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Your Soul is the Whole World

“Your soul is the whole world.” — Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse

Reclaiming your inner ground from the spin cycle of the world machine is the first act of inner liberation, the fertile ground of all true revolutions.

Reclaiming the soil of your soul, and reclaiming the soul of the world, begins by attending to the intersection of spirit and matter. Matter blesses us constantly with support, sustenance, shelter. But the spiritual power of this persistent and omnipresent Love cannot be noticed without attention, nor received without gratitude.

Only by blessing our bread, making it with our own hands or eating it with reverence, can we truly receive it as food for body and for soul. We humans, made of humus, are meant to make a heaven of earth. Our vocation is to bless matter by seeing the spirit that lies within it, to become co-creators of a holy, wholly new world by attending to the presence of the sacred within all peoples and places, all times and beings.

Yet our current economic system pressures us to reduce ourselves to commodities, to yield our lands to fracking, to poison our bodies and our bees with pesticides to grow vast monocrops of Roundup-ready corn. The economy calls upon us to plunder ourselves and to tear our world apart for "profit," though in so doing we lose our souls, and as we're learning, we also lose the world.

When we engage in a transactional relationship with matter, we lose. We have been indoctrinated into a system that denies the connection between spirit and matter in order to feed our economy. Economy means to achieve a goal with minimal or spare effort, and our economic system desperately needs out assent to operate with minimal resistance and maximum efficiency.

The "economy" needs us not to question the validity of placing a price tag on air, water, soil, bodies and souls. Our compliance, even more valuable than oil, is required to keep the machine operating smoothly.

To achieve these ends, we've been fed a steady diet of corporate media, which in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, preaches a gospel of the economy as our chief good and our shared global religion. We are called upon to appease our Consumer God’s hunger with the daily ritual sacrifice of our flesh and the living body of the world, lest we fall behind and become poor -- the leprosy of our times.

Whether you sit at the top or fall to the bottom in terms of material wealth in our society, make no mistake about it: you and the natural world are in mortal danger of being chewed up and spit out by the consumer economy.

Your soul is the whole world. By bringing the focus back to the soul, back to the soils, we stand a chance. Whatever our talents, whatever our education, whatever our finances, we were all born with ground under our feet and the rich the inner soil of the soul.

The world can only be transformed into sacraments of Life and Love by you, through your efforts to reclaim your soul and cultivate a life-giving relationship with the natural world. No one else can do it for you. Likewise, the world can only be made into a wasteland of violence and despair, devoid of spirit, by you.

You have a choice: sell out or double down? Yield your body, your attention, your time — your inner ground — to the machine of commerce and consumption? Or start stewarding your inner resources more mindfully so you can begin the long exodus out of bondage. Remember, no one but you can bless the world. Nor can anyone, but you, sell the ground out from under your feet.

Where you place your attention, the attitude with which you eat, the quality of your presence, the ritual actions of your daily life, these are choices full of power to help you to claim and tend your inner ground, or to abandon it through distraction and forgetfulness. The sky is not the limit. Your ground, and the combined quality of our ground, defines the limit — and the possibility — of our society and world.

Realizing or losing your soul is determined by the quality of your participation in the small moments of daily life — no more, no less. The perfection of Eden, ironically, isn’t the environment that’s needed to grow us as souls.

Learning to be authentic, being present to yourself and others, owning your shit, feeling your feelings, getting off your butt, living with as few screens between you and reality as possible, falling down, laughing and crying, and cleaning up after yourself, are all markers along the path to liberation. This is the grounded approach to reclaiming your inner resources from the spin cycle of the world machine.

The revolution starts and ends here: you, the ground under your feet, and the soil of your soul. As Nelson Mandela taught with the example of his own life, as go our souls, so goes the whole world.