The Call of the Soul shows you how renegotiate the relationship between the ego and the soul so you can step fully into your purpose. Step by step, you will discover inner passion, purpose, peace, prosperity, and love--all by learning how to hear the call of your soul.
With a down-to-earth writing style combined with true-life examples, this book offers accessible wisdom to achieve the self-knowledge you are seeking.
The Call of the Soul will guide you to:
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A Partnership Is Born
The passions act as winds to propel our vessel, our reason is the pilot that steers her; without the winds, she would not move, without the pilot, she would be lost.
— Old French Saying
The ego and the soul are intimate and inseparable partners. The ego would not exist without the embodied soul. And the soul, which is not bound by time and space, could not experience a structured life in the body without the ego. They are partners in our dance with life.
According to A. H. Almass, founder of the Diamond Heart Approach, the soul has certain innate and essential qualities as curiosity, love, joy, intelligence, compassion, and strength, for example, as well as personal qualities that are unique features of your particular soul. As a participant in the Ridhwan School, founded by Almass, I experienced these qualities directly. It was this direct experience, along with my experiences in therapy and other transformative processes that form the foundation for the concepts in this book.
The ego evolves from the newly embodied soul's experiences in utero, through the birth process, and throughout life. It emerges as the soul rubs up against experience. In this way, the ego is co-created as the soul experiences life. To hate or reject the ego is to reject a part of you. Pushing against the ego creates an inner conflict that deteriorates self-esteem.
Early ego development is based on the senses. It is formed during the precognitive and preverbal stage of human development by what you hear, see, feel, smell, taste, and touch. All of the sensory data you encounter in each moment is cataloged by the mind. This information is what triggers our patterns of thinking and behaving throughout life.
I have an image of a little librarian in my head that catalogues all this data. Whenever an experience occurs that has the same image, sound, smell, or feeling as a past experience, she runs to the file cabinets and instantly pulls out memories of all the past events that relate to this current moment.
A powerful example comes to mind. I remember the first day our realtor took us to look at houses when we moved to West Virginia. She took us to a wonderful Italian restaurant in the heart of town. The minute I walked through the front door and breathed in the fragrance, memories immediately flooded into my mind from Grandma Rose's kitchen and Sunday family dinners at her home in Brooklyn, New York, where I lived the first three years of my life. My heart opened wide, and I instantly fell in love with Charleston.
Five couples from Delaware moved to West Virginia at the same time we did in 1984. At the end of a year, we were the only ones still here. We continue to live here and, even though the restaurant is long gone, I still love this place!
Creation Stage of the Relationship
There is no reality except the one contained within us.
— Hermann Hesse
The ego structure evolves from the young, naïve soul's sensory perception in the absence of reason, logic, or conscious choice. In this way, the ego reflects the soul's consciousness at a kinesthetic (physical) level. We might think of this stage as the creation stage of the relationship between the ego and the soul.
Curiosity and non-judgment are present at this stage of development. The soul and the ego interplay to form impressions about life. These impressions eventually form the foundation of the ego structure. Once formed, at about age 5 or so, that structure becomes the lens through which we interpret our life experiences.
According to pain expert Dr. Norm Shealy, a newborn has only two basic fears: the fear of loud noise and the fear of falling. All other fears come from learning in the early stages of ego development. Because the ego forms from the body's sensory experience, it is tied to basic physical instincts, the primal drives of the body for pain avoidance and pleasure.
I just attended a perinatal conference where research was presented on the importance of not cutting the umbilical cord too soon and laying the baby on the mother's chest immediately at birth. The baby roots and feeds instinctively when this is done. When the baby is separated from the mother and put in a warming bassinet, even for five minutes before coming to the mother, the baby does not do this, because just that five-minute delay causes stress. This is impressive validation of how the infant responds and changes behavior based upon everything he or she experiences.
The Role of the Ego
Nothing in nature is isolated. Nothing is without reference to something else. Nothing achieves meaning apart from that which neighbors it.
Because it is tied to survival, one of the primary roles the ego adopts is that of protector. Its intention is to help the embodied soul stay safe and alive. The strategies the ego devises to protect the embodied soul are called defense mechanisms. These become the modus operandi of the ego and show up as consistent patterns of behavior in response to perceived threats over time. Keep in mind that because these patterns were developed based on subtle sensory data, they are not necessarily logical or rational on the surface or from an adult perspective.
Here is a memory that came to me many years ago in therapy that illustrates the powerful effect a simple experience of childhood can have on the ego belief system. At about a year and a half old, I was playing with building blocks with my father. He was building the blocks up and I was knocking them down, giggling, and having a great time. At one point, I was laughing deliriously as my mother came into the room. Rather annoyed, she announced, "She should be taking a nap!" My father picked me up and put me in the crib, she walked out, he walked out, and the door closed. I cried and cried, finally crying myself to sleep.
