Ego Stories and Soul Stories

Len Delony1Last week I posted Guidelines for Listening as Pilgrims for Peace, and Compass Questions to help bring focus for the journey.

This week I want to reflect on and re-post a contrast of two basic kinds of stories we listen for, and tell ourselves and others along our life journey.

Especially in the first half of life, we tend to pay attention to ego stories that are based in comparison and sometimes defensive reaction (primarily based in the “fight-flight-freeze-faint” orders from the amygdala, for those interested in the recent and growing brain research of our time).

The other kind of stories we hear and tell, our soul stories, come from a deeper place and tend to emerge from the times our hearts are “broken open.” There is a kind of Wisdom in the Spirit that we discover when we let go of our fearful first impulse to react and be “in control.” When we pause honestly in prayerful listening and discernment (instead of pretending that we have it all together), we discover time and again the truth of Paul’s claim that “God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

From our ego’s perspective, we create our purpose, power is something possessed over others, and perfection is becoming flawless through judgement (which is often harsh).

From our soul’s perspective, our purpose emerges, power is something that is discovered and shared with others through the gift of grace, and perfection is becoming healed and made whole through being open-hearted to the life-giving flow of God’s love.

With our souls being rooted and grounded in God’s love, our efforts come from a different place. In partnership with God’s vision and calling, our gifts can become an almost flawless offering of special gifts. But the efforts can already be soulfully perfect as a mere response to God’s grace.

Yesterday during visits at hospitals and care centers, I had the privilege of hearing deep and rich soul stories shared by some of the longtime members of our church. (Heartfelt thanks to the gracious sharing of Loretta Crittenden, Barbara Moler, and Jack Speight!) What a blessing it is to receive stories of such humble wisdom and love. It reminds me of my visits in the spring of 2015 at my alma mater, St. Jude. What holy ground we share in such places of grace, compassion, and gratitude. May we all grow to offer such presence and “holy hospitality” wherever we may be.

Grace and peace on your journey,

Len

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