Tuesday, February 27, 2007


“There is nothing more fundamental
than I; all worlds, all beings,
are strung upon me like pearls
on a single thread.”

Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita


St. Ignatius throw away your rosary!
St. Hubble has spilled
a million pearls across the sky,
strung them on the thread of night.

Eagle Nebula, hovering…
spawning a skein of eggs in her galactic draft,
stellar incubator hatches such faith,
such astonishment…

something bigger than the galaxies rises,
a column of thunder like muscled fist,
Lord Shiva’s erection
pierces the haggling pantheon
of sixty million deities,
scattering like marbles
before the shaft of light...

Modernity has joined the dark ages.
Observatories are cathedrals.
I worry each giant bead in prayer
between doubtful fingers,
and sleep under a newer testament.


Saturday, February 24, 2007


  • "The longer I live, the more it seems that there is no 'God' out there somewhere, creating material stuff from nothing. This material stuff is made of Infinity, coming into form and dissolving out of form, like clouds, or an eternally turning kaliedoscope." Saint Exuperous

  • Jesus also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." Gospel of Mark, 4:26-29

  • "This universe, which is the same for all, has not been made by any god or man, but it always has been, is, and will be an ever-living fire, kindling itself by regular measures and going out by regular measures." Heraclitus 535-475 b.c.

  • "All natures, all formed things, all creatures exist in and with one another and will again be resolved into their own roots, because the nature of matter is dissolved into the roots of its nature alone." Jesus from The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

  • "All things derive their life from It [Tao], All things return to It, and It contains them." Chinese Tao Te Ching, 34

  • "I have no judgment about myself and my life. There is nothing I am quite sure about. I have no definite convictions - not about anything, really. I know only that I was born and exist, and it seems that I have been carried along. I exist on the foundation of something I do not know. In spite of all uncertainties, I feel a solidity underlying all existence and a continuity in my mode of being." C. G. Jung

  • "This driving force that pushes man to explore and search for something that he cannot initially define is the same one that pervades and operates in nature, pushing everything within creation to transform itself continuously. Therefore, we understand that this force is a natural underlying energy permeating and influencing the physical, psychic and spiritual substance of all created and living species, allowing them to continually transform and develop. Hence, we observe, that this same process of transmutation and change also affects and influences man’s physical, psychic, and spiritual characteristics and attributes. Indeed, these three aspects in man come under the same governing laws of nature, and there is no exception to the process. In other words, man is bound by an unknown driving force that pushes his whole being towards an unknown goal and destiny." Alice, http://www.plotinus.com/alice_interpretation_copy2.htm

  • “The more I go into this spiritual thing, the more I realize that we – the Beatles – aren’t doing it, but that something else is doing it.” George Harrison, 1967

  • “We just happened to become leaders of whatever cosmic thing was going on. We came to symbolize the start of a whole new way of thinking.” Paul McCartney, 2004

  • In the far South the sun of autumn is passing
  • Like Walt Whitman walking along a ruddy shore.
    He is singing and chanting the things that are part of him,
    The worlds that were and will be, death and day.
    Nothing is final, he chants.
    No man shall see the end.
    His beard is of fire and his staff is a leaping flame.
    (Wallace Stevens (1879-1955),
    from U.S. poet. "Like Decorations in a Nigger Cemetery."


Albert Camus wrote, "If there is a soul...It is created here, throughout a whole life. And living is nothing but that long and painful bringing forth."


Soul-making cannot be defined. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, "You could not discover the limits of soul, even if you traveled by every path in order to do so; such is the depth of its meaning."

I have adopted the term from the English poet John Keats. Keats was dying of tuberculosis at the age of twenty five. He was a brilliant writer who knew that he would not live long enough to complete the body of poetic work he longed to create. Extremely ill, financially broke and recently abandoned by his fiance, he struggled to make sense of this thing called life. In a letter written to his brother in February of 1819 Keats was seeking to make sense of a world that seemed so cruel and unfair. He couldn't accept the usual Christian view when he wrote:

"The common label of this world among the misguided and superstitious is "a vale of tears" from which we are to be redeemed by a certain arbitrary interposition of God and taken to Heaven…"

Keats suggested an alternative vale or valley:

"Call the world if you please, "The vale of Soul-making", then you will find out the use of the world.

