Thursday, September 06, 2007

Finding Something Special Within Yourself

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The more deeply you understand people, the more you will appreciate them, the more reverent you will feel about them. To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground. - Stephen R. Covey

I send this quote out with the full knowledge that most people have not experienced and will likely never have the experience of touching the soul of another human being.

Set aside any concepts you have about (or negative feelings against) the human soul. They are irrelevant to the discussion.

We tend to think of the soul as something revealed to us by the religion of our childhood, something we have when we are born. I disagree. I believe the soul is something you find during your lifetime, if you are fortunate. Soul is God within you. Either you can feel it under certain conditions or you cannot. If you can't, you likely have not discovered the essence of your soul. You may never find it if you look to others to grant it to you.

To "walk on holy ground" is not just for those who have been "born again in Jesus" or who are Sufi Muslims or mystics of other flavours. What Covey means by this is something akin to an enlightenment, a very special feeling that can't be described in words to those who have not experienced it.

Those who deeply understand people appreciate how similar we are, whether man or woman, mechanic or doctor, terrorist or preacher, child or ascetic.

Am I saying that you are like a terrorist who would blow up himself (or herself) as well as many others? Yes, at the core we are all the same. We all have the same needs. We may react differently when our needs are not met. And that happens a great deal more than most of us realize. More than some of us want to know or acknowledge.

Statistics have noted that terrorists often have college degrees and come from middle class families. But education does not come from school. School only teaches us how to educate ourselves. I received my baccalaureate when I could barely read, in fact never having read a prescribed course text. I could only read a tiny bit better when I received my postgraduate degree. No one today would deny my education.

We have needs that most of us do not realize. When those needs are not met, we can't focus on advancing ourselves in other ways, be they intellectually, socially or otherwise.

In order to "walk on holy ground," to feel the enlightenment, to have an appreciation of the human soul, to understand the reality of God and to have the experience of touching the soul of another, we must have our needs met. Those needs include social and emotional needs as well as physical and intellectual.

The latter two--the main ones focussed upon by our education systems--cannot be optimized unless the first two needs are met. A student may pass a course, but not achieve the level of education of which he or she has potential if their social and emotional needs have not been met.

Only when social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs have been met (for the most part) will a person have the potential to become enlightened and to show the way to others. To show the way for others becomes a personal quest, a need in itself so that the teacher and the student may touch each other's souls in the way that Steven Covey describes.

It has been said many times in many different cultures that if you can't find God within yourself, you will never find God in a church, synagogue, mosque or temple.

To feel God is to find your own soul within yourself. To touch the soul of another, to communicate with another soul, is the ultimate human experience.

If you believe this is bunk, then you won't find your own soul and you will likely have trouble believing in God. So be an agnostic or an atheist for the rest of your life. No one will care.

If you one day believe that you have formed a special relationship with someone, perhaps through a shared experience or a discussion, something that goes far beyond what you have experienced previously with that person or with others, then you likely have touched souls.

You can call it love. Many do. But it's a special kind of love that goes beyond sexuality, sensuality and meeting each others social needs.

You have it within you. The potential is there for you to discover. It's up to you to find it because no one can help you.

HINT: Begin by giving of yourself to others. You will never find your own soul, never have the enlightenment, never feel the excitement of touching the soul of another if you focus on what comes to you rather than on what you can give. Those who give of themselves to others find that they receive more back. Hard to believe? Then you haven't tried it.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how to satisfy the needs of children and adults to give them the potential to find the soul within themselves.
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