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A Primer on SoulQuake Preparedness

“When we resist change, it’s called suffering.  But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness.  Another word for that is freedom—freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human.” 

– Pema Chodron

Our society appears to be standing on increasingly shaky ground with every passing day.  Many of those things in life we counted on for reassurance are now falling apart and unravelling before our eyes.  We are facing multiple challenges – from extreme climate events to civil unrest and divisiveness caused by hatred and polarized beliefs – and these are causing great uncertainty, fear and consternation. 

A question often asked is, “What do I hold on to that will guarantee my safety and security when the world is this wobbly?” 

We find inside the various spiritual teachings, a common theme declaring that the world of outer forms can never offer us true sanctuary and security.  Security is discovered by learning to stand in the light and love of the Soul where the inextinguishable flame of the sovereignty of Self resides.  Buddhism wisely reminds us of the impermanence of form life and encourages the practice of non-attachment as a path of liberation.  Perhaps the only secure ground is to be found inside the stillness of a loving and soul-centered heart that is rooted in a deep trust of Life. 

Many of us around the world live in earthquake country and know from first-hand experience that at any moment the ground may move and buckle beneath our feet and cause enormous upheaval in our communities.  Even with the most thorough earthquake preparedness planning and civilian drills, the actual seismic event is still a great shock to the system requiring a long period of quiet healing and recovery. 

Earthquakes constitute known yet unpredictable threats to our physical safety and psychological stability and we have prepared as much as is possible for these geological events.  

Thankfully we have been given explicit instructions on how to act in an earthquake, with useful recommendations as to what provisions should be safely stored in order to survive the post-quake conditions when normal service may be curtailed for a while.  However, in all honesty, are we prepared for the unleashing of another type of major shake-up in our lives that I call a SoulQuake?  Like an earthquake, this life-changing event also causes great upheaval and initiates radical change in our lives. 

A SoulQuake occurs when we say YES to life and the profound desire of the Soul to express itself exerts an irresistible and unrelenting pressure on the personality – its incarnated agent on Earth.  If this compelling inner force encounters a mental, emotional and physical body that is not sufficiently aligned and integrated and able to gracefully and skillfully respond to its call, then an uncomfortable and unnerving build-up of pressure ensues until it reaches an inevitable breaking point. 

Any time the Soul is invoked and meets with resistance, or encounters aspects of our personal life that are not in alignment with its core purpose, it will shake us until we conform to its newly sounded set of inner requirements.  In the Wisdom teaching associated with our spiritual lineage, it explains that there are three possible effects on the life of the external form when the deep note of Inner Purpose (aka the Will of God and the intent of the Soul) is sounded.  Based on the Law of Magnetic Attraction and Resonant Relationship, the piercing note of purpose will either organize and strengthen, purify and reconfigure or simply destroy the forms of expression that have been created if they no longer serve an evolutionary usefulness.

Viewing this from a personal perspective, we can say that whenever our personality life is sufficiently integrated and aligned with the Soul then the note of Purpose will organize and strengthen us so that we may continue be useful incarnated agents serving the good of the whole.  If our present stage of growth seeks to be in alignment with the Soul but there are still aspects of the personality not fully co-resonant with the inner call, then we are put through a necessary cathartic process of purification to reconfigure and re-shape our lives so that there is ‘right relationship’ between the inner and the outer.  However, if the outer form has no magnetic rapport with Soul and is unable to respond, then it is ‘destroyed’ or re-cycled.  The ‘composting’ of old forms ensures that the Earthly realm is not clogged up with outdated structures.  There is great symmetry and beauty in Nature’s eternal dance.

Thankfully, a SoulQuake guarantees that all unnecessary and outworn parts of our lives will be reconfigured or refined and, in dire circumstances, may even be reduced to rubble.  A SoulQuake is a time of great perturbation that clears a space for the new Soul-directed life to begin – one that is more in alignment with our essential nature and spiritual purpose.  So, how do we best prepare for and then effectively respond during a period of major SoulQuake activity? 

Here are three critical tips to keep in mind: 

  1. In a SoulQuake, we don’t run for cover – we stand in the unshakable stillness and security of the Higher Self – our Essential Divinity.

  2. In a SoulQuake, we don’t hoard or hold on – we let go of all baggage, belongings and beliefs that no longer serve us.

  3. In a SoulQuake, we don’t practice survival – we enter the fiery crucible of a deep transformative process that eventually leads to total regeneration. 

