© Jan Illingsworth 2019
The Three Existential Questions
Most sojourners coming into Walking the Wildflower Path with me have these three existential questions on their minds. There is an innate yearning in us to know who we truly are. It is possible that we may never know but I think the journey into the heart mind begins to open up possibilities and maybe even probabilities to us. Many religions have tried to answer these questions but I found some of them unsatisfying and sometimes, in my opinion, down right wrong. For instance, the notion that we are beings born with original sin and need to spend our lives rectifying this is an utter nonsense to me and somewhat abhorrent. My sense is that the opposite is true, that we are born innocent and soul full becoming something less than this as socialisation, dichotomies, and separation from our soul self become more and more established in our ego development. One thing is certain we cannot know through belief, through swallowing dogma, or by being told. We need to have experiences of who, what and why for ourselves. This is what my Soul Coaching helps to facilitate.
Who Are We Really?
We really don’t know who we are when we try to define this question using the thinking mind. Who we are is almost unexplainable I have found because the nano second I have an explanation something shifts or a hole, something missing, becomes evident. It is as if we are both “ Ourselves” , “me”, “I”, and something other. We are something different from our ordinary Joe Blogs self. Thomas Moore says we are “ presence first and a person secondly” That is just about the best definition I have come across and yet this too seems vague and implies a dichotomy. Perhaps we are only Soul and everything else is illusory.
You are not the constant prattling voice in your mind. This monkey mind belongs to the ego and if you doubt this spend five minutes writing down everything you think. This is sometimes called a stream of consciousness although when you review the content it is not the kind of consciousness we want. At best it is repeated information about something we have already learned, perhaps a pleasant memory but at worst it is criticism, self beration, nasty history, self blame and worry. I call this last year’s news. It is like one of those old fashioned reel to reel tape that keeps playing over and over or an outdated computer programme. When we act on this chatter we suffer. It has been said we are the one who is listening but I doubt this too. It would seem to me that the listener is another constellation of thoughts, often personified as the inner child. Another aspect of ego which thinks it has to listen to this inner authoritative commentary. So on our Soul journey together I pay scant attention to this chatter and old patterns except to note they are there and are blocking you from knowing the true self. As Einstein said you cannot resolve the problem at the level of the problem. I don’t advocate doing anything much with the ego. Know it either inflates ( grandiosity and narcissism) or deflates ( poor self esteem and self loathing). When you live consistently from heart mind coherence the ego fades away. The more you try to get rid of the ego the more it rears its ugly or often comical head. I sometimes imagine my ego as a dancing clown who sees the stage and comes prancinging across, somersaulting and making funny faces. It is the try hard, often pompous fool.
We are something far greater than the ego. Something which is indefinable but can be experienced. It has many names. Some call it the Witness, the Soul, the Entelechy, The Higher Self, Isness. Carl Jung saw the Soul as a vessel, the alchemical vessel. From this self you have no history, no birth, no death, no boundary. Our Soul seems to be a constant living presence we can experience with us, within our heart mind. Perhaps we are not a soul walking the wildflower path in a body but an endless , conscious universe within which we are walking as a bodymind, a fantastic, material phenomena, we call a human being.
The definition of who or what we are is actually not of great import. Don’t wait for clarity. Instead embrace your not knowing and delight in the experiencing.The minute we define it, put words to it, it seems to disappear. Any definition becomes redundant in the next moment. Process is constant change moment to moment and we are process. You are not that same you as you were yesterday or half an hour ago or even a nanosecond ago. Live from your heart mind and let your heart mind be you.
Getting out of your own way is something we all struggle with. Our ego thinking it knows stymies us. When we suffer the ego self tries resolve our suffering and can only come up with neurotic solutions, compensatory behaviour and repeated patterns which haven’t worked, don’t work and never will work. As one of my teachers, Fred Grosse, said to me, “ going around and around in circles gives the illusion of movement but only digs a deeper track from which we struggle to emerge.”
Instead play hopscotch in the half light. When I was a girl of about nine my favourite time of day was in the long twilights of late summer. I loved to be outside away from the household drama which was pretty constant in my family. Sometimes I practiced hopscotch. As I threw the tin into the farthest squares I really couldn’t see where it would land so I would use my instinct and sense into the distance from where I was to where I hoped the tin would land. With practice I got better and better at it. The Soul Journey is like this. We have to make our move in the half light into the dark. Moving from this wonderful place of not knowing, being curious to see what is beyond and becoming a Seeker.
Know that even when things seem to be really bad and you are suffering, when all is not well at all in your present experience, in truth all is well and will be well. It is your journey unfolding and although you may not see it now there is a silver lining. Go into your heart mind, into the warm dark, breathe and trust. Feel into compassion, love and gratitude and know “ All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” Julian of Norwich.
Join me in my six month programme ” Walking the Wildflower Path to experience your Soul Self. It will change your life for the better.
From my heart inn me to your heart in you,