“The book originated [from] my earlier work with disturbed adolescents in residential homes and with inmates in a state correctional institution. In those confined spaces, the darker aspects of the soul were free to flare up, the less rational and less socialized parts of ourselves were less restrained, more visible. I learned about an underworld of soul, feelings of abandonment, rage, guilt, despair, and shame. I learned something in those years about the limitations of managing others.
For years after my work in these institutions, I dreamed about the children and men I worked with and saw traces of their spirit in the faces of others in the outside world. I came to believe that genuine change is never a function of dominance, or even of education, but of empathy and common ground.” (pg xiii)
THE POWER OF STORYTELLING
“I learned about the soul as a child at the kitchen table, with my family telling stories to each other, jokes, fables, religious anecdotes, how it looked when a neighbor’s kid slipped on ice, or how it sounded when an argument broke out on the bus. Everyone got in on it, no matter how many times the same story was told or how long it took. We had time to listen, to interrupt, to yell over each other’s voices.
My mother had the most novel approach. She would tell a joke or sometimes a poignant story, and in the midst of our laughing or reflecting she would ask why it was funny or what about her story was so important. We never ceased to be amazed that she was earnest and wanted to know why, not to test us but to be sure that she wasn’t missing something. My brother, my sister, and I would then take turns explaining what was funny or important. We each learned something new, not the least of which was that we all understood the jokes and stories differently.” (pg xvii)
SEEING WITH THE 3RD EYE
“[Our instructor] encouraged us to see with a “third eye,” to practice seeing with heightened awareness. Art, she reminded us, does not reproduce the visible.
Art renders visible. So I was staring at El Capitan with my third eye, only it felt like my two eyes and a headache. There was nothing much to see; the granite rock was almost completely invisible, the trees and streams flat in the dull grey overcast of the day. I was mostly engaged in an internal conversation with myself about not becoming frustrated.
When my attention returned to the mountain, I saw that something was happening. The rain had lessened by degrees, and suddenly feelings within me began to stir. Pulling out my camera, I framed different sections of the mountain with my lens. I saw something otherworldly, something I could not have seen… staring numbly at the scenery. I got an image in my mind of the trees in partial silhouette staring at the mountain in awe, their sharp triangular shapes huddled together below the mysterious outcroppings of rock that hovered above them. I now understood that to render visible is to see through the visible into a world that becomes animated with imagination ” (pg 8)
THE LIVING SOUL
“Soul is a gift of divinity, but it is also something closer to life, connected to the mundane and everyday. The living soul of Hebrew scripture is not something inside or outside, but rather a term that weds divinity with humanity, spirit with body in the beating of the human heart with sacred inspiration. By not distinguishing the soul as exclusively the realm of mind as opposed to body, or feeling as opposed to thought, or higher as opposed to lower, the soul hypothesis of the ancient Hebrews avoids the dualities that will come later with the institutionalization of philosophy and religion. The living soul hints at a mysterious union of opposites: being human includes both the base textures of the earth and the ethereal nature of the heavens. This is a soul of both appetite and vision.” (pg 17)
“War psychology has made this principle abundantly clear; every aspect of despised humanity is projected onto the enemy. ”
We often see the collective shadow as foreign and unimaginable… How can acts of violence, for example, be understood if I cannot imagine violence in myself? How can acts of senseless and hideous brutality be grasped if I know that I could never behave in such a way? For those of us who view ourselves as innocent of the soulís extremities, the reminder of dark forces only furthers our defenses, the sense that evil lies in enemy outside ourselves but getting closer. Denying shadow, however, is fruitless; the consequence, so often, is the psychological need to scapegoat, to see the long shadow of evil looming only in others.
The collective shadow may be viewed as the disowned parts of individual members of a group, race, or nation projected onto others. The motto for such a group is “Whatever my group does is good; most everything other groups do is bad.” When in the grip of a collective shadow, we can tolerate only an idealized image of ourselves; we scapegoat someone or some group to reflect the parts that have been disowned. (pg 53)
“The confrontation with shadow is the first tentative step we make toward reclaiming wholeness.”
If the shadow, whether individual, organizational, or collective, were only evil, we would have cause to ward it off, to keep it constantly at bay. Yet shadow, as I have used it, contains wisdom and a warning. When we recognize the shadow as a natural process, following us as Mara followed Buddha and Jung’s dream specter followed him as he held the candle of consciousness, then we can begin to respect the multiple selves that lie within.
The shadow offers us access to the unresolved issues of our past, the dispossessed feelings, attitudes, and emotions that can offer new vitality and a more comprehensive humanity, if recognized. We learn that we can be both this and that, tyrannical and empowering, just and unjust, altruistic and controlling, compassionate the cruel. The experience of one-dimensionality can give way to a creative polarity that provides the tension necessary for new learning and new approaches to living a more differentiated and psychologically richer life. The confrontation with shadow is the first tentative step we make toward reclaiming wholeness. (pg 58)
LOGOS: ENTERING THE SOUL’S DOMAIN
“Individuals require both reflective time and dialogue with others to achieve logos.”
To go beyond the immediate and literal, we need to enter the soul’s domain, which includes the metaphoric and imaginal aspects of inward journey. We need time and space to fantasize, to wonder, to see meaning emerge from apparent disorder. Efficiency suggests there is no time for such activity, that someone else has the answer… The notion of logos, on the other hand, suggests that without reflective time our worldview becomes fragmented and chaotic.
Logos, deriving from the Greek word legein, meaning to speak, is a reminder that soul is intimately related to developing one’s own voice. When logos is denied and replaced with another’s logic or displaced with the system’s logistics, the soul has no voice. Logic becomes the thin crust that suppresses meaning rather than awakening it. Communication plans within organizations, designed to inform employees about the logic of change, become instead inhibitors of logos when only the voice of leadership is heard.
Logos implies the need for speech from many constituencies within an organization, and not just at the beginning of the process. Logos requires opportunities to gain a voice so that what is really happening under the crust of logic can be explored, questioned and engaged. (pg 139)
BUBER: ALL REAL LIVING IS MEETING
“All real living is meeting,” write Buber. And from this simple formula we find a passage to perceiving soul as something not within but between. Within the space between inner and outer, relationship takes on animation. Dialogue from dia and logos means literally across the meaning of the word, a journey across and back between inner coherence of the one and the other… When we have dialogue we meet at the crossing between the forms of each other’s thought. We pace up and down our own side of the crossing, until there is a moment of connection. (pg 259-260)