That’s right, leap year! The extra day tucked into our calendar! How the concept fascinated me when I was a child. Someone in one of my elementary school classes even had a birthday on February 29th. I remember feeling both astonished by this and also a little sorry for the classmate that they could celebrate their real birthday only once in four years. Now I know the preferred celebration is every day of my life, with perhaps a little bonus congratulations on my birthday that I have persisted on this planet for another year.
Science grew out of philosophy, and in fact grew so far out of it that the two became disconnected. Plato’s philosophy encompassed the spiritual universe while Aristotle’s parted the physical and focused on that. The book I’m reading now, House of Souls, wants to define those two separate universes and then marry them back together. What constitutes self and what constitutes soul, for example, are discussed in pretty good detail. The writer talks about what these two terms mean to us moderns, how we see self and soul. The concepts in the public mind have drifted far in the past fifty years. Much of what we now think of the two is contrary to how people understood soul and self before the media changed the hearts and minds of the people to conform to a new set of ideas. What this psychologist is keen on understanding is how that change we witness the world going through has changed our identity of who we are. We at one time understood ourselves to be of a divine nature, but now are some sort of programmable fabric into which new view points can be easily embedded and easily altered to fit the requirements of the latest social sciences. Instead of adhering to a traditional model for living, we can just click the Like button on Facebook and go about our merry little cyber way. Its a pretty trite and flimsy identity we have evolved for ourselves. Clean, quick, faceless, empty.
The writer insists on sticking to her true identity, which comes to her through faith, but is verified through experience. On our own, with no prior knowledge or revelation of who we are, we seem to be nothing more than animals that have this crazy ability to think. Because that’s all we see ourselves as being, our thoughts about who we are and why we exist are so easily manipulated, mainly because of social pressure. But if we lose that concept of having divinity within our core being, then when things go bad for us emotionally or in our psyche and it’s time to check in with our local therapist, we have no access to our deeper and more true self because we do not acknowledge that it exists. An analogy might be something like having a flat tire on a car and taking it to a repair shop, where the mechanic looks under the hood to fix the problem because he doesn’t understand that the car also has wheels.
She writes a lot about how and where people hurt, and provides many real-life anecdotes to illustrate her points. She has had to deal with some tough and extreme cases, so has been challenged to develop a therapy that can work, and has had to apply the principles to her own life. The therapy is the traditional activities of prayer, contemplation, and meditation. When psychological damage occurs, it is damage done to the soul and the self, or both. The healing she proposes then is to have a friendship, a relationship with God, because God is part of our make-up, and imparts healing power. Her words resonate with me. They match up with what I was taught when young, an essential part of me that will not easily change. I have had some real issues with organized church and religion, but despite all those obstacles, which might make a nice rant in another journal entry , what is inside of me remains constant. My experience and intuition tell me that I am far more than an animal that just happens to be able to think. Most people know their car has wheels.