The neglected soul - Adriaan Bekman - ebook

The neglected soul ebook

Adriaan Bekman

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Opis

Let us be clear: our time does not favour our understanding of soul. It is all about body culture, it is all about spiritual trips. For many of us the soul is a vague expression; it is something we cannot find any sensible concept for. That is a pity. In this book we will explore fundamental moments in life where the soul plays a dominant role. We will explore the relevance of soul for our lives and we will demonstrate ways of soul handling, soul nourishment, soul strengthening, soul development that can give us a sense-full life. Personal examples will illustrate this. I see the handling of the soul as the greatest challenge for human beings also today. Our struggle in life is our dealing with soul questions. Is it my "I" that steers the soul, or is it someone or something else? Can it not be that my father is the steering pilot in my soul, or my mother sometimes? Is my soul not filled with centuries of human religious creations, strong scientifically based convictions and strong family habits? It is not self-evident that my "I" steers and occupies the soul all the time. So let us explore soul, let us give soul the attention it deserves. In this book we will explore soul. It is our aim to demonstrate the importance of soul for our life quality. It is our aim to demonstrate that we create our own soul to a great extent and that it is an art of living today to understand our soul and to learn how to handle our soul.

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Liczba stron: 239




Contents

Introduction

Crucial expressions of soul in our biography

Birth

Growing up

Puberty

Maturity

Marriage

Making love

Creating a family

Religious belief

Growing older

Getting ill

Dying

THE BRIDGE

Crucial expressions of soul in our work life

Going to college

First job experience

Career development

Professional role

Leadership

Community building

Sense making

Co-operation

Conflict

Change

Judgement building

Decision taking

THE BRIDGE

Crucial expressions of soul in our reflective life

Meditating

Praying

Dialoguing

Writing and reading

Storytelling

Researching

Sleeping

Dreaming

THE BRIDGE

Crucial expressions of soul development

Suffering

Healing

Helping

Questioning

Reading

Creating art

Creating objects

Taking initiatives

Innovating

THE BRIDGE

The philosophical foundation for soul exploration

Plato

Paul

Nicolai de Cusa

Benedictus de Spinoza

Friedrich Nietzsche

Soren Kierkegaard

Michel Foucault

Hannah Ahrendt

THE END

Bibliography

Introduction

Let me be clear: our time does not favour any understanding of soul. It is all about body culture, it is all about spiritual trips. For many of us the soul is a vague expression; it is something we cannot find any sensible concept for. Many of us believe that the body is all there is. It is the brain that regulates everything, is it not? If you want to escape the body, then you can still embrace the spirit.

In my opinion however I see body and spirit as gifts to us. They are facts of our lives. Keeping the body going and keeping the spirit open, that is what matters and that is of course very important to us. The soul on the contrary is a potential something that can come into existence and that we have to a high extent created ourselves. It is what to a great extent makes our lives to what they are. The soul expresses itself in life qualities like being fit or being tired, being miserable or being happy, being stuck or developing yourself. It is the soul that makes the difference in our lives. That is also what Nietzsche states when he writes about life: We are busy with questions of being, logic, reasoning but that is not life. Life is development, becoming, not knowing, surprise.

So let me explore soul, let us give soul the attention it deserves.

In this book I will explore soul. It is my aim to demonstrate the importance of soul for our life quality. It is my aim to demonstrate that we create our own soul to a great extent and that it is an art of living today to understand soul and to learn how to handle soul.

Before starting this exploration it is a good thing to clarify some basic points concerning soul. They form the basis of our way of exploring soul.

The first point is a basic philosophical point. Philosophers describe our life reality from two different perspectives.

The first perspective is that we are part of a world of being. There is existence and we are part of it. This world of being is given to us and we are not really able to explore this being, to understand it. This raises questions like: “What is the origin of human life”, “Is it created by gods, the big bang or whatever might be our best guess”.

The second perspective is that we appear, that we have some kind of consciousness of what is there, that we are aware of what we experience, we observe, we judge and that we take decisions. This reality we can explore, we can express it in terms of art, of theories and models. This is what we create ourselves but what we can also destroy again.

