There is a scene in the movie Chariots of Fire. It is not one of the scenes that garnered a lot of critical attention over the years, but it is a show stopper. The camera moves slowly towards a group of fans that have gathered on a running track somewhere in Scotland in the 1920’s to listen to Eric Liddell, their country’s most famous athlete and one of the fastest men in the world. The weather is typically Scottish, so everyone is holding on to an umbrella and to every word from their national hero. At some point in his speech Liddell asks the question, “Where does the power come from to see the race to the end?” And his answer: “From within.”
As Rabbi and Reverend, we might use different nomenclature to describe it (“the spark of the Divine” vs. “the Holy Spirit”), but we share a convergent belief that power for living works from the inside out. The condition of our interior life will affect the way we process everything in our exterior life. Everything! And we were intended for a life of abundant joy, indestructible peace and abiding contentment.
One of the fundamental human mistakes is to think that we will find our strength, life and joy from exclusively exterior sources—relationships, career, experiences, etc. We spend a good deal of time doing spiritual direction with some of the most financially successful people in the United States. I (the Reverend) affectionately refer to many of them as “the successful and the miserable.” The misery was predictable. They devoted so much time to their careers, to their families, even to their health (all good things) but they failed to consider that we are more than just bodies and minds. There is another part that just went wanting–their souls. The classic example is the gentleman who poured out his frustration and lament this way, “I am sitting on a beach in Barbados. I have more money than I will ever need. I have a great marriage and family. I’ve achieved more career success than I could have ever imagined and I am miserable. I can’t feel anything because I seem to be vacuous on the inside. I can’t even enjoy the fruits of my labor. What is wrong with me?”
Lack of soul care leaves us as less than fully developed human beings. Soul care deepens us and strengthens us as human beings. Soul care brings richness and depth to our feelings and experiences. It provides strength to endure the challenges of life. It brings a heightened awareness and gratitude for the beauty and gift of life. It brings a quiet serenity and enduring trust that we are loved eternally and unconditionally. It connects us with the Source of all good things. Stay tuned for our future blog posts, where we will share many ideas with you on how you can truly care for your soul.