What do I know?
What do I know?
What do I know?

I know very little. I’m not a religious expert or a spiritual guru. I know that many have gone before and will come after, who have significant insights to offer. I know that I often get it wrong.

But I also know that I want to know. To know more. I want to know what happens on the plane that we can’t see. What happens behind (and on top of and along with) existence. Where and how—and why—people have found purpose.

I know that I struggle with institutional religions but that over four billion people can’t have it all wrong. There must be something in what they’ve found, even if it isn’t their entire package. I’ve also met many people who have rejected all forms of religious dogma yet still have that light switched on behind their eyes.

I know that when I am in moments of true serenity, there is a different part of my voice that I speak with. It is deeper, slower and more whole. I also know that the only true enemy in this world is an out-of-control mind.

And that’s why I want to find out more. I want to get deeper; build off what I’ve learnt in life-to-date; learn from others. Find and define and refine. Be eager. Open. Forward.

Onward.

I like to think of Spirit and Soul as two linked but separate parts of each of us. Two aspects to explore.

Spirit

Spirit is the question of whether something or someone—“out there”—is in charge of everything, or not. If your answer to that is that god does (or gods do) exist, then a logical follow-up question is whether that entity has a specific plan for you or not. Whether you have to obey certain rules to access the plan. And whether you trust that plan.

By implication, whether you trust that god.

Faith is having deeply personal experiences that reinforce a series of beliefs that you therefore know to be true, despite a lack of provable evidence. Faith, then, can’t be taught or dictated or preached. It needs to be experienced. It needs to be gathered through life. Built. Built as the relationship with one’s god(s) is built.

Faith builds Trust builds Truth.

Soul

Soul, on the other hand, is the question of who we are as individuals. “Who is Dakin, exactly?” What makes me uniquely me? And where is my true place in this world? It is about the personal journey I am on to discover my deepest and most honest nature. My True Self.

What am I really good at? What are my talents—hidden and known and disguised? Am I aware of my trouble spots? What sets me off more than it sets off most other people? Do I need to change or do they need to? Am I Type A? Outgoing or shy? Is that kindness in me or just co-dependency? Do I like wearing nail polish? (The answer is yes.) And am I brave enough to wear it when it’s not “normative.” (The answer to that is only recently, yes.)

What is my sense of humour? What am I like as a friend? As a partner? As a human?

What do I unashamedly love about myself?

Humility isn’t about playing down these things. It’s not about saying “Oh well… you know… on a good day, I guess I can write a sentence or two that makes sense.” Humility is the ability to make an accurate self-assessment: “Yes, I am a writer and I’m quite proud of the stuff I’m putting out there. No doubt I have a lot to learn and my writing will continue to grow, but right now, I think it’s pretty good.”

Life

Ultimately, Spirit and Soul want to find each other. And find out more about themselves in that meeting. Connection. Connection internally where my thoughts on Spirit matches with my Soul decisions. And connection externally, in finding others to walk alongside us.

That’s why I see life as a physical manifestation of Spirit and Soul. I believe that we are all having a human experience of self and related-ness for exactly these reasons: to discover. Something that our souls, alone, could not do without our physical form. And that our spirits could not have done without the collective.

Am I getting too complicated and deep already? On some level, I hope so. I feel that this stuff is important.

All of “this stuff” is discovery. And the journey of it needs to be a joyous one. A realm of truths that fits comfortably but with the right level of challenge and room for stretching, mistakes and growth. An adventure powered by a quiet optimism that is the foundation of hope. Hopefully hope, even though I can’t promise anything. I can only promise that I will be on a journey of discovery and will share it on these pages as openly and honestly as I can.

I hope that you’ll join me and others on this adventure.

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Henry Hopkins

Proud of you Mr. Parker! Extremely!

Tiffany Strietelmeier

The questions are the journey. Thank you for providing the framework and asking the questions! Wow!

Wanda

I love this…. this discovery of Spirit and Soul reminds me of two things. The first is a writing by Rumi “What you seek, is seeking you”. Somehow we are all journeying home to ourselves. To connection. Inward and outward to all that is and perhaps also journeying to a ‘knowing’ that all that is inward is ultimately outward and all that is outward is ultimately inward. The second reminder is something I learned over 25 years ago whilst I was experiencing hugely conflicted views on faith and spirit. I was learning to meditate and a Catholic Franciscan monk was… Read more »