Volume 6 / Issue 1 SPRING 2020

6 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 6 - 1 S p r i n g 2 0 2 0 2 Key Words from the Lecture’s Title I shall also be speaking about some other rather special books later, but first wish to consider several key words and their meanings. The title of this lecture, Journeying with Psy - che and Soul in Spirituality , was not a personal choice but a very interesting one, given to me by our hosts. So, what do these words mean? Let us start with the easy word, journeying . In the present context, this may suggest that life is a pil - grimage, a journey with a sacred purpose; a journey – per - haps with recognizable stages – aimed towards some kind of spiritual goal. Let us, for the moment, call that goal spiritual maturityorwisdom . Now, what about the words psyche, soul, and spirituality ? I have been involved in many unresolved discussions about these, but how can you pin down and define the indefinable without taking the life out of it? I am mindful of poet Aline Kilmer’s comment that, “ many excellent words are ruined by too definite knowledge of their meaning ” (Kilmer 2016). So today I take my cue from Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty who said, “ when I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less ” (Carroll 1960). So, to set the scene, I will start by saying that human spirituality, as well as relating to wisdom, has something to do with awe, mystery, wonder, meaning and purpose; with fate, destiny, kismet, karma, Providence, God’s will; and with a deep, heartfelt sense of self-worth and belonging. The word psyche is a Greek word and denotes “personification of the soul as female or as a butterfly” . This seems appropriate, as the life cycles of caterpillars, pupae and butterflies symbolise change/growth/evolution. According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (2002, 2389) psychemeans “the soul”, “the spirit”, or “the animating principleof the universe”, which indicates that we are already going in circles, especially as anima (as in animate – the animating principle ) is a Latin word for soul. However, yet another, possibly more helpful meaning given for psyche is “the collective mental or psycho - logical characteristics of a people” . For tonight’s purposes, then, I shall go with that. In 2020, we live in an increasingly globalised society, so we can for now translate psyche as world-mind or perhaps species-mind . I hope we can agree on that for now. The word soul can be defined as “the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being, regarded as immortal”. It is usually contrasted with the body, and with the corporeal, worldly, material, or temporal aspects of human existence. I shall need to say more about this later. The word spirit (from which, of course, the word spiritualityhas been derived) is defined in some dictionaries in near-identical ways to soul ; for example, “the non-physical part of a person”. The word comes from the Latin spiritus , originally meaning “breath” or “wind”, which came later to denote life forceor cosmic energy , and similar words in other languages were derived the same way; for example, pneuma in Greek, ruach in Hebrew, prāna in Sanskrit, ch’i in Chinese. So this is the universal wind, blowing us along on our journey. I sometimes use the analogy of a hot air balloon, and here we are in the basket being blown along. However, because we keep pace with it, we are not necessarily conscious of this mysterious wind, nevertheless do well to tune in to it as best we can, discerning its effects, also paying attention to our fellow travellers on the same spiritual journey. Having said all this, we are still left with a confusing degree of definitional uniformity between these words, soul and spirit . It therefore seems to me to help if intellectuallywe separate and distinguish between a  personal soul and a  universal spirit . As individual persons, everyone is influenced internally, either more or less consciously, by a powerful, invisible, cos - mic breath or wind. I have to emphasize intellectuallybecause we are also obliged to hold in our imagination the idea of a seamless and permanent connection between the two: in - dwelling soul and all-pervasive spirit. This is what is called a paradox: soul and spirit can be distinguished from each other mentally, but we can also imagine them to be undivided, as if connected by some kind of unbreakable, non-perishable elastic; not really separate at all!