Now, this scenario would not normally be considered abusive or traumatic from an adult perspective. Yet, it had a profound effect on how I lived my life. I was very careful to hold back my natural enthusiasm and joy, out of fear of being abandoned and alone. The thought went like this: If people really know how strongly you feel, they will leave you. I learned to put great stock in my logic and reason, and very little if any time or energy into spontaneous play. When I had feelings of excitement, I held them back.
As the protector of the sensitive young soul, the ego develops beliefs that become behavior patterns intended to support our basic human needs on a physical, emotional, and psychological level. These patterns address needs for food, shelter, and security, as well as affection, approval, and acceptance. The ego does not come up with these ideas and behaviors in isolation from the soul, but in relation with our soul's own unique essence. In this way, the ego-derived false self, or "mask" that we wear, also reflects qualities of the true self.
In the example I just shared about the pattern I call "Don't get too excited. Everyone will leave you!" the solution my ego evolved not only protected me from abandonment, but it also intended to preserve my soul's deep yearning for relationship, connection, and interconnectedness, which is true to the essence of my soul.
In this same way, the ego derives beliefs and behaviors around strengths that are experienced early in childhood. Whether it is labeled positive or negative, once an experience is embedded in the ego's memory bank, the belief about it becomes reinforced with every new experience that proves it's true.
I have a firm belief that I am never lost. This is based on an early story I was told about an incident that happened to me about the age of 2 or 2 1/2. I was separated from my mother in a store in Brooklyn, New York. Not able to find her, I walked down the street and found my way back to my grandmother's house. I was sitting on the stoop feeling quite proud of myself when my mother showed up in a frantic state. I'm not sure what happened next.
My sense is that there was a great relief on the part of my mother and myself. My grandmother was a very wise soul who may have helped my mother put a positive twist on the event. This seems so, because the entire incident instilled a permanent sense of my strength and capability in venturing into new places.
What I do know is that I have an uncanny good sense of direction. I have many experiences that consistently reinforce this belief. At one point, I moved to Delaware, where I became I a public health nurse. With a car, phone book, and map, I was able to find my way around this new territory with no stress and a sense of adventure.
As a result of the early data and ongoing experiences that reinforce it, I firmly believe that I am never lost, just discovering a new way to get somewhere. This is a composite inner truth, based partly on my soul's true nature and partly on the ego's formation of a belief that became an embedded pattern (fact). That pattern is intended to protect my life and serve my soul's purpose.
Gary Craig, the developer of the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), talks about the ego structure as the house we live in and our beliefs as the writing on the walls. The writing on our walls is our truth about life and our relationship with it. As adults, with awareness and maturity, we can change the writing on our walls that may hold us back from following our soul's call.
When the soul pushes toward new experiences, the ego tends to push back to maintain the status quo of the original structure. Fortunately, with the right tools, awareness, and understanding, the writing on our walls can be rewritten.
This is important when the soul's passion rises, calling for a transformation of the original structure of the ego-soul relationship. This call of the soul often comes in adolescence, in midlife, or after a significant life shift, like divorce, life-threatening illness, or near -death experience.
The next three chapters will explore all of these concepts along with more detail about the soul, the ego, and other aspects of our psyche that are important to hearing and living the call of your soul.
The following concepts summarize the foundation of the ego–soul journey:
* The soul has both essential qualities common to all souls, plus personal qualities that are unique to your particular soul.
* The soul is has an embodied experience of life.
* The ego evolves out of the physical, sensory experience of the soul.
* The ego and the soul are not separate.
* The ego is also informed by the basic drives for survival.
* The ego reflects qualities of the soul's true nature.
* The ego evolves and reinforces beliefs and behaviors based on early childhood experiences, which are expressed in patterns that become our truth about who we are and how life works.
* It is possible to change our patterns with conscious awareness.
Ideas for Applying This Information to Your Life
Begin to be aware of patterns of belief and behavior that may reflect decisions your ego made based on early life experiences. Get a journal or small tape recorder to note patterns of thoughts, feelings, and actions you observe as you go through the day.
Locate some photos of yourself as a baby or very young child. Then, look at some photos after the age of 7. What changes do you see in the appearance and demeanor of that child at different ages? Can you see more soul qualities at the younger age and more ego influence at the later ages? What qualities of the soul do you see in the young child?CHAPTER 2
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.
What Is Soul?
The soul of man is immortal and imperishable.
