Currently reading John Welwood’s “Love and Awakening”. Good stuff, and recommended. Some quotes follow here.
Like the sun’s rays that cause the seed to stir within its husk, love’s radiant energy penetrates the facade of the false self, calling forth resources hidden deep within us. Its warmth wakes up the life inside us, making us want to uncurl, to give birth, to grow and reach for the light. It calls on us to break out of our shell, the personality-husk surrounding the seed potential of all that we could be. The purpose of a seed husk is to protect the tender life within until the time and conditions are right for it to burst forth. Our personality structure serves a similar function. It provides a semblance of security, as a kind of compensation for the loss of our larger being. But when love’s warming rays start to wake us up, our ego-shell becomes a barrier restricting our expansion. As the germ of life swells within us, we feel our imprisonment more acutely…..
The brighter love’s radiance, the darker the shadows we encounter; the more we feel life stirring within us, the more we also feel our dead spots; the more conscious we become, the more clearly we see where we remain unconscious. None of this need dishearten us. For in facing our darkness, we bring to light forgotten parts of our being. In recognizing exactly where we have been unconscious, we become more conscious. And in seeing and feeling the ways we’ve gone dead, we start to revive and kindle our desire to live more expansively….
A soul connection is a resonance between two people who respond to the essential beauty of each other’s individual natures, behind their facades, and who connect on this deeper level. This kind of mutual recognition provides the catalyst for a potent alchemy. It is a sacred alliance whose purpose is to help both partners discover and realize their deepest potentials. While a heart connection lets us appreciate those we love just as they are, a soul connection opens up a further dimension — seeing and loving them for who they could be, and for who we could become under their influence. This means recognizing that we both have an important part to play in helping each other become more fully who we are….A soul connection not only inspires us to expand, but also forces us to confront whatever stands in the way of that expansion….
While our absolute nature, as pure being or open presence, is timeless and changeless….our soul evolves and deepens through cultivating and embodying the seed potentials — for courage, strength, generosity, humor, tenderness, wisdom — contained in this larger nature. The essence of spiritual work is to realize and continually reorient ourselves toward our being, our absolute nature; and this is what leads to ultimate freedom. Yet spiritual realizations often remain compartmentalized, apart from everyday life, or become used as a rationale for living in an impersonal or soulless way. That is why, if we are to live our realizations and bring them into this world, we also need to work on the vessel of spirit — our embodied humanity. Soulwork is the forging of this vessel……If spiritual work brings freedom, soulwork brings integration. Both are necessary for a complete human life.