Robert Gilman in conversation with Robina McCurdy, Mirjam Busch & Rudolf Jarosewitsch
Mirjam: I feel very drawn to the concept of soul and personality. I would like you to find some words to describe the difference and the qualities of each.
Robert: Soul gets used in many different ways. Are you familiar with the work of Barbara Ann Brennan?
Mirjam: I know “care of the soul” by Thomas Moore.
Robert: I am not happy with his approach, but I can use that as a contrast. In my sense, he uses soul as part of the emotional sub-conscious. When I am using soul, I am referring to the higher spark of divinity within each one of us. The evolving, many-lifetime part of us, that is closest to that timeless part of divinity. In that sense I am using soul as the most essential, but still evolving, individuated part of the divine that is connected with each one of us. I would use personality, not only for the physical stuff, but the emotional body, mental body, all parts of the aura and what goes with that. It is that which develops in a lifetime. While there may be some continuity from one lifetime to another, in a certain sense, at the end of a lifetime that whole pattern does come apart. What you assembled as a personality doesn’t move on.
Some of the differences between them: The soul knows it is a loved child of God. It has no security issues, no fears, it is very patient, has a sense of its evolutionary direction. The soul working with the particular personality that it has manifested for this lifetime is interested in growth, creativity, and the expression of love — the outpouring of those qualities. The personality usually loves this flow of love and creativity moving through it.
But the personality also has these blockages within it, that distort the ability of the soul to express all the way through to the surface. There are times when it is in the soul’s interest to work on breaking up and dissolving these blockages. That isn’t necessarily fun for the personality. It’s in this process that the soul sets up situations in life that wind up being challenging and potentially very growthful but the personality is not thrilled to have those. Those situations generate a certain level of distrust on the part of the personality relative to the soul. You can say, distrust of God, distrust of life. Seeing this in terms of soul individuates the process a bit more and says that there is a divine consciousness that is particularly focused on the life of this personality. There is then this relationship which is not always smooth.
One of the things that I am working on is the whole process of how to live as an embodied soul, to shift one’s identity from a personality that may have spiritual interests, looking soul-ward, but still with the identity very much rooted in the personality, to instead shift it around to rooting the identity in the soul and then look toward the personality. One of the differences that comes from doing this, is that personalities who are turning spiritually tend to want to have more peace in their lives, to go out to places like nature that make the sense of soul contact easier, and in many ways move away from incarnation, from the challenges of incarnation. The view from the soul is more complex. The soul is happy to have times where the personality feels more connected, it is happy to support that process. But also, the soul is fundamentally here to be in incarnation, the soul is incarnation focused while it is here. It is fundamentally turned towards life instead of the spiritual personality which tends t o be turned away from life. In the larger sense it can be useful to pass through that spiritually-oriented-personality phase as part of the process of clearing away some debris, so that there can be more soul contact. In the larger picture, the soul’s fundamental interest is to be able to be as expressive here in life as it can be. The point of coming into incarnation is to be in incarnation.
Taking things from an embodied soul point of view is actually a figure-ground reversal on almost all of what we are familiar with in terms of spiritual path. …
We talk about body and soul, but so crucial is the middle space of the various emotional and mental bodies. Looking from our materialistic culture, just beginning to discover spirituality, we stand at the physical, we look through that energetic level toward that spark of spirit, and we mis-identify it all as spiritual. Whereas if you stand at this spirit-spark point and look toward the physical, you actually see the energetic level all as form, different levels of form. It is very useful to stand at the two extreme-points and look in either direction and see what this perspective tells you.
Mirjam: … I am thinking that we all need to cultivate the courage to actually endure the tension, that happens when we really meet those two places, in the interface, and enter that place consciously.
Robert: I told you of my life getting emptied out, I had the not surprising reaction of “God, why are you doing this to me?” I have been good, I have been serving the world, and I get rewarded by basically having all that I have cherished being swept away. The whole process of coming to grips with that really got me into realising this struggle, because I had to acknowledge the role of spirit. I knew in my own life how intimately involved the realms of spirit had been in setting up synchronicities of all sorts. I could see this. Whereas in the past, whenever there was a problem that came up, focus and perseverance had always taken care of it, here, very clearly, there was nothing that my will or prayers could do to change the fundamental direction of the process. These events were unfolding with the support of God. I had to come to grips with the fact that my soul was conspiring, if you will, to move me through this process. Now I can celebrate that process, but it was not an easy journey. It does in a certa in sense put me in this “wounded healer” place.
