Replies to: A Bridge Between Chalkboard Science and the Metaphysical Soul
By The Rev. Dr. Jerry F. Smith, S.T.D., WPCA President
Question: “How do you maintain that free, respectful, and non-judgmental discussion within yourself?”
The recent events of 2020 have brought me more and more into reflection, observation, and in some ways have produced a minor figure/ground shift. Watching the events of the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the Earth I could feel change coming. I knew in no uncertain terms this was going to facilitate a paradigm shift both for individuals and the collective whole. Our worlds would be forever altered and the foundations of what we value, believe, and find meaning in would shift. As I experience this in my own life, I notice the very intricate, subtle, and nuanced ways currents in my lifestream are changing. The material, psychological, and spiritual boundaries are starting to dissolve, and new information is being revealed that probably was there all along but in this moment, conditions are more favorable, and I am particularly perceptive of them.
My hope for this article is to hold a space of sharing and witnessing. I view my role here as a shared member of a community committed to the preservation of soul and that connection to what is nourishing and essential to the human element. As I aspire to maintain that open space for non-judgmental, compassionate, respectful, and free dialogue internally within the sanctuary of my heart. I hope that my efforts can bring us into the waters that touch both the shores of chalkboard science and the metaphysical soul. The place where we discover the experiential lived-life, the rhythm and tempo of being. A place familiar from long ago in our ancestry, a place so part of us that it is ever-present in our dreams, intuitions, and transcendent experiences. A place that is calling out to us from the caves of the ancients. A place that in these troubling times is as essential to our being as breath is.
Science has given us wonderful tools to explore, understand, and transform our world. It is the creative arm of our understanding and intellect. However, the metaphysical soul is the generative, inspirational, and imaginative powerhouse that fuels our being. When brought together in a balanced harmonious way they (science and soul) enable us to grow, discover, and transcend. When we begin to inhabit our lives from this soul place, we come into contact with what is essential. Soul is the source, the marrow, of our truest belonging. It is from this place that we can access our own true authentic powers of creation, transformation, meaning, and connection with our highest Truth. Bringing these two arms of the human experience together to inform and reflect upon each other births a more complete understanding of our own personal power, purpose, and passion, as well as opens up the world to be more generous, participatory, and interconnected. Cultivation of this ability, namely the ability to create, connect, and remain open to the spiritual or soulful aspects of our experience is a central part of self-realization and more engaged, enriching life experiences.
What I have found is that this journey unfolds naturally within the scope of our lives. The only thing that seems to change for me is my awareness and participation with it. As I move through this pandemic, I am called to work with my ability to surrender. Surrender plans, expectations, certainty, and control over my health or life. To be aware, to notice, and then to trust and just surrender. Not in a way of non-caring but in a way that is light, hopeful, and accepting. To do all this requires a willingness to stand in relationship to the world around oneself. To interact from a place that can clearly interpret the data and intuit a response that is appropriate for the situation and not overly influenced by our growing edges, reactions, or triggers. It is to allow the world to be a mirror and to stand naked before it to witness the dance and interplay with life. Cultivation of this comes from that space within.
The problem is that most of us are cut off from this part of our being. Our culture and social structures like capitalism and consumerism have drowned it out or watered it down for the purposes of control, power, and influence. Our elders are reaching the horizons of this life and one by one step over that horizon line into the Great Mystery. It is up to each of us to begin that process of cultivating, questioning, discovering, and finally connecting with our Truth. One way of doing this is with guidance from someone who is familiar with the landscape, the paths, and the pitfalls. This is where psychology originally stepped in to fill the void between the two questions of ‘What is real” and “What are the properties of that reality?” Psychology is the water between the shores of science and the metaphysical Soul. It is the elemental medium that we must wade into to connect the various realities around us and ultimately dissolve into and become part of.
Pastoral Psychotherapy allows space for the conversations, connections, experiences, and intuitions of the soul as we move through our material and scientific reality. It honors our uniquely human attributes that don’t lend themselves to the scientific lens, while at the same time offering something of intrinsic value to the individual. From my own experience doing this work, I have found my life open in widening circles and the freedom to be more authentic and confident in my own being. Both in my practice as a psychotherapist and in my personal life I have found moments of such clarity, completeness, and wonder that not only inform but guide me along my life’s trajectory. As I venture into deeper waters between the shores, I find it hard to differentiate between the boundaries of myself and that of the water. In these moments there is no doubt, anxiety, fear, or hesitation and I am just part of the current. A current open and calling out to all of us to remember our ancestry and the power and potential of our inner soul and its journey toward ever-widening circles of transformation.
With warmest blessings,
Aaron Pascoe MA, LMHC-A, RMT