by Susan Vaughn
The self can be divided
into four parts: body, mind, soul and spirit. In order to become whole,
each part must be acknowledged and evolved separately so it can become
an equal partner with the other three. No part should take precedence
over another. If one part dominates, the self will be like a wheel
that’s gone flat. Each time it spins, the part that is flat
will go “plunk” and smooth running will be an impossibility.
This can be a tricky concept for spiritual people to understand, especially
if one has been taught to believe spirituality is more important than
the other aspects of self.
In our culture the
four parts of self have been placed in a hierarchy rather than a partnership.
Here, body comes first, mind second, spirit third, and last is soul,
with soul being the most denied and ignored aspect of all. In other
cultures, such as India for instance, spirit and soul have been put
at the top of the hierarchy, with mind and body trailing behind. Anyone
who has traveled in India realizes that it is a very spiritual place
to live, but with open sewers and extreme poverty all around, its
wheel goes “plunk” just as badly as ours does.
In order to evolve
each aspect of self, one must first evolve the mind, or consciousness.
Each time one learns more than they knew before, consciousness evolves.
The unconscious is filled with what we don’t know or are in
denial of. As we mature and evolve, we take back more and more of
our unconscious from the unknown. Even in a single lifetime we mature
from the relative unconsciousness of a child to the more evolved consciousness
of an adult. As one becomes more conscious, wiser choices are possible.
Unfortunately, it is the fate of humans to learn by making mistakes.
Once we’ve made them, especially if the results are painful
enough, we learn what we need to learn and live our lives differently.
No longer being unconscious of the consequences of our decision making,
we finally make better choices.
In order to become
whole, one must become fully conscious of the ideal state of health
each aspect can achieve. Consciousness is attained, not only by learning
from our mistakes, but also through the active pursuit of knowledge
by studying with teachers, gurus, masters, etc. Through honest self-assessment,
one can then compare one’s present state to an ideal one. Once
the comparison is made, one needs to develop a strategy for getting
there. For example, if one smokes, and then discovers that smoking
is hazardous to the health, one must develop a strategy for ending
addiction. Simple, but not easy, as we all know.
In the area of physical
well-being, creating a healthy body by eating a balanced diet and
avoiding an unhealthy one is a matter of choice. So is getting the
right amount of exercise and sleep. The trick is in figuring out what
is healthy. As no two bodies are alike, and no two nutritionists agree,
this can be quite a task needing not only research but self-reflection.
Also included in this category of physical well-being is the ability
to create life-supporting work. As everybody knows, boring work may
pay the bills, but it does not support or nourish one’s life.
In fact, boring work can be a killer. Figuring out how to create life
supporting work also takes an enormous amount of self-reflection,
for soul nourishing work rarely just falls into one’s lap. By
assessing one’s talents, interests, and abilities one can figure
out what they came to the planet to do. In my opinion, this takes
conscious, concerted thinking and feeling that evolves over one’s
must also be evolved. I’m using “spirit” in the
literal sense of the term. It is the part of us that wants to soar,
reach the heights of human potential, know more, be more, love more,
accomplish more. The spirit within us is not content to live an animal
existence in a human body. The spirit wants more! Not just work that
pays the bills, but meaningful work that is fun, fulfilling and creative
to do. Not just sex, but passionate, ecstatic sex that lifts one into
higher levels of consciousness. Not just relationships, but loving
relationships that are full to overflowing with giving and receiving.
Because the spirit wants to soar, it is associated with higher principles
and values. To be spiritual means to focus one’s attention not
on physical activities, but the meaning and the purpose they have
for us. Again, this takes conscious thinking and feeling to do. One’s
spirit is the motivator. It is the force within that creates positive,
One’s soul is
the anima. It is the least understood aspect of the self because it
is the most maligned component of the human race. One’s soul
is the feminine principle. I am referring to the feminine in both
women and men, their ability to not only feel, but to feel deeply,
and, without fear, to become authentically intimate with one another.
In our culture, sex and intimacy are synonymous, but really they have
very little to do with each other. However, sex can be used as a metaphor
for intimacy. When you have sex with a partner for the first time,
you take off all your clothes and reveal to the other everything that
has been covered by one’s garments: all the hairy moles, freckles,
scars, flab, misalignments, etc. that you usually keep hidden from
is like nakedness. In order to become intimate, one must be personally
revealing, speak truths about oneself that one may not be proud of,
and share details about one’s life and behavior that go deeper
than the superficial reasons why one is the way they are. We have
all said, or heard it said, “I can’t change. This is simply
the way I am!” Authentic intimacy requires one to explore that
statement to see if it is really true. Of course, anyone can change.
The issue is whether or not we want to.
Someone who is authentically
intimate is willing to explore what the deeper ramifications of this
are. This person is willing to explore hidden agendas and payoffs
for keeping behavior the way it is. This person is willing to look
at the good, the bad, and the ugly about the self. This person is
willing to look at fears and process them, to express feelings and
examine thoughts so that it is possible to truly understand the self
in relationship to others. When people do not develop authentic intimacy,
loving relationships deteriorate into meaningless bickering and eventual
loneliness as the relationship ends.
Without an understanding
of the four parts of self, one’s wheel will never run smoothly.
However, once one addresses and balances the four parts, placing them
in a partnership rather than a hierarchy, one’s mind becomes
still and clear, the spirit begins to sour, the soul feels fulfilled,
and the body becomes a healthy instrument that is fully capable of
doing the work of creation. We came here to learn how to create wholeness.
Knowing what wholeness is can help one achieve this goal.
Susan Vaughn teaches classes in The Art Of Conscious Evolution in
the Humboldt County area.
Visit the Christine Breese website to read articles on consciousness and awakening, visit University of Metaphysical Sciences Video Satsangs to see talks on spiritual subjects. Read articles on Wisdom of the Heart Church. Visit Starlight Journal for blogs, newsletter, and forums on spiritual subjects. Visit Christine Breese's Metaphysical Sciences youtube channel to view free video satsangs.