There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?
- R U M I
Some people seek perfection in their lives, but perfection is a completed state, the very antithesis of growth, opening, learning, and awakening. Author and psychiatrist M. Scott Peck once wrote that life is difficult, and only when we embrace that fact can we ever seek to transcend it.
To avoid challenge does not mean we avoid tension. If we retreat from life and avoid desire or passion, this does not stop us from feeling tension. We feel tension when we are in a job that is dull or stressful, a relationship that is stuck or too demanding, or at a more material level, if we are not driving the right brand of car or living in the right location.
What is Soul Tension?
Soul tension manifests when a calling to return to living an authentic life collides with ego defenses and cultural-family rules or other social conventions. Soul tension is a whole different dimension and much harder to deal with, since now it’s not about the car we want to drive, the promotion we deserve, or the person we want to date.
Soul tension is a feeling that something is wrong, missing, or out of kilter. What that something is can be hard to explain or describe. Perhaps the tension points to something we have yet to experience in the future. Because it is hard to put our finger on the issue, and since we do not like to feel confused or uncomfortable, we often seek to avoid the feeling through busyness, distraction, or addiction. If this is the case, we can be sure of one thing: we are living superficially and off track in our lives. We may be married to the wrong person, working in the wrong career, living in the wrong country, or hanging out with the wrong people.
When we resist the calling, soul tension will build. Soul tension is calling us to a different life; yet, the problem is that, even if we are fortunate enough to recognize the issue, we may still not do anything about it. There are many reasons for this. Perhaps we are waiting for the right moment, and it never comes. Perhaps we lack the courage to act or feel unable to do so in some way. Perhaps the calling feels too big or grand, or we feel confused about our next step, or we feel there are just too many demands in the way.
Soul tension is basically telling us that there is a disconnection from self — we no longer know ourselves and, instead, cling to masks, labels, and roles. Soul tension is a symptom of resisting the soul, which asks nothing less of us than we dive into the journey where we will discover our as yet unknown inner potential and light.
What Is Soul Calling?
If you bring forth that which is within yourselves,
That which you possess will save you.
If you do not find that within yourselves,
hat which you do not possess will kill you.
-- GOSPEL OF THOMAS
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A soul calling involves trust and surrender. We have to trust a deeper part of ourselves that knows where we are going. A soul calling is not satisfied with us just sticking a toe into the water; we either sign up for the entire journey and see it through, or we are a spectator standing on the sidelines thinking about the journey. A soul calling is calling us to a higher state of presence, vibration, and flow.
The problem is that we live in a low-vibrating world that is largely spiritually unaware. A soul calling is an energetic impulse to change the way we process the world. It is also a pull to a new sense of belonging and direction. How this energetic impulse is received and understood depends on how open or resistant we are. Resistance is how we block or divert a soul calling.
Everything is energy, and energy seeks to follow the path of least resistance. All forms of energy follow the path of least resistance. This is why people, who are living energy systems themselves, walk through doors rather than climb through windows to enter a building.
The choice is about how to move towards our destination with the minimum of energy expenditure. If a block seems temporary, then we can always wait for it to clear. Where a block is permanent, then energy will flow around the impediment to find another way. Water will flow around logs damming a river and electricity cables will be re-routed. A soul calling will follow the path of least resistance.
The Ego's Resistance Challenges A Soul Calling
An inflexible and negative ego is a challenge for a soul calling. For instance, a new dream or highly desirable goal can collide with an old belief about how life works and what is possible for us to achieve in the world. It can also find itself blocked by a feeling of duty to an existing job or relationship. The calling to leave an existing way of life can easily be countered by a fear of change and a strong desire to remain comfortable and secure.
Resistance is like the brake pedal of a car, whereas a calling is the accelerator pedal. Of course, we need both. The brake pedal slows us down and allows us to take life at a reasonable pace, but too much resistance is like driving a car with the brake on all the time. If the power of the brakes is stronger than the desire to move forward, then we grind to a halt.
The price we pay for living this way is two-fold: firstly, nothing much happens and our lives lack aliveness and all hope of revitalization; secondly, we are in danger of aborting the whole process if it goes on for too long. This is not a healthy state of affairs. It means staying stuck at some level emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. When this happens, deep down we know we have turned down an important opportunity as the window of opportunity passes.
Typical Resistance Patterns
BLAME – We are taught to blame as a means of self-protection and self-preservation. It seems to be the case that blaming others allows us to avoid taking responsibility for our life. When we are blaming, it is impossible to appreciate at the same time.
