Reflections: The Soul’s Weight

There’s no getting around it.  Sometimes our daily lives carry a heavy weight.  I remember in the early 1990s, working in a corporate culture that felt mildly toxic. I happened to remember this particular occasion because I recently came across a poem in my “dead poem pile,” in which I successfully dealt with a problem, then was unsuccessful trying to write about it.

During times of trouble, I sometimes came home from work feeling tossed about and depleted. I wasn’t able to go straight to solution.  This was my strategy: engage in conscious distraction as I transitioned away from the job, and when I felt prepared – engage in some serious healing.

Conscious Distraction: Being Buddhist bred in my early 20s, I was given to the philosophical notion that distraction was the enemy.  A little life experience, and mindfulness, taught me that some distraction was healthy.  A life of total distraction is like the unexamined life that Socrates warns us about.  But conscious distraction is a good thing.  We often need a period of transition after the hard time.  Some people like cookies or ice cream.  For me it was Star Trek taped onto the VCR (occasionally followed by cookies or ice cream).  Other times it was a walk, an entertaining book, attending to a pet, talking with a friend, or a favorite piece of music.  If the problem is not too severe, a little conscious distraction may be all that is needed.  This problem required more.  Distraction was just a step, letting things settle so that I could move forward.   At some point, I knew I was ready to work at a deeper level.

Healing: There’s no simple prescription for healing a situation and its resultant pain.  While psychological methods are helpful, I knew that to really feel healed, I needed deep connection with Spirit.  I don’t think that’s something you can dial-up like fake Santa once a year around Christmas – it relies on intentional practice to keep Divine links vital.  My practice for a long time had been meditation.  Meditation is good at stopping thoughts, but when you stop meditating the thoughts often return because the problems remain.  I realize that with a clear mind, one is more prepared to deal with problems after meditation.  But there are times when I do not want to discourage or ignore thoughts.  I want to become informed, to listen to the voice of Guidance.  Luckily, at that point in my life, I’d had plenty of time to gather my shamanic medicine (although any full-bodied practice that transcends everyday consciousness will likely do as well).  Shamanism didn’t make me a better poet, but it did heal the daily strains.

Communicating healing is not, in my opinion, an easy thing to do.  You want to give the reader a chance to discover the essential link.  I can write, “I entered the spirit sauna stained with work and walked out cleansed and ready to start anew.” But I don’t feel that’s enough.  So I turned to poetry.  The following poem was originally written in 1993.  The problem was that, while it worked on a level of personal incantation, it was bad poetry.  It didn’t have the capacity to communicate to anyone else.  I have completely rewritten the poem in hopes that it can help inspire those with a spiritual practice to link with their essential self so that they might begin to repair the strains of a daily grind.

Part 1 has both rhyme and rhythm.  I rarely use rhyme, but used the structure to mirror the repetitive pattern characteristic of being stuck with a problem.  In Part 2, the Soul speaks.  This section is largely edited (from the original poem) by contraction, as well as through communication with my Soul in the present.

The title of this post is an inferred pun, since the Soul’s weight is light.


I’m torn with unsolved problems,
leaving fragments of spirit at the place of work,
where ambiguous and chaotic difficulties lurk.
My body and beat move forward,
while behind I leave thought
to solve what I could not.
Those detective threads are binding,
waiting for intuition to find its way back
as I cross the length of yesterday’s track.
Does danger hide in this ongoing effort?
As we trace back our steps to see what we find,
we may become fastened – vitality mined.

And now, I’m desert swept and calling:
by god, these words will leave no mark.
I’m merely beckoning the dark.

What’s this?  A voice with light
that slows the pace, giving me another face.

We are singing to the enchantment of your spirit.
This is the calling, the installing of spark.
In this moment of Soul you experience
a shift of perspective, the unresolved
strains like fog dissolving at sunrise,
the new day shining through for Now.
We will not let time misplace transcendence.

For prepared, we are, to go back into time together,
not to escape responsibility, but to cradle
the pains and pleasures that accompany travel.
How will you negotiate the task, knowing
you’re not to be spared the human condition?
Gliding on the power of your calling,
so full with song and channeling Beyond,
you’ll sew the soulful into your day.

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