Space Invaders and the Study of the Soul
Today, as I listened to the hammering rain on the roof of the campervan, I googled ‘psychology’ to see where the word originated. My heart leapt when I saw it came from the Greek word psukhe, meaning “soul” or “spirit,” combined with the Greek word for ‘study’ which is “logos.”
‘Of course!’ I exclaimed. ‘The study of the soul. That sums up my journey completely.’ I shivered inside with a warm tingle of delight which contrasted to the driving rain and the chill autumnal air.
I used to think that psychology was a study of our busy minds and day-to-day thoughts. It seemed that my work as a coach (and as a human being) was to battle limiting beliefs, discover the ‘reason’ for my current angst then make adjustments, create new stories and make a future.
My life was like playing a constant game of Space Invaders. Space Invaders was a computer game (in the 1980s) that involved firing bullets/rockets at alien space invaders as they descended from the sky to invade the ground. It didn’t matter how many you shot down, more would appear and they would become faster and faster. You might reach a different harder level but ultimately the Space Invaders would win. They never stopped being created, they never stopped descending and they never stopped dropping bombs.
In the past my coaching was a bit like Space Invaders. I was attempting to master limiting beliefs, live by values, discard old stories and create new stories about my life. I certainly became more skilful in the whole field, however, ultimately the Space Invaders kept multiplying and getting faster and faster. So I needed to work harder to hone my ninja coaching skills.
When I first came across the Three Principles I thought this would help me reach a new skill level on the ‘Space Invaders’ of coaching. I’d have something else to offer my clients, another way for them to zap unhelpful behaviours and new weapons to fight their way through the jungle of thoughts.
However the Three Principles aligns itself with the original meaning of the word ‘psychology’. It is the study of the soul. This doesn’t mean ‘study’ in the conventional sense of the word. It’s not about reading and intellectually working out what the soul actually is. For me it’s been about looking inwards towards ‘the soul’. In other words looking within myself. When I start to realise that my soul is the source of all of my life, all my thoughts, all my beliefs and all my stories then my busy attempts to ‘change’ things like overwhelm or stress seem unnecessary.
It reminds me of the time I watched ‘Woman in Black’ at the theatre. This is a wonderful ghost story. At one point in the play a spotlight falls on a rocking chair that is moving backwards and forwards on its own. The terror, and excited fear I felt at the moment made me feel sick. I remember looking around at the audience and telling myself sternly, ‘This is just a play, it isn’t real, there isn’t a ghost.” I didn’t need to run out of the theatre, or rescue anyone from a ghost. I didn’t need to fix anything or anyone. When you realise it’s just a play, then you know you are safe.
For me this is a bit like the study of the soul. When I realise that I come from an unbreakable, unshakeable spiritual core, then I know I am safe. It’s ok to feel scared or stressed or worried, I don’t need to stop these feelings any more than I needed to stop the play at the theatre.
When I know that I am safe (psychologically) then I also know that I can deal with whatever life throws at me. It is much more powerful to place my attention towards my soul and ultimate creative source, rather than trying to master the ‘Space Invaders’ of my internal, busy head.
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- Subtractive Psychology – what is it?
About Liz Scott & Stuart Newberry
Liz Scott & Stu Newberry are Coaching Skills trainers and 3P practitioners. They help develop coaching cultures within schools and organisations. Liz & Stu use their understanding of the 3Ps within their training and are experiencing great successes and results in the organisations they are working in. Download an Introduction to the Three Principles here.
Want to de-stress in just 28 days? Recharge on the Run is a FREE audio series (delivered to your inbox daily) that will help you discover your inner peace of mind. Find out more about Liz & Stu at Liz Scott Coaching and Training