As humans, we are looking for a place to find rest for our souls. We have this innate drive to find comfort, but succumb to the mundane, sidestepping what really matters. We will then flow and eventually find our way towards rest or remain in limbo. At least, Thomas Moore believes so. Moore is a writer and former monk who spent 13 years serving in the Roman Catholic church. He shared with Oprah that our spirit wants to move into a better world, but the soul is different. “The deep soul has more to do with things that are very ordinary, a part of ordinary life that you feel intimately. The first point about the soul is the soul needs a home. It needs a sense of home."
In Christianity, it is believed that the soul leaves the earth and joins God forever. Judaism teaches us that nothing happens after death and the body will be resurrected when God decides to do so. Then there are people who have no connection to the soul and pay little attention to it. Yet, the soul is more than what happens to us when death enters, it's living a full life now, regardless of the time that you have left. Moore has been on the journey awhile and we can invite some of his insights into our worlds. Let's look at 5 practical ways we can change course and enjoy our lives.
Setbacks can be helpful.The premise that difficulties are a good thing sounds ludicrous for sure. Yet, disappointments, betrayals and losses serve the soul when there is a tragedy. "The soul is partly in time and partly in eternity. We might remember the part that resides in eternity when we feel despair over the part that is in life.” In a more practical sense, we can not allow our hurts and challenges to shape us. This comes from a decision in the heart and mind to not become trapped. Let's say you heard a rumor that a supervisor discussed personal matters to a colleague. Yes, this is not professional and not above reproach, but you need to confront and not become encased in bitterness due to this emotional setback.
Challenges can help you.Transforming your challenges involves in the way that you live. Use challenges to make you sharper. Once you change this mindset, you won't go into a tailspin every time something arises. In life, it is vital that we understand the power of our thoughts and our thought life. Moore explained that it's natural to want to get rid of the pain. “Observance means first of all listening and looking carefully at what is being revealed in the suffering. An intent to heal can get in the way of seeing.” Cast down anything that will take your emotions into a dark place. Think about something else that requires concentration like a quote or read something positive. Dealing with the roughness of life can flatten your soul. When we can pause and reassess what we can gain from it, we take ourselves out of neutral.
Slow down.“How many times do we lose an occasion for soul work by leaping ahead to final solutions without pausing to savor the undertones? We are a radically bottom-line society, eager to act," he said. We are always in motion and slowing down for many seems like it's a weakness. You are not going to miss out if you slow down and become still. In fact, you might enjoy life more. You need alone time and a chance to settle your mind as you can't fight battles every day and expect to be feeling energized. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to hold up your accomplishments to anyone else’s, and you can always take a detour when you need to pull yourself back from the chaos.
Connect with nature.Take a few minutes and experience nature as this connection feeds the soul. “It is in the nature of things to be drawn to the very experiences that will spoil our innocence, transform our lives, and give us necessary complexity and depth,” he wrote. Within the world of nature, you will find life, change and a sense that you don't need to be in control. This will re-calibrate your mind, spirit and body. Nature settles your mind and the soul down. Take a walk or hike on a scenic trail, sit on the porch to admire the night sky or take a country drive.
Get your relationships right.
Experiencing turmoil in our relationships will steal peace. If you want to thrive now and be at rest on the journey, settle things at home. You have to deal with certain things, like differences. "As you work things out, you actually become a more mature person. That's a very good way in which a relationship serves your soul," he said. Now this will be painful, but go to the other person and seek forgiveness or apologize. Doing this will help take down the walls if there is any friction. You may be at odds with several people. Do what you can to forgive them and free them from the heart. If people won't accept your offer in humility you can move on. When there is conflict, love can't grow and it becomes inoperative. There is no richness in life when there is division.
What we really are searching for is a place where we can thumb through a manual and find accessible solutions on the meaning of life. It's the stuff that allows theologians and philosophers to keep their jobs. Yet, we are part of a puzzle where pertinent pieces remain missing. Perhaps, when we accept this, our souls can be more at ease on the way to its permanent home.