Monthly Archives: January 2023
My Journey with Soul
My fascination with soul started in my teenage years with soul music, specifically black music. When I was eighteen I met a Sufi in Kashmir and asked him “do you understand the soul in music?”. He was playing a recording of what he described as ‘Kashmiri soul music’. His response was to read the ‘book’ in my heart and reveal an instruction to me. Through this revelation my felt need to develop soul was confirmed and made explicit, along with an instruction related to politics (hence the name of my blog).
Politics can be understood as the balancing and harmonising factor of soul. However, nowadays when people hear the word ‘politics’ they inevitably think of its shadow qualities. In the context of soul these represent the struggle of the soul to reconcile inner and outer conflicts and competing interests, and sometimes the corruption which results from such enormous challenges.
I was drawn to soul music because of its rawness, authenticity and spirituality. All of these were a relief and medicine for me as a teenager, growing up in a middle-class London environment where the mainstream culture was more repressed and my father had recently died. I loved the way soul music came from the heart – as someone whose education and milieu was all about coming from the head. I wanted to develop and embody soul qualities myself.
Following my meeting with the Sufi and some initiatory experiences soon after, my quest for soul took a more Eastern turn and I started to try techniques such as t’ai chi, yoga and meditation. At the time I had no concept of Sufism and I wasn’t drawn to Islam.
After leaving university I lived in a Buddhist retreat centre for a period and gained experience of meditation, which confirmed my belief in a soul imbued with imaginative properties, also characterised by compassion and connectedness. These are key aspects of the soul’s ‘politics’: it has transpersonal, expansive qualities and should not be considered narrowly individual.
Nowadays I experience my soul through Sufi meditation practices such as Dhikr and Sama’a and also through 5 Rhythms dance where I allow my soul to rip!