He went on to explain soul-making as a process where the basic seed of divine intelligence in all humans goes through necessary experiences, especially suffering, that transform the intelligence into a unique Soul:

"I say "Soul making'', Soul as distinguished from an Intelligence - There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions--but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul! A Place where the heart must feel and suffer in a thousand diverse ways! - As various as the Lives of Men are--so various become their souls, and thus does God make individual beings, Souls…"


The term soul-making is a metaphor. The word 'metaphor' is comprised of two Greek words - Meta - above and Phero - to carry. So a metaphor is an image or phrase that carries the reader above the literal sensory realm into the realm of invisible imagination.

Like myth, metaphor enlists the truth of imagination over the truth of literalism. When Bruce Springsteen sings, "Ohhh, ohhh, ohh, I'm on fire", he is in the realm of metaphor, as opposed to Michael Jackson's Pepsi commercial when he spoke literally, "Ahhhhh, I'm on fire!"

Soul-making is a metaphorical term. Therefore, the term will never be adequate for those logical positivists or rationalistic materialists, like Richard Dawkins of The God Delusion, who exclude all non-material or 'non-sensical' words. One has to wonder what they write in their Valentines Day cards; perhaps, "Dear Valentine. I am experiencing unusual levels of oxytocin and seratonin in my neuro-chemical synaptic connections when I'm around you."


The word 'making' in 'soul-making' comes out of the Greek word poieo which means 'to be the author or maker of something'. Our English words poet, poem and poetry come from this word. The reason for that term, for example rather than soul-builder or soul-grower, is that the emphasis is on creative, intelligent authorship. The making is not done by impersonal processes, but by Intelligent Forces. So then, soul-making is really psycho-poeisis or soul poetry.

The poetic aspect is critical to understanding soul-making. The Universe is not a lifeless debris field resulting from the Big Bang, but a living organism. To our Hubble telescope and rocket propelled space surveyors, the Cosmos may appear to be a stark and barren graveyard; but so do blood cells and brain neurons when isolated under a microscope. Unless we knew that the flowing lava-like stream of oddly shaped blood cells and the electro-chemically firing brain synapses were tiny elements of a larger living organism, they wouldn't appear to be alive. The Universe contains Intelligences beyond our current scopes and research methods. Some Quantum physicists are hypothesizing in that direction, but we have yet to 'prove' it with instruments.

The Universe is animated, or a Living Soul (Psyche). Humans exist in this Psyche. Human beings don't contain souls anymore than a fish contains sea water. Like fish in the sea, we swim in the Sea of Psyche. Psyche is comprised of many brilliant aspects - ranging from numbers and geometric shapes, to qualities like Life and Death, Chaos and Order. We don't question that numbers were here before we arrived; why would it be so shocking to discover that Qualities were here as well. These are archetypes or the original qualities which are universally recognized by all human beings.


One way to understand this is to imagine the Universe as an immense dictionary filled with an infinite number of Living Words (archetypes). Your individual life is like a page upon which the Universe composes a poem. Your soul is a poem in the process of being composed or authored. These Universal Words are Intelligent Energies. More and more physicists are acknowledging the lost realm of metaphysics as they study atoms and come up with mythical names like quarks, neutrinos, muons and what are called exotic particles.

These Universal Words or archetypal energies are Creators, sort of like radio signals entering our minds via the reciever we call a brain. As they are experienced, we turn them into spoken sounds and written words. Nouns and verbs do not come into existence by our speaking or writing them. We speak them and write them because they have always existed. Christianity got it right when it said, "The Word became flesh..."
This is what John Keats was talking about when he called this world a school for soul-making, or psycho-poetic composing. All emotions, human institutions, feelings, ideas, pains and pleasures are the writing instruments that compose our souls. However, it is more than just being done to us.


We are co-creators in the soul-making process. We choose the words and the Words choose us. If you have seen magnetic poetry on refrigerator doors, you have a good illustration of soul-making. The refrigerator is like the Universe, the magnetic Words are the archetypal or original energies. When you make a refrigerator poem, certain words jump out, form phrases and then you make a poem. It may be silly or sublime, but it is an interaction between you and the words. If you are observant, you will see that the Words chose you. Our human desire for poetry comes from the Higher Realms, not vice versa; we write and read poetry because we are poetry.
The eternal Words are infinite, interactive symbiotic energies. Our human word and artistic symbols carry them from the heavenly realms into the arena of soul-making. Anyone who has done any kind of art knows the fascinating interaction that goes on as you dance with your creative medium, whether it be clay, paints, ink, paper, musical notes, cloth, wood or drafting tools. The Greeks called the mysterious process of inspiration (in-spiriting) the work of Muses. Have you ever wondered why the final product took the form it did? There were Forces choosing you as you chose Them.


