Common are the days prone to stress about societal inadequacies, usually involving pondering financial outlook, anxious about when we will be able to buy a house or new car… I have those days, and they stem from childhood where I’d worry about the silliest things in the middle of the night, like a broken test tube in my Chemistry Set.
But what I am finding increasingly, are days where I feel disgusted by the opposite: by my consumption. Ashamed that I eat animals, burn fossil fuels, and like most people, obediently organise my life around making money. Reviled by my place in a vast assembly hall of hamster wheels all chasing ego, status and power, a bottomless pit. A society so disconnected from nature that it knows not what damage it causes by simply taking a flight abroad or being so ‘loyal’ to our weekly supermarket shop that Tesco becomes Tesco Bank; a society blinkered to think that in capitalism there are no limits, that we can always be richer, better, get more bang for our buck with no consequence, heck, even live for 200 years once science invents a pill. The human race, arrogant to think the planet is here for them, that all living things serve them, that they can’t be wiped out like fleas, that it can in fact replace nature; declaring chemical warfare on crops and on people just as easily, a big boot stamping on nature instead of working with it, an army of fools shooting itself in the foot and then bandaging it up repeatedly. A society that does nothing for the planet but suck it dry, over and over, lords of a system that is expecting the universe on a credit card, bigger and better, shinier and vacuum-packed, decreasingly willing to lift a finger to even flush their own shit into gallons of fresh water, so it designs a self-flushing toilet whilst every day on the other side of the world 60,000 people starve to death.
They are days I feel the world on my shoulders, but I remind myself I am not the only one to be plagued with such thoughts. Comfort comes from how those huge worries, being on the other side of the spectrum to personal and financial worries, can offset the urgency of both and make me plot up somewhere in the middle: telling myself ‘I’m doing ok’ on both ends: to be enough of a success to put food into my mouth, and at least have the strength to meditate on how I want to do something more.
I am lucky to be able to do something I love for a living, but that does not mean I feel like my soul purpose is being fulfilled. Just doing something enjoyable doesn’t mean I feel like my life is serving a worthwhile purpose other than being a parasite on the earth.
Afternoons of introspection remind me that there is the the ego and there is the soul, and they make their distinction through these different types of thoughts. They are in competition. The ego wants cash, clout, praise, never-ending satiation; but the soul strains for something else, and is in union with all other living things, if we learn to listen to it. Lately I read an article called “Are you committed to your soul’s integrity”:
“Every day, you are probably asked to do something that requires you to betray your soul’s integrity… Every time you betray the truth of your soul, you split from your true self, and every time you do this, a little piece of you withers away, taking it with it your health and vitality.
”…something magical happens when you commit to aligning with your soul… Don’t be surprised if miracles start happening.
“Are you willing to go outside your comfort zone to stand for what is true for you? Do you know your soul well enough to know when you’re compromising your soul’s integrity? Are you willing to let your soul take the driver’s seat in your decision making?”
My strongest life example to relate to this was last year, in deciding to carrying my baby Evan to term, whereupon that decision I was relieved of heaviness and sent a feeling of lightness and peace, remarkable for the sad situation I was in. By listening to my heart, I realise I allowed my soul to take a step forward. The swish of its cloak wafted a new scent into days to come and that is why I consider it not simply a ‘devastating’ experience, but a ‘rich’ and ‘surreal’ one.
But, everyday life and career poses a constant challenge to continue asking what my soul wants and how to live it. It’s a Rubik’s cube that we all fumble with, but happy for those who know it’s a Rubik’s cube and not an ornament that sits idly on our mantelpiece. I’m determined I’ll never stop playing with it even if the colours never all match into place. I see, from a mile off, the futility of a life so busy working to conserve coins and notes that will half be robbed from our dead bodies by the taxman anyway before it can be given to our own children. Money is a fake wealth, lifelong busybodies saying look over here! whilst your ‘inner pilot light’ dejectedly streams a small sad wisp of smoke in the corner. I will trust the mysterious swishing cloak of my soul to prioritise a greater wealth, even if it takes all my years for my brain and its purse-watching forecast/fearcast to catch up. I hope a wealth of adventure, love and expression – and somehow doing something worthwhile for this world – will have cheekily pipped it to the post.