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Soul Smart

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“You’re very smart, Staci, and I’m not saying that as a compliment.” When one of my most treasured mentors made that remark it stung. I had no idea why. I only knew I felt like I had been slapped. It wasn’t until several years later I understood what she meant.

Intelligence can be an enormous impediment to waking up the soul. Most who are of above average intelligence have taught themselves to survive experiences they perceive as painful, or potentially uncomfortable, by intellectualizing them. This keeps you firmly anchored in ego and far away from the peace the soul has to offer.

The typical process looks like this. First the experience is dissected, then analyzed and evaluated until all possible choices and consequences have been identified. Like a game of mental Russian roulette, thoughts spin through your mind while you dodge the “bullet” – the one thought capable of creating excruciating shame or debilitating pain.

I spent years living this way and changing the habit felt much like dieting. I’d get a good head start and begin to feel better, but before I knew it I was face first in a bag of Chips Ahoy. It took twenty years of dedicated study, vigilance and commitment to change my default – to go inside rather than upstairs for answers. Now, when I have the occasional bout of mind racing, it is painful because it is so unfamiliar.

If you’re smart, it’s easy to intellectualize the spiritual journey. There are many teachers who write magnificent treatise and give powerful talks on issues related to the ego and soul. I used to absorb their words with abandon – until I realized they were feeding my mind, not my soul. It kept me in a holding pattern – constructing the illusion that I was moving forward when in reality, I was draping additional layers of useless intellectual fodder over my soul.

When you’re serious about knowing who you are, you must learn to be soul smart. This means first letting go of “solving” your problems with logic and reason. Although these tenets are highly valued among humans, they mean nothing to spirit. Traversing the dark tunnel of ego to reach the light of the soul is both exhilarating and enervating, and it is what is required to undo the belief that intellect is where you’ll find the answers.

This is how you become soul smart. Choose to go within for direction, listen, and then move. Stop trying to “figure” it out. This only leads to one of two places. Gloating at the solution, which may appear to feel good, but is miles from peace. Or realizing your answer was really not an answer, which makes you feel more lost than you did before.

Practice being soul smart. Get support from others when you need it. And share your stories so that others who are contemplating the journey or are already on it feel the warmth from your light.

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