July 12, 2011

SOUL UNION ~ THE ULTIMATE SPIRITUAL PRACTICE Part 2. How does the soul function?


I hope you are enjoying our exploration of the soul. Though I’ve covered this topic in the past, this series is less about the structure of the soul, and more about the function of the soul as it relates to our every-day experience of life.

I had a productive day writing yesterday. I put together the handout for my upcoming workshop at Can-Fit Pro in Toronto this August titled Roll, Wiggle, Crawl, and Climb to Walk, Run and Jump Pain Free. Though the workshop is only 90 minutes, I’m sure people will have some profound experiences when they find out just how powerful infant development exercises can be when applied to adults!

I had a great little pushing workout yesterday with Vidya. She’s so motivated to exercise it’s fun to train with her in the gym. She’s up for all of it, like a wild stallion. We did 4 sets of bilateral cable pushing from an elevated cable angle to activate the core more effectively with the pushing muscles at large. We coupled the cable pushing with clubbell snatch to touch backs for 10-12 reps and followed that with a Swiss ball exercise JP Sears created that emulates infant development conditioning. After four rounds of that, we were both pretty calmed down!

I’ve been keeping an eye on www.jadedragonreturns.com so I can follow Jade and Warren’s progress as she trains for the Olympics. It’s exciting to share with them and all of you there. If you’ve not seen the new site we created so Jade and Warren can share their many practical offerings with you, have a little browse.

I’m bubbling with joy over the upcoming CHEK Conference. The list of presenters is awesome! My only regret is that I’ll possibly miss some presentations while I’m presenting myself. Hopefully, Penny will be recording the sessions I miss. Have a look when you get a chance. If you want very effective information on how to heal, grow and perform optimally, this conference is a perfect place to be on September 2-4, 2011! Have a look when the page loads, you can click on the tab labeled “Presenters” and see who’s speaking and what their topics are. Some great stuff!

Hey, let’s get back to this discussion on your soul!

SOUL UNION ~ THE ULTIMATE SPIRITUAL PRACTICE Part 2. How does the soul function?

The soul is, and has been quite mysterious for as long as humans have been on a quest to know “who’s watching within”.

Some scholars studying archeology and religion have suggested that man first became aware of something watching within himself at the point that he first killed, yet knew he didn’t have to do it.

If you think of your own life, I suspect there are times when you lashed out at someone (maybe a child, lover or friend) and felt yourself doing it, yet, knew you didn’t have to. As the ego qualities become our dominant nature, we tend to become like golfers who initiate a swing, yet, before they even make contact with the ball, they already know it’s going to be a bad shot.

The problem is, the speed the club travels is too fast relative to the speed that information travels through the nervous system. By the time you realize the swing is off, it’s too late to adjust the swing.

Just as a golfer must learn to become very present with their intentions and remove all thoughts of doubt or excessive emotion to maintain consistency, we must avoid a ready, FIRE, aim approach to self-management and management of ourselves in relationships to persons, places and things.

To do that, we must orient ourselves around our center, where there is no right or wrong, only authentic self-expression. Before we can find center, we must become clear as to what authentic self-expression is. That’s the challenge of identifying your soul-nature and acting from that level of awareness.

In previous blog posts, I’ve over-viewed the construct of the soul, which I’ll briefly highlight again for clarity as we progress forward with our understanding of how the soul works.

The soul, which is pure, unadulterated Consciousness emerges in human form in each lifetime in stages of developmental awareness:

1. The Biological-soul: The soul emerges first as that which is the source of feeling and knowing in, and as the body. The process of, and stages of infant development have a significant influence on the individual. To the degree that the body is explored, experienced and mastered, the biological soul offers sentience.

If a person’s relationship with their body is imbalance, so too will their sentience be imbalanced. The body has specific needs, and if those needs aren’t met, the body’s urges and drives can commandeer the budding intellectual soul.

2. The Intellectual-soul: As the infant learns to master its body and environment, it comes face to face with ideas and concepts. We can’t possibly survive in the world without understanding which ideas are, and are not life affirmative.

