What is Spirit?
is the experience of attraction to transpersonal experience.
The focus is moved away from the personal towards
insights about consciousness or life itself. The mythical
movement is up and away. It is movement towards divinity
or the cosmos, freedom from the hold of our emotions,
history, persons, places, objects, and processes which
bind us to the everyday world. It is also dramatic
movement away from that which holds us physically---our
The quintessential description
of Spirit was captured by pilot John Gillispie Magee,
- Oh, I have slipped the surly
bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered
- Sunward I've climbed, and
joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds---and
done a hundred things you have not dreamed of---wheeled
and soared and swung high in sunlit silence,
- Hov'ring there, I've chasted
the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft
through footless halls of air.
- I've topped the windswept
heights with easy grace where never lark, or even
eagle flew and, while with silent, lifting mind
I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
- Put out my hand, and touched
the face of God.
Spirit manifests itself in our
daily lives in the form of calls, visions, and unions.
Hazards of Spirit
All throughout the world in almost
every tradition that had a taste of Spirit, Body and
Soul are seen as forms of corruption, if not down
right evil. Spirit is all, says these traditions.
Anything that is not Spirit is worthless and harmful.
Hear the figure of philosophy in Boethius's The Consolation
of Philosophy speaking of Soul:
- "So sinks the mind
in deep despair and sight grows dim; when storms
of life blow surging up the weight of care (the
- It banishes its inward light
(the Spirit) and turns in trust to the dark without
(our everyday world which is laden with Soul stuff).
- This was the man who once
was free to climb the sky with zeal devout to contemplate
the crimson sun, the frozen fairness of the moon--Astronomer
once used in joy to comprehend and to commune with
planets on their wandering ways.
- This man, this man sought
out the source of storms that roar and rouse the
seas; the spirit that rotates the world, the cause
that translocates the world, the cause that translocates
the sun. From shining East to watery West; he sought
the reason why spring hours are mild with flowers
manifest, and who enriched with swelling grapes
ripe autumn at the full of year.
- Now see that mind that searched
and made all nature's hidden secrets clear lie prostrate
prisoner of night. His neck bends low in shackles
thrust, and he is forced beneath the weight to contemplate---the
lowly dust (a Soul filled life)." (Translated
by V.E. Watts, Penguin Classics, 1984, p. 37; comments
in () were added to illustrate this discussion).
The appropriate approach, at
this point in history, given our understanding of
reality, psychology, and comparative mythology and
religion, is to explore Spirit as fully as we can
but not to be overly possessed by it. Spirit is both
a very rewarding experience AND a force that can strip
you of your basic humanness. The dark side of Spirit
which is spoken of all too infrequently is like the
sirens in Ulysses, pulling us to the rocky shore line.
While we may not physically hit the rocky shore and
go down to our destruction, but Soulfully, and some
times Body wise, we do suffer. To have Spirit is to
be the unique human. But to be the full unique human,
we too must have Soul and Body.