– By Bill Plotkin (May 20, 2016)
When we’re young, a virtually universal component of what our ego doesn’t know is our ultimate place, our soul. This knowledge is hidden in the depths of the psyche and in the wilds of the world, and it takes a mature ego to find and comprehend it. In contemporary Western societies, most people never find it.
The journey to self-knowledge that we each must take–the conscious discovery of our ultimate individual place–is the prerequisite to full human consciousness, to the full savoring of the grandeur of this world, to the privilege of fully participating in life, and to the responsibility of contributing something sacred and essential to this world.
Before you discover your ultimate place, you are, in a sense, lost. Before soul initiation, you have a particular destiny but doesn’t know what it is.
Your soul is your true home. In the moment you finally arrive in and occupy this psycho-ecological niche, you feel fully available and present to the world, unlost. This particular place is profoundly familiar to you, more than any geographical location or any mere dwelling has ever been or could be. You know immediately that this is the source, the marrow, of your true belonging. This is the identity no one could ever take from you. Inhabiting this place does not depend on having anyone else’s permission or approval or presence. It does not require having a particular job–or any at all. You can be neither hired for it nor fired from it. Acting from this place aligns you with your surest personal powers (your soul powers), your powers of nurturing, transforming, creating; your powers of presence and wonder.
The first time you consciously inhabit your ultimate place and act from your soul is the first time you can say Here and really know what it means. You’ve arrived, at last, at your own center. As long as you stay Here, everywhere you go, geographically or socially, feels like home. Every place becomes Here.
This is the power of place, the power of Here.
– Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., is a depth psychologist, wilderness guide, and founder of Colorado’s Animas Valley Institute. Excerpt from an essay, “Care of the Soul of the World”, collected in Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth.