What is the Soul? – Part 7 – What the Trickster Can Teach Us about Us

I’ve titled this series “What is the Soul?” but, at heart, the whole series is based on the question, “How does a disembodied existence [the presumed soul] feel about / adjust to / come to terms with an embodied existence?”

In last week’s post, we discussed the Hero and the Trickster as split-personality projections of the soul. We considered that the Hero could be a projection of what the soul wishes for itself out of incarnation and the Trickster could be a projection of how the soul actually feels about dealing with incarnated life.

In this final post of the series, we look at what we can learn at a deep soul-level, by understanding and embracing the character of the Trickster. One day I hope to write a book about the Trickster and the Soul. For now, this series and this post are the distilled version.

Lesson #1 Engage with your dirt

It may seem like a stretch to associate the Trickster with ‘dirt,’ but the Trickster has a close association with the gut and hunger as discussed in the post Trickster Makes this Road.   Lewis Hyde, author of Trickster Makes this World notes that, “‘dirt’ washed from the dishes was ‘food’ not long ago and we sat around putting it in our mouths.” (Loc 3072)

It is an important lesson that the very things that nourish us as food, in excess or not-well maintained can themselves become dirt-like. Old food goes to rot. And yet, dirt, itself, can be tremendously nourishing.

Further, Trickster is associated with hunger, hunting, eating, food, digestion, and also defecation. Is there anything we consider dirtier, really, than poop?

Engaging with our ‘dirt’ on a metaphorical level allows us to see ourselves in a morally complex way. We need to be willing to look at the unsavory parts of our character with a compassionate but unflinching eye. Acknowledging our shortcomings is not a weakness, but a strength. The real value comes from seeing our real dirt which is often not what we think. Finding the deep dirt that gets in our way takes self-reflection, attention, and hard work.

Even more, we need to be able to look at the qualities we think of as strengths for ourselves and be willing to see the dirty aspects of those as well. If I’m honest am I a ‘straight-shooter’ with whom you ‘always know where you stand’ or am I ‘rude’ and opinionated’? If I’m constantly going out of my way to help people am I a ‘selfless, people person’ or a ‘weakness enabler’ secretly seeking to gratify my own inner desire to feel needed?

Only when we can see the negative aspects of what we consider our strengths and positive qualities and recognize that even those qualities may have unintended impacts on those around us – can we transform ourselves into something new.

Lesson #2 Recognize Opportunity

Trickster is associated with the ‘lucky find.’ In the Homeric Hymn of Hermes, Hermes finds a turtle outside his cave and turns it into a lyre with which he charms Apollo. Perhaps any number of others would have let the turtle walk away without seeing what it could become;[1] But Hermes, the Trickster, recognized the opportunity and ‘seized’ it.

We often unintentionally block our own opportunities in life. We may not even recognize opportunities when they walk across our path. Several weeks ago I wrote a post on “allowing,” a concept that applies well here. We can become so attached to a particular outcome or path forward that we close our minds and hearts to other possibilities.

There is an excellent quote from the Alchemist, “..when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This is true. However, there are two complicating factors; one is that we don’t always know what we really want. Deep down we may want something general (love, fulfillment, self-worth), but we attach it to something specific. Thus, when the Universe shows up with a perfect solution to our heart’s desire – we don’t even see it.

The Trickster encourages us to take a wider view of our situation when we are looking for solutions, opportunities, and answers. We may sometimes need to go in a direction that seems like the opposite of where we want to go to end up where we want to be.

Lesson # 3 – Truth May Not Be Relative, But It Isn’t Absolute Either

It is perhaps his association with lying that earns the Trickster the lion-share of his bad reputation. However, it would be a great misunderstanding to limit the Trickster’s association with communication to lying.

Hermes’ gift of language is to be ‘clever-tongued’ or ‘tricky with the oath’.  Coyote often secures his prey with a ‘trick.’ It is rarely an outright lie, but instead a type of verbal maneuvering that trips up those who aren’t paying attention.