I theorize that the mind and symbols with which the artist works emit something like particular energy that unites with his or her soul process. Perhaps one day we will invent a scope that detects the soul/mental emissions that come from each of us, attracting and connecting to the archetypal forces around us as our soul poem is being made. These emissions are determined by the stage and cycles of our own unique soul process. Each soul formation is as unique as a snowflake or fingerprint. These universal patterns of uniqueness are being explored in the natural world in the relatively new field of fractal geometry.

Perhaps these mental emissions project toward and attract the necessary objects, persons, parents, education and experiences to complete our unique soul-poems. Like tiny magnetic fields, soul draws or repels according to our needs and necessities. Our partners, education, jobs, abuses, failures and a whole host of 'circumstantial' coincidences are part of the Poem. Philosophers and holy teachers have named this process variously, referring to the Fates, Destiny, Providence, Daimons, Guardian Angels, The Stars and a host of other terms referring to a life guided by more than random chance. What these various terms have in common, and remember that these notions are found in every culture, is the making of a poetic composition from the nouns and verbs of opposites - Life and Death, Disease and Health, Poverty and Prosperity, Love and Hate - an infinite realm of opposites.


These archetypal nouns and verbs come to us most easily and creatively in our dreams, when our conscious guards are down. It is in the night, while we sleep, that the Poem is most easily written. Contrary to much current teaching on dream theory, we don't need to know anything about these dreams. Most of them go undetected while we are in deep sleep. Perhaps this is why many writers and artists find themselves blocked and 'dry' when they are in peaceful times, sleeping deeply, dreaming silently and making soul with minimal effort.

The Universe is an ocean of Living Intelligences, archetypal nouns and verbs like Life and Death, Good and Evil, Beauty and Ungliness, War and Peace, Love and Hate, Masculine and Feminine. These are just a few of the words on the door of the cosmic refrigerator door. It seems that soul is made most substantially when we stop trying to reconcile these opposites, and experience their union.


Soul-making is not an empirical science; interestingly, many scientists working at the level of quantum reality are wondering whether there is such a thing as empirical, objective science. I don't know enough about what they are calling the 'uncertainty Principle', except to repeat what I have read - that at the subatomic levels, the elements seem to be influenced by the observer.
Soul-making is beyond definition. I repeat what the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, "You could not discover the limits of soul, even if you traveled by every path in order to do so; such is the depth of its meaning."

We live in an Intelligent Universe - some form of mysterious intellignence encompasses the seemingly random chaos and resultant order, an order that is beyond our assumed understanding of 'order'. This Universe is suffused with Poetic Words or Living Energies that are part of the soul-making process. Each of us is a unique poem, gradually being weaved together into a larger poetic whole/soul. Every incident and event is part of that epic poem. While there may be tragedies and betrayals, troubles and failures, successes and victories - there are no useless words in your poem; and most of it goes on at levels we cannot see or understand. In that sense, we must trust the Author(s).
In Philip Pullman's, The Golden Compass, The Master says to Lyra, "The powers of this world are very strong. Men and women are moved by tides much fiercer than you can imagine, and they sweep us all up into the current. Go well, Lyra; bless you child, bless you. Keep your own counsel."
write Michael at InRequiemVita@aol.com

Tuesday, February 20, 2007



The average westerner believes he or she is in a battle with his or her self, or ego. You hear it all of the time from esteemed spiritual teachers:

1. “The foundation of the Buddha's teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion." Tenzin Gyatso

2. “ Ego is the biggest enemy of the human." Hindu Rig Vedas

3. “Give up all bad qualities in you, banish the ego and develop the spirit of surrender. You will then experience Bliss.” Sri Sai Baba

4. “There is a very powerful energy, force, or intention in each of us that violently resists the possibility of real freedom. That is what ego is, and for the individual who sincerely aspires to become a liberated human being, ego is the only obstacle, the only enemy of the longing for freedom.” Andrew Cohen

Those who say that ego is our enemy foster an often unconscious internal war which will sometimes suprisingly erupt into that person’s relationships, and will always erupt into the larger world scene. This person may never blow his top or lose her temper in public. He may be the epitome of peace and love, externally, but inside rages an invisible war of contempt for the ego-self which reminds him of his finite and not quite realized ideal self'. He may be fighting sexual lusts or an insatiable appetite for recognition and success. She may walk by the mirror and see what she feels is an ugly, vain, confused, frustrated woman. He may feel contempt for the self he brings home from work or social situations. Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once wrote, “Tonight I was the life of the party; I made people laugh and feel good. I came home and wanted to kill my self.” There it is...the contempt for the ego, the unfinished and sometimes troubling self.


