Saturday, July 27, 2013
The throne of the soul
In Chinese, the characters that represent various organs in the body include not only a picture of the idea of the liver (for instance), but an additional mark that means "embodied." The liver, in Chinese, is the function of the liver, embodied.
The character for the heart does not include the mark of embodiment. According to my acupuncturist, the heart is infinite and can not be embodied. He describes the organ as the "bottom floor" of something vast and unimaginable. The beating of the heart is the rhythm of the soul, and the organ itself is the throne of the soul, but it in no way embodies the soul. The idea resonates.
Chinese medicine is only one of many systems of philosophy that place the heart at the center of what it means to be human. In modern western civilization, the preoccupation with the brain is at odds with common wisdom over many centuries and in many cultures around the world.
I could go into a whole thing about how bad I think it is to be so head-centric, but I'd rather write again about the soul, the mystery that contains the microbiome, the human cells, the hopes, dreams and wishes of each person in a way that makes us appear to be cohesive and individual. The soul is what keeps us from being zombies, no matter in how many different directions we're being tugged by our various component bits.
In the Reyaverse, the soul has mass. Not much, but it is a palpable thing that exists in time/space, within the visible realm, while we're alive. If you have ever seen a dead person or animal, you know that once the soul passes away, the body appears flattened, smaller or two-dimensional. Dead bodies are like discarded outfits. They look flat because they are no longer ensouled. Even though some of us deny it, we do see the soul. It adds depth, it plumps up our appearance. The flatness we notice as we gaze at a dead body is the lack of ensoulment. We see what is no longer there. It's an unnerving sight, it surely is.
Please don't ask me to explain what the soul is, where it originates or why. No one knows. No one has ever known. This truth has not kept me, or many others, from wondering about it anyway. It's a mystery that can not be solved in this form. I like the wondering and am content to never fully understand. Wondering about the soul enriches and deepens my humanity. It increases my capacity for kindness and turns me in the direction of wisdom.
The soul encompasses the bacterium, the human cells, the thoughts and dreams, even our magnificent skins. We are wrapped in soul, and soul permeates every cell, every bacterium, and every thought we have. It is around us, and within us. It extends backwards and forwards through time. The soul is the matrix in which we live, breathe and have our life's experiences. At the very center of each human soul, there is a beating heart. This is my working theory.
May your heart beat smoothly and rhythmically, creating a beautiful, harmonic throne for your soul. May your soul be content, comfortable and at home in its temporary abode. May you be peaceful.