Tag Archives: soul

Does Anyone Take Care of Health of Soul

“But he who is full of faith is certainly under no fear; for there is an inconsistency between faith and fear. Now, whoever is subject to grief is subject to fear; for whatever things we grieve at when present we dread when hanging over us and approaching. Thus it comes about that grief is inconsistent with courage: it is very probable, therefore, that whoever is subject to grief is also liable to fear, and to a broken kind of spirits and sinking. Now, whenever these befall a man, he is in a servile state, and must own that he is overpowered; for whoever admits these feelings, must admit timidity and cowardice. But these cannot enter into the mind of a man of courage; neither, therefore, can grief: but the man of courage is the only wise man; therefore grief cannot befall the wise man. It is, besides, necessary that whoever is brave should be a man of great soul; that whoever is a man of a great soul should be invincible; whoever is invincible looks down with contempt on all things here, and considers them, beneath him. But no one can despise those things on account of which he may be affected with grief; from whence it follows that a wise man is never affected with grief: for all wise men are brave; therefore a wise man is not subject to grief. And as the eye, when disordered, is not in a good condition for performing its office properly; and as the other parts, and the whole body itself, when unsettled, cannot perform their office and business; so the mind, when disordered, is but ill-fitted to perform its duty. The office of the mind is to use its reason well; but the mind of a wise man is always in condition to make the best use of his reason, and therefore is never out of order. But grief is a disorder of the mind; therefore a wise man will be always free from it.”
Tusculan Disputations by Marcus Tullius Cicero


About Music

“Music brings healing to both the mind and the body.  Don Campbell, founder of the Institute for Music, Health and Education states that all forms of musical intonation with one’s voice affects mood and memory.  Much has been studied regarding the Mozart effect and its benefits for memory and concentration.  Campbell says, nothing rivals toning. Making elongated vowel tones for extended periods, is soothing to the mind and dates back to the chant of the early Christian Church.  The Ahhh sound evokes a relaxation response, while an Ee or Ay is the most stimulating of the vowel sounds and helps with concentrating and the releasing of pain and anger.  Oh or Om can increase skin temperature and relax muscle tension.  Liturgical chant has these sounds and the ison is one elongated sound that gives an ethereal quality to the music.  These intonations affect the temporal lobes (the temporal lobes lie underneath the temples and are associated with emotion, facial recognition, and spiritual experiences) and it is not by accident that music and chant has been associated with spiritual practice.  Campbell writes about people who tone on a regular basis for 5 minutes a day: I have witnessed thousands of people relax into other emotions, and free themselves from physical pain. . . . I have seen many people apply toning in practical ways, from relaxing between a dreaded test to eliminating symptoms of tinnitus or migraine headaches. . . . Toning has been effective in relieving insomnia and other sleep disorders. . . . Toning balances brain waves, deepens the breath, reduces heart rate, and imparts a general sense of well-being. St. Basil the Great writes, Soothing hymns compose the mind to a cheerful and calm state, and as St. Augustine puts it, to sing is to pray twice.”
Healing the Mind:  The Nexus between Contemporary Psychology and Eastern Christian Practice by Erik Bohlin, M.A., LMHC

Passion Week and Boy’s Confession

In Passion Week

By Anton Chekhov

“Run, the church-bells are ringing! Be a good boy in church and don’t play! If you do, God will punish you!”

My mother slipped a few copper coins into my hand and then forgot all about me, as she ran into the kitchen with an iron that was growing cold. I knew I should not be allowed to eat or drink after confession, so before leaving home I choked down a crust of bread and drank two glasses of water. Spring was at its height. The street was a sea of brown mud through which ruts were already in process of being worn; the housetops and sidewalks were dry, and the tender young green of springtime was pushing up through last year’s dry grass under the fence rows. Muddy rivulets were babbling and murmuring down the gutters in which the sun did not disdain to lave its rays. Chips, bits of straw, and nutshells were floating swiftly down with the current, twisting and turning and catching on the dirty foam flakes. Whither, whither were they drifting? Would they not be swept from the gutter into the river, from the river into the sea, and from the sea into the mighty ocean? I tried to picture to myself the long and terrible journey before them, but my imagination failed even before reaching the river.

A cab drove by. The cabman was clucking to his horse and slapping the reins, unaware of two street-urchins hanging from the springs of his little carriage. I wanted to join these boys, but straightway remembered that I was on my way to confession, whereupon the boys appeared to me to be very wicked sinners indeed.

