How To Experience Yourself As A Soul
“The soul is the truth of who we are.” — Marianne Williamson
I’d like to ask you some questions which I hope you will answer after reading this article. If you keep a diary or journal, I invite you to write your answers there because this could be a healing exercise to help you gain greater understanding of yourself. Okay, let’s begin. Do you see yourself as broken in any way? Have you ever been told you are less than perfect? How would you describe your inner dialogue? For instance, are you critical of yourself? Do you judge aspects of your character or physical qualities and wish it were different? What does the term broken mean to you? What does the concept of wholeness mean to you?
I know there’s a lot to think about, but if you answer the questions thoughtfully, it will expand your understanding of yourself. It’s no secret that many people spend their entire life trying to fix themselves so they can be happier. For example, they might work with a therapist or a counsellor, join a gym, or follow a restricted diet to lose weight. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting the value of these pursuits because they are worthwhile. What I’m suggesting is that if we are constantly trying to fix ourselves, who is deciding we need to be fixed? In other words, are your actions related to self-improvement or the need to fix yourself? There’s a distinct difference.
In my experience coaching clients, we decide whether we are broken based on a false perception of not being good enough. So, we undertake the journey of fixing aspects of ourselves so we can like who we are. Regrettably, it seldom works as planned because there is always something to fix, something to heal and something to transform. Our life is never complete and no matter how long we live, our job of self-improvement is never finished. We will never get the work done in one lifetime because we are limited in how much we can do to improve ourselves. My impression is that we ought to embrace who we are now, knowing we are whole and perfect as we are.
Expressed differently: we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience and therefore, spirit does not identify itself with being broken or flawed. That is, as a soul, our brokenness is not identifiable to our higher self. It is our egoic mind that identifies with the concept of being flawed. Does this make sense? Can you see that who you are as a person is not who you are as a soul? Therefore, if we can see ourselves as a soul, instead of flesh and bones, we can relate to ourselves through the eyes of love and compassion. In fact, we can extend this idea to how we see others. I’m not saying it will be easy, but each of us has a soulful quality and if we can connect with that part of another person, we can see past their difficulties.
Perfection And Wholeness Are Our Core Nature
“Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.” — Parker J. Palmer
So, if we want to transform ourselves from brokenness to wholeness, we must see ourselves through the lens of love. As you know, love knows no bounds or limits. Love does not place restrictions or judgement on who we are, but embraces who we are becoming. We are a work in progress and, as alluded to earlier, our work of self-improvement will never be finished in this lifetime. We can move the needle so far and we ought to be grateful to overcome our challenges, so we can become a better version of ourselves. I liken it to painting a masterpiece and devoting our entire life to the task. We might add subtle brushstrokes here and there to create an impression of who we’d like to be. If you’ve read the book by author Irving Stone titled: The Agony And The Ecstasy, the Italian Renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo spent his entire life creating countless masterpieces. For instance, it took him five years to paint the Sistine chapel. His work was one of devotion to beauty and a higher calling, and I invite you to adopt a similar approach to your life. Make your life a devotion to honour the beauty of your soul’s nature.
Is this something you’re willing to give your attention to? Could you stop trying to constantly fix yourself and decide you are perfect as you are? This change in thinking can transform your life. It requires seeing yourself through the eyes of love and compassion instead of criticism and judgement. Let’s be real here. I’m not implying each of us is perfect and whole as human beings because we have faults and insecurities. I’m suggesting, as soul beings, perfection and wholeness are our core nature. When we identify with these qualities, we can embody this on a cellular level. We can bring these qualities into existence by changing our consciousness because, as Albert Einstein once said: “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” We transcend our thinking and create a new awareness in which to relate to ourselves.
This is the essence of this article; to embody the qualities as a soul. And how will you recognise this true nature I speak of? It is vested in purity, love, peace, joy, bliss, wisdom, and perfection, to name a few. Therefore, I invite you to focus on these qualities, through practices like meditation or journaling and bring them into your being. How can you do this? Let’s take the quality of peace, for example. Try to be more peaceful in the way you communicate with others. You might choose to be less judgemental and critical of other people. You might stop gossiping about others and model yourself to those who embody peace. People like the Dalai Lama or the late Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thích Nhất Hạnh. Look at someone you can relate to as the embodiment of peace because if that quality exists in them, it is certain you can embody those qualities, too.
Considering this, I invite you to answer the questions in the opening paragraph in your journal or diary. You needn’t complete this in one sitting, so take your time over a week or longer if necessary. Come back to it often and add to your answers. The clearer you become about who you’d like to be, the more clarity you gain to transcend the limitations of perceiving yourself as broken. Start by coming home to yourself and getting to know who you are as a soul being and the rest are details. After all, if we spend a lot of time trying to fix ourselves because we have decided we are broken, then we have the power to decide we are whole and perfect.