To truly understand the Trickster’s association with communication, let’s reflect on how this aspect of the Trickster relates to our overall discussion of the difference between the embodied and disembodied existence. According to the Newton dialogues, in an energetic ‘soul-state’ communication happens via a type of telepathy. Essentially, in such a state there is no difference between thought and speech.

From one quote, “It is impossible to hide anything” in the disembodied state.

So while in some ways we are less vulnerable in an energetic state – free from fear of death, pain, loss, hunger, strife, etc. In terms of our personal weaknesses we are actually more vulnerable – our soul wounds and flaws are essentially visible for all to see.

Contrast that with the embodied state where we find an incredible amount of complexity between what we think and feel and how we might actually express that in words. If the Newton dialogues are to be believed, lying only becomes possible in the embodied state. Despite all the vulnerabilities of the human body, as humans, we actually are able to hide the vulnerabilities of our soul.

Noting that difference – Trickster’s association with communication (and, yes, lying) aligns very well with the interpretation of Trickster as a divine representation of humanity. And perhaps – if you can allow that that interpretation might be true – it helps you understand Trickster’s association with lying, and by extension our human relationship with communication, with a more heart-felt compassion.

Understanding this about the Trickster and then holding up the mirror to ourselves, the lesson here is to explore our own relationship with communication. Is there a giant gulf between what we feel and what we speak? Do our emotions sneak out in snarky comments or loaded questions?

If we allow it, the Trickster can teach us about both cleverly and effectively crafting our own communication and listening for the truth in others speech.

I had hoped to make this my last post in this series, but the last lesson I want to cover on the blog is simply too big to ‘tack on’ to this post after all I’ve written about the first three, therefore I will cover it in it’s own post next week…which should be the last one.



[1] of course, that future was fairly negative as far as the turtle was concerned – but implementing true inspiration often requires transformation and some sortof sacrifice.

What is the Soul – Part 6 – Echoes of the Soul

“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known when I was young and dreamed of glory…

you have no control – who lives, who dies, who tells your story” – Washington, History Has Its Eyes on You from the musical, Hamilton

If you’ve read any of my posts so far this year, you might notice that I’ve developed a Trickster fixation. Three years ago when I picked up Lewis Hyde’s book Trickster Makes this World, I felt a powerful resonance with the subject.

Early in 2015, when I returned to Trickster Makes this World in hopes of finding a quote[1] – I found, instead, a new level of understanding.

I realized then that there was nothing more important for me to cover on the blog than the topic of the Trickster. The very name I had given the blog when I started it – Standing Stones, referred to the stone cairns that provide direction on a path through the wilderness. Cairns, I learned in the book, that originated as ‘alters to Hermes’ – that didn’t feel like a coincidence.

After re-reading Trickster Makes this World, I wrote what I think is my best work to date in the post Trickster Makes this Road. After publishing, I thought, okay, now that that craziness is over, I can move on.

Except the craziness was only beginning.

It’s unclear exactly when the realization crystallized, but suddenly whatever I was reading, whatever I was writing, I kept bumping into the Trickster. Oh… not by name or in so many words… but he showed up in the pages of Sonia Choquette’s book Walking Home and Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen’s Thanks for the Feedback. I even found him in Michael Pollan’s Cooked and the recent scientific focus on the influence of the gut on the overall health of our body and mind.

As a result, he showed up in my posts about those books[2] and a half dozen other posts besides – it turns out the Trickster was key to completion of a piece I’d been working for years on Free Will vs. Fate (The Double Agent of Change).

The last major time this happened was twenty years ago when I ‘accidentally’ started reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Hero Within simultaneously. The former emphasized the cultural confluence of the story of the Hero in world mythology and its significance as an archetype. The latter focused on, as clearly stated in the title, the ‘hero’ transformation of the individual.

At that time, my meditation and reading of those books (as well as copious time spent in the sun, no doubt) triggered a mystical experience that had lasting effects on the subsequent decade.

