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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Soul and Body

Alfred North Whitehead, we used to attend the Whitehead lectures at Claremont School of Theology, had so many fascinating ideas. I relate to his ideas around process theology, for example, but today I want to consider soul and body. He felt that Western philosophy was a series of footnotes centered around Plato. Why would he think this?

Before Plato, the soul was thought to be the spirit of the body. But Plato shifted this into prisoner of the body. This laid the framework for the development of the idea of the need for salvation of the soul from the battle with the body. A negative dualism was born and enshrined in orthodoxy.

Plato said, We should make all speed to take flight from this world to the other, and this means becoming like the divine so far as we can..

Now the soul, being understood to be separate from the body, could go and do and be what the body could not. The soul was positive and the body negative. This has created all sorts of problems, especially for people of the West. It also created some pretty strange theology.

As a person who relates more with the mystics of all backgrounds rather than with theologies made up by unenlightened and out of touch with Spirit, mostly men, I often cringe at the convoluted dualisms taught as truths.

Also, as a person who has had multiple direct experiences with The More, I feel a certain sorrow that people are taught to believe things contrary to actual Truth, rather than to be taught how to experience Oneness themselves. 

I would say that the soul and body are partners in being able to experience life in this earth school. They are to be treasured, nurtured and set free to learn and grow and draw sustenance from this opportunity to be here for a time. Life is a gift, a treasure and full of surprises. Yes, one day we will give our bodies back to earth and shift into other dimensions, but for now our bodies are to be celebrated.


Mystics that have touched me include, but are not limited to: Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, Jacob Boehm, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Julian of Norwich, Rumi, Hafiz, William Blake.... I invite, urge you to explore the mystics. Also the Perennial Philosophy, especially the book of that title by Huxley.

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