“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”
(attributed to C.S. Lewis)
So what is it we see when we look in a mirror…be it one of glass, be it the eyes of another, looking at us from across the room or from a place in our minds?
Is it the soul looking back at us with kindness and knowing? It it that beautiful, gentle entity learning how to walk, how to love, how to hold, how to break open and dance? Is it the playful spirit who marvels every time it can smile through human lips, touch with human hands, feel with human skin, see with human eyes? The spirit who delights in playing with colors, words, children and leaves? Is it the seeker who traveled through all the worlds and came looking for the beloved, for the friend, for all it knows and needs?
Or is it just a vessel…a body in a world, like an empty room where the soul sleeps, unable to fully manifest its own awakening, caged into a ghost-like state by permanent fears and forgettings…by restrictions unguarded…by errors unconsidered and unmended…by happiness unlived, or else halved again and again with measured strokes?
In times of joy, abundance and ease, it’s easy to look in a mirror. There are no questions.
In difficult times, it’s not so easy. There are many questions…questions we struggle to answer, or maybe don’t want to: when…how …where…why?
Every spiritual tradition invites us to awakening, to awareness, to connection. To the consequences of who we are and our amazing potential.
Because among other things, we do create who we are. Here. Now.
What we allow or restrict frees or limits the soul. And that shows up in our mirrors. Every lie, every surrender, every gift taken, given or broken. Every blessing embraced and every blessing unnoticed.
No matter how difficult our days and nights, or how blissful, no matter the season, no matter how many questions we may have or not have…it’s a presence of aliveness and light, or a forced absence we see in the mirror.
I have searched for a very long time for an answer to how we can be sure not to create a cage for our soul in this world. What I found was an invitation to make humble and eager friends with uncertainty in exchange for the freedom to experience wonder, have a chance at belonging, at connection, at living a fragile, yet miraculous life where even the night offers stars and the sun always rises.
And it turns out the answer lies in intention, gratitude, honesty. Simple things. Allowing a little kindness and love for ourselves, for all that surrounds us…opening to this life.
That’s it. Because if we’re open, we are real. And if we are real, we are free. And then the soul is awake and smiles in the mirror always. With knowing. With peace.