So, in this similar experience with the Trickster, I recognized that I was now operating out of a new personal paradigm and I wondered – why do I suddenly see the Trickster everywhere? What could the significance of this character be?

Trickster is a divine character, but usually he’s not exactly on par with the other gods; both the Greek Trickster figure, Hermes and the Norse Trickster, Loki are of questionable parentage, for example. Nevertheless, he is one of the oldest and most written about characters in Native American folklore and is a key member of the pantheon in the Greek (Roman) and Norse traditions.[3]

However, unlike mythological stories that feature the other gods as grounded in their own power and authority (think of Thor or Apollo), many Trickster stories feature or at least reference very human aspects of existence; the gut, defecation, sex, age, appearance. In many stories, Trickster’s hunger starts the whole adventure – and in at least one story Trickster’s hunger essentially creates the world.

The “primitive” focus of Trickster stories have led prominent academicians such as Jung to categorize the Trickster as the product of a “primitive” human consciousness.

Perhaps, this is because they are juxtaposing early human life with that of other animals, and noticing that Trickster most closely resembles the animalian aspect of human existence.

But what if we made the same comparison that Trickster himself often makes? What if the comparison is instead between Trickster and the other gods?

When we orient the comparison in such a way, we see that among the pantheon, the Trickster most closely resembles the embodied human, corporeal existence.

But if Trickster is a portrait of humanity, it’s not a very flattering one. Which raises the question – whose portrait of humanity is this?

To answer that question we need to return to the two oppositional figures of Hero and Trickster.

Based on my understanding of these two characters from a mythological perspective, combined with what I have learned about the soul through reading, study, and my own self-reflection; the Hero is our spirit’s self-portrait.

The Hero represents how our eternal soul sees itself (like Trickster, the hero is also usually looking to reclaim or find some sort-of godhood) – the Hero is what the spirit wishes for itself out of incarnation – to face the challenges and lessons it was born to conquer and learn from them, emerging triumphant.

So if the Hero is the Soul’s self-portrait, who is the Trickster?

Building on the arguments I’ve laid out thus far in this post series, it is my belief that “The Trickster” is the eternal soul’s projection of how it feels about actual life on Earth. Contained within the projection of the Trickster are all the mixed emotions our spirit-self has about what it is actually like to be human; the ambivalence our divine selves feel towards embodied life.

When we look at the situation from this angle, it makes perfect sense that Trickster has sometimes been associated with our ‘Shadow’ or ‘The Devil.’ Is there anything that our religions – constantly striving towards the light – are more averse to than the human body?

Gluttony, Drink, Sloth, Sex – our demonization of these things, our consideration of them as sin is a reflection of our eternal soul’s discomfort with the needs, wants, and urges of a corporeal body. As souls, we think we are incarnating into a life that is going to go one way – the Hero’s path – and when we get here we find that the constant urges and distractions of the human body get in the way.

Thus we have, collectively, created the Trickster; the consummate wise fool. Sometimes easily tricked, sometimes the most cunning of hunters, constantly doing seemingly stupid things to get fed or have sex or gain status – because this is how we really see ourselves.

But just like all disowned aspects of the self – there is much to be learned from understanding and embracing what the Trickster can teach us. We’ll talk more about what we can learn from the Trickster in next week’s post – the last installment in this series.

[1] Read about this in the post Trickster Makes this Road

[2] Note: I did not write a post on Michael Pollan’s work, Cooked.

[3] There are examples of African Tricksters that Hyde certainly discusses in his book and perhaps Trickster could be found in the Mezo-American figure of Jaguar, but I do not have as strong a background in those traditions so I will not use them as examples.

What is the Soul – Part 5 – Projection

“Wherever known reality stops, where we touch the unknown, there we project an archetypal image.” Marie -Louise von Franz

After reading quite a bit of Jung, I’ve felt that an important piece of understanding the soul is the concept of projection. However, Jung’s work is vast and I wasn’t keen on sifting through it merely to unearth some quotes about projection for a blog post. I briefly ran into this concept again (although not in the precise words) in Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen’s book, Thanks for the Feedback; still I held back.

