Do you have a soul to sell? If you have, what is it worth? If you were offered unlimited money, love and immortality would you sell your soul? The pressures of life, work, relationship, money, consumerism, and so on, all add to the difficulty in staying on track with our deepest sense of who we are and what we want from life. Perhaps we all sell our souls when we do not follow the path which our deepest intuition and sense of self reveals to us.
What does it means to sell your soul? Could you be tempted to do so? There are many different ways of understanding this, from the spiritual, through the psychological to perhaps even the literal. Lots of questions can support our inquiry:
– What does falling into temptation mean? What are the areas in your life where you could be tempted; what are the fears that might stop you selling your soul; from a sense of rightness, through conditioning, to the price isn’t right; recognizing both the tempter and the tempted with oneself.
– How do the pressures of life affect this? All the different ways we sell our souls e.g. staying in job for security reasons when the work isn’t right for you; or the fear of being alone keeping you in a poor relationship.
– What’s the psychology behind a concept of selling your soul? Is it all about responding to primary and complex emotions; how you are driven or compelled; getting your needs met?
– What are the spiritual implications of selling your soul? It depends on different cultural and religious injunctions, and how to deal with them according to various belief systems you were brought up with or have taken on.
– What really does being true to yourself mean? How do we contact and stay in touch with our deepest sense of self and what we really want to be doing with our lives?
– Can we can find the power and connection inside so that even if we could sell our souls we neither would want to nor have any reason to do so?
There are innumerable ways to approach these questions, not least from the perspective that rather than considering you have a soul that maybe soul has you! But what is soul anyway? There are many different definitions and ideas about soul: the essential part, our essence, a prime constituent, life-blood, heart, core, innermost being, centre, spirit, origin, vital spark, inner man, psyche, qualities, nature, being … Maybe to help define it, it may be useful to consider what is NOT soul: what are the qualities and activities that are not soul or soulful, that deny soul and that make you feel soul-less. Some may be, for instance: ugliness/no beauty, mediocrity, lack of vitality, baseness, trivialization of life, cynicism, alienation, rootlessness, apathy, burn out, anxiety, addictions, purposelessness, narcissism, alienation, lack of integrity.
So, do you own a soul? If we can say ‘I have a soul’ (as if it is an object), if we possess a soul then we could put a price on it, sell it, or even give it away. But if soul has us instead – then it is not ours to consider in that way. What if soul is an unbounded energy that exists everywhere, something we are conduits or vehicles for, our link or connection to the infinite? What if soul is pure awareness from which everything arises, and nothing can bind or enclose or own it? Everything arises from it but what arises is not it. What if we connect to this unbounded energy of soul and give up idea of owning a soul but instead seeing ourselves as part of soul, within a field or river of soul. Then ‘entering the flow of soul’ is the aim rather than trying to control, describe or in someway understand it. So long as you cling to something and make it ‘mine’ you cannot be free. The implication then is you have to let go to be free, and classically it is ego that holds on, fearful for its own continuing existence.
But how can you tell the difference between soul and ego, and know whether ‘where you are coming from’ is one or the other? Soul is accepting, approving, cooperating, detached, forgiving and selfless, whereas ego is rejecting, critical, opposing, clinging, resentful and selfish. Of course it’s not that simple and we need both soul and ego (so long as we live in a world of duality) – it is not that ego is ‘bad’, it has its uses particularly regarding survival, protection, identity, containment – just that it is limiting and divisive if it is where we centre ourselves.
It’s not easy, is it? But being true to yourself (that is, not selling your soul) is maybe not supposed to be ‘easy’ because everything that challenges you can help your soul grow. Bottom line to remember: the ‘real you’ has no agenda, is always living in present, and responding to life openly. And importantly, don’t ‘force virtue’ or your efforts will just become another ego/superego agenda.
Anyway, even if you could, why would you need to sell your soul when you are blessed already? Count your blessings, and reflect on how you can enhance these blessings, how lucky you are to be a soul incarnating as an individual body on this beautiful planet.
– Will Parfitt www.willparfitt.com