The first reality I call a natural-cosmic reality that manifests itself on earth. We are part of it, we meet it when we are born and we leave this natural-cosmic earth world of being when we die. Our body and spirit are part of this natural-cosmic world.

The second reality I call an organized reality. We create it, we have to care for it, and we give it a sense ourselves. This is the world of the soul.

This gives us the fascinating understanding that we are part of two worlds that are fundamentally different but still are what we are. I see the natural-cosmic world as a world of which body and spirit are a part. I see the organized world as the world of which our soul is a part. Or to put it more strongly: it is the organized world that expresses the human soul. This is the thing that makes us different from any other natural-cosmic being in this world.

The second point concerns the basic questions we have as human beings, questions that we cannot answer ourselves in a definite way. These questions concern the connection between these two worlds we are part of. The first question is: “Is there a God?” This question mirrors the question of our origin. Are we created by an almighty being, out of which we come and towards we will go after we die? Some of us believe we do, others think this is a ridiculous idea. Over thousands of years we have not been able to answer this question with a definite yes or no. We may believe there is an existence after we die, but we do not know for sure. We can move between ideas like the idea of reincarnation and the idea of one single life that ends nowhere. Connected to this question is the second question: “Is there a soul?” We struggle with this question of soul. We do not and need not basically discuss the existence of body and spirit but we do have to discuss the existence of soul. Some say there is no soul and some say all is soul. We have not been able to find the definite answer. The third question, connected to the first two questions is: “Are we free?” Is our destiny defined or are we free to decide on our own lives. Some say we are all predestined, some say we are free beings, maybe the only free beings on this planet.

It seems that these three questions cannot be answered in a definite way. I came to the conclusion that these three questions, that have kept us busy for over thousands of years, are not questions that look for truth, but they are questions that help us to create sense in human life on this earth. They are in a way “why” questions.

That is an amazing discovery. It does not make sense to look for the absolute truth with these three questions, but it makes sense that raising these questions and living with these questions in many different forms does create sense to our lives, a sense that depends on the way you deal with these questions yourself.

If you are a strong believer in a life after death or of reincarnation of yourself in a new life on earth, this will give you a very specific basis for interpreting the facts of life. At every meeting with another person for instance you feel that this person is someone you have or have not met before because this person feels familiar to you or feels like a complete stranger. If you believe there is only one life to live and that is all there is, then meeting someone else as a life experience will have a different meaning for you.

The third point is the relation between body, spirit and soul. I described body and spirit as part of the world of being, while I described soul as belonging to the world of appearing, of becoming. I can say: “The body is, the spirit is”, while I say: “The soul appears and disappears”. What does this mean? It could mean that body and spirit are part of a natural-cosmic world. This world has it own laws of existence. These laws are there and they do not change. It is basically a harmonic world that means that all is related to all. The soul however appears and disappears, that is, it comes and goes. The soul is not in harmony but the soul is paradox. Nothing is related to nothing, but we create the relation ourselves. A strong expression of soul is our thinking, our feeling and our wanting. These are qualities of our inner world. Thoughts come and go, like feelings and actions. Our thoughts, feelings and actions can be disconnected from each other. We have to make the connection ourselves all the time. The world of body and spirit however is a world of laws. They completely depend on these laws. If the blood does not flow anymore, we will soon die, the same is true when the breathing stops. The thinking of a thought however can or cannot return in the same way. Every time it is a bit different. In time we build up a soul construct that expresses itself in our speaking, in our memory, in our moral consciousness. But it also expresses itself in all the organized constructs such as our buildings, tools, procedures and decisions, in all that man can create. The soul world comes and goes. In that sense the soul is “becoming”.

The fourth point is that the human spirit is the same as what I call the human “I”. Each of us has an “I” and this “I” is not to be overlooked. The “I” is expressed in my name. The “I” cannot be missed, as my being is evident. This also goes for the body. It is my body in which I live and another person lives in another body and is another “I”. However, with soul this is not so clear. What is my soul, what is the soul of another person? Can we be one soul? I suppose we can. The soul can be occupied by other beings. The soul can be full of joy or can be empty as a prison cell.

