Joseph Anderson

Soul Cartography, Part 2

How to Begin

I am teaching a class on Soul Cartography beginning March 8.

As I mentioned in the first Soul Cartography post, this process emerged for me as a response to the question “what is the purpose of my life?” You may be wondering if you know what the purpose of your life is, and even whether you have the right to find out.

I do believe that life is a mystery, and that there are aspects of life purpose that remain mysterious to us. But I also believe that we can know enough of our purpose so we can make choices that allow us to live into it (that only seems fair, after all!). And finally I believe that imagination and intuition are tools we can use to gain access to useful information about purpose. In entering this process I’m asking you to make those same assumptions, even just provisionally; I think it will free your intuition to get more benefit from the process.

Long ago, when I was studying to become a high school English teacher, the curriculum professor at SF State University kept using the phrase “I’m here to tell you…” – by which she meant that she had experienced the rigors of the classroom and we could rely on her experience to stand as a surrogate for our lack of experience.  And she was right! So I’m here to tell you:

I have confidence in your inherent wisdom. I have confidence that your imagination can be a vivid, accurate and unmistakable vehicle for  spiritual insight. If you open yourself to the power of your imagination with both strong trust and a clear intention, I have confidence that you will connect to reliable sources of insight and guidance. That guidance will come to each of you in a unique, probably unpredictable way. More than anything else, some experience of that guidance is what I hope you take away from this process – because a completed map that you don’t trust has little value, whereas a random scribble that you do trust is worth everything.  If you have trust, you probably don’t even need the scribble (but even then, I think it will help).

Having trust in the process does not mean you surrender yourself completely. The task is not to align your life with any pre-existing map or template, whether that be the Imitation of Christ, devotion to Krishna, the “American Way,” or even some new Golden Tablet that comes pre-defined from outside of you. This map is yours to create. It is quite possible that one or more pre-existing templates, such as a faith tradition or philosophy, will help you as part of the process; the point is, though, that the templates serve you – you don’t serve them.  That’s what why this process does requires a bit of fortitude to take it on: it expects a lot from you. But it will give you a lot back in return!

Next: The Process