When I was young, back in one of my prior lives as a Catholic child going to catechism every Saturday morning, I was taught to pray for the deliverance of my soul when I died. And as a rather sickly child, death was not an entirely remote possibility. So while lying on my sickbed I had ample time to contemplate my soul’s deliverance.
What was it exactly that was going to be delivered? To whom? And by whom?
I decided my soul must be at least as important as my favorite party dress. And, still having a lot of wear in it, I suspected that party dress would be handed on to someone needy if I died.
Being not an overly generous child – I only had one party dress – I wasn’t exactly enamored with this idea. Along with this whole situation was added a lot of resentment toward my soul – whatever it was – at the idea of abandoning me when I died.
Strangely enough, I never blamed God. Perhaps it was because I had a strong respect for God, so if He wanted my soul back then that’s the way it was suppose to be, I guess. I suspect, however, that my lack of blame had more to do with the fact that I didn’t really associated my soul with God – whoever He was.
After I regained my health I pretty much stopped worrying about the deliverance of my soul, to say nothing of my party dress – which I’d outgrown, anyway. I wasn’t having a whole lot of contact with my soul while alive, I couldn’t imagine I’d miss it much once dead.
It was only after many years of spiritual study and learning some of the characteristics of the soul that I began to associate it with God. For instance, it isn’t that we as physical beings are extensions of God as we so often hear, but that our soul is a unique, individualized extension of God. The word I like best to describe this activity of soul-life is differentiated God – the distinct difference that characterizes each of us while still remaining part of the Whole. I equate it to a diamond of which our souls, individually, are the facets – each glowing in it’s own unique way but able to shine only because it is part of the One Diamond.
When I learned this valuable distinction between our physical beings and our soul-beings, I allowed my physical being to take its rightful place as merely a reflection of my thoughts and beliefs about myself and the world. My soul then took its rightful place as my own personal piece of God.
This became strongly apparent during the years that I sought a guru, a teacher who’s beliefs I could grasp as my own. I followed many mystics and wise teachers over the years, but knew I hadn’t found my guru when each time I was once again drawn on to study with the next one. Eventually I learned through my Hindu studies that my true Guru is within me. It is my Soul, that which the Hindus call our Psychic Being. It is in that way that I learned that my soul is my Inner Self, my True Self.
Last week I had three events occur that tied this True-Self concept together for me. The first was rereading the book, The Legend of Bagger Vance. While researching I’d learned that this story is a modern-day version of the Bhagavad Gita, The most widely read of all Hindu scriptures.
The Bagger Vance story is the game of Life and takes place on a golf course. The Gita explains the game of Life in terms of a battlefield. I’m assured by my golfer friends that the similarity is easily understandable. In both cases the game must be played to the best that defines each man. In the golf story, Bagger Vance, the modern-day Krishna, tells the player that within each person is his Authentic Swing and it is only by becoming one with the Field can that Authentic Swing be found and expressed.
We find our Authentic Swing, our Authentic Self when we reconnect with the Whole, the Field of All-That-Is. Only when we break through the layer of outer appearances will we find our Authentic Swing, our True Self. These outer appearances are the fears, guilt, anger, anxiety, stress and attachments which we all hold on to as part of our identity.
The second thing that tied in with this True Self concept occurred while my husband and I were taking our daily walk in the hills above our home. We found a snake-skin at the side of the road (without the snake). It was complete and perfectly formed, about 5 feet long, transparent and very fragile. We carried it gently home and placed it on a shelf in our library.
This skin made me aware of how wonderful it would be to be able to shed my outer layer of beliefs and attachments whenever the old had served their purpose – not as a physical death, but as a periodic cleansing while living in this body.
About that time the third event occurred. My long-time Minnesota friend called to tell me her husband had suffered a stroke and she desired my prayers. I immediately took him (mentally and spiritually) into meditation with me. During this meditation I was shown a battle field – reminiscent, I assume, of my recent encounter with the Gita battlefield.
In this vision were many people, all with bandages somewhere on their bodies – around their heads, across their eyes, wrapped around their chests and arms and legs. As they stood there, mentally, physically and emotionally wounded, I realized we are all the walking-wounded with our layers of anger, fear, guilt, resentments, our control issues, and are attachment-to-outcome issues.
And then I thought of the snake shedding its outworn skin. As this remembrance flickered through my meditation the people in my vision began dropping their outer skin. What was left was an inner, glowing, new body, free from all the wounds and outer baggage.
At the center of each person throbbed a vivid heart. It’s was like the little alien in the movie E T whose heart-beat was so strong it almost came through his chest. I was seeing the Heart-Lights, the Soul-Lights, of the Spiritual Warriors on my battlefield-vision of life.
Within each of us is our Authentic Self, that personal part of God we can claim as our own. Our Soul. This is the God we can access whenever we have questions or needs because it’s that differentiated part of God that responds to each of us personally. It is our own Inner Self, our own Guru.
It has always been there, will always be there for you. It will not be delivered to anyone else when you decide to leave this body. It’s yours for eternity. To contact it you have only to open to your Authentic Self.
So, let your Heart-Light shine.