Art thou pale for weariness of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth, wandering companionless among the stars that have a different birth, and ever changing, like a joyless eye that finds no object worth it's constancy? Thou chosen sister of the Spirit, that gazes on thee til in thee it pities. . . -Shelley (To The Moon)
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Soul and Spirit: A Love System in Sympathy
Love for the self is usually tacit. Asking people whether or not or they love themselves is often a right reserved literally to therapists and/or rhetorically to spiritual advisors. Those who claim to love themselves can answer with varying degrees of compassion, honesty, irony and indignation. Those who cannot answer at all are often confronted by another question: How do I love myself more? In such a question we find the wisdom of love: It is truly in loving the self that we discover love is unlimited and that we are perpetually attracted to the idea of more love, rather than just love. Linguistically, then, 'love' is a semantic horror, a referent that shows itself to be a single enumerated item. From a psychological gaze, though, we might be able to get over this failure. Freud says that religion is the "feeling of eternity" (describing the feeling as "oceanic"). Love and eternity share the property of 'always more', an element instigating the process of self-propogation. We know that Love and Eternity are related. We swear a vows to love "forever" and we take rings to symbolize our comprehension, and (hopefully!) celebration, of their unity. Love, as a process, is more compelling and evolved than eternity, since it veritably requires eternity to run. The inverse can also perhaps be true. . .
How do I love myself always more? How do I love myself when I don't even think everything about me is "good"? It's not a question to be answered intellectually. I believe that the spirit must be loved before the "self". It is through love that our spirits reveal themselves, in full colour spectrum, to us and to all sympathetic things. Love causes relationships to happen and it is what relationships produce. This is a paradox, but it is not strange. Plotinus says, "whoever demands something from the universe is no stranger to it." If we do not already know that something exists we wouldn't be demanding it. In one sense we "know" it's there, but in another we demand it from the universe so that we know it's there. It is the same with Love; we exact it from relationships as proof that it was there all along. We hope to eventually progress to the point where every thought/action is instigated by and resulting in love. We use the spirit to progress because it is attracted to, guided by, and living for truth, therefore it's always "first" to get there. We must love our spirit, then, for the sake of love - entering into a true relationship with it. Without spirit, life is not led, but left in the shadows of things that aren't real, such as inertia, which is a symptom of lack of Truth, for Truth is a fast-moving target.
It is said that a person might "possess" a "great" spirit. "Great" in it's quantitative meaning is always an inaccurate description. There is one spirit divided equally among all sympathetic things, although at any time only a limited array of the spirit's colours could be revealed to an individual. I say the spirit has "colours" because of the relationship of spirit to light - light being Truth. How do I love my spirit more? So that it reveals itself to me in many or all of its colours? We must tend to it by alleviating it's burdens. Once the Truth the spirit seeks is acquired, it must be handed off because it's weight will hinder the spirit from it's purpose, which is to freely, perpetually seek the Truth that lies ahead. We must transfer the reward to the soul, where it will feed Love, for Love originates in the soul's dwelling. The soul is always "last" to get rewarded, but it is endless - a deep soul is no cause for a want to evacuate, but a place to celebrate all we have discovered. For this reason, the soul is associated with our past, and spirit with our future. It fits that since each of our pasts differ, so do the colour of our spirits, because the truths we have learned about Love in the past make us love in different ways from one another. This Love, though, must always be expressed, because the spirit cannot seek the light of Truth without it. Love without anywhere to go, without purpose, without an outlet for expression, is useless, rendering the soul at first heavy, then inert, and thus invalid.
The above painting is by Norman Rockwell entitled Triple-Self Portrait. The one on the right is Interior With Woman At Piano by Vilhelm Hammershoi.