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How to Connect with Your Soul and Find Your True Purpose:
Bill Plotkin on PYP 455

Most human beings in industrialized cultures are developmentally stunted, according to today's guest, the writer, teacher, and “psychologist gone wild” Bill Plotkin.

It's not just that we have few elders to guide us. Most of us never make it out of egocentric adolescence.

It's not our fault; through millennia of decay, our cultures have lost the map of human development. We don't realize what we're missing, except through the pervasive longing we feel to belong; to matter; to contribute.

We're told to be authentic individuals, but never given the tools or the space or the guidance to discover our true essence: our “soul.” So we create “styles” and “lifestyles” that advertise our individualism while obscuring and blocking our individuation.

By “soul,” Plotkin doesn't mean some etheric substance or spiritual or psychological concept. Rather, soul is a concrete thing: our place and purpose within our ecosystem. Our unique niche in the family of all things.

When we measure our lives only in relation to the human world, we miss out on many of the key elements of a healthy and meaningful existence. And yet modern psychology is completely unaware of the costs of this “nature deficit disorder,” and how we might remedy it.

In today's conversation, Plotkin and I talked about his new book, The Journey of Soul Initiation.

We spoke about the crisis in human civilization, and how we may not survive our own damage to the earth. And how our growth gets stunted in early childhood, keeping us from entering the “cocoon” that would allow us space and curiosity and humility and connection and healing; all the elements that are required for authentic human development.

Imagine living a life of purpose, meaning, joy, beauty, and full expression of your unique gifts. And being part of a culture in which that was the norm, rather than the rare purview of a tiny, lucky, privileged group of psychonauts and countercultural seekers.

That's the path that Plotkin offers us. And the survival of our species, and perhaps our planet, hangs in the balance. Let's do this!

Links

The Animas Valley Institute: Animas.org

The Journey of Soul Initiation

Wild Mind

Nature and the Human Soul

Soulcraft

The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler

 

 

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

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