Self…the ego…the person living in my skin with a name feels like the number one enemy of many otherwise tranquil appearing spiritual persons today. These people meditate, ‘wage peace’, promote non-violence and voice an open disdain for war and those whom they feel cause these wars. Yet by fighting their own egos, they are unconsciously creating a psycho-cultural matrix for the very wars they oppose.

The Universe is a Unified Cosmos, an organic body, a single living organism. Each individual is a little psychological cell in the larger Soul of the Cosmos. While these ego-fighting peace advocates may see themselves as peaceful people because they work to promote peace and world harmony – they are a raging battlefield internally, hating their own selfishness, lust, greed, envy, jealousy and a host of other secluded thoughts and emotions comprising the pesky ego.

They are convinced that by keeping their psychological war criminals locked away in solitude, inviting God in to conquer this enemy of selfish ego, they are promoting peace. I don’t think so. Their subdued ego-adversaries may be shackled behind carefully guarded lips and politically correct prison bars, but the energy will show up in other places – the appearance of cancer cells, street gangs, a war in Iraq and social hate crimes. The point here is not to make people feel guilty or responsible for violence, but to suggest that the roiling magma of our own internal warfare against ego will emerge somewhere else on the surface of the social landscape. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote, "Men have talked about the world without paying attention to the world of their own minds, as if they were asleep or absent-minded."


I conjecture, because there is no ‘proof’, that Nazi Germany may be a glaring example of internal ego warfare spawning external violence. Here was a 'Christian' nation. It was filled with genuinely good Bible reading people, moral Lutheran and Catholic people, kind people. They were not monsters, but decent, family loving, patriotic, God fearing folks. But, they had lived with a doctrine called Original Sin which taught that their natural internal self (ego) was evil and separated from God. For 400 years they had sung Martin Luther’s militant hymn:

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing…
Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.

According to this theology, the very core of each German soul was bad. One had to fight, or let God fight hard to subdue the vile enemy within. Luther and Germany were informed by what they felt was the God-inspired theology of Saint Paul who wrote, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.” (Romans 7:18) And before we exclude ourselves as being done with that old negative Christian theology, change one word in this verse and many of us will find ourselves still very much believing the same thing: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my ego nature.”

If we change the world sinful to ego, we find that there is little difference between those who believe in Original Sin, and those who are at war with their egos.

Is it possible that Germany's collective internal warfare had to erupt somewhere, first in World War I and then in World War II? Might this help us to understand how an otherwise calm culture can find itself immersed in violent conflict? I think it very possible that the more ‘decent’ a person or nation acts while battling the enemy within, the more likely they are to witness outbursts of violence around them. I think it is possible that the war in Nazi Germany began in the collective war against sin and ego in the souls of the good citizens of that internally conflicted nation.


The solution is to stop fighting the ego. One may recognize the ego as selfish and at times quite troublesome personally and socially, but it is a necessary and wonderful gift of human consciousness. For theists, think of the ego as the seed of God, the ovum of consciousness. It is planted in the soil of existence and develops through stages. It cracks apart and puts down roots in selfish actions and impure motives. The process is often dark and dank as the ego-seed pod dies and cracks open. Carl Jung said, "We spend the first thirty five years of our lives developing an ego, and the second thirty five getting rid of it."

The ego or self is a little like the human body – it has many features and functions, some noble and others not so noble. We feed and exercise both. Sometimes both cause us great pleasure and other times great pain. They may produce creative works of art and stinking feces. This is normal and natural for the physical body and the psychological ego. Most of us don’t declare war on our bowel movements or full bladders. We recognize these functions as normal and necessary, and find ways to deal with them appropriately. We teach our children to use the potty and clean themselves. Ego is often like a little child being taught and trained to expand in awareness.

Any doctrine or psychology which denigrates the ego creates a human being who is split internally. This phenomenon will always move a culture toward war.

To castigate a part of ourselves, in fact the very center of our self, is the precursor to all violence. When we fight our own self or ego, selfish and petty though it may be at times, we create a state of internal agitation, mostly sublimated. When we awake in the morning and begin the day feeling we must fight our bad attitudes, greedy desires, negative thoughts and selfish motivations, or that we must battle against some religious or political ideology – we are setting the stage for war. In fact, we are war.