Mirjam: Do you have a sense in terms of a calling that we follow a theme through our life, that there is a direction.
Robert: Looking back at one’s life is a good way of becoming more conscious what the calling in one’s life is. There are shifts, chapters, and even incarnations – I think, we are in a time, when people are having more than one incarnation in one physical lifetime. I still think, there is continuity between those. We have to keep generalising.
Mirjam: That’s the theme for us at the moment. We are definitely at cross roads. The personality is so eager to interpret and judge that, to hold me in place, and not allow for the incarnation to come to be. I am really aware of the transition, of the tension that is there.
Robert: The soul always loves the personality unconditionally. The soul is not upset with what the personality is doing. But it is nudging. Being able to get in touch with that love, and get the personality to relax and to get comfortable again with its relationship with the soul, opens up that breathing, that flow between the two. It is allowing, but it’s also not taking things so far that the personality then disempowers itself. The personality can be a powerful vehicle of soul expression. It is valuable for it to be able to embody strong clear energy. I am sure you have had times when you have been very fully present and you felt the energy moving through you. Because your personality had developed your skills and abilities, you had the tool box that your soul could use. Now your soul is working on expanding your tool box, clearing up the channels, enabling you to be an even more powerful expression of that energy in the world.
Robina: That’s what is required, what Robert calls “hanging out in the void”. That’s what the soul needs in order to be heard. Whereas the personality aspect of us is impatient and wants to get on, having its identity fused with how it is expressing itself. This has been my major learning.
Mirjam: I am remind of this concept of active and passive. What we often understand to be active is actually passive. We can be in our “passivity” very active on a different level. What we consider as active and passive often are quite different things in reality.
Robina: In terms of how our relationship may progress, source material has come from soul listening, rather than working and figuring it out with our minds, and design it. One of the tools we have used is coning. It comes from Machaelle Small Wright’s work and is a process of taking a deeper question to a higher realm and coming up with responses in connection of our intuition and soul.
Robert: Her organization is called Perelandra. She was inspired by the early work in Findhorn. She thinks of effectively having what she jokingly calls a conference call with non-physical beings from the nature realms and from the soul realms. She thinks of it as a cone. Typically she will call into the conference call the deva of the garden, if she works in the garden, the deva of a particular plant, plus pan, representing the nature kingdom, and ask what she and others refer to as beings of the white brotherhood. She says if you want to call them the purple androgynyhood, that’s ok. The idea is that these beings are not currently embodied souls, yet they have committed themselves to the spiritual evolution of the earth. You also invoke your own higher self, or your soul. You include all of that in a meditative process. It’s very much oriented towards doing. You do a coning for your business development, for how to do the garden, or questions like, “is it a good idea to put together a website and what should get up on it?” It is a matter of getting the perspective of those realms on how best to go about things.
She says that the important human contribution is definition, direction, and purpose. You are not passively submitting yourself to the will and plan of these folks. These beings are supporting you in expressing what it is that you in your free will come up as your intent. They will then help you find the graceful, balanced way to go about achieving direction, definition, purpose. They will only do it in a way that is in the highest and best good of all concerned. If you say, “I want to murder this person, how do I go about that?”, they are not going to be helpful. In so far that your intent has positive evolutionary qualities to it, they are there to help you express who you are, rather than evoking, “oh, tell me what to do.”
Mirjam: Are there yes/no answers?
Robina: Yes, you do work with yes-no questions and with muscle testing, so it’s not open to amorphous interpretation. But you form the questions.
