Doug asked me the other day about how I sort out body, soul and spirit. Here’s an answer I didn’t know I had until he asked:
in practical terms, i can find the edge of “me” that is my skin. everything inside is body.
then there is another layer, the energy of me. there are many layers, flexing and moving and shape-shifting all the time, but taken as a 3-D stack, they have a finite edge. everything inside of that edge is the space that i sense as “me” — and “mine.” i think of soul as this energy space, that extends sometimes quite far, and through time, and is ever changing its shape… but always i am making some story about how/why it is mine and what i think it should be or do.
beyond that edge, there is a wispier thing yet, a space that i find if i let attention follow the sound of the tingsha bells… and this space is bigger than my energy space, bigger than my story, boundless even. the bells are an invitation to relax into that, to relax the edges and efforts that are “me.” this space seems to be the ‘water’ we all swim in… and i’m inclinded to guess, swims through all of us, too. so this vast third space, all of stuff, all of space, all of awareness, all of everything beyond all of “me”, is what i think people are talking about when they say spirit.
sometimes we say, about open space meetings or other peak moments, that “spirit shows up”, i think that this means that some critical mass of people in the gropu, for some criticitacl mass of time in the event, relaxed their bodies and souls, their physical tissues and the stories and edges they each usually make around “me” and for some noticeable time, in some noticeable way, they were noticing that there is someting beyond those edges of “me” and noticing that they were all swimming in it, spirit, togetehr… so it’s not really spirit showing up… as them showing up and relaxing out into IT.
this might be another way to think about the gift of invitation, and open space. a chance to relax. “i’ve been invited,” we can think to ourselves, “they’ve asked me to join just as i am.” body rests just a little, on whatever ground we already have. story, and the efforts of mind that make it, rest a bit, too. we return from pushing to pulsing. breathe. now we can tap all of the vastness beyond our little isolated “me” selves, the whole soup of possibilities, in the direction of the next good thing.
maybe it’s only that we relax our little individual stories into the soul, the energy, the pulse of the organization, the spirit of the team, but even that is often quite something, to find and really feel the wave of organization, community, and fellowship carrying and supporting us as we go about our everyday work.