the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life

Written By Caren Goldman

The human body is the best picture of the human soul.

A sound and healthy body is dependent on a sound and healthy soul.

The soul is not an idea or a belief; it is an experience.

SEVERALYEARS AGO, psychotherapist Thomas Moore wrote a series of best-selling books that examined how the soul operates and manifests itself. For Moore, the soul is not a religious object or some ethereal part of us that survives our physical death. Instead, the soul is a quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves that has to do with depth, heart, value, relatedness,
and personal substance.

To care for our soul we must become familiar with its ways, advises Moore. “Observance is a word from ritual and religion. It means to watch out for but also to keep and honor, as in the observance of a holiday. The -serv- in observance originally referred to tending sheep. Observing the soul, we keep an eye on its sheep, on whatever is wandering and grazing—the latest addiction, a striking dream, or a troubling mood.”

Caring for the soul also includes not treating it like a self-improvement project and respecting whatever it presents—even illness. “As a psychotherapist,” says Moore, “I won’t try to take away the things that bother people in the name of health.” Instead of trying to eradicate the causes of our disease like an exterminator, he suggests reflecting on what is problematical and determining its necessity, even its value. “When you regard the soul with an open mind, you begin to find the messages that lie within the illness, the corrections that can be found in remorse and other uncomfortable feelings, and the necessary changes requested by depression and anxiety.”

How, on a day-to-day basis, do we know that we are caring for our soul? According to Moore, it’s when compassion takes the place of distrust and fear, when we can let go of the need to be free of complexity and confusion, and when our pleasures feel deeper than usual. “Soul is its own purpose and end.”


I care for my soul when I observe, respect, and reflect upon whatever it presents.

Why do you hasten to remove anything which hurts your eye, while if something affects your soul you postpone the cure until next year? 

It is more necessary to cure the soul than the body.

Healing Words for the Body Mind and Spirit by Caren Goldman

From Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit by Caren Goldman. Copyright © 2001, 2009 by Caren Goldman. Used with permission from Morehouse Publishing, an imprint of Church Publishing Inc. PART OF THE PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS NEW BOOK WILL BE DONATED TO BREAST AND OTHER CANCER CAUSE, CARE, AND PREVENTION ORGANIZATIONS.

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