Perhaps my years as Geography major at Middlebury College have not been wasted after all. I think I was just looking at the wrong maps. In the external world I am exactly 180° off, every time. It takes a certain mental calculation, like knowing that moss grows on the north side of trees, to determine my direction. But it’s more than that. I’m convinced one’s compass gets set at birth, yet I’ve come to see there are other ways of having a sense of direction.
Take the soul’s purpose, for example. How does it find direction? Have you ever asked yourself what your soul’s purpose was, or what you came into this world to do? What if you drew a map from your heart to the universe? Where would it take you? What would the topography and landscapes look like?
I’ve done some thinking about this, perhaps in part to justify those four years trying to decipher which way the settlers came from, where they built their first village, and what kind of crops they grew – all from looking at a topographic map. There is a certain logic and pattern to the way we arrive and live in this world. There is also something less obvious, which can take years to discern. It has to do with a different kind of direction, derived from mystery and the contract, or promise, we make with our soul before we arrive. I believe we can live a whole life and be oblivious to it, but if we seek it out, like a map in our hearts, we can affirm our reason for being, and infuse it with so much energy we can’t wait to get up in the morning.
The other night I had such an epiphany. I went into a deep meditation with the question, “What is my soul’s contract with myself?” I lay down and listened first to a song of Tibetan singing bells, called “Ancient Spirit’s Sing” by Chuck Jonkey, and then to some world music by Armand Altaïr, called La Traversé. The bells were centering. The world music took me deeper in. A phrase came to me, which I’m somewhat embarrassed to share, because it’s so nice. But it fits for my life’s intention this time around. The phrase was: “I am loving presence.”
This morning I took photos of the sun on window crystals. After yesterday’s snow-storm we had freezing temperatures. I couldn’t wait to get up and find the next turn in the map of my soul.