“Soul” is one of those words like “love”. Those words can be used in so many different ways that they can practically lose their meanings altogether. When I use “soul”, I’m talking about that which is deepest within us that at the same time transcends us, helping us grasp our radical interconnectedness with all that is. “Soul” is that point where our unique selves meet “us”, and where we touch that Benevolence/Goodness/”God-ness” that so many of us, across all cultures and throughout history, have intuited. I like the ambiguity of the word, a lot. “Soul” is a symbol that points beyond itself, encouraging associations and resonances with much that is within our human depths of psyche.
Recently I came across a description of “soul” that fully resonates with my understanding: “Finally, we use the term ‘soul’ to denote our immanent human value. . . soul implies relatedness, complexity, and vulnerability. Frequently, we are forced as children to abandon the tender, authentic needs of our souls. As James Hillman has pointed out, soul offers an approach to life as sacred, an orientation toward depth. It brings a a quality of awareness that is reflective, imaginative, and downward, engaged with the dailiness of things.” Romancing the Shadow: Illuminating the Dark Side of the Soul, by Connie Zweig, Ph.D., and Steve Wolf, Ph.D.; p. 19.
So what I mean by “making soul” is the cultivation of depth awareness, of the awareness that life is so much bigger and more mysterious than we grasp at any particular moment, and the openness to making this depth more and more conscious in our daily reflections, tasks, and interactions.
So does that make sense? Remember, things don’t always have to make complete sense before we can know that these insights are valuable and intriguing, helping us to create ourselves in conscious response to all that is around us. Mystery. Unfolding.
With warmth and care,