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Excerpted from Soul Mates by Thomas Moore. Copyright 1994 by Thomas Moore. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"As with all matters of soul, it is in honoring its impulses that we find our way best into its mysteries."

Thomas Moore, 
Soul Mates
, Part 1

Attachment and Flight

When we consider the soul of relationship, unexpected factors come into view. In its deepest nature, for example, the soul involves itself in the stuff of this world, both people and objects. It loves attachments of all kinds--to places, ideas, times, historical figures and periods, things, words, sounds, and settings--and if we are going to examine relationship in the soul, we have to take into account the wide range of its loves and inclinations. Yet even though the soul sinks luxuriantly into its attachments, something in it also moves in a different direction. Something valid and necessary takes flight when it senses deep attachment, and this flight also seems so deeply rooted as to be an honest expression of soul. Our ultimate goal is to find ways to embrace both attachment and resistance to attachment, and the only way to that reconciliation of opposites is to dig deeply into the nature of each. As with all matters of soul, it is in honoring its impulses that we find our way best into its mysteries.


The soul manifests its innate tendency toward attachment n many ways. One way is a penchant for the past and a resistance to change. A particularly soulful person might turn down a good job offer, for example, because he doesn't want to move from his home town. The soulfulness of this decision is fairly clear: ties to friends, family, buildings, and a familiar landscape come from the heart, and honoring them may be more important for a soulful life than following exciting ideas and possibilities that are rooted in some other part of our nature.

A radically attached person may lead a sedate life because he seldom likes to leave home; he may even decide not to buy an automobile for that very reason. Many writers and artists have exhibited this soulful orientation away from worldly activity. Emily Dickinson, for example, spent her entire mature life at her family's homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts. In a letter of 1851 to her brother Austin she wrote, "Home is a holy thing--nothing of doubt or distrust can enter its blessed portals. . . . Here seems indeed to be a bit of Eden which not the sin of any can utterly destroy."

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