Boy are we complex beings, wired as we are into these bodies of matter and electrical impulses. Don’t believe a neuroscientist if he tells you he fully understands our CPU, the human brain. The simple truth is they don’t. One of the top guts in the field told me so a while back. Some research is now suggesting that we have a second ‘brain’ in the gut, with more serotonin there than anywhere else. Yes, we are a pretty elaborate living organism drifting in the Cosmic Ocean of space-time.
As I write, the heavy rains outside have brought their accompanying gloom as folk around me as they drink their coffees, staring zombie-like into space, or more accurately the enveloping greyness. I wonder what they’re thinking as the caffeine shoots its way to their central nervous system? Personally, I’m thinking about my Self – who I really am? Am I just a biological machine that ticks along until its irreplaceable parts blow up? Am I only a highly developed animal who just happens to have developed the mysterious facility of consciousness. Scientific reductionism of the old order tells me that’s exactly what I am, yet the new science hints at something else.
We tend to think that we’re the first generation to contemplate these things, yet we aren’t. Man has been at it for multi-millennia, ever since awareness lifted our ancestor’s eyes to the starry heavens. I prefer to look to the sages of past times to find answers to my present predicament.
The ancients came up with the idea of the psyche or soul. The supposed ‘ghost’ that dwells within our material home called body. Others suggested that we are not only bipartite creatures, but tripartite, comprising body, soul AND spirit. After 60 years on planet Earth I’m plumping for the latter – my human experiences thus far appear to validate it. I best explain.
I’m most definitely a body, at least as far as I can tell. Maybe the Zen Masters are correct in claiming that it’s illusory. Perhaps ultimately it is, though when I accidentally bump into a hard object, it painfully seems real enough. It certainly is temporary, as like all flesh, it will eventually pack it in and return to dust.
So then, what about the psyche-soul? Well, I tend to see it as the interface that we require while living in the world of form. A permeable membrane that lies between the material realm and ultimate Reality. It’s the grand sum of all our central nervous system wiring and the memories of past experiences. The slate, where our space-time perceptions are recorded to form our Earthly I. The only trouble is that it quickly fragments and competes with itself as unconditional love is withdrawn in our formative years. Trauma also skews it’s take on who we really are. It absorbs rejection and pain, as well as acceptance and join. A neutral recorder of all that comes our way. No wonder our psyche-soul needs salvation or a Divine reboot. It is the store where we suppress our angst, a splintered self that most definitely requires the restorative balm of Divine Love.
And so we come to spirit, or breath, to be more accurate. The Transcendence within, the spark of the Divine Fire which has burned within since our conception in the heart of God. It’s not only ours, but ultimately it is who we are. It’s the irreducible core, upon which all other aspects of our being hang their temporary presence. It has never been separate from its Divine Source, no matter what the state of our restless psyche-soul. As we suffer the earthly ride of emotional and physical disturbance, there lies a pearl of great peace under its heavy load. A part of us wired for wholeness and union with the One without angst. Unfortunately, most of us only reckon on the psyche-soul for our identity; an extremely risky game at best. It’s what the old religious divines referred to as soulish. A self-imposed limitation that ignores through ignorance the very Life source within.
To be ‘born from above’ by the windswept Presence of Divine Love, is to awaken to Self and all its buried treasures. To merely focus on the daily ups and downs of psyche soul, is to be religious at best and despairing at worst. No, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, a tripartite traveller in this Virtual Reality of life. Looking out on the grey damp skies of Lincoln city, I think I’ll reckon on who I really am today; a fragile human being who homes a timeless spark within, one that portals the Presence that I long for.