But when I heard Dr Libby Weaver talking about projection as part of the 2016 Hay House World Summit and associating it with the Reticular Activating Center (RAS) in the brain, I felt we had to cover this topic before going further.

When we think of projection, we tend to think of it in a negative way, as in, “don’t project your insecurities onto me!” But, in my experience, projection is something we all do all the time. Projection is a big part of how we interact with our world. It is, actually, how we create our world. We can try to avoid projecting, but the practice is so engrained that we might have better luck if we start with identifying our projections and trying to understand them.

So what exactly is projection? It’s a very flexible word – the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary has no less than 9 different ways to define it. Definition #3 from a Google search seems to fit what we’re talking about in this post best; “the presentation or promotion of someone or something in a particular way;” with sub-bullet points, “a mental image viewed as reality,” and, “the unconscious transfer of one’s own desires or emotions to another person.”

I’ll return to a study quoted in my post 5 Habits to Make you Happier Now;

A study from the Netherlands, as referenced in a Psychology Today article from Dec 2012 asked subjects to “identify happy and sad ‘smiley icons’ while listening to happy or sad music. Music turned out to have a great influence on what the subjects perceived. Interestingly, even when a ‘neutral face’… was shown, the subjects often thought they recognized a happy smiley when listening to happy music and a sad one when listening to sad music.”[1]

The participants projected their mood onto the neutral smiley faces. Whenever we find uncertainty, vagaries, empty space, we project into it. We don’t usually notice that we’re doing this because it is seamless with our engagement with the world. It is only when we pull back and really try to notice projection that its ubiquity becomes apparent.

However, the fact that we project does not make our projections ‘untrue’ – they represent deep truth, our truth. We need to recognize that a projection’s primary value is not what it tells us about the other person or the outside world, but what it tells us about us.

If we look at the world through the lens of very defined categories where thoughts are nebulous ‘fluff’ and matter is physical and corporeal, then projections seem like nothing; only a mental interpretation displaced to an outer source, right?

But, as argued in the post Thoughts on Co-Creation, if everything is energy at a root level – then projections become as much a part of world creation as everything else.  If we view everything from the energetic perspective, we might ask what the real difference is between a mental image made up of energy and a corporeal element made up of energy. It raises interesting questions about reality.

But why does projection matter to this discussion on the Soul?

It is my belief, based on my informal study of mythology that our souls have projected our deep truth of discarnate existence into myth. I don’t think this is that far from what a Joseph Campbell or Jung would say – only they would be hesitant to use a term with such a heavy religious connotation as “soul.”

Regardless of the name we call it – the perspective that projects a pantheon of immortal, deathless beings is one that understands such an existence.

However, as we discussed in the post Orbiting, our memories of such an existence become unmoored when we incarnate and thus this soul-level (or subconscious) understanding has to manifest through the context of the time – in stories and myths.

If this only happened in one place, it would be easy to dismiss – it would be easy to say “Well this is one person’s deep truth they’re projecting.” The fact that we see so many similar fundamental themes in mythology, though; the fact that many of these stories still captivate us and resonate on a deep level, suggests that this represents our truth as a species.

In the next post we’ll talk about a mythological figure that may have started out as the ‘dumping ground’ for our feelings about incarnate life, but who has grown and evolved to take on a life of his own.

