• eric aspen marley

Soul Full: The Jar of Life and Death


A wandering soul was walking through a vast field in summer sunshine. The field was covered in knee high grasses that swayed playfully in a soft, warm breeze. Patches of wildflowers dotted the landscape in a pattern that the soul recognized as mandala-divine, like that of a pine cone or a sun flower. There were no clouds in the deep blue sky. There were no other souls in view. It was just the soul, the field and the sun. The soul had no memories. It knew no time, nor spiky happiness or sadness, want or aversion. It simply existed, content, grateful to be.

As the soul walked in the great field, it noticed a large, crystal clear, gallon-sized jar laying on the ground. It was labeled, “My Life”. The soul had seen these before and had chosen to walk by, knowing on some level that if it were to be picked up, everything would change.

But this time was different. The soul was inherently curious and playful. Its contentment was so complete, its Connection to All so certain that it could not imagine ever feeling differently. So, this time, the wandering soul bent over and picked it up.

As it did so, a vision of the world in which you and I live flashed into view; all the good, all the harder to recognize as good, all the technology and roads, the buildings, machinery and powerful institutions. It appeared that this jar presented an opportunity for the soul to journey to another place; a place where it might expand.

As the soul considered this, into its mind appeared choices that the soul could make should it decide to use this jar for its own journey – a vast number of them. They included species, gender, the overall health of the body, general living conditions and friends that would come and go at certain times. It was a curriculum of sorts with lessons to be learned, and taught.

In that moment everything shifted. For where there was once no possible boundary within the experience of the soul, there was now for the first time in the soul’s experience, the potential for something called “limitation”. There was, after all, only so much that could be put in the container and once full, the soul comprehended, the jar would have fulfilled its purpose.

The soul stood in the ever-present sunshine and felt it’s great warmth. It was free to place the jar back on the ground and continue it’s wandering through the vast fields where it was so very content, conversing with flowers and at times, other being of great wisdom and light. But something within the soul stirred this time; a feeling that it would be beneficial to do something else. As there was no feeling of separation between the field, the sky, the sun, the flowers and grasses and the soul itself, not to mention the jar, all things were in agreement with this conclusion.

So, the soul began to play.

While holding the jar in its hands, it chose a species, should it decide to take this opportunity. It thought it might be interesting to be a human. It chose a gender. It was to be a male. It chose a land in which to live. It was to be America. It chose a family with two parents that loved one another. It chose a fully healthy, beautiful and nearly flawless body and a mind that could focus and rest at will. It chose a package of talents which the soul understood were to be discovered as it held the jar. This was all pleasing to the soul. Finally, and of greatest interest, were packages of games to play that would make the experience one of growth and fun. They arose in almost infinite variety, each with its own benefit and challenge. Both concepts, “benefit” and “challenge”, had been foreign to the soul, but it comprehended well enough the idea.

But which package to choose?

Now, already morphing into a male in his Being as he stood, he considered a package that seemed beneficial. He noticed immediately that the package itself shifted slightly the choices he had already made, like gazing at a colorful stone first in the hand, and then through clear water. For instance, he changed his family structure from two parents to one. Placing that package back, he chose another. He was now to be born to two loving parents, but in India. He placed that one back. He chose another and his gender changed to a female. Laughing, he placed that one back as well. This was a game in and of itself, and entirely enjoyable to him. He stood in the field under the sun and examined “My Life” packages within this jar, as his heart cheered in awe.

It appeared that the package he would choose took precedence over everything except the fact that whatever he picked, would be for his benefit. In other words, the jar seemed to sense the nature of the holder of it and would only allow things to occur that would be of benefit to the holder, although the situation to be experienced might take any number of forms.

Finally choosing one that fit his fancy, he held the jar and looked towards the sun. He smiled in gratitude for the opportunity to find such a jar. He gazed at the fields, as everlasting as eternity itself and wondered for the briefest instant if he should leave at all.

At once, a Voice within his already developing mind assured him that it was actually impossible to leave this place. He would be going nowhere, just standing in the field holding the jar as he experienced the package that he had placed within it.

The soul smiled, understanding for the first time how the packages could work. They apparently depended on the illusion of separation from All That Is, all while simply standing in a field of grass and flowers to which the soul belonged. Well ok, that seemed easy and safe enough, not to mention supreme fun. Both concepts, “ease” and “safety”, had also previously been foreign to the soul, but even while simply holding the jar and observing the package he had chosen he could see that both these would be good to have in some amount.