For example, early in life, we all learn that fire is hot and can burn you. We learn that our body thirsts for “water”. We learn that gravity is real and doesn’t reduce it’s gravitational force to protect infants who are ignorant it its reality.

Thus, as the body is mastered, the intellectual mind grows and develops. Soon, it is exposed to concepts that are largely information based, and often have little or no practicality. If the budding ego, for any reason, begins to deify information over experience, it soon finds itself running into repeated bouts of resistance to the flow if it’s own spirit.

These catastrophes of the ego-self cultivate a growing level of awareness.

3. The Awareness-soul: The birth of the awareness-soul signifies the beginning of one’s spiritual quest. It is through awareness that we realize we’ve swung the club incorrectly; it is by being aware of what mistakes we’ve made that we may choose to adjust ourselves accordingly.

Philosophically speaking, many claim the absence of free will. They claim that since God knows and is everything, the ego can have no independent free-will; it is thought to be futile and that your life is akin to that of a train, forever mounted on the tracks of God’s mind!

Until the awareness-soul is birthed, our freewill is limited to our will to act out our programming.

The birth of the awareness-soul is signified by our becoming aware that our thoughts aren’t always true. Once we find out, for example, that our beliefs in Santa Claus aren’t actually true, we become aware that sometimes, people teach us things that they want us to believe. They generally do this to either aid in our experiencing pleasure, or to help us avoid the pains they feel are common in life.

Once an individual finds out that Christmas presents aren’t going to magically appear for their own children, awareness emerges.

Once a person realizes that their mother’s fear of motorcycles was intended to keep them safe, but is also stopping them from the joy of riding a motorcycle, awareness emerges.

As I will show shortly, it is the awareness-soul that guides us to spiritual enlightenment, if we allow it.

4. The Spirit-soul: The spirit soul represents union with MIND; the MIND of the Universe. The Spirit-soul unfolds the mystery of the ego.

Awareness leads to Spirit-soul development largely through questioning our own thoughts and remaining open-minded. Reaching the point of union with the Spirit-soul is the crown jewel of human experience.

It is the only point in our evolution where we can objectively discern fact from fantasy. Union with the Spirit-soul can occur in a flash, often under the guidance of an enlightened Master, or through the process of evolution over potentially countless lifetimes.

As long as sugar is sweeter than inner-peace, the ego will divert one from Objective Truth, anchoring them in relative truth or Maya – illusion.

The soul as “this”, or “that”:

First and foremost, to understand what the soul is, one must fully comprehend that the soul is PURE CONSCIOUSNESS. It truly is The Divine Presence within you.

Because of this reality, the soul can’t be objectified as this or that. The ego-mind operates on the principle of exclusion, so to try and understand what a soul is creates an impasse for the ego-mind; it needs something the soul isn’t as a reference point, yet, paradoxically, the soul “is and isn’t” everything!


Because GOD and Consciousness are synonymous terms. Everything you can identify and understand as this or that represents something that we are “conscious of”.

Just as a mirror (Consciousness) could only be “conscious of” something it reflects, the mind can only identify with what the soul (relatively speaking) isn’t; whatever you say it “is”, it “isn’t”.

If you were Pure Soul looking at another Pure Soul, the experience would be very much the same as if you’d put two perfectly polished mirrors directly across from each other and asked each mirror (Soul) to identify what it is seeing!

Meditate on that one.

The word “consciousness” may be exemplified by the term Divine Intelligence. Divine Intelligence is both the wisdom, and the creative impulse behind the creation of the entire universe. The Divine Intelligence has no other. There is no right or wrong, good or bad, should or shouldn’t. It “IS”.

Practical Exercises:

1. Try coming up with any noun that can be identified with, and understood without being contrasted against what it isn’t.

For example, if you said, “Paul, my yellow car can be identified and experienced without an antagonist.” All I’d do is ask you “how do you know it’s yellow?” Logically, you’d be likely to answer, “because it isn’t green, blue, black!etc.” You’d have just proven that your yellow car can’t be known without knowing what color it isn’t. I could do the same with the car, regardless of color.