[1] Quote from psychologytoday.com article The Neuroscience of Music, Mindset, and Motivation, Christopher Bergland, Dec 29 2012

What is the Soul – Part 4 – I vs. I

One of the things I found most disconcerting in reading the Newton dialogues was a tendency (especially on the part of Newton, himself) to draw a line between the soul-self and the human-self as if they are two different entities. Consider the below from Newton;

“It is an open question whether a soul should be held entirely at fault for humanity’s irrational, unsocialized, and destructive acts. Souls must learn to cope in different ways with each new human being assigned to them. The permanent identity of a soul stamps the human mind with a distinctive character which is individual to that soul. However, I find there is a strange dual nature between the soul and human brain.” (loc 679) – Journey of Souls, Michael Newton

What is the soul, then to us – to our human existence? This subject troubled me long after reading Newton’s books. Although he approaches the subject gingerly, at times the book seems to suggest that the soul is almost an ‘alien-like’ presence in a human host. Interestingly enough, though, much of the material from his dialogues suggests a far different picture;

“Dr. N: I think of the spirit world as a place of supreme all-knowing intelligent consciousness and you make it appear that souls have moods and vanity as though they were back on Earth? [Subject]: (burst of laughter) People are people no matter how they look on their physical worlds” (loc 529) Journey of Souls, Michael Newton

Or consider the following three quotes from various places in the books,

“Dr. N: Are you saying the ravages of the physical body and the human mind leaves an emotional mark on the soul after death? [Subject]:…who I am as a being – was affected by the brain and body I occupied. Dr. N: Even though you are now separated from that body forever? [Subject]: Each body leaves… an imprint… on you, at least for awhile. There are some bodies I have had that I can never get away from altogether…” (loc 696) Journey of Souls – Michael Newton

“As I have said before, soul contamination does not only come from the physical body. Certainly, the energy damage described in the last two cases indicates that souls themselves are impure beings who also contribute to their own distress.” (loc 1873) – Destiny of Souls – Michael Newton

“The concept of souls having fallibility comes as a surprise to some people. The statements of Case 8 and all my other clients indicate most of us are still far from perfect beings in the spirit world.” (loc 540) Journey of Souls – Michael Newton

We can feel in these quotes the desire to believe in an infallible, perfect spirit, and yet the dialogues themselves suggest that such an idea is incomplete. If we look at this last quote below, we can see that there is a strong desire to distance the spirit from the negative aspects of the self.

“I’ve been told that in every era of Earth’s bloody history there has always been a significant number of souls unable to resist and successfully counter human cruelty.” (loc 613) Journey of Souls – Michael Newton

Interestingly enough, though, from what I know of animals they are rarely “cruel” – especially unprovoked – meaning that there is nothing inherent in having a physical body that would cause us to willfully cause pain and suffering to others without concern.

Maybe we should ask ourselves if ‘human cruelty’ doesn’t come from the human body itself, but rather as a result of the combination of a ‘disembodied’ spirit existing in a physical body. Could cruelty be the worst parts of our souls coming out when we feel disconnected from divine love and unclear on our place in the universe?

We want to take the things we don’t like and say that’s our “ego” and separate that from our “infallible” spirit, but maybe we should take a closer look.

As spirits we probably feel pretty cut-off from our spiritual home while we’re here on Earth.  Do we really believe there is no subconscious resentment that builds from the continuous cycle of birth and death?

We probably don’t feel any resentment or shame when we’re back in the place of our birth as spirits, basking in divine light and love, but it’s possible that shame-resentment cycle resurfaces with the ‘environmental conditions’ of incarnation; the way an old broken bone, healed long ago, might still hurt before it rains.

As a result, I don’t believe the “ego” is created by our ‘human self,’ but that it is one-half of the split personality our soul creates because of the ambivalence it feels about being in a physical body.

Perhaps the soul splits off the piece of itself ‘closest to the ground,’ so to speak, which we consider the ‘ego,’ and then creates a space – the piece closest to our connection to source, let’s say – for the other half of itself. Maybe it tries to keep that space close to the light as ‘free’ from the ‘dirt’ of incarnated life as possible.

If this is true, if the soul creates the ego, then the ego is actually part of the soul, and part of achieving wholeness is not to ‘disown’ or ‘push aside’ the ego, but rather to rejoin these two parts; to bring the soul and the ego closer together.

I want to take a moment here, because this is really important, to note that when I say all this about the soul, it comes from a place of compassion and love, not condemnation. It comes from a longing for healing and a longing for a whole self that can live fully and happily here on Earth.

