What is a soul, and how do you know if you’ve got one? According to Ojai-based spiritual counselor, author, and educator Jonathan Parker, we all have one — only most of us are rather out of touch with ours. Parker’s latest book, The Soul Solution, offers practical exercises for making contact with one’s true self — a process he believes results in a deep sense of peace. Sound a little woo-woo? In a phone interview, Parker explained you don’t need to believe it in order to reap the benefits. In the book, as well as in workshops like one coming up in Ojai on Saturday, September 17, Parker walks readers through a three-step process to achieving greater contentment in life. To learn more about Parker’s work, The Soul Solution, or the upcoming workshop, visit jonathanparker.org.
1. Identify the Disturbance: Parker works with everyone from depression and anxiety sufferers to those who simply want to reach the next level of joy in life. No matter what the issue, the first step is to identify what’s in the way. “This is the most time-consuming part,” Parker explained. “Often people know they’re upset, but they haven’t elaborated on what they’re upset about. Step one has you ask a lot of questions: ‘What do I think about this? What kind of thoughts go through my mind?’”
2. Get in Touch with the Feelings: Next, Parker uses guided meditations to access the level of the subconscious, where our emotional responses lie. “I characterize the ego like an operating system in a computer,” Parker said. “It causes us to have certain reactions. The soul operating system is very different — it offers more clarity, and a less reactive state. In step two, you realize the stuff from step one is not coming from a true place. There’s an aspect of who you are having that reaction, but it’s not your true self.”
3. Introduce the Soul: The final step is to invite one’s deeper self to interact with the disturbed emotions. “The soul is intelligent,” Parker explained. “It responds to our internal requests. Bringing our soul to our upset feelings actually dissolves the underlying causes. That’s where peacefulness comes from. You’re simply not involved in the same dramas as before.”
4. Still Skeptical? “Even if a person thinks that we’re just describing a mental construct or a metaphor, the results of applying it still bring about inner transformation,” Parker said. “It really works, and I think it’s accessible to everyone. Because everyone — everyone I’ve ever seen, anyway — has a soul. This is just a way of getting in touch with it.”