By Julio Olalla and Robert Dunham
When we speak of soul we mean that part of our being and our experience that has been honored in all ancient traditions, that part of life with connection and respect for that beyond ourselves, the depth of meaning and experience beyond mind, emotions, and body; the sense of the space of life itself in relationship to world, meaning, possibility, and eternity.
The Sufis say that we can never fully know what we are, but that we can experience that we are Love, and explore the richness of life. But even this narrative focuses on our experience in life, not just the material circumstances we find ourselves in.
We have largely lost the belief in and respect for an inner life, and it has largely been preempted by the drug companies.
We have lost the traditions of facing life itself in its richness, challenges, and depths, and along with it the dimension of self-cultivation as a good life.
We find the good life outside ourselves instead of inside ourselves.
The materialist story will argue that life has been improved through the development of material wealth and ease.Yet research shows that after providing for a safe, healthy, and basic material existence the acquisition of more wealth does not provide an increase in happiness, wellbeing, or meaning, and in fact the indicators show that wellbeing tends to decline with ever increasing wealth[iii].
We agree with the ancient wisdoms that life is a journey of becoming, and it is in this journey that we find meaning and wellbeing.Through learning, self-cultivation, and deep engagement with life and living we will find ourselves, meaning, value, satisfaction, and even joy.
We must engage from our soul, find the sacred, and find our way in the inner dimensions of life.
We cannot fill the spirit shaped hole in our being with wealth, drugs, distractions, or accomplishments.
We must connect to life as aliveness and living itself.
Julio Olalla is founder of Newfield Network, a leading school of coaching in the world, and is considered one of the best coaches in the world. He is author of From Knowledge to Wisdom.
Robert Dunham is founder of the Institute for Generative Leadership, and delivers programs in leadership around the world. He is co-author of The Innovator’s Way.
[iii] McKibben, Bill, Deep Economy, Holt paperbacks, 2007