Re: Soul LO1206

Jim Michmerhuizen (
Sun, 14 May 1995 22:23:54 +0059 (EDT)

Replying to LO1148 --

I use the method of interleaved glosses, below...

Jim Michmerhuizen
: : : : : : : Ideas are cheap; : : \ : : : :
: : : : : Good ideas don't cost any more than lousy ones. : : : : :
: : : It's distinguishing them that's expensive. : : :

On 11 May 1995 WYNN@AppleLink.Apple.COM wrote:

> Authenticity is more of a common coin that people can easily discuss. How
> many real organizations have people been consulting in and how far down
> the road of talking about soul has anyone managed to get? I'd really like
> to know. I have always sought to present the authentic (natural practices
> developed by natural humans in their natural social organization within
> the enterprise, around the formal structure) as also the most effective.
> This is just talking about practices and the validity of what people come
> up with to do. That's already pretty "far out". Although myself a student
> of dharma I really don't feel like forcing this topic on my clients. That
> is not "skillful means."

If I understand your meaning, you are telling us that in your "public"
work you use the word "authentic" to refer to things that in your private
life you might refer to as "spiritual" or "sacred".

This is not bad, I suppose. A method that I've used is to encourage a
free and diverse nomenclature for identifiably common human experiences.
For example, personally I might express myself -- in front of a group --
with the word "spiritual". If somebody objects, I welcome the objection
and invite an alternative. Our atheist (let us suppose for the example)
proposes - oh heck I'm only making this up anyway - "psychological"
(rotten choice) and so I suggest that if that's his word then every time
I say "spiritual" he can pretend he heard "psychological".

This example's a bit extreme, but the point is a) I'm not going to reduce
my own thinking vocabulary to the lowest common denominator of a group,
but b) neither can I insist that the group use _my_ vocabulary in _their_
thinking, and so, finally c) as long as we can establish that we're
referring to what are at least roughly the same major structures in human
experience, we needn't abandon our respective languages.

> Definitions of soul are so different. Do souls go to hell if bad, what is
> bad, do they return to transmigrate, do they all go to heaven once and for
> all, are people forgiven for their sins or punished, and under what
> circumstances, are some saved and others not? All these topics I fear are
> let out of the box when soul is seriously explored, and there is a place
> to do that which is not the workplace.

Yeah, those are the kinds of questions, exactly, that we want to avoid.
That's why I take the approach that I outlined above.

> Some people are atheists and don't want to talk about soul. Why make them
> uncomfortable? In short I feel it is not very soulful to be pushy about
> soul.

The tightrope is as I characterized it. I'm going to describe the world in
my terms, not anyone else's; but then, to be sure I've communicated, I
want them to describe that very same world back to me in _their_ terms.

Of course the final enlightenment - as has been pointed out on the Tao
thread - is not to need the words at all.

> There is so much ground to cover in the practices that are obvious once
> you disclose them, that anyone can see as practical, just by having a
> different lens and different granularity of description applied, from a
> humanist perspective.
> I have to say this list is demanding.