Releasing the Reins
People wax mystical about the human soul and spirit—so much so that many see the soul continuing on for eternity after we die, without a physical embodiment. We do this, because the soul contains so much wisdom. We don’t know why we get hungry at a specific time, one day, but find that we are not hungry at that time the next. We can’t explain why romance is there for two or three months, and then it’s gone—much less fathom our romantic attachment to any specific individual. We do not know why we experience anger, joy, or grief, or why one man will lay down his life for another. To the rational mind, the soul is an incomprehensible mystery, which, I suppose, is why so many judge it to be supernatural. But, to the process of life, there is no mystery. Only by honoring soul-felt needs, without question, can we know the happiness of interdependent relationships, and simultaneously contribute to our species’ success.
I figure that if we are ever again to know spiritual freedom, we must look at the soul from virtually the opposite perspective from which we have traditionally seen it. We must understand that it is real, not supernatural. Only then will we understand that the reason it is so wise is that its wisdom has been accumulating throughout evolutionary time. It’s because of that massive accumulation of awareness that the spirit is able to inspire behaviors that seems magical to the rational mind.
If the soul knows so much that the activities it inspires seem like magic to us, then, despite the difficulties arrayed against it, regaining our spiritual freedom might simply be a matter of letting the spirit be—as my father did by releasing the reins when lost on horseback, in the middle of a blinding western-Kansas blizzard, years ago. If we have the courage to release the reins in our own lives, we can do so by focusing on our feelings of the moment, as we relate with the people around us, rather than focusing on the future we fear. If we can do that, maybe we we’ll discover that the human spirit knows what my dad’s horse knew—how to work the magic of taking us back home. And, if intimacy, happiness, and the elimination of anxiety indeed result from placing our trust in the free human spirit, it could result in a far more widespread transformation of the human way of life than we can presently imagine—a movement back to the natural homes in which all human spirits once thrived. As for the specific events that lead to the formation of a spiritual home, in no two instances will they be the same. As for the families, themselves, each will be unique in countless ways, though there will be characteristics common to them all.
But, what about the future? Will regaining our spiritual freedom mean there will no longer be refrigerators, skyscrapers, modern medicine, television, smart phones, etc.? In a modern society, whose hallmark is our present state of spiritual estrangement, success is largely a measure of longevity and the number of conveniences acquired. To us, a better future would require even more conveniences and longer lives. But, if I understand the laws of Nature, as they apply to the existence of any social species, the best possible future we can have—whatever it entails—can be realized only by attending to one another’s needs, through interdependent relationships, now!
Life’s only real measure of success is the happiness and contentment we find in our relationships. To live in a state of intimacy is to be immersed in the love one experiences when our survival depends on the people and habitat around us. That’s when we know that life is working. That’s when we stand with Jesus, not those who wanted him crucified. That’s when we comprehend what Jesus understood—that only our souls know the way. That’s when life is organized so that our souls can have their way, empowering us to serve the needs of the people who surround us and the land that sustains us all. And, just as importantly, that’s when we serve the needs of the uncountable generations yet to come.
I believe we have suffered a psychic dislocation of ourselves in time and space. Do we know anymore where we are in relation to the stars, moon, and the solstices? Like the wilderness itself, our sphere of instinct has diminished.
—N. Scott Momaday
Excerpt from: Take Us Home, Girls!
Free download of Take Us Home, Girls! available at Spiritual Freedom Press