Learning To Quiet The Soul
Quiet introspection, the analysis of how my soul is doing today and consideration of where that soul is going to go. This is the order of the day.
I don’t mean it in the sense of ‘where your soul goes after you die’, or the sterile and pitiful constructs of fear that are heaven and hell. I mean right now, at this point in time, where is my soul headed? What will my soul experience today and what will my soul learn from its travels?
Being bipolar has given me some very hard times, some very long laughs and some very, very nasty fears. It has made me into what I am today and as far as this soul goes it’s a much better road than I have traveled before; before was chaos. Before now it was pain. There was a lot of fun, too, but how the pain overshadows the fun when you’re in the throes of a depressive state of mind. How we suffer when we do not love and accept ourselves.
It’s Nice To Have Friends
There’s some primal things that your soul needs to function correctly. Good friends are perhaps the most important thing our soul requires. I used to have many of them, or so I thought until my bipolarity reared its head. It’s rather astounding that the people you believe know you best and love you are often the first to head off into the distance when you’re ill and confused.
When your soul is in pain others often do not or cannot understand your needs or have any real sense of what is happening to you. And that is fine. People are first and foremost people, and the issues they have are their issues; their frailties and conflicts within are their own.
But when you begin losing everything around you, your things, your job, your love, your friends, your home, you come to a very special place where there’s really nothing left to lose except perhaps your soul or your life, and these are rather harder for you to lose or for others to take unless you allow them to do so. No one gives their freedom or soul away unless they hand it over to be taken to prison.
So Where Does The Soul Go Next?
When people experience loss they have odd ways of looking at that loss. Take me, for example. When I lost what are considered the ‘important’ things in life I went directly from a caring, loving and grateful person to a desperate, unhappy, unloved person that was blind to the rest of life, the meaning of life. It was true that very few of those around me could endure such a creature and I understand and do not place blame on them for keeping their distance.
But I had to know why. I needed an oracle to tell me, to give the situation a reason, a name, an identifier. I had to know without any doubt what was happening to me.
Alas, no one knew, really. I consulted Tarot, I Ching, the Tao. I tried to pray but that never seemed to work because I consider prayer to be in effect coercion of a deity. It’s like blackmail.
Nothing was answered. Nothing was clear to me, and nothing was seemingly forthcoming, either. There were only hollow echoes of all the things done and said that circled my mind like vultures above a kill.
What I did not have was self-determination. I didn’t understand how to generate it. I had no idea that I was chemically imbalanced or that I was not in possession of important mental and social tools to begin healing.
Life Among The Ruins
Wandering through life without love is like living in the ruins, ones that you remember as vivid and joyous and full of love and laughter. Haunted. Echoes. Grey, cold, tumbling down and rotted. When you finally reach the bottom of the pit and others say you have nowhere to go but up, that’s when you realize there’s a great big hole at your feet that no one but you can see.
But then, what to expect? You cannot live life like a ghost because ghosts do not interact with the living. They are cold, not warm. They live without love. They live in the ruins of their loss. This is why they’re sad, angry and tortured. Not to mention dead and without direction.
I was lucky. I found a way out of the ruins, but the path was long, arduous, filled with pitfalls and peril. But that path led upward and out, not inward and down. There was something waiting for me that changed my world.
The King of Myself
As Elizabeth I said, “I rule by right of the Divine, but I am ruled by the love of my subjects.”
I understand this idea. We rule and are in turn ruled. It is the choice of understanding that by which we rule that is critical. One may be ruled by fear, by lust, by love, by chance. Anything may rule a mortal human.
So by what am I ruled? And by what right do I claim to rule?
I am ruled by fear, as are most other humans, but I claim by right the rule of my soul. Of all things in creation it is my soul that I possess that no one can claim or take. My soul is the only thing of value in the entire realm of creation. Is that not a wondrous thing of infinite value? Is it not something that is mine and belongs to no one else?
And how is it you rule over this treasure? Do you treat your soul as any kind and noble King would, by enduring risk and pain to keep it whole and safe, by making sacrifice to keep it whole and well?
Fear we can fight; others we can love and be loved in return or not as is their want; things have no permanency. In fact the possession of a soul is a thing both intangible and confusing. But as of this day, my soul is mine. I am its King. I rule here and this kingdom has but one master.
Fi Yw Ceidwad Fy Enaid
I have a tattoo of this gryphon on my right shoulder, which has been there all of my adult life. It is the Dragon of the Flag of Wales, a King of Beast and Air, the fierce protector of the realm, the battle standard of King Arthur. The caption of this photo reads, “I Am the Keeper Of My Soul” in the Welsh language.
In order to rule at all one must rule oneself. I had to learn to rule; it did not come to me by nature for by nature I am a willful, loving spirit that at first did not understand the universe. Now I have come to understand some of it and those things I have learned are at once troubling and wonderful, sad and delightful, painful and joyous. There cannot be self-love without self-rule.
I have, with therapy, love, work and with toil, come to the point where I can begin the mastery of self-rule of my soul. And the first lesson of self-rule is this:
Love yourself or you cannot love; rule yourself and never others.