One of my teachers, a big-hearted wild Sufi mystic, noticed that there are three major ways a person relates to the universe.
The first is Hungry Soul. The defining quality of hungry soul is some form of desperation. This desperation and hunger tends to bury true desire. For example, the hunger to avoid failure will keep people from trying to live the life they really want.
The Hungry Soul says to the world, "Everything is terrible. Nothing can be done!" And the universe echoes, "Everything is terrible. Nothing can be done! I guess we cannot help them."
Free Soul is independent, self reliant, self-actualized. Having become independent, Free Soul acts as if everything is fine without help. "I am ok on my own." Free Soul seeks to limit or eliminate vulnerability. Free Soul shuns asking for help and appears to not want special attention or consideration. It's a little better than Hungry Soul but it gets boring.
The Free Soul says to the world, "Everything is fine. I don't need anything. I'm fine on my own." And the universe responds, "They're fine. They don't need anything. Best to leave them alone."
Naked Soul is a fundamentally different way of being in the universe as it is a partnership with the universe. People who live in Naked Soul realize independence but understand the interdependence of all existence. They ask for help. They feel gratitude.
A Naked Soul state realizes that we all need each other and forms partnerships with others and the universe. In Naked Soul, you are in touch with your true soul desires. You are willing to be yourself, show yourself, share yourself. In Naked Soul, your life unfolds like an experience of one-handed basket weaving, as the poet Rumi described. You are weaving your life with one hand and God is weaving it with the other.
In Naked Soul, the key polarity of attraction with the world is your authenticity, your willingness to be real, the courage to be vulnerable and tell your story. In Naked Soul the quality of vulnerability is different than in Hungry Soul. In Hungry Soul, you get taken advantage of and in Naked Soul the universe becomes your lover. Vulnerability reveals the power and beauty of your soul to yourself and to everyone else. Like the nakedness of the body is beautiful, but also so very powerful and invokes the attraction of the lover, it is the nakedness of the soul that turns the universe on and draws the universe to become your partner.
In Naked Soul life becomes more livable. We move from merely subsisting to beingness and being who we are.
Note that there is a huge difference between hunger and desire. Many people do not act from their true desires, but default to a kind of hunger. Hungers seemed to keep people stuck. They are a karmic sinkhole. Desire seems to be creative and connective whereas hunger was like a bucket with a hole in it that can never seem to be filled.
We all tend to have some aspect of ourselves in each of these ways of being. But I've found it so useful to ask myself, "Am I coming at this situation from a Hungry Soul perspective? From Free Soul? What could I do to contact my true desires and show up in a more Naked Soul way?" Sometimes that question is enough to loosen the contraction of hunger or separation and open me to something more expansive and connective.
This perspective has filtered into all my work, particularly my one-on-one work, Soul Dives. My not-so-secret goal is to support all those I come in contact with to move into a more Naked Soul relationship with the universe. Life gets so much more pleasurable and grace-filled when we begin to make that shift... even a little bit.
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Photo from the Birmingham Museum collection on Unsplash