(Yes, soultide is an anagram of solitude and an understanding of soultides makes our solitudes much richer.)
The Inner Year is a recognition of the tides of soul.
What is a tide?
A tide is an alternate rising and falling of seas.
A tide is a surge of feeling.
What is a soultide?
A soultide is a rising and falling of attention to particular aspects of inner and outer life, to spirit and matter, to self and other, to quiet and activity.
A soultide is a surge of a particular feeling at a particular time of the year, of the day, of a lifetime.
How lovely to think about soultides. To feel the pull of the soul’s waxing and waning in our relationships to spirit and to matter. To be free of the unnatural demand of constancy in attention and enthusiasm to things that have moved onto the shore or out to sea of our consciousness. To realize we have inner rhythms of spiritual and earthly ebbs and flows.
These thoughts just brought up to memory the Righteous Brothers’ song “Ebbtide” which came out the year I graduated from high school. As you read the lyrics, you might imagine this not a song of teenage passion but as a (albeit, corny) poem of the soul’s desire for spirit and for matter. Imagine being at peace in the web of the two arms of your consciousness, the spiritual and the practical.
Plants a kiss on the shore
Then rolls out to sea
And the sea is very still once more
So I rush to your side
Like the oncoming tide
With one burning thought
Will your arms open wide
At last we’re face to face
And as we kiss through an embrace
I can tell, I can feel
You are love, your are real
Really mine in the rain
In the dark, in the sun
Like the tide at its ebb
I’m at peace in the web of your arms
- between the new awakening of our individuality and the new awakening to our humanity,
- between the consciousness of being all alone and being all one.
I had a real Inner Eastertide moment this last Sunday. I was driving with a dear friend through the blossoming spring countryside. We know each other very well, yet suddenly I felt this unfathomable loneliness of not knowing her at all. Then in the blink of consciousness, I turned that feeling on myself and realized I hardly know myself. Struggling with these two harsh feelings I found a third awareness surging in my soul. Only if I feel love for myself and for my friend can I bear the suffering of not knowing.
For me this love becomes active in conversation. Not in ordinary conversation but in sacred conversation. Whether I have a sacred conversation with one of the unknown multitudes within my own soul or with one of the unknown multitudes within another’s soul, I find peace in the web of true intercourse, of making love.
Of course, there are tides within a sacred conversation, flows of sympathy and antipathy where I approach and retreat. All my counseling conversations, sacred by intention and agreement, live in tidal forces. I bring my attention to my client and then ebb away to attend to my inner experience of what she is saying. I move from the shores of her stories, questions and needs out to the seas of my understanding and then flow back to the conversation with a surge of insights.
Inner Eastertide is the time to contemplate the ebb and flow between self and other. Following your Inner Easter experience of the death of the old and the birth of the new you, the first days of Inner Eastertide are given to the conversations you want to have with yourself. Then as we feel the coming of Inner Pentecost the conversations move toward our relationship with others. But the whole of the fifty days, our souls attend to increasing our willingness and ability to engage in sacred conversations.
As you attend to your inner life during this time of the Inner Year, work with your sense of sacred conversation. What are the questions that live in a sacred conversation? What is sacred listening? Are there limits to sacred conversations? What parts of yourself do you want to make love to? Are there parts of yourself or parts of others that you are unwilling to have a sacred conversation with?