BUSYNESS – We can seek to block or divert tension by focusing on constant doing and busyness. Busyness leads to burnout, which is never a great way to go in life.
COMPARISON – We are taught from a young age to compare and contrast. It is never wise to compare our looks, talents, or journey with those of another person. When we compare, it is impossible to accept where we are in life.
CONFLICT – We are taught to defend ourselves by being right. Arguing leads to conflict, which is a powerful way to divert our energy and prevent radical change. When we are in conflict, we are in fight-or-flight mode and it is hard to pause for breath before speaking or acting.
CONTROL – We are taught to try and control our lives. If we try to do that, though, we will simply become dull and unbearable and others will avoid us. Control is the antithesis of trust.
DOUBT – We are taught to doubt, and excessive doubt will close the heart and stunt the mind. Doubt is a many-headed hydra that closes us to real feedback or engagement.
DRAMA – We are surrounded by drama — in the newspapers, on the TV, and at the cinema and theatre. We can create drama in our lives to avoid following our soul’s calling. Drama can be an addictive resistance pattern, which does not really allow for more slow-moving mindfulness and reflection.
FANTASY – We live in a world of virtual reality and easy escape into fantasy. Fantasy is a resistance to life and is different from dreaming or vision. Fantasy clouds the mind and stops us from getting clear about our intentions or next steps.
FEAR – This is perhaps the mother of all resistance patterns. There are many variations on this theme: fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of condemnation, fear of success, fear of intimacy, fear of your own light and power. There is an old saying, ‘Where there is fear there is power.’ When we embrace fear, it can become fuel for the journey.
GREED – We are encouraged to mindlessly consume and accumulate. This helps us to live heavily on the earth and avoid what is really meaningful. Often, beneath greed is unhappiness. We cannot be greedy and generous at the same time.
GUILT – We are taught guilt from a young age. Religion teaches guilt. Families teach guilt. Guilt believes in punishment and suffering. When we feel guilty, it is hard to give any importance to our own values, dreams, and visions.
HELPLESSNESS – We can be taught perceived helplessness from a young age. This is kept going with thoughts such as, I cannot do this, I cannot cope, or life’s too hard. Helplessness does not allow us to set achievable goals nor develop any form of self-reliance.
OVERATTACHMENT – We know there is healthy bonding and there is unhealthy attachment. Overattachment creates a fusion or clinging to people, circumstances, possessions, status, or an outmoded sense of identity. Fusion makes it hard to let go and develop a healthy sense of love and personal responsibility.
OVER-RATIONALIZATION – We are taught to think, and a tricky form of resistance comes from overthinking and being stuck in the head. Staying in the moment and feeling the response of the heart is hard with over-rationalization.
PERFECTIONISM – We are encouraged to be perfect. Perfection is the opposite of spontaneity, growth, and adventure. Knowing that everything is imperfectly perfect is almost impossible for perfectionists.
PLEASING – We can resist following our heart because of a desire to make everyone around us happy first. This is completely impossible and keeps us stuck in unhappy patterns and situations. Focusing on pleasing others makes it hard for us to say no and set healthy boundaries.
RESCUING – We can resist our own path by overly focusing on rescuing others or solving other people’s problems. There are times when it feels right to help; there are other times when we must simply allow other people to have their experiences and trust they will find the right way in the situation.
SECURITY – One of the biggest resistances we face comes from a deep need for security. When we are living a comfortable life, it takes a lot of soul tension to push us out of the nest.
SELF-ATTACK – We are taught to attack and criticize ourselves when we are faced with perceived danger. Self-criticism and self-attack programs gives us no peace of mind and keeps us playing very small in life.
SHAME – This tells us we are flawed, defective, or not good enough in some way. Shame is connected to guilt and embarrassment. Shame is endemic in Western society and disconnects us from our authentic self, which knows no shame.
On a positive note: a transition is a powerful time, and this is when soul friends turn up. These are people we share a soul affinity with, or who have been contacted by our Higher Self to enter our lives for a specific time or purpose.
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. - ALAN COHEN
©2014 by Steve Ahnael Nobel. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Findhorn Press. www.findhornpress.com.
Personal Transitions: Beyond the Comfortable into the Real
by Steve Ahnael Nobel.
About the Author
Steve Nobel is a co-director of Alternatives - a not for profit organisation based in St. James's Church, Piccadilly, London W1. Steve is also a personal and business coach who specialises in working with authors, creative clients, and individuals in transition in their work life. He is the author of three non-fiction published books and is currently writing his fourth called Big Transitions. He is an interviewer and has many free interviews with spiritual authors available on his website. http://www.stevenobel.com