I see the handling of the soul as the greatest challenge for human beings. Is it my “I” that steers the soul, or is it someone or something else? Can it not be that my father is the steering pilot in my soul, or my mother sometimes? Is my soul not filled with centuries of human religious creations, strong scientifically based convictions and strong family habits? It is not self-evident that my “I” steers and occupies the soul all the time.

In this book I will strongly call for the use of the ability of our own “I” to run and steer the soul as much as possible. I will also call for the use of the ability to focus on the other person as an individual “I” appearing in the soul and not only to concentrate on our own soul involvement. It is the suffering in the soul of another person that can be seen as the focus for my own existence. This is the optimum soul condition: being yourself in the soul and being connected to the question that the other soul brings to you. I can recommend you to be aware of what happens when you meet another person, not only eye to eye but also “I” to “I”. You will notice and experience this as a very impressive event because immediately the intense meeting of two individuals, who are fully there, bridges all that could create problems and differences.

We can destroy our soul in pure egoism but we can also destroy the soul by letting in everything that wants to dominate our soul life. It is the art of balancing these two soul forces.

We can be aware of our own soul self interest and at the same time we can be aware of the interest of the other person we meet.

In this book I will explore fundamental moments in life where the soul plays a dominant role. I will explore the relevance of soul for our lives and I will demonstrate ways of soul handling, soul nourishment, soul strengthening, soul development that will give us a meaningful life.

I hope this will support ones own efforts to make sense in life, to make sense out of all that happens to you and bring yourself to a fulfilled life in being a support to others.

Crucial expressions of soul in our biography

It is our biography that reveals the crucial expressions of the soul on special moments in our life.

I will explore these moments like:

Birth

Growing up

Puberty

Maturity

Marriage

Making love

Creating a family

Religious beliefs

Growing older

Getting sick

Dying

It is our biography that best shows the existence of the soul. In our biography there are happenings that make us appear fully. Although these happenings are in a way archetypical as we all know them and experience them, they are also very individual expressions of being and unique appearances of the “I” in the soul.

Let me explore some of these important moments in life.

Birth

We are born ourselves and we give birth to others. One can experience the birth of a new child. Just recently my daughter Michaela had her first child Anne and I visited her and held her baby in my arms. I remembered how I stood at my wife’s bedside, thirty-five years ago, when she delivered Michaela. Michaela’s birth took place at home in the late evening. The doctor was at a party and had to rush to our house. I guess he had had some drinks; he was in a jolly good mood, sitting on his bended knees against the wall. It was my second child and her birth was without great difficulty. A miracle to have a child in your arms, perfectly designed, giving its first cry and drinking milk from your wife’s breast. And now I stood with Anne in my arms and saw this beautiful child, sleeping and fully at peace. Peter, the father, was excited about this first child. He had hesitated for many years asking himself the question if he was ready to raise a child. You are ready at the moment the child is there, is my experience. It is very different anyway from what you have imagined before. The child is there and you will be father and mother till you die. There is no escaping. It is a natural fact, a law of nature.

Once I heard a doctor describe the process of the creation of a child within the mother’s body. It was a miraculous story about organs being formed at first outside and then being integrated inside the baby’s body. The majestic head being formed, the arms and legs as hopeless parts that have to wait for the time that they can start to play their role. We experience the great moment of birth when the child arrives and will be disconnected from the mother. It breathes and it drinks and it sleeps by itself. It slowly opens its eyes. The first smile, the first sound, the first word. It is the child’s soul that appears as it is invited to appear by us standing around her.

The soul appears through our common communication, through our continuous dialogue with each other and with all that shows itself. A continuous process starts of being born, of soul awakening. This process of being born and soul awakening will continue till we die. During our whole biography we experience moments when something new is born in us, when we change and become other persons, where the soul is in transformation. There are moments when new talents unfold themselves, moments where we find a new belief, new insights, new sense making reflections.

