As I start this new blog, and my new settled ministry at DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church, I want to share how I arrived at the title— “The Human Spirit.”
I am not a dualist who believes that humans consist of two discrete natures—body and soul. I believe that we, each of us, are a singular being comprising of an interwoven tapestry of body, mind, and soul. The defining difference between the mind and the soul, at least for me, is that the mind is the more analytical, decision-making aspect of ourselves while the soul is the aspect of ourselves that is drawn to meaning, purpose, and connection to something greater than ourselves—perhaps other people, creation, Mother Earth, a god, the universe. I believe that these aspects—body, mind, and soul—cannot be compartmentalized into distinct, unconnected parts. All three natures are necessary to “human-ness”.
So why focus on “Spirit” if there are three aspects that define being Human? And aren't Spirit and Soul virtually the same thing anyway? (No, Dear Reader, they're not, but that's a topic for a future blog post.)
The word “Spirit” resonates for me, whispers to me of “essence”. Thus, I will write about and struggle with “what is the essence of being a whole, thriving, connected human being.” A pretty wide-ranging topic, wouldn't you say? My practice will be to keep returning to the words “Human Spirit” as I write and ask myself how my words speak to what it means to be a whole, thriving, connected human being.
As I begin this journey, I leave you with this thought from Swedish diplomat, economist, and author, Dag Hammarskjold: “The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside. And only [s]he who listens can speak. Is this the starting point of the road towards the union of your two dreams—to be allowed in clarity of mind to mirror life and the purity of heart to mold it?”
I invite you into the practice and journey of listening to the voice within—the soul aspect of yourselves—as you interact with the world around you. And perhaps you, too, will notice the union of your two dreams.