“If we knew in our hearts that things have soul, we could not govern them as conscious subject over inert object. Instead we would have a mutual relationship of affection, respect and care. We would be less lonely in a world that is alive with its own kind of soul than we are in a mechanical world we think we need to sustain with our technological efforts.” Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul.
Soul is often and erroneously understood as the idea of some “non-physical immortal essence of a human being” that many religions want to “save”. But Moore suggests that “soul” is something that we intuitively know and sense and yet has something to do with “genuineness and depth”.
As I look out at the world, I perceive that everything I experience is somehow connected to me. As I interact with the world, I sense how my actions are changing things “out there” and how those changes are circling back and impacting me. This underlying unity of all gives me a sense that that there is something special embedded in the world, something that could be termed as “soul” or “spirit” or some other word that reflects its true essence.
Intuitively we know that there is more to our existence than we can perceive with our senses. There is the surface material actions of things “out there” and then there is the “something else” in the world, something that is the “depth” below the surface, the truth or “genuineness” of what we experience. It is that which we intuitively know that we need to reignite within our awareness. This process of shifting our perspective so that we begin to see everything as sacred and divine is the true “resacralization” of the world that is called for in these times.
“Resacralization” can be defined as the return of religious meanings to public sectors of social life. The term religious (from re-ligare or to fasten again) relates to re-uniting the underlying ultimate truths of our existence with our actual experience of that which is divine. Thus “resacralization” also indicates “the return of a direct realization of the sacred or divine embedded in all that exists to public sectors of social life”.
The rise of desacralrization (the removal of religious meanings from public sectors of social life) results also in the removal of our sense of how sacred and meaningful all of life truly is.
When things are no longer sacred, then we tend to treat them differently. Everything becomes something that we can manipulate to our personal self interest. It becomes easier to justify actions that are not in the collective best interest.
• Plants and animals become commodities for food such that we can change their genes without concern, that we can over produce the ones we want such that we reduce biodiversity, that we treat animals poorly via factory farming.
• Economies become driven by the need for continuous growth and malignant consumption without regard for how such growth is realistically sustainable or its impact upon the planet.
• Corporations become instruments of the economy that are driven by more and more profits without concern for their workers or the environment, such profit motivations drive them into seeking to control our governments to ensure higher profits.
• War and violence become the norm, driven by corporations seeking to expand their sales, religious zealots seeking to expand their converts and salvation — and governments seeking to expand their power.
Humanity made a conscious shift over time from its original sense of the sacredness of the world to the desacralization of the world. Yet there is another shift calling us now — one that will loosen the bonds of thinking the world is all competition and survival of separate things fighting for control, power and ownership, a change that will allow us to be free to explore the intuitively known truths of unity, genuineness and depth embedded in this world.
Any shift, any movement, starts with one person and then another….and then another changing their beliefs, changing their perspective. It starts with you, it starts with me. How can you or I do this?
Our desacralized senses coupled with the scientific mindset seduce us into seeing the world as “widgets” out there with no true soul. Something inside us senses differently. There is value and meaning to this world. Everything I experience is embedded with something that cannot be easily measured but can be detected by our true nature.
Our true nature is looking out there for this genuineness, this soul, this divinity. We are seeking its true nature and its true nature is seeking us. When we sense that connectedness, we sense the sacred. Or as Rumi simply put it, “What you seek is seeking you.”
The more that we grow this sense of seeing the world and everything in it as sacred, then the more we will naturally change our actions in the world. The world and life becomes less about power, control and manipulation. The world and life become more about dignity, respect, honor, appreciation, sharing, support and love.