It’s not just about keeping soul in the body. It’s about growing soul, becoming more than we ever were, embodying more of the Higher Self. This requires courage. French architect and author Fernand Pouillon speaks beautifully about what this involves in his book The Stones of the Abbey:
Courage lies in being oneself, in showing complete independence, in loving what one loves, in discovering the deep roots of one's feelings....A real work is truth, direct and honest...You have to take the greatest possible risks; even recklessness seems a bit halfhearted. The best works are those that are at the limits of real life; they stand out among a thousand others when they prompt the remark: 'What courage that must have taken!' Enduring work follows from a leap into the void, into unknown territory, icy water or murderous rock.
Now that’s a plan that will call in your boldest and juiciest self, and entertain the liveliest spirits!
It requires the willingness to take the creator’s leap and bring something new into our lives and our worlds. If I want to encourage people to move gently in this direction, I might instruct them along the following lines:
Go deep into yourself and ask: What is something new that I want to bring into the world?
When you have the answer to that, ask: What definite action will I take to bring that new thing into the world?
But if I am in a hurry to see soul grow – and why wouldn’t we be eager to hurry this process along? – I might say:
Picture this: Your whole life has been preparing you to take a creative leap. Now you are at the edge of an abyss. You can’t bear to look down. The drop is immense – you can’t see how far it goes down, through the swirling mists.
It’s your time to jump, but you’re paralyzed with fear. You shrink back from the edge, grasping after something solid and familiar. But there’s nothing worth holding onto. Everything smells stale behind you, and crumbles away under your clutching hands.
So you jump…
And you find that the abyss is no more and no less terrifying than the drop from the nest of a baby bird before its first flight.
And you’ll work. You’ll work as you have never worked before. But this work is not the drudgery of offices and routines. This is the work - “the hardest among those not impossible” (as Yeats said) – that your creative spirit demands of you, and your growing soul requires. If you give yourself to this work, you will not only find that it is the very best kind of play. You will know rapture. Truly.
Painting by AE, the Irish mystic, poet and artist George Russell.