Now, I suspect some of you with powerful intellects will quickly come up with “Unconditional Love” as an example. Again, without knowledge of conditional love, you couldn’t possibly comprehend the concept of the unconditional.

I suspect after a while, you will come to the realization as to why whenever Buddha was asked to describe God, he simply went silent.

How the soul Functions:

To understand how your own soul functions in regard to what will now describe as the path of the Positiva and the negativa, in my experience, is best explained using the tai-chi symbol. Therefore, I will use the symbol to explain the two essential routes to Soul-Union, or enlightenment.

Expanding Ego-mind. The Path of the Positiva

The Positiva – Expanding ego’s awareness to reach enlightenment through knowledge is often referred to as the path of Positiva (The Positive). The Gnostics (the group Jesus is often attributed to have been part of) are an example of a group that practiced tis path.

The outer circle of the tai-chi symbol represents WHOLENESS of MIND; a true circle or sphere has no beginning, or end. There is no beginning, middle or end to wholeness, for if there were, you’d have already divided WHOLENESS into parts (beginning, middle, end all depend upon each other). All that is known, and/or can be known is represented in Divine Intelligence.

Here is your first tip for understanding how the soul can guide your ego-mind emerges.

Anytime you become open to more of, you are welcoming awareness of how this fits with that, and how that fits with yet another bigger, more whole concept or reality.

For example, if your child has a disease and the physician wants to remove their kidneys, leaving the child forever chained to a kidney dialysis machine, the parents may innately begin praying for, seeking or being “open to” more holistic understandings and approaches.

Therefore, out of a willingness to explore holism, the aperture of the ego opens and intention guides awareness. Only the ego limits our perception and reality of what can be known.

Openness then, allows the soul to expand awareness, offering it an opportunity to see and experience more of what is.

This is why many sages and saints propose that through “knowledge”, one can become enlightened. As we seek knowledge with an open-mind, we expand our awareness to the point that it eventually reaches the edges of the circle. At that moment, enlightenment occurs and All is known and experienced.

A simple example of how enlightenment can emerge from the path of the Positiva can be given by using a large 1,000 piece puzzle; each piece of the puzzle represents learning a new concept or idea, gaining knowledge.

Let’s say someone gives you a 1,000 piece puzzle, but it comes without a picture of the finished product. You will naturally begin fitting pieces (ideas) together, looking for faces or shapes to emerge so you can then scan the rest of the pieces to find related images that may fit in. After a given time period, enough of the image will emerge that your mind makes the jump, projecting what the image is likely to be based on prior knowledge.

If your knowledge base is wide and deep enough, your chances of making that jump will come sooner than someone with relatively less knowledge.

The same is true for seeking Soul-Union. Once one acquires enough authentic knowledge of life, suddenly, as in a flash, the whole picture emerges. They have an enlightenment experience.

These experiences are such MASSIVE downloads that even one second in this Samadhi-state can take months to integrate. One reason is that such experiences often highlight where you were previously mistaken in your beliefs! Because this is only an enlightenment “experience” or “state”, the ego-mind stays intact.

If one isn’t aware of what’s happened, or ready for it, as is the case with most people using drugs to get there, the ego’s shadow will convince them that they were right and the enlightenment experience was just a “high”, or a “wild idea”, a dream.

Those that are diligent, and honest in their knowledge seeking can, and do reach enlightenment through a series of downloads. Each one brings more completeness to the picture missing on the puzzle box until finally, the veil is lifted and the punch-line to the Divine Joke is revealed!

The problem is, with their new-found knowledge, they would have to bow to Chang Tzu or Lao Tzu’s propositons as to the benefits of reduction (the Negativa) as a means of more efficient arrival (we’ll discuss that below).

Keeping this dialogue in mind now, look at the tai-chi symbol.

