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Session 5: Body & Soul

The soul is the “deep” and “natural longing that we have to address those questions of purpose and meaning” in Bishop Martyn Snow’s mind. This definition of ‘soul’ in particular intrigues me, because I feel that everybody is searching for at least some level of truth in their lives. Snow’s statement implies that humanity’s search for truth, however great or small, is part of our souls and therefore not simply our genetic coding.

Up to this point in the session, the main thing that had stuck with me was the talk of ‘parrots’ and ‘peacocks’. A ‘parrot’ was defined by Nigel (the programme facilitator) as “that voice on the shoulder”, the words that have stuck with us from points in the past, that impact us negatively. Conversely, the ‘peacocks’ are the voices of encouragement we remember, the words that give us confidence. I have to admit, I really struggled to remember too many of either on this occasion, yet one idea from the group did stick out: maybe we can be our own ‘parrots’. This concept could easily be relatable to most people, and what really intrigued me was ‘where might this lack of self-confidence, in the modern world, have come from?’
Now we discuss the soul, how do we best take care of what’s deep inside: that part of us that may well remain once everything else is gone? Nigel mentioned ‘engagement’ and ‘abstinence’.

We should become completely immersed in positive activities we can enjoy with others; times of celebration, prayer, meditation and play. At the same time, we need to perhaps fast more from things we find ourselves unnecessarily reliant on. This doesn’t just mean food, but other things like sex, alcohol or any addiction. One of the topics we largely discussed was social media. The impact it’s had on our generation has been staggering, but perhaps its influence is too great.

I feel personally that stepping back from the media in general could be healthy because it ties in with that question from earlier: why do we have such poor self-esteem? Perhaps it’s the magazines, you know the ones that tell people how they should look and what they should be able to afford. This is of course not just limited to magazines, but all forms of media that could be damaging to us has transferred to the ever growing internet. Perhaps this makes it the biggest negative influence of all. Taking time off from it won’t just give use time to enjoy life more, thus nurturing the soul, but it will also allow our souls protections. The internet is the ‘parrot’ of the modern age.