Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
― C.G. Jung
Our mainstream culture often alienates us from our connection to our own soul, with the lure of Television, I-Pods, alcohol somehow being a rite of passage, and survivor mode prevailing as the most trodden path of daily existence. Because of the addictive quality of these tendencies, they manifest as escapist patterns. But what are we escaping? Unintentionally for some, and intentionally for others who fear their inner feelings, or have barricaded their heart due to past wounding, we are escaping our connection to our own soul and to the souls of others. Unresolved trauma can lead to escapist patterns, which in turn keep us from healing from the trauma. Even without trauma in ones history, escaping reality has become all too alluring for a society of individuals who have worked so hard with good intentions yet are now seeing the ravages of a mainstream culture that preaches overt materialism over compassion.
We are not living life through our souls when we are escaping reality by always staying busy or by abusing/losing ourselves with alcohol, drugs, television, I-phones, or other addictions. We are not expressing the inner beauty and essence of who we really are, nor are we connecting soulfully with others when we are in survivor mode. In survivor mode, our wall is up, and our soul is shut out from the equation for the most part.
In the midst of the alienation and chaos that has left our souls feeling neglected, lonely, and seeking our attention, we as humans are being called upon to awaken to that subtle voice of wisdom and uncharted creative energy that is our soul. Modern day human evolution is about moving into higher level of consciousness. Ken Wilbur talks about the human potential movement, and the stages of consciousness that humans can potentially pass through during their lifetime: from egocentric – caring only for oneself; to ethnocentric – caring for one’s tribe, country, people; to worldcentric – caring for all humans, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or religion; to Kosmocentric – where you integrate the masculine and feminine in yourself. Wilbur describes the movement as one of increasing consciousness, compassion, care and embrace. Yet it is not so much a hierarchy in that you don’t get to some destination; the movement is more like ocean waves than stages, and goes on into infinity. It is the perfect anecdote for staying in one’s soul and not getting egoic about ones evolving consciousness; the path is simultaneously humbling and spiritually exalting.
After all of my research on soul work and the path of awakening and personal soul work, this is what I have experienced and observed; to embrace one’s own evolution of consciousness is to embrace a path in which one consciously moves and expands, (and at times contracts) into a depth and vastness of personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal love energy. Transpersonal means that our souls, other souls, spirits, and cosmic/planet energy is involved. The movement is the integration of our soul with our ego. Jung wrote of his own ego/soul integration in a diary from which all of his teachings on transpersonal psychology derived. He died before it was ever published, and was never completely clear about a wanting it to be published. Thankfully, his family and students decided was so important it needed to be published, and Jung’s Red Book came out in
The way to get into the realm of the highest, most permanently spiritually awakened level, that is through doing what can be referred to as soul work, the art of integrating your soul with your ego. Carl Jung, the founding father of soul work called it learning to embrace one’s shadow while keeping a diary of his own conversations with his soul (which was published in “The Red Book” . Bill Plotkin calls it soul crafting. There are many individuals in the helping professions, myself included, who are feeling a called upon to become soul activists, helping
Softening and opening our hearts and moving into our souls helps us to nurture our loved ones, and ourselves because in stepping into our souls we become vessels of healing and love. One of the primary reasons that we suffer with feelings of disconnect with ourselves, our partners and our families is because we are disconnected from our own souls, and one another’s souls. When we learn how to meditate/pray and connect with our own inner nurturer/soul, we find strength and healing. When we need additional help, we can ask our spirit guides. Our souls are connected to a collective consciousness of wise souls that are there for us to lend us direction and support in times of need. Some call them guardian angels, and some call them spirit guides. The proof that these guardians exist is that when you really make the effort to pray and connect with them, they will always show you that they are there, whether it be in some good fortune finally coming your way, or in a beautiful feather presenting itself to you on a hike in nature after you have asked for for a sign.
From our souls, we have a keen sense that we are in our full power, and that we are a vessel of pure love from source. As we align with our souls purpose, rather than our egos purpose, we develop a keen awareness of just how precious our life and our loved ones really are. The gift of moving into our souls is that we are able to achieve a state of self-embrace and loving kindness practice that allows us to love more deeply, gently embrace our shadow and heal and develop our human ego state, and live a more meaningful life. We become the vessels of love that we are all meant to be.
The soul centered therapy that I offer is a blend of earth based spiritual practices (inspired by Francis Weller, Bill Plotkin, Sandra Ingerman, and Tom Cowan), depth therapy (Carl Jung, and Thomas Moore inspired soul work), and Eastern Mindfulness practices (Maitri and Tonglen inspired breath work and guided visualizations for cultivating compassion and descending into soul). This type of soul therapy is also called Soulcrafting, as in crafting our souls. Soulcrafting a combination of living more from our creative self and less in our cognitive self, being fully present with our experiences, following our soul’s passions and purpose, and nurturing and developing (embracing and lovingly scaffolding) our ego. As a psychotherapist, I find that soul-work is usually the catalyst that allows my clients to transcend their suffering and live a more meaningful life.
Here are a few of the ways soul-work can help you in the therapy process;
-Reconnecting to the helping spirits of of earth, air, water, and fire, by learning simple rituals to practice in your home, as well as in nature. We are made up of these elements, so connecting to these energies can bring us into our full potential.
-Learn how romantic love can be a spiritual path: the art of conscious, soulful love, and how to hold the balance of autonomy and connectedness.
-Grief work- navigate the painful ending of a relationship, or death of a loved one. Find healthy acceptance and closure and turn your suffering into spiritual growth.
-Jungian/Mindfulness Depth therapy- heal both your human and your soul through soul retrieval work and guided visualization. My approach blends elements of ecotherapy, mindfulness, shamanic practices, and Jungian techniques.
Christine Dufond, LMFT