What if we defined and lived like soul is a state of being nurtured? What if our work not only brought us money, but peace and healing? What if our schools taught in such a way that students felt it safe to learn—that being wrong and having time to learn were positive and basic ways to gain knowledge? What if our relationships with others stripped stress from our lives and added smiles to our beings? What if our homes felt like a warm fire on a cold night or a cool drink on a hot day? What if our neighborhoods emanated consideration, our towns were both communal and private, our governments honestly and transparently concerned about the welfare of their constituents? What if, what if, what if?
In the previous post, it was suggested that humans might be a bit better off changing their own minds instead of trying to change the world, especially Inferno and Purgatorio. Just to be clear, one can move to a different environment or work to change the one they’re in and that move or that change can certainly have an effect on the individual. Seeing different ways of doing things or experiencing different environs can open up the mind to see in new ways. Still, it seems to come back to the need for the mind to change if we want to be different. And, if individuals within an organization change their minds and then work together, not only do individuals change, the “mind” of the organization changes. When those two minds change for the better, the soul of us follows suit.
Given the state of human affairs, I’m guessing we could use a bit of change. What we live in now, and from history as I know it, what has dominated human lives, is a world headed toward apocalyptic predictions. From the current state of things this apocalyptic notion seems rather likely. But the apocalypse has not happened yet and I’m an optimist at heart. Besides, it’s more than just pure optimism—as I’ve already proposed, the human ability to actually embrace such soul is already available, it is not awaiting additional evolutionary development.
One thing that might be in the way of embracing the nurturing soul we already have available is the idea and the practice that providing beauty and support has to be earned? What if we changed our minds and made providing beauty and support a given, not something granted by some ever-changing human definition of merit? It seems to me that withholding merit until it is earned is at the heart of our social interactions, including our interaction with our own soul—though we may not actually “own” a soul. And it seems to me to be bad practice. We all deserve. We are all provided for. It is humans that make worthy/unworthy distinctions. In our headlong stampede towards our definition of God, we have instituted unGod-like ways. Such irony.
Understand that I’m not suggesting the untrained should be passed as trained—that we should not recognize different levels of worldly achievement, or that Stalins or Hitlers be heartily welcomed among us. I’m suggesting that if the soul of us, individually and organizationally, inherently grants nurturing and beauty and support, that we would not likely have so many “experts” who are not really experts at all or that Stalins and Hitlers are not likely to arise to begin with, and if they did, they would not gain such widespread support which would likely nullify their negative impact.
Again, as it is with all that I write, this is not new stuff. In my field it is known as humanistic psychology. This is not about being new or about which field is the leader or not. It is about actually stopping the damned predictions about where humanity is headed. A prediction is nothing more than saying that if we continue in a given direction, we will wind up in a given place. Yes, it looks like we’re in some deep trouble and we do love brinkmanship, but there is time to change, if for no other reason than change is a constant and the necessary change requires accessing what is already available—the deeply engrained appreciation for all things that nourish stillness in the midst of busy and good work in the midst of nothingness.
So, what’s the soul of us? Let’s give it some new meaning and some new attention. An individual may have embraced the soul of God, but a society cannot unless we work together. And it’s a lot easier to work together when we know we’re supported, nurtured, and surrounded by beauty.