We talk about soul music and soul food. What does that mean? To me, these are unique things that attract each of us and touch us at a deep level. I call them affinities.
Our specific attractions may change over time, yet we know them by the way they draw us in and make us feel. Affinities pull us like a magnet. With that pull, a feeling, a sensation, arises. It might be delight, lightness of heart, increased energy, a spark. It's like something just turned up the inner pilot light a notch.
In energy terms, affinities are on the same wavelength with us. In this way, affinities are clues to our true nature. They are mirrors that reflect our inner light back to us. The source of that light, that attraction, that knowing, is the soul.
Even though we cannot see or touch the soul with our eyes or hands, we can know it directly by how it draws us toward these reflections, these clues. We know how an affinity feels. It's not in our head. It's not logical or rational. We can't always explain why we are attracted to that particular vibration, that particular flavor. It's a matter of taste or comfort. Inside, we just know.
With hindsight, the clues begin to add up. We can see themes and patterns to our affinities. Also, there are usually gifts, talents, and natural abilities that align with our affinities. These are reflections of the personal qualities of the soul that are unique to each individual.
Right from the beginning, even in utero, a mother can tell a difference from one pregnancy to another. This baby may be more active or calm. He might move to a certain type of music. She might respond to the mother's emotions. After birth, we can observe the child's affinities in actions, reactions, preferences, or behaviors.
My first granddaughter hated to sit in her little baby seat. She wanted to be picked up and walked around. It's as if she couldn't wait to be able to walk. She always wanted to be moving. As she grew up, she was very agile. She loved to climb and move. It's no surprise that in elementary school, gymnastics attracted her attention. She also excelled at it and quickly became a star in her gymnastics troupe. She not only had the affinity, she also had the natural ability to successfully actualize her soul's desire. She loved to perform in tournaments. When she performed, her energy was boundless, her movements were effortless, and her face glowed with delight. This un-self-conscious self-expression is the soul made visible.
The soul's reflection in affinities and abilities is easiest to observe in infancy and early childhood before the ego structure is fully formed. This is especially true when children feel free to express themselves with minimal restriction. Although affinities and abilities are unique aspects of individual souls, there are also aspects that all souls share. Curiosity is a good example.
All infants demonstrate curiosity. It's through curiosity and exploration that a child naturally learns about the world. Maria Montessori based her philosophy of early childhood education on her observation that the natural tendency of children is to learn. When an environment supports the child's natural curiosity and attractions, he or she loves to learn and does this automatically.
Here is another example. I have a picture of myself about age 3, sitting in a big wingback chair with an opened book on my lap. That was a book for my soul. I can still remember fondly the rough texture of the hardback cover, see the bright yellow color, smell the pages, and hear the crack of the spine. At 3, I don't think I could read the book but I looked at it over and over. I carried it everywhere with me. It was called Not Only for Ducks: The Story of Rain. This book explained all about how rain operated, how water evaporated, how clouds formed, and how and why the rain came down.
Before the age of reason, I had an affinity for books, and for understanding how and why life works the way it does. My multisensory affinity for and attachment to this book was an early clue to the nature of my soul. Even now, in recalling that moment, I feel warmth in the center of my chest and a sense of comfort and delight having that book with me, even just in memory. It still speaks to my soul.
Today, I have a large library of books and often struggle to part with any of them. I tend to give books as gifts and ultimately came to write books. Was my soul calling me to this moment from the very beginning? I would say so.
Qualities of the Soul
The growth of the soul may be compared to the growth of a plant. In both cases, no new properties are imparted by the operation of external causes, but only the inward tendencies are called into action and clothed with strength.
— George Ripley
One of the most powerful and genuinely helpful processes to shape my experiences and understanding of soul is the Diamond Heart Approach developed by A.H. Almass. He outlines the essential qualities of true nature or soul as brilliance, clarity, curiosity, compassion, joy, love, peace, strength, truth, value, will, and more. These are not theoretical constructs, but qualities we can know through our direct sensory experience of them.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Call of the Soul"
Copyright © 2013 Aila Accad.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part I Knowing Your True Self
Chapter 1 A Partnership Is Born 23
Chapter 2 The Soul 33
Chapter 3 The Ego 51
Chapter 4 The Enforcer and Observer 73
Part II Hearing and Living the Soul's Call
Chapter 5 The Ego and the Soul: A Love Story 99
Chapter 6 Transformation 123
Chapter 7 Hearing the Call 155
Chapter 8 Living the Call 189
Part III Stepping Into the Call
Chapter 9 Techniques 221
Chapter 10 Teachers and Guides 229
Chapter 11 Stepping Into Your Call 243
About the Author 255