We talk a lot about how to be well in the body, even more so these days how to be well in the mind, but what about the third component; the soul? Without getting too deep here, this part isn't really a part at all, but rather, it's kind of the whole thing. Let me explain.
When we chase a physical goal; be that weight loss, more toned arms, being able to perform greater physical feats, or a mental goal; like having less intrusive thoughts, an elevated mood, and so on, we are effectively always doing just that; chasing.
Why the chase? Because we need these things too badly, and that need comes from a feeling of not quite being whole. Now, if you're reading this and resonating, thinking to yourself, 'that's me, I guess I don't really feel whole after all', then don't despair, because the beauty of tending to the deepest layer of your wellbeing; that of your soul, is that you don't have to actually do anything at all, because it's already full, complete and perfect.
All this soul speak might be starting to sound a bit contradictory, and that's because, in many ways, it is. Your soul is everything and nothing at the same time, it's who you are and it is everything you think you are not, it's eternal but often only glimpsed for a second, here and there.
In the yogic tradition, as informed by Hindusim, the soul of the individual is known as the Ātman; the eternal self distinct from the ego, material trappings and the confusion of mind. It is believed that when we get to encounter this form of 'self' and dwell in it for increasing periods of time, we start to know true happiness. It is this 'part'; that isn't really a part at all, because it's the whole foundation on which our life as we know it is built.
One could argue that modern life and it's business and commodities pulls us ever further away from the Ātman, so how do we get back to it whilst living in the real world? There are various tools and techniques, mainly centred around meditation and mindfulness, that can start to bring us back.
Describing them far better than I can though, is spiritual teacher and Kirtan master Radhika Das in the first episode back of Well, actually? Watch the conversation on the video below, or listen now on Spotify.
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