I have been trying to explore topics such as the soul, spirituality and prayer these past few days. These seem like infinite or abstract topics. No matter if you believe in God or the universe or a specific force that transcends us, no matter if you are affiliated to a specific religion, place of worship or if you are not, I am now convinced that if we only focus on what’s material in our life and on physical pleasures ( making money, sexual stimulation, eating, exercising, shopping, etc….), we are to wander or loose ourself at some point. Once a pleasure is consumed, there is a natural desire for more. When is more considered enough ? We see this every day, every minute. Most of us try to escape from ourself or numb our emotions by over eating, watching TV for hours, drinking and drinking, smoking pot, being stuck on our screens; compulsively texting/searching/looking for some sort of constant adrenaline shots. As a result, we are not present to what’s here and now. We fill in our schedule with more work to do, more parties to attend, more clothes to buy….in the subconscious hope to avoid the void, the emptiness related to being still, doing nothing, sitting or standing with ourself and/or a higher force. You can no longer escape yourself when you stand or sit still in silence, even if your mind keeps on moving all over the place.
These past few days, I have turned my phone off a few hours in a row, which seemed like a miracle to me. I restricted myself from surfing online, from watching TV or Netlix/Amazon Prime. I have called less people, spent more time with myself without feeling lonely. I read a few pages of a new novel ( The door by Hungarian writer Magda Szabo ), I allowed myself to be connected to my electronic devices to listen to a talk about the power of prayer by psychologist and buddhist meditation teacher Tara Brach and watched a presentation about uncluttering the soul by Rabbi Simon Jacobson. I now get a better grasp of what it means to nourish the soul and feed myself with something else than food and physical pleasure. It has been such an exciting jouney to put my frantic work and social life aside for a few hours, to focus on questioning why I do or don’t do certain things. I used to believe that I had to fill in all the blanks in my life and schedule to feel complete, afraid of “missing something”. This is when I used to feel lack and loneliness. I am starting to fully realize that we live in a world that over stimulates us, demands our constant attention and quick responses and we actually do not need all this. We can’t possibly keep on fragmenting ourself. At least I can’t. I now feel confortable enough to be able to inspire others to reconnect to their soul, this sacred flame that burns inside of us and that will still be here, possibly floating around once our body dies.
Prayer can actually be such an empowering ritual. It brings us presence, a craving for a loving presence and a refuge as Tara Brach says. It allows us to be aware, express, wish and learn how to become receptive. It can be related to begging or despair when it’s expressed out of fear. However, prayer is also a beautiful practice to express gratitude, a wish for continuous well being for ourself or a loved one and a deep desire for connection to a higher force.
Uncluttering the soul, as Rabbi Simon Jacobson underlines it, can be a deeply transformational process. It pushes to be very honest with ourself and look at how we spend our time and who we spend it with. Questioning if what we give our energy to truly feeds our purpose and what makes us feel complete. Wondering what is really important to us to stop giving much attention to what does not really matter. Why we want to be this type of person and why we want to accomplish this. We are here for a certain period of time, therefore what do we want to accomplish while we are in this body of ours and why ? Why ?
In the process of looking for photos that would illustrate the soul or a prayer, I was challenged with the following questions : how can I show what the soul is ? How can I find a photo of a prayer ? How would you represent the soul ? Sometimes, music can express so much more than words or images, just like the 23rd piano concerto, second movement by Mozart, especially in this version, played by French pianist Helene Grimaud. Stop everything, put the volume on and listen to it. It’s magic. It’s bliss.
I invite you to surrender to your bliss in stillness, by trying to connect more often to your soul, to create your own spiritual rituals. To connect to what’s ethereal; to nature, prayer, to yourself and to your loved ones. Then see what happens…