“God will ask them on the Last Judgment Day why they played tricks on a poor cabman,” I thought. “They will begin to make excuses, but the devil will grab them and throw them into eternal fire. But if they obey their fathers and mothers and give pennies and bread to the beggars, God will have mercy on them and will let them into Paradise.”

The church porch was sunny and dry. Not a soul was there; I opened the church door irresolutely and entered the building. There, in the dim light more fraught with melancholy and gloom for me than ever before, I became overwhelmed by the consciousness of my wickedness and sin. The first object that met my sight was a huge crucifixion with the Virgin and St. John the Baptist on either side of the cross. The lustres and shutters were hung with mourning black, the icon lamps were glimmering faintly, and the sun seemed to be purposely avoiding the church windows. The Mother of God and the favourite Disciple were depicted in profile silently gazing at that unutterable agony upon the cross, oblivious of my presence. I felt that I was a stranger to them, paltry and vile; that I could not help them by word or deed; that I was a horrid, worthless boy, fit only to chatter and be naughty and rough. I called to mind all my acquaintances, and they all seemed to me to be trivial and silly and wicked, incapable of consoling one atom the terrible grief before me. The murky twilight deepened, the Mother of God and John the Baptist seemed very lonely.

Behind the lectern where the candles were sold stood the old soldier Prokofi, now churchwarden’s assistant.

His eyebrows were raised and he was stroking his beard and whispering to an old woman.

“The service will begin directly after vespers this evening. There will be prayers after matins to-morrow at eight o’clock. Do you hear me? At eight o’clock.”

Between two large pillars near the rood-screen the penitents were standing in line waiting their turn for confession. Among them was Mitka, a ragged little brat with an ugly, shaven head, protruding ears, and small, wicked eyes. He was the son of Nastasia the washerwoman, and was a bully and a thief who filched apples from the fruit-stalls and had more than once made away with my knuckle-bones. He was now staring crossly at me and seemed to be exulting in the fact that he was going to confession before me. My heart swelled with rage and I tried not to look at him. From the bottom of my soul I was furious that this boy’s sins were about to be forgiven.

In front of him stood a richly dressed lady with a white plume in her hat. Clearly she was deeply agitated and tensely expectant, and one of her cheeks was burning with a feverish flush.

I waited five minutes, ten minutes–then a well-dressed young man with a long, thin neck came out from behind the screen. He had on high rubber goloshes, and I at once began dreaming of the day when I should buy a pair of goloshes like his for myself. I decided that I would certainly do so. And now came the lady’s turn. She shuddered and went behind the screen.

Through a crack I could see her approach the altar, prostrate herself, rise, and bow her head expectantly without looking at the priest. The priest’s back was turned toward the screen, and all I could see of him was his broad shoulders, his curly grey hair, and the chain around his neck from which a cross was suspended. Sighing, without looking at the lady, he began nodding his head and whispering rapidly, now raising, now lowering his voice. The lady listened meekly, guiltily almost, with downcast eyes, and answered him in a few words.

“What can be her sin?” I wondered, looking reverently at her beautiful, gentle face. “Forgive her, God, and make her happy!”

But now the priest was covering her head with the stole.

“I, Thy unworthy servant,” his voice rang out, “by the power vouchsafed me, forgive this woman and absolve her from sin–”

The lady prostrated herself once more, kissed the cross, and retired. Both her cheeks were flushed now, but her face was calm, and unclouded, and joyous.

“She is happy now,” I thought, my eye wandering from her to the priest pronouncing the absolution. “But how happy he must be who is able to forgive sin!”

It was Mitka’s turn next, and my heart suddenly boiled over with hatred for the little thief. I wanted to go behind the screen ahead of him, I wanted to be first. Mitka noticed the movement, and hit me on the head with a candle. I paid him back in his own coin, and for a moment sounds of panting and the breaking of candles were heard in the church. We were forcibly parted, and my enemy nervously and stiffly approached the altar and bowed to the ground, but what happened after that I was unable to see. All I could think of was that I was going next, after Mitka, and at that thought the objects around me danced and swam before my eyes. Mitka’s protruding ears grew larger than ever and melted into the back of his neck, the priest swayed, and the floor rocked under my feet.