This is a very subtle and seldom detected battlefield in many of us. We just assume that our ego is bad and must be conquered or surrendered, terms we use of the enemy. Our fight with our egos, like magma, boils beneath the collective consciousness and will always erupt somewhere. Often, we blame the politicians for causing the wars – but the politicians are put in the unpleasant position of having to manage our sublimated psychological battles which burst open in national or international conflicts. We slap bumper stickers on our cars, march in the streets, rail against the war mongering bureaucrats – and spend the day fighting our egos.

I can't provide a list of Ten Ways to Make Peace with Ego. We have enough lists that we never apply. If you find yourself sympathetic with this blog-o-bull, begin to watch your self; pay attention. Are you fighting the ego? Do you see the self in the mirror, especially when flawed, petty, selfish, addicted, failing and a little nuts - and behold God's perfect seed cracking apart, putting down roots, growing from a tiny soul seedling toward the sun? Or do you despise it, declare war on it, vow to exterminate it? This is not a justification for narcissism or self centeredness; it is an attempt to suggest that all external war begins internally, and often in places we may not even realize.
Visit Michael's web site at www.MichaelBogar.com
For speaking or teaching, contact Michael at InRequiemVita@aol.com

Thursday, February 8, 2007


To some, soul making may appear to lessen or do away with personal responsibility, especially after reading my blog on Soul Making and Suffering. In that blog I question the modern over-emphasis on humanistic psychology and ego-focused spirituality, making humans the absolute masters and centers of healing and enlightenment. I suggested that there are spiritual entities or Living Archetypes that guide, assist and educate us. I suggested that some pain and suffering comes upon us due to no fault of our own. I suggested that souls do not only reside in individuals, but that the whole Cosmos is a Living Soul, of which we are but parts as cells to a body.


Someone might ask:
  1. "Am I not responsible for my own suffering?"
  2. "Am I not at choice when it comes to my spiritual ignorance or enlightenment?"
  3. "If there is some 'outside' Source or sources acting upon me, does this not take away personal responsibility and make me something of a victim?"
  4. "At the end of the day, do I not have a choice as to whether I whine about my plight in life or take responsibility for it?"

Yes, at the end of the day it is up to us to decide whether to whine, or take personal responsibility. And, I also know that at the end of many days, I still whine and do not take personal responsibility, and that too is part of the soul making process.

Some of us have reacted, probably over-reacted, to being under the oppressive thumb of the all controlling God invented by traditional religion. This God gave us virtually no choice while the harping clergy continued to tell us that we were putrid, worthless sinners without hope unless the Savior graciously rescued us. And, honestly, some of us understand that notion of divine grace, having been in situations where we despaired of ever escaping our addictions or hopeless situations. However, many of us became sick of being the pawns of a temperamental deity that toyed with our fate like a cat tormenting a captured mouse. So we reacted and went from being pawns to being absolute masters. As a result, I think that we have over-played, over-estimated and over-valued what some like to call taking personal responsibility or being at choice.

If we are growing souls, then like infants or children, we need teachers and parents to support us where we can't be responsible or make conscious choices.

The West has so humanized the personal psyche and burdened the individual self with responsibility, that many are guilty and exhausted. Christians are telling us we need to repent and be saved. New Agers are telling us we have to control our thoughts in order to get what we want, or that we have to be awake and at choice before we can do soul-making. We have all but erased the realm and role of a Living Psyche, an intelligent Universe filled with archetypal energies engaging us even when we are not awake and responsible. Who among us is really ever fully awake, or always responsible? If not being awake, or not making the most conscious choices handcuffs the individual soul making process, doesn't that make us quite the powerful little beings? Often, that sort of ragged individualism makes us too powerful.

It seems to me these days that my, and every other, soul was being beautifully fashioned long before I was conscious, responsible and 'at choice'; in fact, likely before I was conceived. Not that Jesus or the Bible is the ultimate authority, but his little known parable addresses this whole issue in Mark 4:26-29:

Then Jesus said, "God's kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows—he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps—harvest time! Mark:4:26-29

A seed doesn't need a farmer standing over it, coaxing it to put down roots or sprout blossoms. A fish doesn't have to know it is in the ocean to be growing and thriving as a fish. Soul, as I see it today, is that Ocean. Ego is planted in the soil of a thriving Universe, and is acted upon even when irresponsible and ignorant, thank the gods! My little ego, which makes some choices, is as responsible as it can be today. God, or the gods, know that if my personal consciousness were dependent upon my ability to be awake, aware and at choice, I'd be in big trouble. My sprouting ego chooses to engage in lots of spiritual reading, classes and practices - and I receive many benefits from rising into the spiritual light. But soul dwells in the depths, and puts roots down into the soil unseen by me and others. I can care for soul, but I am not in ultimate control of Life's lessons, or even how I respond many times. Often, after I respond 'poorly', I get to observe and learn - but soul is being developed whether I respond the 'right way' or not, whether I am enlightened or benighted.

The New Age Movement has provided us with great tools for self help and solo-making, for doing intention work based on my juicy, needy but limited ego awareness of what I want. I do need to do my best to be responsible for taking care of myself and my suffering, for discovering and setting my intentions. But sometimes, in fact many times, I fail miserably. I become discouraged, threatened by others, filled with doubts, anger, jealousy, envy, etc., and soul is being made even when I have thrown responsibility for my spiritual life to the wind.

I saw a book the other day, Fleeing Fundamentalism. As a wounded ex-Fundamentalist, I sympathize immensely with the title, but it betrays a disposition that is basically Fundamentalist! The author is doing what the Fundamentalist Christians are doing, namely, seeing some parts of this life as evil, Satanic, detrimental and 'flee-worthy'. The author creates a world of duality, trying to save people from the dark side of evil Fundamentalism. Soul-Making, on the other hand, sees the dirty soil of life or the harbor of Fundamentalist Christianity as a normal and necessary stop for some of us, not the work of the 'evil-doers'.

The seed of soul-making is growing even when the farmer is asleep, the ship is taking on necessary cargo for my destiny in every port. I may look back upon those hard times where I was cracking apart under the dark soil and smelly fertilizer of Fundamentalism, and if I am not aware that Soul was sprouting deep roots, I will not see the beneficial necessity of that time. I don't flee Fundamentalism, the Universal archetype of Fundamentalism flees from me when it is done with me.

I remember years ago waking up to the completion of the Fundamentalist process, and like Chicken Little, I ran around telling friends and family of a new awareness that had hit me on the head. At the time, minister friends and my now ex-wife were horrified by my questioning the Christian doctrines, my Father told me I was going to Hell. They too were/are being fashioned by the ubiquitous Forces of the Universe.

Some have also questioned me for placing an external God and others outside of me on the same plain as my internal self; they have asked, "Aren't you placing us in the role of helpless victims when you say other people and an outside God are making our souls? Isn't it up to me as a spiritually aware individual to make soul?"

From the perspective of self help programs and personal growth I would agree. By definition, self help is about me and my personal potential being realized. Clearly I have some choice about my reactions and responses. However, I often don't, or can't, exercise those choices very well or at all - in spite of my best efforts. At the level of Soul Making, the whole Universe is interconnected and the self is one little fish in the ocean of Soul. Others and God (gods) are not external to the self. We all swim in the same Ocean, comprise the same soil, participate together in the Universal Soul. There is no 'outside' of me in soul making.

We modern westerners have isolated the individual, named it the self/ego, and made it the center of all reality and psycho-spiritual development. This rugged individual Protestant paradigm is a reaction to the collective communal Catholic paradigm that ruled the west for centuries. Both paradigms are extremes and prone to imbalance when taken alone. We are both. We are individuals involved in self help (solo -making). We are also part of a universal community (soul-making).

A complete view of Reality includes the self as just one component? My neighbor, God, the gods, all thoughts and ideas are really all One. I am not only playing the instrument, but am being played like an instrument. My brain is more like a TV monitor, receiving multiple signals in the Ocean of Soul rather than just being a brain that is the producer of one show called 'me'?

This opens the conundrum of divine providence and personal responsibility. Do I make choices or is Someone making choices for me? It seems to me that both are true, just as light is made up of both particles moving in a straight line and made up of waves bending around corners. Perhaps we can call it Quantum Soul Making.

Let me conclude this longer than expected blog by saying that we are on a quest for psycho-spiritual understanding. The realm of Soul is the New World. We are explorers on the vast Ocean of Soul in our tiny ships, landing on a new shore here and there, wandering inland, discovering rivers and founding new villages. We have just begun. None of us knows that much. This blog is my journal, my rough map of the terrain. Many have gone before me and millions will follow. Each gains from the steps, or missteps, of prior adventurers. Open your imagination, for Imagination provides both the ship and the territory to be explored.