Fundamentally, the seismic gift of a SoulQuake is that it breaks open a heart that may be encrusted with bitterness or frozen with fear and it liberates a crystallized mind that might be clouded by separative thoughts so that the true beauty and splendor of the indwelling life can subsequently reveal more of itself to the world. 

Looking around and reading the signs, it would be fair to say we are going through a collective SoulQuake episode of great magnitude that is rocking and breaking apart the foundations of our society.  It is as though the over-lighting Soul of Humanity is seeking to manifest more of its promise and is creating cracks in a society whose present structures and ways of being are very often inadequate to the task.  It may be helpful to recall Leonard Cohen’s pronouncement that, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. 

This quote from the Agni Yoga teachings offers further insight into the present state of the world and human consciousness.

“Terrible cataclysms have been indicated, but what can be more frightful than a catastrophe of the spirit. No earthquake can be compared with the dissolution of consciousness. All forces need to be intensified in order to hold back humanity from the abyss, therefore meditation about the Higher World is a necessity of the day.”

(AUM – sloka 236 - 1936)

Twenty years ago, while living in the Seattle area, a section of my morning run passed through a wooded area.  One day, this dirt trail was paved over to provide safer footing for the residents of a nearby housing development.  A year later, I noticed areas of bulging on the path that rapidly changed into recognizable bumps.  They continued to grow until one morning, a bump burst and the tip of a fiddle-head fern broke through.  I stopped and applauded this awesome display of ‘spirit over matter’.  

I was humbled and stunned to think that this delicate fern had just pushed its way through a thick layer of blacktop without sustaining any damage. I had witnessed a powerful force at work that I spontaneously named as, ‘Nature’s soft strength’.

The action of ‘soft strength’ is very different from the dynamic we know as ‘brute force’ and is a thousand times more effective.  For instance, if I had taken one of the nearby tall fern fronds and used to it to repeatedly beat the blacktop, the paved path would remain intact but the fern would have become a mangled mass of vegetation in my hand.  The power of Life moving inexorably from the inside-out is an irresistible force that can only temporarily be slowed down by the resistance of matter and the embedded inertia of behavioral patterns before the inevitable and irrepressible emergence of the inner promise of the Soul.  

This episode deeply imprinted itself upon my consciousness as it demonstrated and reinforced that the real and lasting power for change and forward positive movement always comes from the depths of our Inner Nature.  Seen in this light, a SoulQuake is not a pending disaster to be feared but a spiritual necessity to be welcomed.   It is not an emergency but an emergence of new life.  A SoulQuake is how Life ensures Its relentless rhythmic progress upon the evolutionary spiral that leads us from darkness into the light of ever-expanding states of consciousness and Self-realization.  

“…the decay of consciousness is worse than any war, pestilence, or earthquake. It steals up unnoticed and commits acts that will horrify future historians. It causes people to lose their self-respect, to become malicious, and to ignore their own necessary contribution to future generations. The decay of consciousness causes writers to produce repugnant images, and nonentities to sit in judgment.”  (Supermundane - The Inner Life - Book 2 - sloka 412 - 1938)

Perhaps one of the big take-aways from understanding the beneficial dynamics of a SoulQuake is the visceral reminder to not build our house – either individually or collectively – on the shifting sands of materialism and the fleeting phantasms of emotional desires but on the solid bedrock of soul-inspired principles and values.  

If it is true what many spiritual traditions teach, that all temporal forms will eventually perish and that safety and security are solely dependent on our inner state of awareness, together with our ability to translate this into embodied living, then is there really an effective insurance coverage offered in the market-place that we can rely on?  One pragmatic and logical answer would be an emphatic NO and yet there is also another solution that offers YES as a possible response.   

In fact, there is a more subtle agreement and Covenant with Life that we can enter into and sign that guarantees the longed-for peace of mind.  I strongly believe that when we act from a deep place of integrity with ‘purity of intent’ and with ‘purity of heart and mind’ then we are fully covered by a Life Insurance Policy underwritten by the Soul.  Whatever may happen to us as a result of our choices and actions from this centered and aligned inner place will unquestionably be for the highest good of all – even if we don’t see and appreciate it at the time.  

So, when a SoulQuake invariably arrives, let us be grateful for the liberating and positive perturbation it brings – allowing us to progress further upon the path of Self-realization and service to our world.  A powerful promise lives inside our hearts as the Fire of Love – seeking to be revealed.  You and I are so much more than how we are currently behaving and so may our true inner nature show up on the outside each day.  

Michael Lindfield

Board President, Meditation Mount                

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