The priest’s voice rang out:

“I, Thy unworthy servant–”

I found myself moving toward the screen. My feet seemed to be treading on air. I felt as if I were floating. I reached the altar, which was higher than my head. The weary, dispassionate face of the priest flashed for a moment across my vision, but after that I saw only his blue-lined sleeves and one corner of the stole. I felt his near presence, smelled the odour of his cassock, and heard his stern voice, and the cheek that was turned toward him began to burn. I lost much of what he said from excitement, but I answered him earnestly, in a voice that sounded to me as if it were not my own. I thought of the lonely Mother of God, and the Disciple, and the crucifixion, and my mother, and wanted to cry and ask for forgiveness.

“What is your name?” asked the priest, laying the stole over my head.

How relieved I now felt, and how light of heart! My sins were gone, I was sanctified. I could enter into Paradise. It seemed to me that I exhaled the same odour as the priest’s cassock, and I sniffed my sleeve as I came out from behind the screen and went to the deacon to register. The dim half-light of the church no longer struck me as gloomy, and I could now look calmly and without anger at Mitka.

“What is your name?” asked the deacon.


“Fedia, what?”

“I don’t know.”

“What is your daddy’s name?”


“And his other name?”

I was silent.

“How old are you?”

“Nine years old.”

On reaching home I went straight to bed to avoid seeing my family at supper. Shutting my eyes, I lay thinking of how glorious it would be to be martyred by Herod or some one; to live in a desert feeding bears like the hermit Seraphim; to pass one’s life in a cell with nothing to eat but wafers; to give away all one possessed to the poor; to make a pilgrimage to Kief. I could hear them laying the table in the dining-room; supper would soon be ready! There would be pickles and cabbage pasties and baked fish–oh, how hungry I was! I now felt willing to endure any torture whatsoever, to live in the desert without my mother, feeding bears out of my own hands, if only I could have just one little cabbage pasty first!

“Purify my heart, O God!” I prayed, pulling the bedclothes up over my head. “O guardian angels, save me from sin!”

Next morning, Thursday, I woke with a heart as serene and joyful as a spring day. I walked gaily and manfully to church, conscious that I was now a communicant and that I was wearing a beautiful and expensive shirt made from a silk dress left me by my grandmamma. Everything in church spoke of joy and happiness and springtime. The Mother of God and John the Baptist looked less sad than they had the evening before, and the faces of the communicants were radiant with anticipation. The past, it seemed, was all forgiven and forgotten. Mitka was there, washed and dressed in his Sunday best. I looked cheerfully at his protruding ears, and, to show that I bore him no malice, I said:

“You look fine to-day. If your hair didn’t stick up so and you weren’t so poorly dressed one might almost think your mother was a lady instead of a washer-woman. Come and play knuckle-bones with me on Easter Day!”

Mitka looked suspiciously at me and secretly threatened me with his fist.

The lady of yesterday was radiantly beautiful. She wore a light-blue dress fastened with a large, flashing brooch shaped like a horseshoe.

I stood and admired her, thinking that when I grew to be a man I should certainly marry a woman like her, but, remembering suddenly that to think of marriage was shameful, I stopped, and moved toward the choir where the deacon was already reading the prayers that concluded the service.

And what is taking place within adults’ minds during confessions?


About Holiness and Sin

“You don’t do anything, you monks. You are good for nothing but eating and drinking. Is that the way to save one’s soul? Only think, while you sit here in peace, eat and drink and dream of beatitude, your neighbours are perishing and going to hell. You should see what is going on in the town! Some are dying of hunger, others, not knowing what to do with their gold, sink into profligacy and perish like flies stuck in honey. There is no faith, no truth in men. Whose task is it to save them? Whose work is it to preach to them? It is not for me, drunk from morning till night as I am. Can a meek spirit, a loving heart, and faith in God have been given you for you to sit here within four walls doing nothing?” 
A Story Without a Title by Anton Chekhov 

