‘Call the world if you please, “The vale of Soul-making”. Then you will find out the use of the world.’
– John Keats, from a letter to his brother
After the peeling away of the layers of inauthentic conditioning in Imaginal Therapy, we are often free for the first time to truly live. But true authenticity is a tricky thing. We start to understand the truth of this statement only once we’ve opened to the reality that ‘what I want’ is not necessarily the same as what soul wants for me. In other words, ‘soul’ is not ‘me’. In fact, the phrase ‘my soul’ reveals a misunderstanding of what soul is. For soul does not belong to me, is not inside me. I am inside her. And, we can only truly open to soul after we’ve truly grasped the reality that there really is no ‘me’ and felt the longing to live from this place beyond self.
Doing this, is no easy matter. Yet the journey ‘there’ is in many ways no less beautiful and meaningful than the arrival ‘there’. In fact, the point in the journey where we wake up to its beauty and meaningfulness is not really ‘a point,’ yet this is the real arrival, which disappears again when we stop journeying. Soul-making involves a deep commitment to that calling we feel to live the most meaningful life we possibly could. To honour the fact that life, here, is precious. It involves grasping the truth that the very meaning of being here is that this life is an opportunity to ‘make soul.’
Making soul involves the truth, on quite a different level from that in Imaginal Therapy, of Carl Jung’s statement that all our decisions amount to this one choice: either we surrender to our destiny, or we don't. Opening to living ‘our’ destiny turns out not to be about ‘us’ at all. And yet, it is how we are shaped into becoming a true ‘individual’, and most alive. In other words, only through soul-making do ‘I’ become the ‘me’ ‘I’ was always meant to be, where my true ‘character’ emanates from ‘me’ in a way it never did before. And yet this can only truly happen once I’ve let go of my preoccupation with ‘me myself and I’. The very ‘air we breathe’ in the realms of soul-making is paradox.
Following our destiny includes following our deepest soul-longings. Most people don’t do this and so become victims of fate, which is not destiny. Soul-making demands courage, for our destiny always involves entering onto a journey that is not always safe and secure. But courage is not the heroic thing we imagine it to be. Rather, it is rooted in opening to hear our hearts deeply and clearly, so we really know we have no choice but to follow. And, it is about rooting increasingly into gentleness. This is also called ‘following a path of heart.’ Which entails ‘letting go’ and ‘opening’ to an extent that seems very scary to most people. Yet, truth is, the sensation of feeling truly alive that comes from following one’s destiny, does not come unless we fundamentally surrender our resistances.
In the vessel of soul-making, we work gradually, one step at a time. You will not be pushed, even if you will be nudged. But at some point, if you truly want to fly, you’ll have to cross your edges and enter into unknown territories. And learn to explore them. Similar to the journeys of the great explorers from a few centuries ago. The only true journey worthwhile having, really. The rest is just ‘being a tourist’. So, soul-making involves mentoring that will hopefully provide you with the confidence to eventually take the leap, like The Fool in the Tarot, onto the only journey where we feel like life has meaning and that satisfies us to the core.
We soon discover teachings about soul-making in all the traditions encountered on this website. In fact, an immense body of profound wisdom exists to guide us on our path. For example, in Buddhism, after the Hinayana the Bodhisattva vows to go back into the world and work for the good of all sentient beings. In Alchemy, after the Nigredo-Albedo, after the first Coniunctio has been forged, the adept brings their new-found clarity of mind ‘back down into the world,’ and opens to a whole new relationship to living truly creatively. This kind of creativity does not flow from one’s ‘self’, but from something powerful ‘beyond’ us.
In Ancient Greece this powerful force beyond us was called the daimon. We open to it and it comes alive through us. Our life becomes the fundamentally creative force, the work of art, it was always meant to be. We live the story we were born to live. In Rome, this force was called the genius. It is a powerful force that may take us to the edge of madness. But when we learn to navigate this kind of madness, we discover that it is a powerful source of creativity. In other words, we learn how to contain the daimon, our madness, our genius, so that we are not destroyed by it, but renewed.
Still, the daimon’s ways are hard, and it will inevitably demand from us every last bit we have to give. Anyone still trapped in their inauthentic conditioning, will find endless ‘reasons’ why doing this is ‘impossible’. Despite that, the work of Imaginal Therapy often goes hand-in-hand with the work of soul-making. Especially for those who already know that this is the only calling that matters to them.
In the world we live today, we are no longer in touch with the structures the old traditions knew to be essential to contain this journey. For most people, the practicalities of following their destiny, inevitably involves radical change in the way they’ve lived before. And usually, there are a lot of resistance to these changes. To a large extent, we need to be re-educated before we are facilitated with the knowledge, skills and practices that are essential to soul-making. However, for those who are truly called to do this, this process of learning is usually full of rich and delightful discoveries. Soul-making is often not as difficult as the work of undoing our inauthentic conditioning. But, as all the old traditions tell us, it takes more time to do and requires total commitment.
For any inquiries, please contact Fritz via the form in the sidebar.