& spirit

Why Body, Soul, & Spirit?
Also see Body, Soul, & Spirit Defined
Also see Getting Started

Most traditions, may they be religious or psychotherapeutic, fail to take into account the psyche's inherent drive for wholeness. Wholeness comes about when, on a fairly routine basis, a person allows awareness of and (under the correct circumstances) expression of three major forces of the psyche---Body, Soul, and Spirit. These are the triple forces that have been considered throughout history as great centers of human experience.

Awareness of Body places one in close contact with: one's physical place in the world, our externally focused senses, our inner sensations, and with the experience of Now.
Soul Awareness affirms our connections---connections to this world, to friends, to family, to objects, to events. We carry these connections in our dreams, our imagination, our mind, and in our emotions.

Spirit pulls us beyond our Bodies and our Souls toward the divine as revealed in wisdom producing visions and in the mystical experience. Here we face the All and the Eternal.

Unfortunately, most of us don't recognize this need for inner wholeness and don't know how to move toward that goal. But regular exploration of Body, Soul, and Spirit has the potential to:
deepen one's experience of life, broaden one's vision, and help lead one to greater meaning. Many traditions of inner development have sought to focus on one or two forces while rejecting the others. By rejecting Body, or Soul, or Spirit, we throw out a great deal of ourselves causing disharmony within.

Building The Case

Only three forces of the psyche? Isn't the psyche much more complex than these three divisions? Yes and No. Yes, it is immensely complex. Just look at all of the medical treatments and psychotherapies that have been born since the beginning of modern psychology, just a little more than a century ago. But even with that innovation, the simple terms Body, Soul, and Spirit seem to aptly capture so much of our humanity. We all have a clear sense of what someone is talking about when they speak of a "loss of soul" or "being out of touch" with their body. And we know, at least in general terms, what it means to live a spiritual life.

Of course, we are not alone in understanding these three major categorizations of the human experience. People throughout the world and throughout time have spoken of these same forces. Cultures large and small knew of soul and spirit and body. Art, literature, everyday conversation, dreams, passing feelings, great expressions of religion---all hold tributes to these simple words.

Philosophers, formal and informal, have used similar terms to express the presence of these forces. The Body is the source of the burning energies of instinct, sensations, pain, and pleasure. Soul is the catch-all for another form of energy--our passions. Spirit---the priests, philosophers and poets think---is universal enough to describe flights of imagination, ecstasy, or inner relationship with a deity. General terms to be sure, but quite useful in placing most of the world's myths, experiences, and inner practices into a graspable whole.

How To Follow The Path of Body, Soul, and Spirit Awareness

The path of Body, Soul, and Spirit Awareness requires consistent work with each force in one's everyday life. This work focuses on two approaches. First, one needs to get a very clear understanding what each terms means. Not in some abstract manner, but in a really palpable sense. Borrowing from literature, movies, television, and other sources, we can develop a deep feeling of what the terms Body, Soul, and Spirit mean as well as develop the ability to recognize them in our lives.

Moving beyond knowing definitions, the student of Body, Soul, and Spirit must complete exercises developed to increase one's awareness of each force. For instance, for developing heightened Body awareness, sensory focusing experiments can be done. Soul awareness can be heightened by paying close attention to changes in mood. Spirit exercises can include recovering memories of extreme feelings of freedom in dreams, a day dream, or in life.

As training progresses, one is ready to take the second approach, that is learn how to hear Body, Soul, and Spirit "calling us." We all are frequently called by our psyche to be more aware in many ways. A few examples include: Our Souls call us when we have gone long periods without focusing on our deeper feelings and on their needs. We start to feel lifeless, dead to the world and ourselves. The workaholic is called by his/her Body when they suddenly feel "depressed," out of energy and unable to get a sure footing again. Our Spirits call us when we find ourselves longing for "freedom," or distance from the things or people we usually desire to be close to. If we can just hear these callings and then answer them, we can come to greater wisdom.

This site includes some of the basic information needed to begin and progress along this path.
Definitions of Body, Soul, and Spirit are included along with a listing of a wide variety of materials useful in getting a feeling for these experiences. Also made available is an initial program of exercises that can be incorporated into daily life. These resources are just a start. Above all, use your own imagination and insight to guide you to other material and experiences which can deepen your awareness of Body, Soul, and Spirit.

Note: This Is An Open Path

The path being proposed here is an open path in the sense that it can be used alone or along with other traditions (i.e. Buddhism, Christianity, etc.). Religious traditions fit easily into this path. Most can be followed in the sense that they provide an approach to the Spirit. However, they should be followed mindfully since they more than likely preach a rejection of the Body or Soul. Most also put a cap on how much of a spiritual experience one may have especially if it rivals sanctioned experiences.

Psychotherapy can also build one's ability to have Body, Soul, and Spirit experiences but, it too can be exclusionary. Some therapies wish to shut aside experiences of Spirit or expressions of Body. Good judgment and experimentation will be necessary to determine how psychotherapeutic work will fit into the larger task of Body, Soul, and Spirit Awareness.

Probably the more preferred approach, is to use these exercises and learning resources alone, outside the circle of psychotherapy or religious tradition, because they are so inclusive in their scope. They draw one closer to the arts, the humanities, and to religions while at the same time encourage a simple path of looking closely at your own experiences of everyday life.

Related topics:

Resurgence of interest in Body, Soul, and Spirit - Coming
The Gnostics and Body, Soul, and Spirit - Coming
Body, Soul, and Spirit in Alchemy










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