I was a sweaty, nervous wreck on my first periscope.
It’s comical…did anyone ever see Broadcast News (the movie)?
I needed two tissues for my sympathetic nervous system.
(Some technical difficulties threw me just before broadcast and I talked SO VERY fast.)
If you didn’t get to see it here you go!
THE #1 Myth about the SOUL…
is that we have one.
But first….we should get on the same page…
WHAT IS A SOUL?
(what are we talking about?)
This is how I’m describing it:
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for soul is nephesh. We might use it this way, “1,517 souls were lost in the Titanic disaster.”
SOUL ≠ dead BUGS BUNNY …like a floating ghost and that sort of stuff.
Not a faint rendering of bugs bunny leaving his body to play a harp on a cloud with Porky Pig. Not something that is ghosty and haunting a house or helping Demi Moore on a Pottery Wheel. (Patrick Swayze-style..google it, young people.)
Ancients thought of the mind and heart differently (the will and the emotions)…
Maybe these verses come to mind…but you’ve been thinking about them in your own context instead of the ancient context from which they were written.
Remember this one?
The heart is deceitful and wicked above all things JER 17:9
(Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life)
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
….The writers of these scriptures were not talking about emotions and feelings when they said “heart” (like we associate the heart today…they were talking about the HEART as one’s will and control center of a person…(the thing we now associate with the mind.)
For them, the emotions (the heart for us in our context) were associated, instead, with the bowels. Perhaps a bit gross..but there is some
MEDICAL TRUTH/correlation : anxiety and stress are closely associated with disease and problem that happen in the intestines…like….ulcerated colon, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (bloating, constipation, gas, and other fun things), digestion issues, food sensitivities and problems in that part of the body. These are extremely related to one’s emotions and levels of stress.
The GEM MODEL of the Soul (my version)
Think of the SOUL as a gem and the facets are ways to see the soul.
You can go as far as saying other things beyond these are facets:
family of origin, social economic situation, skin color (if that has been a defining factor in your life)
education, the country you live in,
Even Christianity is a facet. A worldview is a facet that we can gain a kind of look at who we are.
Grace is central to Christianity, for instance. We can look at our soul through the facet of grace.
When light is added to a stone you can see its flaws and imperfections and you can see its quality (color, cut, clarity, caret)
UGLY soul? Is that possible? what do you think?
In his book Care of Souls, David Benner writes, “We can define soul care as the support and restoration of the well-being of persons in their depth and totality, with particular concern for their inner life. Soul care is done in the context of community.”
The vantage point of Soul Care views struggle or failings not as fatal flaws or illness to be “cured”. Not therapy or self-help.
It’s a sustaining endeavor for our interior lives and our relationships, like water and food is for the body. Incidentally, caring for the body falls within the bounds of Soul Care.
Ten Signs that You Need the Renewal of Soul Care
1. Fruitlessness. Are there observable deficits in the enacted your Fruit of the Spirit? That means, is there any lack or slack in the
areas of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control? (If not, I think E.T. went home without you. Phone again. You might want to text, and retweet as well.)
2. You find yourself perceiving things others say as personally offensive, or as direct attacks.
3. You are “venting” more in person or online. 4. You feel unloved. 5.You feel increased frustration, restlessness, or disconsolation.
6.Your fears and anxiety are more prevalent.
7.You have increased tension in relationships.
8. You struggle with one or more of the “seven deadly
sins”: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
9. You have problems sleeping or bad dreams.
10. You’re in a creative slump.
THE #1 myth about the soul is that…. you have one. You don’t have a soul you are a Soul. You have a body. George MacDonald, in 1892 (C.S. Lewis quotes him and the quote is mistakenly attributed to him sometimes)
Think of the Soul as “the real you” the essence of you. contained in a body, yes, but made up of everything about you in a pure sense.
Some might say the soul gets extinguished or goes to paradise or gets absorbed into the great Life Force (God) …but in terms of what you need…you always need Soul Care, because you are a soul and that include both the visible and the invisible.
All this more and much more is available in my book. Shame-filled plug.
New 3D brain scan technology has changed even recently-held theories about how the brain works.
On the positive side, many brain injuries, learning disabilities, paralysis from strokes, mental disorders and addictions can now be treated with targeted exercises that cause brain re-mapping. The subsequent brain scans evidence the improvement.
Also proven: Things like prayer and meditation are verifiably shown to improve not only health and well-being but to alter brain mapping not just down to the cellular level but to the level of DNA itself.
The area of study is termed neuroplasticity.
Even into very old age, the brain now shows us its ability to continually adapt to the environment, and improve depending on how it’s utilized. Certain thoughts alter us. The proof is empirical.
On the negative side certain things the brain engages in make future change very difficult because chemical changes from events can permanently alter the brain’s structure. Nevertheless, the idea that the brain works like a computer or that it “hardens” like wet cement at around age 6 have been debunked.
Of course most of us already knew at some level. In spiritual formation we study this historically as well. The anecdotal evidence has always been there.
Proverbs 23:7a “For as a man thinketh in his heart [mind+will], so he is.”
In his book, Dr Norman Doidge gives us many case studies that appear simply miraculous at first blush. It’s worth the read.
• An eye surgeon paralyzed by a catastrophic stroke is give a rehabilitative treatment that allowed him to be a successful surgeon again.
• People born with congenital blindness are able to re-map their brains and perceive vision through through–of all things–their tongues!
• Wounded soldiers with phantom limb pain find relief for the first time.
(and much more)
Re-mapping is not science fiction nor is it fluffy positive thinking. Re-mapping just requires effort and specific therapy.
So if you could re-map your brain what would you like to change?
Don’t give up.
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Chapter 5 of John Ortberg‘s book, “The Life You Always Wanted”, is called, “The Practice of ‘Slowing’.” He details a discipline, or spiritual way, of living an unhurried life. As a way to challenge the typical tendency to rush, Ortberg challenges his readers to look for the longest checkout line, and wait in that one. Sounds frustrating, right? The idea is to challenge how one views time, actions, and life as a whole.
John’s experiment gives a person a jump start strategy to begin to enjoy all of life, even the little things that get rushy. No part of living is wasted. Something that was once frustrating can actually turn into a positive. Instead of an urgent hardship, the experience is controlled by the person, rather than happening to them. It is also experienced for it’s own benefit, not just as a means to something else.
Regarding time and busyness: The practice moves the practitioner away from being a habitual slave to urgency, and a indentured servant to the clock. As it turns out, an unhurried life will create more opportunities than one ever thought possible. Creating cushions of time is even likely to save one time, and establish invaluable connections, not possible for a routinely rushed individual.
Boiling it down, “being unhurried” is to say one is, “moving, acting, and existing without urgency or haste.” In an emergency, this way must be abandoned for a time. But, in normal circumstances, why spend life so quickly, since we can’t get it back?
Things once unnoticeable, become things such as pleasant surprises, little awakenings, newfound interactions, joys, plus experiences and insights aplenty. When we plan to give ourselves extra time to experience an unhurried life, or at least, far larger chunks of it unhurried compared to before, we enjoy more peace of mind, and well-being.
I’ve personally found it’s also a wonderful surprise to hear more Divine “whispers,” and see more Divine “appointments” placed in our path, once we sideline our hurried manner, and ease into a more organic way of living.
Try John’s checkout line experiment, at least once. If you do, please leave a reply about it. (Did it make you insane, or was it valuable?) And-if you do it more than 3 times, in two weeks, I’d really like to hear if it’s changed anything for you. I have a new contact page if you’d prefer that method, or just leave a comment below.