Of the 12 chapters of Life At Work, my favorite is that of Chapter Three--Soul and Spirit. For the life of me, now having digested all of Life At Work book, it is perplexing as to how Moore was able to accentuate his treatise for both Soul and SPIRIT within 19 pages. The subjects are Huge! Volumes upon volumes have been written on the singleness of each...let alone both.
The 19 page context goes to the heart of Moore's genius. The simplicity within this duplicity. Perhaps the hidden passion I've adopted for this work...The Genius Within.
Again, Moore begins with a story (or a fable; difficult to ascertain). --Moore admittedly utilizes Story-telling as a writing formulae-- His story of the 15th century priest, Marsilo Ficino, is the archetype for this 'soulful' chapter. As a youngster, Ficino's Parents indentured the boy into a life of Arts & Letters servitude to a wealthy aristocrat. Although somewhat dubious, this financial alliance was not unholy.
Ficino mastered Latin and Greek; Moore's literary connection to Ficino is within the position of a person being grafted to one's soul. "To be grafted to Soul means to be open to the life that pools deep inside you, allowing it to coalesce into a career or other kind of work (page 28)."
Life At Work, page 29, submits that our Soul is what makes us unique persons. Moreover, we become truly alive when connected to cherished friendships, family gatherings, and other forms of close deep relational human interaction. Our Soul, as defined by Heracleitus, is Deep...depth...without bottomless limit.
Moore makes a point that human souls require air...to breathe as does our body itself require air/oxygen to fully function. Relational to work and career, when we are ill-fitted for a particular vocation or location, our souls are left breathless. Unable to breathe, The Soul begins to die. The same is true whether or not we are in a giving and mutually-beneficial relationship.
Our souls are alive when we can make human connections, feel in touch with others around us, and become connected with a purpose higher than that of ourselves. What I love the most about this chapter is that the Soul is presented as a Being rather than a separate and abstract part of our existence.
Moore writes that "it is necessary to love what we're doing and what we're making." He goes on to emphatically state that, "People who are frustrated with their work often say they simply don't love what they're doing and therefore feel unmotivated to get to work. Love is the impetus that propels us toward our life work."
"The spirit is quite different from the soul, and it, too, should be in harmony with your life work. Spirit is the upper region of experience and includes your worldview, ethical sensitivities, ideas about life and death, religious beliefs and understandings, and intellectual development." (pgs 36 & 37). Moore is careful to interject that Spirit isn't necessarily spirituality or religious. Simply, Soul is lower or deep; Spirit is the higher or the Head. One isn't better than the other...the two work in harmonious tandem.
The danger with the Spirit is that it can be crushed or wounded. Note a child that has been told to go to their room or to stop making noises. Their spirit is crushed. Too often, as Moore points out, we allow money to become and assume our spirit. The result--a mixed alchemy of negative emotions and physical ills and manifestations.
Life At Work really expands upon this topic...perhaps better than any other secular available book or publication. In the final words of the chapter, the book concludes with the premise that Soul and Spirit work like lovers; a two-dimensional completeness that allows our work life to be a contributor to ourselves as whole human beings. Complete persons in the family, community, and the world at large.
"Spirit moves us into the future, while the soul keeps us tied to the past." Embracing these two factors, we are no longer satisfied with the pursuit of a job; rather, we crave fulfilling work activity that makes our lives complete. Makes sense?