It comes from trying to look at our Earth experience from the perspective of a being who was born into a disembodied experience before being born into an embodied one.

When we view the Earth experience through this perspective, taking into consideration the accounts in the Newton dialogues, we begin to see a picture of our soul – not as shining and infallible, but as – well – human. But maybe the word we really mean when we say “human” is vulnerable. The soul is vulnerable.

When we live too close to the ground, in the place we associate with our ego, we are constantly buffeted about by the circumstances around us – we feel disconnected, lost, and unfulfilled. When we live too close to the light, sequestered in that space the soul-self has carved out, we feel peace, happiness, a sense that all will be okay no matter what happens here on Earth… it’s truly a wonderful feeling and I don’t blame people who want to stay in that place forever.

In fact, I probably spent about ten of my twenty year (thus far) journey on the Spiritual Path trying to get ‘back’ there, BUT at some point I felt that I couldn’t fully experience my life on Earth from that place. I had a harder time relating to people, a harder time understanding sadness, death, loss (why was everyone so sad at a funeral? The soul was returning home!), and most importantly – I wasn’t really doing the work I came here to do.

We didn’t come here just to find our way back home – we’ll all get back home – we came here to do other things (we’ll talk more about what in the last post in this series). This isn’t to minimize the importance of connecting with our spirit – we do need to connect with our spirit, but finding our spirit isn’t the end of our journey as incarnated beings, it’s the beginning.

It is only through seeing both sides of our existence that we can start to deeply explore what we’re meant to do here.

In the next couple posts we’ll introduce a place, or better – a figure, where we find evidence of the subconscious ambivalence I’ve been talking about in the last few posts. We’ll also discuss how understanding, acceptance, and love (yes, love!) for this character can help us all reach for real, true wholeness in ourselves.

What is the Soul – Part 3 – Our Dual Nature

Now that we’ve contrasted our Earthly experience of existence with our spiritual one, and discussed why we might not remember our disembodied experience, we might wonder how our soul-self feels about incarnated life.

I use the term soul-self to refer to the long view of the self – the part of us that persists through the cycles of birth and death. There is no difference between your soul-self and “you,” but your soul-self carries with it the deep understanding of this “other” existence, something your conscious mind (heavily influenced by empiricism and the scientific method) will deny or, at least, doubt. We’ll talk more about this split a little later in the post.

When I first read the Newton dialogues, the language was sometimes disconcerting for me. Our Soul-selves seem to have a real ambivalence towards life in a physical body. Some of Newton’s subjects spoke of incarnation as something to look forward to and relish, but many expressed anxiety and regret over their experiences on Earth. They incarnated to accomplish certain goals, but once in a body they couldn’t remember what those were.

The glittering distractions of today’s world are a far cry from the dawn of human existence where mythology and ritual ruled the day. Although the embodied spirit can create amazingly beautiful (and terrible) things, most rational society today is so entrenched in the primacy of embodied existence it refuses to seriously consider the possibility of a disembodied one.

Thus, we incarnate with the best of intentions, but when we’re on-the-ground we are convinced by everyone else to ignore what’s in our hearts and follow what’s in their heads. We strive to achieve someone else’s definition of success, yet even when we do we find ourselves feeling bored and unfulfilled, depressed and lonely (even when we’re in a relationship).

We find fulfillment when we return to our spirit – and that is a wonderful experience, but even that is not always enough. As human beings we live in the corporeal world, not in the spirit world, so we must find a way to find lasting fulfillment in this aspect of our existence.

