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Archive for September 24th, 2012

The Doorway to the Soul

Are the eyes or the mouth the real doorway to the soul?”

I’m tempted to say, “the mouth.”  Thing is, I’ve never gotten this Eyes thing.  How can people read your soul through your eyes?!  I’ve never been able to do it.  Whereas, with your mouth, sooner or later your real self will show up.  Sure, mouths can lie.  People lie all the time.  But when they do, sooner or later they get caught, and what does that tell you about that person’s soul?

Or you can sound like a real loud-mouthed know-it-all – but for the person who understands what’s behind the loud mouth or the self-importance of Knowing It All, your soul is an open book:  You’re as insecure as if you were hanging out naked in the middle of Times Square.

On the other hand – maybe that’s just my life as a musician talking.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that for me, hearing is a much better indication of just about anything than any of my other senses.  I mean, who else cooks by hearing?!

However, in this whole “doorway to the soul” discussion, there’s one important factor that I think needs to be out there:  Nobody can really see into your soul.  Not through your eyes, not through your mouth.  They can tell, by whatever means, what kind of person you usually are, but your soul?

In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the essence of a person is defined as the heart.  “God sees hearts,” we say, and by that we mean that He can see your truest intentions, everything there is to know about you, everything most accurate about you.  In the West, that’s usually what they mean by “soul,” so most accurately, only God can really see your soul.

What does He see?  Do you really want to know?  In Gifts of the Desert, Kyriacos Markides tells the story of a man who asked God to show him his true spiritual state.  Now, this was a very pious and believing man, who trusted in God for everything and realized that he would probably get a few unwelcome surprises; but he wanted to know what those were, so that he could work on them and bring himself more into alignment with his beliefs.  Instead, the vision he received was so dark that he sank into the deepest of depressions, and, as his priest said, they had to do some intensive spiritual work to get him out of it.  “Not even the most experienced monastic on Mount Athos would ask God such a foolish thing,” said the priest – Mount Athos being like a spiritual-energy powerhouse.

So, NO, you REALLY DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOUR SOUL ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE.  Let alone letting anyone else know what it looks like.  That said, it doesn’t hurt to “descend with the mind into the heart,” as one Orthodox elder has expressed it, go down as deep as you can to the place in your heart, or soul, that no one has ever seen, down past your secret hopes and fears, to the essence of where you think you live.  It may be pretty empty, or it may be pretty dark.  But when you are there – that’s where God meets you.  And that’s where you begin to grow.

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