Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Body of Thought / Language of Soul

Not too long ago, I read with great interest an article in Scientific American Mind entitled “Body of Thought” The article explored recent research in the neurosciences that showed how our language, the use of metaphors provides the link between the body and the mind. Researchers are discovering that the mind uses the body to make sense of abstract concepts and that metaphors which link the “mind and the body reflect a central fact about the way we think” And that there is a growing amount of evidence for an “embodied” cognition. It is something that scientists in the past believed were irrelevant.

For example, we link morality with cleanliness and use idioms to express that – “I wash my hands of that” or “she has a dirty secret” Worries are experienced as a “heavy load”. How we approach our lives reflect physical movement as metaphors. We move forward in life. We step back from challenging situations.

This is how the language of dreams already speaks to us every night. A dream presents a physical action to reflect the truth of psyche.

Scientific study – whether it knew it or not – seemed to be threading into the realm, image, idioms and the symbolic – touching something of the soul.

James Hillman offers this definition of soul – “By soul I mean, first of all, a perspective rather than a substance, a viewpoint toward things rather than a thing itself. This perspective is reflective; it mediates events and makes differences between ourselves and everything that happens. Between us and events, between the doer and the deed, there is a reflective moment — and soul-making means differentiating this middle ground.

It is as if consciousness rests upon a self-sustaining and imagining substrate — an inner place or deeper person or ongoing presence — that is simply there even when all our subjectivity, ego, and consciousness go into eclipse. Soul appears as a factor independent of the events in which we are immersed. Though I cannot identify soul with anything else, I also can never grasp it apart from other things, perhaps because it is like a reflection in a flowing mirror, or like the moon which mediates only borrowed light. But just this peculiar and paradoxical intervening variable gives on the
sense of having or being soul. However intangible and indefinable it is, soul carries highest importance in hierarchies of human values, frequently being identified with the principle of life and even of divinity. ”

He goes on to write that soul is “the poetic basis of the mind.” The soul imagines , speaks to us through dreams, poetry, fantasies, music, art, and daydreams. The things in our life that we bring into the heart and our imagination.

Christina Becker is a Jungian Analyst, Alchemical Astrologer and Consultant with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She is graduate of the C.G. Institute Zurich. Her practice purpose is to empower individuals, couples, teams and organizations on their path of transformation. Her website is www.cjbecker.com

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