Let’s say that enlightenment represents your ego-mind connecting to and grasping All Knowledge. All Knowledge could only be represented as the outer circle, which contains all the pieces of knowledge, just as the outer circle of a pie crust contains all the pieces of the pie.

Lets say that at birth, we begin in the middle of the symbol with almost now intellectual knowledge or understanding of life at all.

As we learn and grow in what I’m describing as the path of the Positiva, our knowledge grows progressively toward Wholeness, reaching the outer ring of the symbol, which would symbolize the enlightened mind-state.

Examples of people in history that most likely reached enlightenment through the Positiva path are Aristotle, Plato, Plotinus, Buddha, Confucius, The Dali Lama, OSHO, and Carl Jung, to name a few.

Collapsing Ego-mind. The Path of the Negativa

Collapsing ego’s awareness leads to what may be referred to in my example here as the path of the Negativa (The Negative). Simply stated, this is the path of reduction. It is the opposite path of the Positiva, but can take you to the same point of enlightenment.

Through awareness, we often come to realize that more is less; more stuff = more bills = more work = less time for one’s self and loved ones.

More fame = more attention = more distractions = less Self-awareness = more stress and pain!

It is this very state of awareness that has led so many sages into the mountains to be alone so they can completely seek Soul-union. Many on this path become aesthetics, often forcing themselves in to painful minimalism in hopes of achieving liberation or enlightenment.

Buddha also tried this path and after seven intensive years of practice gave it up, suggesting that it was yet another potential addiction or distraction. Paradoxically, it was after he gave it up that he became enlightened.


If you asked Lau Tzu or Chang Tzu, I suspect they’d tell you it didn’t work because all his stripping away attempts were based on effort or “trying” and that he was guided by masters that were teaching him (and those like him) layer upon layer of stripping techniques – knowledge!

There are also saints, sages and monks that take this path because it is natural for them, or because they see it as the most direct way.

Socrates, Lao Tzu, Chang Tzu, and many enlightened zen masters are examples that come to mind as I write. Chang Tzu’s arguments in favor of what I’m referring to as the path of the negativa (stripping or letting ego-mind fall away) are often astounding and impressive, to say the least. He was often visited by those that believed accumulating knowledge was the optimal path to enlightenment, yet, he cut through their arguments like a sword takes a chicken’s head off!

Chang Tzu’s essential argument (in paraphrase) was that when you look honestly at how much of what people esteem as “knowledge”, you will find that it’s one paper boat atop another. Each step of the way, as conviction in one’s knowledge gets greater and greater, without realizing it, so many beliefs are build atop very weak, even dangerous base-concepts that their knowledge quickly becomes a means of closed-mindedness, over-confidence, and self-delusion.

This was essentially the argument Socrates used to disable any such self-proclaimed mastermind of his day.

Chang Tzu also highlighted an important and essential point. He explained that by avoiding typical academic social conditioning (which is very idea-based ideology) and seeking guidance from a true master, one could remove obstructive knowledge and achieve enlightenment quite quickly.

This is essentially why military drill sergeants that teach marksmanship find it easier to make expert shots of women. Many men entering military service grew up pretending to be John Wayne, shooting from the hip, or emulating Dirty Harry, yet, most women who enter the military have no prior experience handling weapons. This means the instructor doesn’t have to overcome the bad habits most men have when teaching women and they become expert shots faster and more easily.

It’s true. I’ve witnessed with my own eyes and to my own embarrassment!

Some tried to convince him that such a path would come with the risk of being unintelligent or useless in society, which only highlighted the fact that they themselves weren’t enlightened.

Masters like Chang Tzu not only explained, they demonstrated that All Knowledge is as available to the enlightened one as your left hand is to your right hand.

Once anyone achieves Soul-Union, they are One with the MIND of God just as you can couple two computers together to function as one.

Zen Masters like Chang Tzu stick to essential life knowledge as an operational base, a means of functioning, but avoid academic, largely theoretical pursuits as a means of minimizing mind-clutter.