Robert: A lot of intuition goes into what questions to ask. Just the process of setting up the coning shifts the atmosphere. A lot happens intuitively. If you want, you can use the yes-no process as a check on what’s been emerging intuitively. I was using this kind of process in the last 3 months of Diane’s life. Particularly in the last few weeks of her life, I was spending more time in touch with non-physical than physical beings. So when she left her body, being in touch with her was just one more non-physical being to be in touch with. It was an amazing and easy transition. The coning process took what had been an intellectual and conceptual understanding of spirit into a much more practical, immediate day-to-day realm.
There is noise in this. I am not saying that it is a 100% pure signal. I always approach it with humility to recognize my ability to mess things up, to introduce noise.
To me the biggest news on the planet is the thinning of the veil between the level of the personality and the level of the soul. Whereas in the past, that happened for individuals through their focused work, now it is a transformation going on for the whole the planet, and it’s affecting everybody, whether they want it or not. It’s bringing up more staff. As the two levels get closer together, whatever tensions are there get highlighted. It means the level of the soul is more accessible to people than it has been. It can become a more practical part of one’s daily life. That also helps in shifting the identity to a soul level. When you do that, you see that the life you are in is just one chapter in a much bigger story. Your sense of what you are doing might shift to a much bigger picture.
Rudolf: Yesterday you talked about taking the environment into consideration, like the soul is more conscious of the bigger picture.
Robert: When you stand on the beach and you look the horizon, and if you understand what you are looking at, you can actually perceive that the world is not flat. It’s a subtle perception. If you want to move into a larger world that just what you can immediately see, then geographically you have to be able to deal with the fact that the world is round. In the same way, shifting to a soul perspective, if you are very careful in your life, you see it. If you are not paying attention, you can miss it. But it’s there, and is forming the larger picture. The soul is much more attuned to a bigger picture that the culture trains our personalities to be tuned into. By shifting to that, you can also shift to a space where you can be much more secure in a bigger adventure. At this point in time that means that you can accept the invitation to be a real participant in the transformations going on on the planet and see what is it that is your soul calling. It doesn’t have to big or small, it has to be you. Then you do that piece, and in it is an energy that falls through you and you know you are in the right place at the right time. This place can keep shifting.
Robina: That was the culmination of our decision to go our own journeys with ongoing support for one another. The question, what is my soul calling, if we each truly answer this. the result of that is that we go our own journeys. This is the prime reason both of us are here. That may be different from a lot of people who deal with relationships, we are both here to contribute to the evolution of Gaia and society, that’s the A 1 priority, and our relationships need to work around that. That’s maybe not so common. That is our central yardstick.
Robert: Given that frame of reference we have been able to have a fruitful chapter in our lives with each other and see it that way.
Mirjam: I am reminded of the concept: “my truth serves your truth and your truth serves my truth.” We are talking about acknowledging what is. When we do that it will always serve the other. When we take it into a global sense that works in the same way.
Rudolf: We also look when we work with couples, there is a soul calling, for people to be together, be at cross roads or crisis points. There is always a temptation in conventional psychotherapy to look at the personality side and try to make things work out, how they can smooth over the rough edges. What I hear is the encouragement to embrace the rough edges, the challenges as they unfold and know that they are purposeful.
Robert: What are the souls trying to say in this situation? How can these people in some way move forward that they come out deepened and strengthened in their capacity to love. That may mean they are at a point where they need to go their separate ways. It may mean that they are on the way to move back together again. Which way they go is not the point. The point is that they are able to listen to what their soul is trying to say to them.
Rudolf: As you said earlier, to have a better relationship between the personality and the soul.
Robert: When you are in a crisis situation, and there is this degree that the soul has conspired to put you in this crisis, this is when that relationship is particularly difficult. Yet in that difficulty you can manage to find that connection and bridge, sort that one out.
Mirjam: Schnarch calls it gridlock and says, it takes the very gridlock for us to differentiate, to grow more fully into our own beings.
Rudolf: Thank you.
Dr. Robert Gilman is President of Context Institute and Founding Editor of IN CONTEXT, A Quarterly of Humane Sustainable Culture: www.context.org
Robina McCurdie is the Director of Earthcare Education Aotearoa
Copyright © 7/2000 by Rumijabu | Originally published in Integrative Dialogue #12, Jul2000