“Love one another, Fathers,” said Father Zossima, (…) . “Love God’s people. Because we have come here and shut ourselves within these walls, we are no holier than those that are outside, but on the contrary, from the very fact of coming here, each of us has confessed to himself that he is worse than others, than all men on earth…. And the longer the monk lives in his seclusion, the more keenly he must recognise that. Else he would have had no reason to come here. When he realises that he is not only worse than others, but that he is responsible to all men for all and everything, for all human sins, national and individual, only then the aim of our seclusion is attained. For know, dear ones, that every one of us is undoubtedly responsible for all men — and everything on earth, not merely through the general sinfulness of creation, but each one personally for all mankind and every individual man. This knowledge is the crown of life for the monk and for every man. For monks are not a special sort of men, but only what all men ought to be. Only through that knowledge, our heart grows soft with infinite, universal, inexhaustible love. Then every one of you will have the power to win over the whole world by love and to wash away the sins of the world with your tears….Each of you keep watch over your heart and confess your sins to yourself unceasingly. Be not afraid of your sins, even when perceiving them, if only there be penitence, but make no conditions with God. Again, I say, be not proud. Be proud neither to the little nor to the great. Hate not those who reject you, who insult you, who abuse and slander you. Hate not the atheists, the teachers of evil, the materialists — and I mean not only the good ones — for there are many good ones among them, especially in our day — hate not even the wicked ones.
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

About Soul

Sofya Lvovna, vain and spoiled girl, reflected on difficult things:

“But of course there is a God — there certainly is a God; and I shall have to die, so that sooner or later one must think of one’s soul, of eternal life, like Olga (Olga went into the nunnery). Olga is saved now; she has settled all questions for herself. . . . But if there is no God? Then her life is wasted. But how is it wasted? Why is it wasted?”

And a minute later the thought came into her mind again:

“There is a God; death must come; one must think of one’s soul. (…)”
“The Two Volodyas” by Anton Chekhov

Scientists also stumble over notion of the soul:

Recently, biocentrism and other scientific theories have also started to challenge the old physico-chemical paradigm, and to ask some of the difficult questions about life: Is there a soul? Does anything endure the ravages of time?

Life and consciousness are central to this new view of being, reality and the cosmos. Although the current scientific paradigm is based on the belief that the world has an objective observer-independent existence, real experiments suggest just the opposite. We think life is just the activity of atoms and particles, which spin around for a while and then dissipate into nothingness. But if we add life to the equation, we can explain some of the major puzzles of modern science, including the uncertainty principle, entanglement, and the fine-tuning of the laws that shape the universe.

Consider the famous two-slit experiment. When you watch a particle go through the holes, it behaves like a bullet, passing through one slit or the other. But if no one observes the particle, it exhibits the behavior of a wave and can pass through both slits at the same time. This and other experiments tell us that unobserved particles exist only as ‘waves of probability’ as the great Nobel laureate Max Born demonstrated in 1926. They’re statistical predictions – nothing but a likely outcome. Until observed, they have no real existence; only when the mind sets the scaffolding in place, can they be thought of as having duration or a position in space. Experiments make it increasingly clear that even mere knowledge in the experimenter’s mind is sufficient to convert possibility to reality.

Many scientists dismiss the implications of these experiments, because until recently, this observer-dependent behavior was thought to be confined to the subatomic world. However, this is being challenged by researchers around the world. In fact, just this year a team of physicists (Gerlich et al, Nature Communications 2:263, 2011) showed that quantum weirdness also occurs in the human-scale world. They studied huge compounds composed of up to 430 atoms, and confirmed that this strange quantum behavior extends into the larger world we live in.

Importantly, this has a direct bearing on the question of whether humans and other living creatures have souls. As Kant pointed out over 200 years ago, everything we experience – including all the colors, sensations and objects we perceive – are nothing but representations in our mind. Space and time are simply the mind’s tools for putting it all together. Now, to the amusement of idealists, scientists are beginning dimly to recognize that those rules make existence itself possible. Indeed, the experiments above suggest that objects only exist with real properties if they are observed. The results not only defy our classical intuition, but suggest that a part of the mind – the soul – is immortal and exists outside of space and time.

“The hope of another life” wrote Will Durant “gives us courage to meet our own death, and to bear with the death of our loved ones; we are twice armed if we fight with faith.”

And we are thrice armed if we fight with science.

This excerpt comes from: Does The Soul Exist? Evidence Says ‘Yes’
New scientific theory recognizes life’s spiritual dimension

We mix different concepts of the soul in one bowl as ingredients for dough, and later we obtain the sad layer cake. This post is one of them.


Facial Expression

“His sunburnt, slightly ironical, dreamy face, his eyes which looked up from under his brows, and his whole figure were expressive of spiritual stagnation — mental sloth. He looked as though it did not matter to him in the least whether the light were burning before him or not, whether the wine were nice or nasty, and whether the accounts he was checking were correct or not. . . . And on his intelligent, calm face I read: “I don’t see so far any good in definite work, a secure living, and a settled outlook. It’s all nonsense.” 
“Lights” by Anton Chekhov