This process of being born is the process of the soul coming into existence. From the moment we enter this world it is our soul that takes the lead. We breathe, we drink, we sleep and later we speak and move. Like Aristotle told us: it is the soul that moves the body. In the first years of our life we are very strongly a soul awakening being. We live in the atmosphere that we are surrounded by. The family, the house, the room and bed we lie in, the radio that plays, all this carries us. The baby lives as soul in its surrounding and is totally sensitive to what happens there. Slowly the baby soul closes itself, the soul enters deeper into the body and it becomes embedded in the body. An inner space arises.

At around the age of three there is another crucial moment of birth in life. The “I” of the young child consciously arrives in the soul. Till that moment the “I” had to hold back as a spirit. It was still housed in the pre-natal world. But when the child stands up and moves, when the child soul is more embedded in the child, then the “I” is ready to enter. The child experiences itself that it is an “I”. It will use the word “I” for the first time. From then on a difference is experienced between the world around and the self. This is a gap that will never be closed any-more by the natural-cosmic world. It has to be bridged by the person him- or herself.

When the “I” enters the soul, then this soul is not totally fulfilled by its natural-cosmic surroundings anymore. The soul experiences an empty space, an open space in which the “I” can start to work and create a fulfilling content for the soul itself. This is the challenge that will never end anymore in this life. It is an adventurous process in which the soul can fail. The emptiness can become overwhelming and force the “I” to withdraw. The empty space in the soul is attractive to all other beings who look for a place to live and to manifest themselves here on earth. This can be the partner, the neighbour, it can be the parent but also imaginative beings that want to occupy the soul. One’s own “I” is not able anymore to enter the soul and steer. This leads to life drama.

Sometimes the soul has difficulty in manifesting itself through the body.

The body can be handicapped from the start. That hinders the soul to fully unfold. The soul cannot find the right spaces to appear in and so the development of the soul is blocked. The “I” that is waiting to arrive in the soul is not given the opportunity to do so. It has to find its existence close to the soul but it cannot take the lead. It is then up to the persons who carry and support the handicapped person to appeal to the “I” of this person in all they do. Although the process of soul development is very slow, it is nevertheless possible in time and we can see how the handicapped person takes steps and appears to others as an individual soul.

The “I” of one person can appeal to the “I” of another person to appear and take the lead. That is the state of the soul today. The soul has fallen out of its natural context during thousands of years of human soul development and now fully stands on its own feet. Then the other soul becomes our partner to take steps in soul development. The other person becomes my teacher and I will be other people’s teacher.

This is what our biography shows us. We can see the persons who have supported us to become and grow as souls and we can see the persons that we have been the partners for to make this happen. This is what really matters in life today. This requires us to become much more conscious about the soul and soul development and to become aware of the responsibility we bear in this.

Growing up

The soul manifests itself as our thinking, our feeling and our will. These are the three beautiful manifestations of the soul. When growing up we can experience that these three soul forces slowly appear and become available to our “I” to start to work with.

The will is very much connected to our arms and legs and skin. Our lower organs, situated in the belly, are also closely connected to will. It is the vast repeating system of digesting, of sleeping, of acting; all this is a manifestation of will. Our will manifests itself clearly through our doing. Our eating, our breathing, our moving, our actions are manifestations of the soul as will. This will shows itself in the energy we have. Our body resistance system is closely connected to the will and its energy household. It is the protection zone against all kinds of intruders that want to dominate the corpus and use up our energy for themselves.

Feeling is very much connected to the heart-lung area. This area regulates the bloodstream and the breathing. It is the internal blood circulation in which all life forces are being transformed to our feeling energy and it is the interactive breathing air in and out that gives us the oxygen that feeds this and stimulates this to happen in the bloodstream. We can experience what is going on through our feelings and this is the soul as our sensitivity. We have a half-conscious awareness of ourselves and of the others there and what is going on between us. The feeling is a kind of observation force that makes the soul aware of the situation it is in. The soul becomes ever more sensitive through the fine-tuning of the feelings that manifest themselves in connection to further life experiences.

