Article by John L. Payne
Expression of the Soul
Often, when we think of the term “soul”, we consider it to be that part of us that will live on after the demise of our physical body. We often give little thought to the presence of our soul as we live day to day. The scope of this book is not to discuss the eternal validity of the soul, the afterlife or reincarnation, except in brief. Although I personally subscribe to those beliefs, my main purpose here is to relate to you how the presence of the soul in our day-to-day lives has been communicated to me through working with many individuals over several years.
Through my work, I have witnessed that the prevailing principle of the soul is expressed through inclusiveness and that the primary communication of the soul is through simplicity and distilled truth.
As the soul reveals itself, it becomes apparent that it is not a part of us that we will only discover as our consciousness re-focuses itself into a nonphysical reality. Rather, through our conscious practice, choices, thoughts and words, we can experience the essence of our true selves in our day-to-day lives and allow our soul to be our guide and companion. Many believe that this can only be achieved through rigorous training in one or another meditation technique, or that they are so far removed from that mystical part of themselves that knowing their soul is far beyond their reach. However, I have observed that applying the simple principles of inclusiveness and distilled truth in our lives can make the presence of our soul very real as we clear out the clutter in our relationships, thoughts and feelings. The presence of the soul can be experienced when we allow the qualities of inclusiveness, allowing and truth to guide our lives.
The purpose of this book is to communicate how you can incorporate the principles and essence of a soul-driven life simply by reading this book and putting into practice some of the principles I will share with you.
The soul is inclusive of all things, as has become abundantly evident to me through the practice of Family Constellation work. No one and no thing is ever excluded, neither victims nor perpetrators, well wishers nor those with mal-intent, neither the dead nor the living, the rich or the poor, the well or the unwell; everyone and everything is equal in the realm of the soul. For some, this is a difficult concept to grasp, as we have been raised in a culture that has been dominated by punitive religions for so long and we exist within a culture that insists on defining that which is good and allowed and that which is bad and forbidden. However, what we have witnessed is that exclusion has been at the root of much human suffering and pain. It was not so long ago when young unwed mothers were secreted away and much shame was put upon them and their children denied their rightful place in the world with the use of terms like “illegitimate”. Today, we see the rise of Neo-Nazism in some parts of German society as a result of the exclusion of the Nazis and their place in German history and society. The underlying principle of the soul dictates that that which is excluded, will be included or represented. This can also be expressed in the popular saying: that which you resist, persists.
History has taught us that the exclusion of anything has far-reaching effects. There was a time when Africans and Australian aboriginals were defined as cattle or livestock, denied the presence or acknowledgement of their own soul; similarly with the Jews and, in times gone by, parallel thinking between Catholics and Protestants and many other groups. On the grander scale of human events, you may be wondering, How do we include the unthinkable and despicable? How do we give a place in our hearts to the many perpetrators in our world? How do we find a place in our hearts for the Nazis, the architects of apartheid, the perpetrators of genocide in Bosnia or Rwanda, and the likes of Stalin, to name but a few?
The question that we really need to ask is this: Do we deny those groups and individuals a soul? Or do we look with compassion at the devastating effect that their actions have had on their own soul and on their descendants? When we exclude perpetrators through deciding that they have no soul, or no longer have the right to be considered human, our posturing becomes akin to that of the slave traders of old who decided wholesale that their “merchandise” possessed no soul; in other words, we take on and express perpetrator energy. At the root of all world disputes is the self-proclaimed “good” or “right” taking a stance against the “bad” or “wrong”. Many will argue that it is clear that the Nazis were bad, and, certainly, there is overwhelming evidence to support that belief. However, when we the “good” determine who is “bad”, we become just like them. We often justify righteous indignation – which only serves the purpose of adding more polarization to the world instead of inclusiveness. Through observation, I have frequently found that we tend to imitate those whom we least respect.
In observing the devastating effects upon the souls and families of perpetrators, which can have far reaching consequences for many generations, I have asked myself, for whom do we mourn? Do we only mourn for the Jews, the Poles, the Gypsies, the gay men and women and the countless others that suffered the fate of the Nazi concentration camps, or do we also mourn for the Nazis and their families? Just as I have seen that the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors can have a deep sense of having lost their soul, so I have found it also true of the children and grandchildren of those involved in the Nazi war machine. Our society encourages the mourning of victims, for it is “the right thing to do”, and yet it is clear that there is a price to be paid when we forget the souls of the perpetrators. Through observation and practice it has become abundantly clear to me that in order to achieve balance in the world we also need to mourn the perpetrators.
It behooves us to step back and imagine for a moment the consequences of exclusionary actions, and the damage that they do to the human soul. The effects are devastating and far- reaching. During one workshop, I had the privilege of working with a young woman whose life had been marred by years of depression and deep-seated feelings of unworthiness. As I investigated her family history, she revealed that her grandfather, although a regular German army foot soldier, had been placed on duty on a watchtower in Auschwitz. As our work together took form, it was apparent that her grandfather had the feeling of having lost his own soul through what he had observed and through the orders he had been obliged to carry out. This enduring and devastating feeling had passed to her from her grandfather via her mother. She reported that her great difficulty was that she felt that she had no permission to either love or acknowledge her grandfather, as the world at large had decided that individuals such as her grandfather could no longer be considered human, and that she felt guilty simply for being his granddaughter.