Our Soul Self’s Perception of Life on Earth

Although there is a wide range in the reports from the Newton dialogues, in most cases there seems to be a huge disconnect in what the soul goes into a new life expecting to be able to do and what they are actually able to accomplish. The case below represents an extreme;

“Dr. N: Shabez, now that you have died and returned to the spirit world, tell me how you feel? S: (shouts) Cheated! That life was so cruel! I couldn’t stay. I was only a little girl unable to help anybody. What a mistake! Dr.N: Who made this mistake? S: (in a conspiratorial tone) My leader. I trusted his judgment, but he was wrong to send me into that cruel life to be killed before my life got started. Dr. N: But you did agree to come into the body of Shabez? S: (upset) I didn’t know Earth would be such an awful place full of terror – I wasn’t given all the facts – the whole stupid life was a mistake and my leader is responsible. Dr. N: Didn’t you learn anything from this life? S: (pause) I started to learn love… yes, that was wonderful… my brother… parents… but it was so short…” (need loc) Journey of Souls – Michael Newton

Newton presents the above case as a ‘newly incarnating’ soul. Another subject had this to say about returning to the spirit world;

“Dr. N: What else are you feeling at this moment? S: Peace. There is such peace you never want to leave again.” (loc 947) Journey of Souls – Michael Newton

The stakes are different for us in a disembodied existence versus an embodied existence. By all accounts, we are much more connected to each other in the disembodied state. Without the heavy constraints of physical matter we can move faster, feel freer, be more connected with others and with the Universe at large. Without the constraints of a body such as hunger and decay, the stakes for every interaction are much lower. Our relationships seem to be more free and less contentious;

“Dr. N: What is the major difference in your interactions with other souls, compared to being in human form on Earth? S: Here no one is a stranger. There is a total lack of hostility toward anyone… We recognize a universal bond between us which make us all the same. There is no suspicion toward each other… Dr. N: Living on Earth must be difficult for souls, then? S: It is, for the newer ones especially, because they go to Earth expecting to be treated fairly. When they aren’t, it’s a shock. For some, it takes quite a few lives to get used to the Earth body.”[1]

With our spiritual existence virtually unknown to us, (and even for those who feel a deep knowing that it does exist, the actual experience remains largely elusive) the stakes for our embodied self are very high indeed. Isolated in a solitary body we are lonely, afraid of death, we feel a drive to attain earthy success, we care very much about the attractiveness of our body to others and leaving a lasting imprint on this world.

The experience on Earth is so intense and overwhelming that, “…most all returning souls will continue on to some sort of healing station before finally joining their groups.”[2]

It sounds rather like getting off some kind of wild ride. Here is another example,

“S: Giles [subject’s spirit guide] has made me look upon my lives as a chess game with the Earth as the board. Certain moves bring certain results and there are no easy solutions. I plan, and then things go wrong during the game in my life. I sometimes think he lays traps for me to work through on the board. Dr. N: Do you prosper with this technique of your advanced guide? Has Giles been a help to your problem-solving during the game of life? S: (pause)…more afterward… here (in the spirit world)… but he makes me work so damn hard on Earth.” (loc 1419) Journey of Souls – Michael Newton

This theme is repeated over and over in life-between-life dialogues. We incarnate, we don’t anticipate the level of struggle we will have in a matter-dominant world and we (often, though not always) come out of a life feeling somewhat remorseful or resentful that we couldn’t accomplish as much as we planned.

It aligns perfectly with the comment that Esther Hicks-channeling-ABRAHAM made in Anaheim, “We don’t understand why it takes you so long.”

You may be able to see at this point how this might lead to a great deal of ambivalence on the side of our soul-selves towards the incarnated self. It is my belief that the result of this ‘orbiting’ state is much of the deep self-loathing we have as incarnated beings.

We dress that feeling up in many forms, give it many names, and project it into the circumstances of the current life to explain it – but this ‘orbiting’ existence, our inability to clearly see our being and all that contributes to who we are as one cohesive whole, might be the real root cause of our self-loathing, shame, and self-disconnection from divine love.

In next week’s post we’ll talk about ‘that pesky Ego’ and how it relates to all of this.

As an aside – I was initially going to try to take on this subject in four posts – but given this is the 3rd and it’s a lot of writing with miles to go… it looks like it’s going to be six, maybe seven.

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[1] (loc 969) Journey of Souls – Michael Newton

[2] (loc 1641) – Destiny of Soul – Newton, Michael