This is why they put a fair bit of emphasis on mindfulness while performing simple tasks, such as raking leaves. This becomes a form of meditation.

The fundamental difference between what I’ve described as the Positiva and the Negativa (which is sometimes a term used to describe the study of black magic or the dark arts by the way!) is the method by which enlightenment emerges.

While the Positiva brings enlightenment through the progressive accumulation of knowledge, expanding awareness until it reaches the outer circle of the tai-chi symbol (representing MIND), the Negativa path reduces until one comes to a point.

Essentially, and mathematically, a point is dimensionless. It is, and isn’t an object in space-time. The Negativa path I’m describing reduces ego-consciousness to a point through meditation and walla, the ego-mind disappears and TRUTH emerges. Enlightenment!

This may seem a bit like a magic trick, and in some ways, it is. It’s not that hard to understand if one has a rational mind.

It’s this simple.

Let’s say you were The King. As The King, you are responsible for all the territory between your ears (ego-mind). The path of the Positiva would be to increase your knowledge until it surpassed the boundaries of the concept of “self”, realizing what you are is ALL.

The King under Chang Tzu’s guidance would be taught methods of meditation designed to reduce the kings territory until there was no territory left what-so-ever.

Now, consider that each “idea” has a beginning, middle, and an end; it has edge and aspect, like a band aid or a mole on your skin does. Once the edge and aspect of all ideas is gone, it is aking to removing all the boarders (edge and aspect) from the planet and now, all countries become ONE.

Again, “Enlightenment”. To have No-thing, is to at one-and-the-same-time to have Every-thing.

Chang Tzu would simply ask the intellect a question like this: “What’s faster, building a house, or deconstructing one?”

Well, most people know there’s a tremendous amount of skill involved in building a house. Fitting, cutting, measuring, circuits, forms, foundations, fixtures!all require time, planning and instructions, or “conditioning” to learn how to do. You’d need a skilled, trained carpenter at minimum. Yet, you could essentially go hire a couple big, burly football or rugby players who, with no training at all, could easily dismantle the house.

Now, this house were metaphorically dismantling here, for the most part, isn’t going to be used again. Why, because as I stated above, most of what people call “knowledge” is just “beliefs” and not “knowledge” at all.

Once you tear this house down, you have exactly the same offering and access to the Wholeness of MIND as those reaching enlightenment by building many houses!

Just as one must be open-minded to benefit from the path of the Positiva, one must be just as open-minded to follow the path of the Negativa. Without an open mind, one will spend most of their time fretting over what they’ve lost, avoiding awareness of what they’ve gained!

What I’ve Shared Today

The soul is Consciousness. It is everywhere and nowhere; it is non-local.

The soul is a paradox because your soul “is in you”, and my soul “is in me”.

Yet!once both of us truly achieve Soul-Union, I know and understand you and you know and understand me.

I’ve shared that by open-minded pursuit of knowledge, the intellectual soul reaches the point of self-contradiction; it realizes how many of it’s ideas can be, and are contradicted by hard evidence.

It realizes that all ideas have limitations and that no idea can represent WHOLENESS.

The gift of intellectual contradiction is “Awareness”. Awareness comes only when we become brave enough “to not know”.

When we “think we know, there is a real tendency to decrease our level of awareness.” In a state of awareness, one’s mind is “open”.

When the mind is open, the Spirit-soul begins to deliver “intuitive knowing”; knowing without knowing. Intuitive knowing then becomes a comfortable means of trusting yourself and Divine Intelligence.

As we learn to trust Divine Intelligence, we learn that CONSCIOUSNESS
Is soul.

We are then led, by our souls, to enlightenment experiences; to the degree that our shadow doesn’t convince us otherwise, we will remain open and progress toward greater and greater stages of enlightenment.

In our next edition, I’ll share some simple methods of developing a relationship with the Awareness-soul so you can practice.

Love and chi,
Paul Chek

Part 3: The relationship of the soul with the ego-mind and the shadow.
Part 4: Simple tips for achieving soul union – your own spiritual practice!