Whilst most of us can give a place in our hearts to this young woman, as she is clearly seen to be “innocent”, our challenge almost always comes in giving a place to her grandfather, the “guilty” one. What I have observed through trans-generational healing work is that the feeling carried by the granddaughter is indeed the feeling that her grandfather had as a result of his experience. When we step back and look at such cases with the eyes of truth, it becomes clear that perpetrators, whether remorseful or not, live with the devastating effects of their actions. They have lost the awareness of their own soul and their sense of humanity. For this we must mourn, for it is truly a deeply tragic matter. When we mourn for the perpetrators, not only does it assist us to find our own soul and sense of humanity; it also gives permission to their descendants to count themselves once more as humans with a soul.
When we consider the Bible’s words, “visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and the fourth generation”, it becomes apparent that this knowledge of trans-generational transference of guilt, shame and remorse is not new. Mourning the perpetrators goes well beyond pity, for most of us can find pity within us for such individuals and groups. Pity, however, can often lack equality, given our tendency to look down upon such individuals. What is required is that we fully embrace the scale of the self-inflicted damage and all the resulting consequences. When we are in a place of being able to mourn the Jews and the Nazis equally, we can bring peace to ourselves as individuals and eventually to the world. Exclusion begets exclusion which in turn begets yet more inhumane action as victims becomes perpetrators and their victims do likewise. When the cycle of exclusion ceases, so, too, will the cycle of victims and perpetrators.
Whether our exclusion is of Nazis, Islamic terrorists, paedophiles, the architects of apartheid, murderers, or a specific ethnic group, the solution and the effects remain the same. The loss that has occurred is borne not only by the victims.
Whilst it may be relatively easy for us to embrace universal inclusiveness as expressed in the previous section, most of us are more challenged when it comes to the area of personal inclusiveness. I define personal inclusiveness as allowing and embracing individuals in our lives who have hitherto been excluded. Let me give you an example. I worked with a woman who reported having problems with her young teenage children. She shared that they were disruptive, defiant and almost always angry with her. As her story unfolded, she told me that her husband had had an affair with a colleague at work and had left her to live with the other woman. Surprisingly, rather than the children being angry with their father out of loyalty to their mother (which often happens), it transpired that the children were really angry with her. Let me explain. Whilst we can understand that my client would not be the best of friends with her former husband, it became apparent that she had excluded her ex-husband from the role of being a father to the children, demanding an unspoken loyalty from her children with the expectation that they, too, would exclude him. The source of the children’s anger was feeling that they were being denied a father. Her ex-husband’s position as the children’s father is a given, not something that can ever be undone, and when we attempt to exclude that which is, it always has consequences, some of which my client was living with. Many would argue that to include the ex-husband as the father (an undeniable fact) is to sanction or condone his behaviour. However, the actions of individuals do not define their rightful place. No matter the action, the father remains the father. When we exclude such fathers, we in effect punish the children for something they have no control over – nor indeed is it any of their business. I have often observed that when one in a couple seeks to punish the other through exclusion, they themselves will be punished by their children, as was the case with my client.
In families there are often those that have been excluded or forced into the role of “black sheep”. I have observed that when we exclude anyone, we exclude a part of ourselves. One client reported that she had great difficulty with her relationship with her sister, as her sister made a living as an exotic dancer in a strip club. As we worked on this topic, it was clear that my client had difficulties with her own sexuality and indeed excluded many of her own feelings and natural impulses. What was interesting was that her children loved their aunt and were very fond of her, and became very excited whenever she visited. Her children, in their innocence and natural ability to include with love, had the impulse to abundantly display their inclusion of their aunt to counterbalance their mother’s exclusion.
When we include, we feel more complete and whole. Exclusion always leaves a hole.
Throughout life we are challenged to include many individuals and behaviours that we would otherwise feel pressured or expected to exclude, such as a drug-taking sibling, an alcoholic, a thief, a prostitute, a father or mother who had affairs, an ex-partner or spouse, and many more. We may feel that we are inclusive of such individuals or behaviours when we state that we are trying to help such individuals overcome their alcoholism or whatever their particular habit or lifestyle choice has been. However, when we look closely and realise that our helping may not be fully at the request of the other, we have simply uncovered another layer of disallowing, or exclusion.
Inclusiveness is really about non-judgement. However, many of us fail in this area, especially when we say things like, “I don’t judge it, I simply don’t like it”, in which case we are simply tolerating it. When we tolerate we still have negative emotion around the subject and, when negative emotion exists, there is no freedom. The only thing that we need to like or not like is that which is directly within our own experience – meaning, if being an alcoholic does not align with our own life preferences, then it is not for us. However, the business of others is simply that, someone else’s business. They are capable of making choices for themselves. The less we worry about other people’s choices and keep out of their business, the more fruitful and joyous our own lives can be. As we do this, then our contribution to the planet is one of a joyful life. As soon as we exclude anything, any behaviour, any person, race, creed, event or culture, we go into resistance and our life does not flow as we want it to, for our creative energies are tied up in resistance instead of being focused on creating the harmony that we desire.
Excerpt from The Presence of the Soul - John L. Payne - Findhorn Press
4 Feb 2011
Article/Information supplied by John L. Payne
Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.