As the model of Grounded Spirituality at the heart of Soulshaping continues to deepen its roots, I continue to work on clarifying my lens on what it really means to be a Soulshaper. I am not attached to these ideas, but identify them as a good starting point for the discussion. What I have come to love about this approach is that it does not leave anyone out. Too often, as I was struggling on my path, I felt like I was not spiritual if I wasn't blissful, or detached, or able to get what I wanted from the universe simply by asking for it. What I wanted was a model for spirituality that met me right where I lived, and that honored my struggles down here on Mother Earth as actual reflections of my spiritual path, that is, the idea that my grounded challenges were the grist for the soul mill for my spiritual growth, and, in their essence, indistinguishable from it.. I want us to celebrate ourselves right where we are on the journey, recognizing that our journey is always spiritual, as we seek to uncover and to embody the divine purpose that sources our birth..

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SOULSHAPER

MEANING-DRIVEN: The Soulshaper believes in something more than the arbitrariness of the universe. Life has directionality and purpose. The Universe is inherently benevolent. The key is to uncover the meaning that threads through our existence.

TRUE-PATH: At the heart of the soulshaping journey is the quest for 'true-path'- that path which reflects our particular purpose in this lifetime. The Soulshaper makes a conscious distinction between true-path and false-path. True-path is reflected in our 'innate image'- an encoded vision of who we are here to become in this lifetime. Embodying that vision depends on our ability to identify and honor our soul scriptures- those particular callings, lessons and archetypal pathways that live at the heart of our transformation. To the extent that we honor true-path, our soul's consciousness expands. To the degree that we misidentify, we come back the next time with the same lessons waiting in the wings.

DIVINE PERSPIRATION: The Soulshaper works hard to develop his inner muscle, the soul-driven determination to deal with whatever challenges come his way. Under no illusion that the processes of self-creation are easy, he recognizes that walking a sacred path is often challenging in a survivalist world. Before even identifying his scriptures, he may have many obstacles to overcome- economic challenges, emotional debris, patterns of self-distraction, negative beliefs, the weight of the world. He works hard at it, persistently and courageously, until true-path is liberated and rises to the rafters of consciousness.

SOUL ADVENTURER: To clarify the path, the Soulshaper has no attachment to any one tool or technique. She is willing to explore any and all pathways of possibility. At times she sits in the place of not knowing and practices the art of detachment. At other times, she befriends her confusion, lives in the question, jumps into experience. A swashbuckler of the spirit, she ignites depth charges- intentional efforts to excavate her callings- whenever necessary. With a relentless sense of wander, she eagerly lets go of her localized frame of perception, and adventures into broader and more inclusive realms of consciousness. When a calling is excavated, she tries it on for size, checking its authenticity against her soul-scriptures. She boldly goes where her soul has not gone before.

SOUL-TRACKER: The Soulshaper strives to become an expert soul-tracker, ever sensitive to directional signs as to path that emanate from within. These signs can take many forms- an intuitive hit, a spiritual emergingcy, a sacred grumble, a lingering truth ache. A student of inner dissonance, he looks hard for symptoms of his own falsity. Ever vigilant, he faces his patterns of avoidance head-on. He identifies his escape hatches. He names his game. He is all about living in truth.

INTENTIONALITY: The Soulshaper is all about a soulful intention. He is not interested in the act itself, so much as what compels it: Am I doing this action to honor true-path, or to distract from it? Am I ending this relationship because I am afraid of going deeper, or because it is a distraction from my callings? Depth-avoidant behavior or Soul-driven action?

THE BODY GARDEN: The Soulshaper honors her body as the karmic field where her spiritual lessons are harvested. Far more than just a vessel for the soul, the body is the embodiment of the soul- the soul's garden of truth. She tills the soul-soil with purifying practices- enlivening exercises, armor-busters, heart-openers- in an effort to create space inside for true-path to emerge. A built-in authenticity-mometer, her body dulls when she is living falsely, and glows when she is true to path.

THE SCHOOL OF HEART KNOCKS: To actualize his karmic lessons, the Soulshaper surrenders to his emotional processes, making no distinction between his emotional life and his spiritual path. Although mindful of the perils of misidentification (the thinking that we are ONLY our identifications), he recognizes that the state of his incarnation is a direct reflection of the shape of his soul. Therefore he works hard on his stuff, clearing his emotional debris both because it creates space inside for his authentic self to emerge, and because inherent in those feelings and memories are the lessons he needs to grow in his spiritually. Although lessons can be pleasurable, they are often painful at this stage of our collective transformation- the ladder to heaven is made from broken rungs. Our ascension depends on our capacity to 'cell our soul', to bring our suffering through our emotional body until our spiritual lesson is birthed. Fully actualized, these lessons are the grist that grows the soul, karmic fodder for the mill of spiritual expansion. Karma yoga meets therapeutic process.

