associate with a specific house of worship today. (This is borne out by reports made about spirituality and the “nones” in various recent newspapers and news magazines.) However, Cousineau was interested in the expressions “divine spark” and “soulful.”

What do you think of when I say “divine spark?” Do you think of something like “the measure of the depths of our lives”[1] when I mention that? This can be contemplation. Slowing down enough to enjoy writing a letter. Attentiveness, thoughtfulness, mindfulness. These are the areas in which I find some suggestions. Good suggestions, too, I may add.

Moreover, according to Cousineau’s chapter in the Handbook for the Soul, there is some kind of American myth that aids in isolationism. Regardless of this tendency to isolation, many people are drawn toward connecting, meeting together, in a cohesive matter. Whether associated with a faith tradition and meeting place, or not. And, that is a welcoming and positive thing! Amen!

Whether you or your loved one believe in connecting, whether contemplating the mysterious continuity that is this world, or the spark inside of you and me is made to go higher and higher, we can say amen for that!

Please, God, help me—help us to become more and more like God. Less and less like the world.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 162.

Sacred Impulse = Soul Impulse

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 25, 2015

sacred space - autumn tree

Sacred Impulse = Soul Impulse

Boy, could I relate to this chapter in Handbook for the Soul. What Jacob Needleman led off with was exactly what my former associate said, on a regular basis. Basic physiology and psychology all during the 20th century claimed that there was no (or, at best, very little) credence in the idea of Soul or spirituality.

My former associate—in a tiny program which had as a major component video/computer/distance learning—saw helpfulness in the narratives of the Bible, regardless of the faith tradition or belief structure held by the curious one. People haven’t changed over the centuries–and the Bible is chock full of narratives highlighting struggles and development of the Soul.

Needleman spoke further, concerned that the connection between each person’s Soul and the sacred impulse were not being named. “Widespread signs throughout the world indicate that our modern culture has left something out. That ‘something’ is the Soul.” [1]

It’s true that the search for a deeper knowledge of the Soul has been going on for a long time; but Needleman suggests that Western civilization could be on the brink of re-learning about Soul. Widespread, enthusiastic interest in all kinds of areas? Noted, thank you! That foundation of Soul needs to be nurtured, developed. And what is one of the best ways to develop that nurturing sacred place within? “To find other people who have the same kind of aim and associate with them. . . Together, you support the search for nourishing the soul.” [2]

Truth, love, service, meditation, silence. These are a few of Needleman’s top ways to (re-)integrate the Soul. Would you like to embark on a journey for Soul? For the sacred within? God willing, yes. I’ll strive to get closer to You, too, God.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 156.

[2] Ibid, 158.

Soul Creation—Nourish the Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SOUL beautiful soul

Soul Creation—Nourish the Soul

Another take on nourishing the Soul. Except, this way is expanding the Soul. This way is experiencing life, in every way. Matthew Fox suggests that “we must work on our souls, enlarging and expanding them. We do so by experiencing all of life—the beauty and the joy as well as the grief and pain.” [1]

This compilation, this book called Handbook for the Soul, offers a number of different aspects and attitudes towards expanding the inner workings of a person. And, with such a smorgasbord laid out for me, I can hardly choose. Perhaps, first one way on one day. Then, perhaps another way the next. And then, a third, and a fourth.

I could go on and on with these various approaches to nourishing and expanding the Soul. But I want to talk more about Fox’s way. He discusses soul work. How to do soul work? By experiencing life fully, deeply, in every way. In every facet.

Fox especially mentions silence and emptiness. Pain and suffering. Yes, sometimes there are great strides forward made at such times, in terms of soul work. In terms of strong emotion running rough shod all over a person, too.

The first thing I think of, when I read Fox’s suggestions, is why he said what he did.

When someone is presently going through some heavy emotion or deep, even raw feelings, sometimes it is wise to have someone to come alongside. Even though I may think I’m dealing with something manageable, things can always come up. Feelings, emotions, reactions, grief, sorrow, anger, grumbling, frustration. Joy, gratitude, relief. All kinds of feelings.

God willing, God will lead me to helpful prayers, nurturing exercises, and freeing meditation.

@chaplaineliza

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 151.