Thinking is very much concentrated in the head. It is this reflective force that is the strongest and most conscious manifestation of the soul. In our brains the system is at work that allows the ideas that are around us to enter and manifest themselves. These ideas are manifestations of beings that want to enter our consciousness. In the brain death processes are strongest. The brain is the most perfectly formed organ from our birth on and it is the brain that carries our thinking through in which at first our own “I” can start to manifest itself. The “I” forms ideas and expresses them in concepts and language. We also form and develop memory and our moral consciousness in our brain.

The process of growing up is the process in which the soul starts to unfold itself. This process of unfolding is on the one hand connected to the growing of the body and on the other hand the appearance of our “I” in the soul. On arrival the body and the “I” have already been formed in their basic structure. They have to grow in space and time so that the soul can start to develop itself to a higher state of being.

This manifestation of the development of the soul is the process of learning. In our first years on earth we integrate the wisdom that has been developed by humanity during many centuries in our personal life. In a speed up process we go through this process of development of humanity. The soul enters in the soul of humanity on earth. This soul of humanity has been created by former generations and it is now the entrance to life on earth of the individual soul.

Today we enter with our birth in the school of humanity that has become a worldwide school. In the earlier periods of humanity schools were local. We became fully embedded in local culture, the habits and lifestyle of local and regional communities. Today all of us are embedded in a world economy that defines our existence to a great extent. We are still embedded in the family, the local community, the regional community, but now all of us are also part of a national community and the world community. Today it is the individual soul that has to meet all these community souls in life. Growing up today is growing up into a world soul. This happens in the organizational world created worldwide. At an early age we are already confronted with all kinds of organization systems like child care centres, TV, the Internet, cars and planes that humans have created and are using. We enter in an organized life, an organized soul, and learn to handle these worldwide systems. For that purpose technology is an ever-strengthening force that occupies the soul. All of us have to deal with this. At an early stage in life we become aware of what is going on in the world through the media. The battles and suffering, the worldwide sports events, the various manifestations of worldwide religious movements, we have to deal with these overwhelming influences on our soul and we have to struggle already at a young age to handle these influences.

Whereas in the far past we could live a biography that was rather predictable, we now live a biography that is a surprise to ourselves. We do not have to enter in the life of our parents, take over their beliefs, their profession, and their life style for all of our lifetime. We meet all kinds of influences of a world community and it is up to us what influences we allow to enter our souls and what influences we let pass by.

Growing up today is an adventure story in which it is hard to predict what is going to happen in life. Young children are exposed to extended programmes of sport, art and excitement apart from day-to-day schoolwork. Parents are busy organizing the already complex lives of their children. In this complex life the young child experiences many influences from the many people he or she already has to deal with. The soul of the young child can easily get confused. Many young children already need tranquilizers to handle the stress. The soul of the child emancipates quickly from being in a protective family surrounding to being in an unprotected organized surrounding. The “I” of the young child struggles to find the way into the soul and master the soul that is already so much occupied by all these influences.

During the first years of life the child mobilizes the will forces in arriving in this world. It learns to move, to stand up and to experience the surroundings in a physical way. It learns to speak and to play. It learns to observe, to taste. The whole process of the soul is to take care of the embodiment of the person. Is this person going to be at home in his body, does he really enter the body? This process of embodiment works autonomously and mainly unconsciously.

After the first seven years it is the inner world of the child that is the main territory to be explored. Here it is the feeling that will be dominant and that must be mastered. The child’s phantasy leads the child through all the different feelings a human being can experience. In these next seven years the feeling life of the person is basically created and this soul appearance will keep for the rest of one’s life. The whole process of the soul in this phase is to become sensitive and able to respond to all those impressions by adequate expressions. Will the soul be colourfully expressive? This process of the development of the inner creative world happens half consciously and it needs a specific effort to make this soul development happen. Teachers who help but sometimes hinder the creative growth of the child guide the child.

Then in the next seven years the thinking soul unfolds. We start to become more aware of the fact that the world and ourselves are two different things. There is not so much a natural cohesion between world and my soul anymore. I start to see that I am different and I start to make my own sense of what is happening to me and around me. The soul strives to become conscious and aware. It starts to understand and formulate, it starts to express itself in an intellectual way. This gives us the powerful experience that we can be free beings and that we can connect to others and the world through our own creative effort.