If we look at the diagram, the soul is the middle realm between our physical body and our spirit. The soul is where we meet ourselves and our world. So the soul is all about relationships – relationships with ourselves and with others. A healthy soul is one that has rich and full experiences (where we connect to the world and people around us). For this to happen we need skills – social skills, communication skills, work skills.
The gateway to the soul and to developing our relationship ability in is through our senses. It is our senses that enable us to take in the world, and to create our own inner experience and response. So not only do we need to build skill, but we can enhance our development by caring for the social environment, working consciously with things such as social space, how we connect and disconnect; it is all about taking care in planning how we meet, live and work.
Like the physical body the soul too needs nourishment. At this level it is a nourishment of the senses. This happens through human contact and communication, through art, colour, and music. Such things give us the possibility of a truly human experience – across a spectrum that ranges from happiness to sorrow, or from excitement or dread, or from pleasure to pain. All are important.
Being in the ‘middle’ our soul is a place of movement – between the ‘fixedness’ of our physical being and the freedom of our spirit or individuality. We can recognise this in situations when we feel like doing something (this is our soul speaking), but we cannot muster the energy to make it happen (the weight of our physical being). It is only the strength of our ego – our individuality or spirit – that can break through that resistance towards freedom.
So how do we strengthen a soul towards wellbeing? By:
- Enlivening, training and using our senses’ capacities, and
- Developing skills and capacities and an environment that enables us to build and maintain relationships.
In the diagram we can see that it is our spirit that reaches up beyond the earth, seeking existence that is beyond the physical world. Our spirit is our sense of self – our freedom, autonomy, identity, and resilience. It is where our hopes, wishes, aims and goals live – our inner hopes of what we might be and might become; and of what the world might become. It is also where we grasp time – the concept of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
It is through the realm of spirit that we can recognise and respect one another as individuals. So spirit well-being is about:
- Having a sense of meaning in my life
- Accepting myself and others as unique individualities.
We can build this spirit wellbeing through careful thinking – thinking that lets us make sense and meaning of where we find ourselves in the world and the possibilities that are in front of us. E.g. knowing that from blossoms bees gather pollen and nectar, create wax to store honey. That their wax can be used for us to create candles that give out light – light the same as the sun gave the flower.