If there isn’t a “God out there” to guide us (Read Parts I and Parts II of this week’s series “God Does Not Save”), then where do we find the guidance we need to navigate this thing called life? (cue Prince…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD4F2n9pKiw )
When leaving behind the idea of the “old man in the sky God” who is out there, puppet mastering our lives, or mostly leaving us on our own to suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” there is no longer someone “out there” to turn to for guidance, support, direction, comfort and healing. The most frightening thing about leaving behind the “old man in the sky God” is the fear that we really are alone as atheists or nihilists might suggest. This is absolutely not true. Instead of looking to the “God out there,” we turn within and look toward ourselves. Specifically, we look to our SOUL…..the Divine within us that is seeking to be known in the world through us….the part of us that is guided by FREEDOM and by LOVE. The Soul is the Divine within showing us our path and helping us to see and to know what is showing up in support of the path the Soul has chosen for itself in this life – the life it chose to live and experience through us.
I think of the Soul as our “truth barometer” or as our inner compass. This is the voice that speaks to us of love, of freedom, of joy, peace, harmony, and expansiveness. But more than speaking, the Soul recognizes. As St. Ignatius of Loyola observed, the Soul’s recognition is known through physical and emotional sensations that like a magnet of sorts, help us to know what is and is not in support of our Soul’s purpose or desire. That which is not in our Soul’s purpose feels “bad.” That which is in our Soul’s purpose feels “good.” But this is not the same kind of good and bad we normally think of…but is more accurately known through subtle sensations that St. Ignatius identified as consolation or desolation. Consolation is the feeling of expansiveness, helping us to feel peaceful, content, whole, joyful and which leads us toward love. Desolation is known by feelings of limitation, confusion, doubt, worry and fear. Discernment is the process we use to identify which voice is speaking….desolation (not consistent with our Soul’s purpose) or consolation (consistent with our Soul’s purpose), and then to choose which voice we will listen to.
The Soul is the Divine living in us and trying to be itself through us and the Soul is guiding us toward its own purpose if we would only listen to it. In every moment of every day, the Soul is speaking and it is telling us through subtle and sometime obvious cues if we are following its true path or not. Everything that happens in our daily life is there to serve the purpose of the Soul and in every encounter the Soul tells us where we are on the path by how we are feeling in the encounter and by how we choose to respond. If the encounter is challenging, the Soul will guide us toward a response that is life-giving, compassionate, loving, non-violent. The ego/false-self will guide us to respond from a place of fear, anxiety, worry, the need to control. The Soul helps us to recognize those who will be a source of support in our Soul’s path and those who will be a hindrance. The Soul tells us which opportunities to pursue, which jobs will suit its purpose, what environments will support it and where we are called to live and how we are called to spend our time. Again, we need simply listen to this inner compass, this truth barometer to know where we are going and how to get there. The challenge is that for most of us, we have been taught to listen to everything else BUT our Soul.
We have been taught to listen to the outside perceived (and often self-appointed) authorities for guidance and it is their voices who often become the voice of our false-self. These are the voices that govern through fear and who use guilt to manipulate. These are the voices that become our inner critic and who speak to us in “shoulds.”
For Jesus, these voices were those of the religious authorities who questioned his methods, his motivation and his “God.” These were the voices of “Satan” who tempted him in the desert and in the Garden of Gethsemane. These were the voices of Peter and the other disciples who wanted him to be their Warrior King, instead of their teacher of love. These were the voices of his family who demanded him to stop embarrassing them through his teachings. These were the voices of all those who tried to tempt him from his path of knowing the LOVE that he was and in knowing the God that dwelled within him, and the voices of all those who wanted to stop him from sharing this “secret” with others. Instead of listening to these outside (and inner) voices of fear, doubt, critique, condemnation, etc., he chose to listen to the voice of his Soul – the voice of the Divine that lived in him and found its purpose through him.
The same will be true for us when we listen to the voice of the Soul. No one said it would be easy (and Jesus demonstrated), but it is the voice that leads us toward our truth and to a life of freedom where our life has meaning and purpose and where we are fulfilled in living this life for our own sake and in support of the betterment of the world.
For support in listening to the voice of your Soul, Lauri Ann Lumby is available for one-on-one mentoring. Call or email today (920) 230-1313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.