GOD IS IN THE PEOPLE: In its essence, Soulshaping is an immersion model. It is about jumping into life, immersing ourselves in our feelings and experiences in an effort to learn what we need to expand our soul's consciousness. It is about embodied spirituality. It is about 'feeling' God, not 'thinking' God. It is about healthy, selective attachment. It is about the inextricable relationship between the opening of the heart and the expansion of the soul (Open-bless-a-me). It is about heartfelt connection as the path to God, connection in all its forms: We-God.

BE REAL NOW: The Soulshaper is not seeking enLIGHTenment-a word that implies that the most advanced forms of consciousness are brightly lit, perpetually blissful. She is seeking enREALment: an inclusive consciousness that incorporates all planes of awareness at one time- shadow and light, subtle and gross realms, ego and soul, earth and sky, localized lens and archetypal wave. That is, a model that weaves the Eastern quest for the Eternal with the Western quest for Emotional and Mental Health. Unity Consciousness meets Self-concept on a bridge across forever.

A SOLE TO SOUL PHILOSOPHY: At the heart of 'Enrealment' is a vision of a human being that 'Ascends with both feet on the ground'. The Soulshaper understands that our ascension to the Godself can only be sustained if it is an embodied unfolding from the ground up. We begin with the root chakra- the quest for Om begins at home- and we work our way up from there. It is not enough for our feet to merely skim the ground. The mythic life begins with our feet planted on Mother Earth. With our soles firmly planted, our Soul has a leg to stand on in its efforts to go higher. As we develop a healthy ego and work through our chakras, we become organically present in our bodies and in the moment. From this stable presence emerges a natural and sustainable movement upward, toward God. Instead of settling for the occasional peak experience, we are now capable of sustaining a more heightened way of being. Sole meets soul on sacred footpaths..

HONORING THE UBS: The Soulshaper has faith in the Universal Broadcasting system, the dynamic and benevolent network of relatedness that brings lessons and messengers onto our path in an ongoing effort to grow our soul. He works hard to clarify his inner channel so that he can summon and receive what he needs more readily. He has no expectation that the universe will send him everything he asks for, but he does have faith that the UBS will send him just what he needs to grow to the next stage. If the universe is attuned to anything, it is attuned to our 'soulular state', how close or how far we are from honoring our divine purpose for this lifetime.

SOUL SUCCESS:
The Soulshaper is ever conscious of the difference between egoic and soulful notions of achievement. She is governed by a notion of success that is directly linked to the actualization of her soul-scriptures: lessons, callings, authentic expansion. Material success is only meaningful to the extent that it reflects and actualizes her innate image.

ONLY SOUL KNOWS: The Soulshaper recognizes that only he can know his soul's path. Other may have opinions that are of value, others may call out to and remind him of his knowing, but only he holds the key to his kingdom. He is always his primary guru. In the same way, he will always attempt to give others back their own power, refusing to exploit their projections onto him as knower. At heart, the Soulshaper believes that every individual is here for a profound reason, however simple or humble it may outwardly appear. Through this lens, he strives to make the 'Presumption of Essence' in those he encounters. Instead of seeing individuals exclusively in terms of their adaptations and disguises, he seeks to honor and connect with the soulful being that lives at the core.

INCH WORMS: Although persistent, the Soulshaper recognizes that real change takes time. The Soulshaping journey is life-long and lives long. Growers are inch worms. The fall back to habitual ways is a natural part of the journey home. So long as we persist in sticking our head back out a little further each time, we continue to grow: Three steps forward, two steps back is progress.

GENDER BRIDGE: The Soulshaper does not see the world through a gendered lens, recognizing that the most inclusive soul contains all aspects of traditional gender roles in equal measure. Gender is just a way-station, an opportunity for the soul to embody particular archetypes and work through its karmic lessons. The ultimate being is poly-gendered. At some point, the assertive and the surrendered become indistinguishable.

SOULPOD-SEEKING: The Soulshaper understands the relevance of the 'soulpod' on her evolutionary path. The soulpod is that person or group of people whom our soul finds resonance with at any given moment. They are so often the key to our expansion. Although her growth may demand a disconnection from certain family and friends, she honors her ancestors wherever possible and attempts to see their actions in context. She honors those souls that established the foundation for her to go higher, those souls who died on battlefields so she could live, those souls who did anything positive to light her way. At the same time, she does not bypass her feelings or forgive the past arbitrarily, but only when that forgiveness is an organic manifestation of genuine emotional resolution.

GIFT BACK: The Soulshaper inherently understands that the individual soul is inextricably linked to the collective soul. We are each here as part of the sacred dance, stepping on each others toes and turning each other toward god, one clumsy step after another. Once he reaches a measure of soul satisfaction, the Soulshaper begins to actively look for ways to benefit other souls who are stumbling on the dance floor. He gifts back to the Universe that gifted him with this precious life. We are in this together. We are this, together.

Jeff Brown (www.soulshaping.com)