Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Embrace your difficulties to live soulfully

On 21 March 2010, Rev. Axel H. Gehrmann delivers the sermon "Tending the Soul" for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign. He quotes Thomas Moore's and James Hillman's ideas of soul as well as poems by Mary Oliver and Emily Dickinson. Gehrmann writes:
"As a practicing psychotherapist, Moore says, he is often approached by people who want his help to get rid of certain tendencies of theirs. People ask him to help get rid of their feelings of inferiority, or their habit of smoking, or their unhappy marriage. If he did what they asked, he would be doing nothing all day, but taking things away from people. This is not his idea of being helpful. He doesn’t want to eradicate parts of people’s personality, which they consider problematic. He doesn’t want to be an exterminator of psychological pests. Instead, his goal is to give people their problems back. He wants to help them embrace the difficult aspects of their lives, and think about them differently. He wants to help them see that their so-called problems may actually be essential aspects of who they are. Their so-called problems might have a hidden value they have been unable or unwilling to see."
He includes:
"James Hillman describes the soul not as a substance, but as a perspective. The main activity of the soul, he says, is to turn events into experiences. The soul sees how the countless moments of our lives constitute a meaningful whole.

Tending the soul means taking the time and space we need to let the events of our lives become experiences. It means allowing the deeper meaning to sink in, allowing a sense of wholeness to emerge."
Read the sermon also for ideas expressed by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Kahlil Gibran.

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