As always, I’m embarrassed how long it has been since I’ve written. Time seems to accelerate these days.
I don’t know what the Sufi word is for soul, but I suspect if it is different it has a like meaning. Nor am I sure where it is located. Some say the heart, some say it is in the breath of life we receive at birth, and sometimes I think it is present in our senses – our hearing, smell, sight, taste and feel. What I do know is that no matter where it is and how large or small it is in our bodies, the whole world cannot satisfy its longing. Our soul is only satisfied by the infinite nature of God, and like water that is restless until it reaches level, the soul has no peace till it rests in God.
I also have come to believe that each of our souls grows over time. As we gather experience, wisdom, and love our bodies can’t keep up with our souls. I know so many people radiate peace although their bodies are starting to fail.
On several occasions I’ve been with people in the last moments of their life, and heard them say they were ready to go “home.” I have come to understand that they meant exactly what they said. Their souls had grown beyond their bodies’ capacity. Their souls needed to go rest with God.
Let me hear from you dear friend. Webb
I like very much your thoughts about ‘soul.’ There is no word in “Sufi” for soul, because Sufi is not a language (nor a religion nor a philosophy). But much of the early writing of the Sufis was in Arabic, and in that language the word for soul is ul-Ruh (or Rooh). Hazrat Inayat Khan, who I have described in earlier letters, defined soul as “The feeling of ‘I am.’ ” It is the “feeling of one’s existence…” while ego (nafs) “is what is gathered around the soul.” Kabir Edmund Helminski (author of Living Presence, a wonderful book) says “The freedom of the soul frees one from our greatest slavery, the unlimited demands of the ego…. Inner freedom is being able to choose one’s attitude and to direct one’s attention.” Khan also says, “…in every soul there is the power of the Almighty, there is a spark of divine light, there is the spirit of the Creator.” I also like the quote from the 14th century Sufi, Yunus Emre,
“Ask those who know,
What’s this soul within the flesh?
Reality’s own power.”
One perspective that most Sufis seem to subscribe to is that all souls arrive with a purpose, and that it is our responsibility during our lives to understand our purpose, be in service to it, and to live in ways that our souls continue their development. While most won’t define how that is to be achieved, it is pretty clear that developing one’s connection with God is of core importance.