Many of us feel uncomfortable revealing to others – and even to ourselves – what lies beneath the surface of our day-to-day consciousness. We get out of bed in the morning and begin again where we left off yesterday, attacking life as if we were waging a campaign of control and survival.

All the while, deep within us, flows an endless river of pure energy. It sings a low and rich song that hints of joy and liberation and peace. Up on top, as we make our way through life, we may sense the presence of the river. We may feel a subtle longing to connect with it.

But we are usually moving too fast, or we are distracted, or we fear disturbing the status quo of our surface thoughts and feelings. It can be unsettling to dip below the familiar and descend into the more mysterious realms of the soul.

We may not be able to hold it in our hands, but the soul is real. We may not know what form it will take when our bodies die, but I believe the soul lives on. If you are in the habit of negating the longings of the soul, or if the idea of having a soul makes you nervous, or if you regard the whole subject with raised eyebrows, you may want to consider this advice: When you do something from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

If we don’t listen to the voice of the soul, it sings a stranger tune. If we don’t go looking for what lies beneath the surface of our lives, the soul comes looking for us.

Every shift in our life comes courtesy of the friendly forces; every catastrophe can hand us exactly what we need to awaken into who we really are. It’s difficult though when you’re in the middle of a painful transition, to mine the experience for inner growth. And when your life falls apart, it’s a lot easier to blame someone else, to rail against fate, or to the shutdown to the hopeful messages carried on the winds of change. Sometimes, when friends try to help by saying, “There’s a reason for everything,” or “It’s a blessing in disguise,” you just want to run away, or you want to say, “Yeah, if it’s such a blessing, then why does it hurt so much?”

Everything that happens to us in life is a blessing – whether it comes as a gift wrapped in happy times or as a heartbreak, a loss, or a tragedy. It is true: There is meaning hidden in the small changes of everyday life, and wisdom to be found in the shards of your most broken moments. At the end of a dark night of the soul is the beginning of a new life. But it’s hard to accept that when you’re in pain, and it’s tiresome to hear about from someone who’s not.

Life is always changing: we are always changing. We live in a river of change, and a river of change lives within us. Every day, we are given a choice: we can relax and float in the direction that the water flows, or we can swim hard against it. If we go with the river, the energy of a thousand mountain streams will be with us, filling our hearts with courage and enthusiasm. If we resist the river, we will feel rankled and tired as we tread water, stuck in the same place.

“I’ve known rivers,” writes Langston Hughes. “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.”

Author's Bio: 

Samantha Johnson and Christine Lazaro are co-editors for and