A few years ago I discovered something which both startled and delighted me. Did you know the concept of the soul is wrapped up in a joke?
The Jewish word for soul is ‘Nepesh’ which literally means ‘neck’. It’s a metaphor for that which connects the head to the body. I can imagine a jewish scholar chuckling as some earnest follower is enquiring about the well-being of his soul. The reply – how’s your neck?
Your neck is an extraordinary thing. It takes the weight of the head. It protects all the nerves that communicate instructions from your brain to your body. It can swivel and allow your head to turn in all directions. Its an incredible feat of engineering and construction – and it’s part of you.
When we consider a world in need of interdependence it seems right to start with us. Through the centuries scholars have debated the priority of brain over body, soul over flesh, head and heart. Yet we are physical beings and our interconnectedness or interdependence is vital.
If the soul is our word for interdependence then this makes some sense.
Theologian Eugene Peterson writes that the soul “signals an interiority that permeates all exteriority, an invisibility that everywhere inhabits visibility.”
Think on that …
Every one of our actions has an invisible centre.
Everything we say outwardly has a inward heart.
Overtime we touch physically it invokes an interior reaction just as strong.
We are connected within ourselves.
Here at Space to Breathe we try and bring authentic spiritual solutions to everyday problems. In essence this means we are about the soul. In business where is the soul at the heart of a company. In our communities, where is our communal soul connecting us together. In everyday lives how can discover just a little more soul each day? Our work is about soul and the outworking of that is to seek interdependence.
To speak plainly to find our neck …
Why not try this simple reflection.
Find a space and sit quietly.
Become aware of your neck, taking the weight of your head and connecting your mind to the rest of the body. As you are aware of it’s feel and shape consider how you are connected. How the things you do affect the way you feel. How your emotions make a difference to your actions.
Take your hands and link together the fingers. Consider how you are connected. Consider whether at times you feel unconnected too. How does this make you feel?