Soul. Ego. Communal Paradox (Rohr, Chittister, Merton)

I write often that the ego and soul of a human being are sensors, of the full self. In weak terms, they are analogues of our five physical senses that inform us of how we do and can interact with the physical universe. These two transcendent sensors, to me, inform us of how we are and can be interacting with fuller truths that include the physical universe and our minds and hearts. The faculty of ego and the faculty of soul are quite plainly indispensable to being human, and like our mind and senses, can also inform us with their own genre of “knowing.” So I find them to be integral faculties for approaching the big questions of life.

The ego, in and of itself, is neither bad nor good. It is merely a sensor. It has no ability to act, only sense; its senses are merely expressed by the actions of a person. The senses which the ego detects are translated into motivators to be expressed by the human being.

The ego tells us that we are separate from every other agent and entity and being in creation. It informs us that our being is essential to the fabric of the universe. We are each unique, and we are each indispensable. And we need no more evidence for that than the very fact of our existence. The entire order of the universe, as grandiose as it sounds, is altered if a single one of us were not here. It is only an illusion of our mind that trivializes who we are to the fabric of existence. Our existential fear derives from that enormous truth – that we matter, and we are matter.

The soul is our sensor of connectedness within the fabric of existence. Like the ego, it too has a temporal dimension because it animates the matter of our body and mind, as our ground of being. Yet, its sensory capability extends mysteriously beyond the physical self – to any extent that there is such a thing – enabling the human being in whom the soul dwells mysteriously to transcend that very singular and material dwelling.

The soul of a human being has no will nor ability to extinguish the ego, but instead to animate it, informing the ego that its limitedness is OK, that this soul will always be tenderly conjoined to its ego, and that, therefore, judgmentalism is nothing for this ego to fear from its all-friendly soul. These senses of the soul endow the full human being with a very true freedom from judgment and shouldness.

No egoic mistake or flaw of a human being is beyond the full understanding of the person’s soul, for that soul is always there as witness, in being. It is never anxious to be larger or smaller as the ego is; it knows the nature of the ego and its dynamics of deflation and inflation, knows that is the ego’s nature, so expects nothing more of that ego and its role as sensor serving the full person; and so the very notion of judgment has no use in the soul’s knowledge paradigm. Neither judgment nor comparison are of any interest to the soul whatsoever.

The nature of ego is to sense separateness and motivate response. It is the nature of the soul merely to be and to love being. The soul gives us being, and therefore loves being. It has no use for black-and-white judgment, which seeks to increase or decrease being, which is senseless to the soul. It is the human being, the person, the mysterious mix of ego and soul, which grows or diminishes self awareness, and grows or diminishes in self awareness.

The soul knows its own nature, and knows the nature of the ego within the self. Both its way of knowing and its knowledge are full and complete because, paradoxically, it is boundless.

The soul is not conscience; it is boundlessly larger than conscience (which informs the ego when it oversteps or gets mixed up outside its nature).

The soul has no value for the notion of blame. It sees nature being natural. The human being does not “feel” alive without living dynamics sesnsed and fueled by ego – the transformations of consciousness about chaos and order, joy and suffering, or what it means to be a human being, and to be human. This demands no judgment whatsoever.

The soul is our sensor of connectedness and being and largeness, able to sense timelessness, yet vaguely, within the bounds of time.

These are my own constructs and language for wrestling with the truths inside of me, for glimpsing my full self – not my self in a moment, nor any idea or ideal or idol outside of moments. For seeing beyond my small self or false self. For sensing beyond my moment-self, alleviating the shame of my egoic mind because it is incapable of sensing beyond my moment-self.

These notions are mine, but I of course did not fabricate them out of nothing. I am influenced by many sources, including the notions that are part of this short article, that includes three writers:

Neil D. 2022-07-05

Published by Neil Durso

Just another mid-lifer sharing the journey...

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