“But,” the Voice added, “you will make choices as the jar-package progresses that will affect the amount of ease you experience, as well as the Connection to this place that you feel while playing with the package you chose. The feeling of Connection will affect the amount of safety you feel.”

The soul considered this.

It was a unique experience, this holding of the jar in the vast field. He observed that just by holding the jar, a sense of separation had formed in his mind. For instance, he now identified himself as male, and the Voice and himself appeared to be different, for the first time in his existence. The jar contained packages that were different – or separate - from one another as well. He saw all this separation correctly as an illusion, but also sensed with great respect the comprehensiveness of that illusion. He knew the reality of Unity while he stood in this place, even while things were shifting slightly for him as he held the jar, almost as a preview of what could and would be. But he could tell from the packages (presented to him here as options) that while he played the game, that distinction would be far less clear. Whether he sensed Connection or not at any given moment within the game appeared to depend on his choices while there.

Should he really do this? He could put the jar back down and continue his walk with no harm done. His self-identification as a male would fade away as well as his temporary sense of separation from the Voice, the field, the flowers and the sky.

The Voice seemed to sense his hesitation. “You are in complete control of the amount of Connection to this place that you feel while you are experiencing the package you chose.”

The Soul looked up to the sun, the apparent source of the Voice. He looked at the jar in his hands, staring at the package within, and considered this.

“How can I feel Connection while I am within the illusion?”

The Voice smiled. “The answer lies in those things that you allow yourself to value. Just as the jar is limited for space, so it is for something called “time”, which exists only in a warped way within the jar. Remember, you are not leaving here. It will just appear that you have left and you may believe that you have. But you’ll be standing right here as you experience the package you choose.”

“Well,” the soul replied, “I value Connection. I want to feel safe while I play my game. I want to remember that I am standing here, even while I’m there.”

“You will be able to do this to the extent that you place value on Connection above comfort.”

“What does that mean?”

“You haven’t experienced pain, but it is one word that describes the feeling of separation one feels within the game. There are many types of pain – any of which can be great teachers, reminders that there is something else.”

“So, when I play the game within the jar, I should avoid pain?”

“No, not exactly,” the Voice replied kindly. “A preoccupation with avoiding pain, particularly in the form of simple discomfort, is actually one of the great challenges contained in the jar you picked up. I see that you are interested in a human incarnation. If a human is consumed with avoiding discomfort, then discomfort is all they will feel. Worse, they will begin to fear losing what comfort or conveniences they enjoy, and that fear will begin to color their actions in myriad ways. It can become their focus - just a little more ease, slightly more comfort, a little more control over their environment until those are the most important things.” He paused. “Even more important than feeling Connection to this place, a place that seems far away.”

The Soul frowned. “So how do I keep Connection when pain, or discomfort, is upon my body in the game? How can I stay away from the fear?”

The Voice seemed to smile at the Soul’s choice of words. “You make Connection your focus, in spite of discomfort, and in spite of fear.” He paused, allowing the Soul to consider this. “In short, if your focus is on discomfort or fear, even avoiding these things, it is only these things what will manifest in your game until you realize that they are not worthy subjects of focus. On the other hand, focus on Connection and you can only get better at staying Connected, in spite of discomfort, no matter your fear.”

“So, I can focus on Connection while discomfort or fear arise inside me… would I feel less of them then?”

“Precisely,” said the Voice.

“How do I remember this while I am there?” The Soul was smiling excitedly now, unscrewing the lid on the top of the jar.

“I have provided ways. You’ll learn them when you arrive. It’s inherent in every package.”

The soul held the cap in his hands and looked within the jar. A small, tidy, spinning universe greeted him. Within it was a small, bright blue speck. It was to be his home. The Soul looked up at the sky, and then at the grass and stands of wildflowers and, all at once and with great joy, began his great journey.

PART TWO: Questions

Are we as humans too concerned with convenience?

What have been the effects of advances in technology on our souls?

What effects do fear have on our ability to Connect to Creator?

Does our level of physical comfort affect our ability to feel our Connection to God?

Are we safer now than we have historically been in terms of our spirituality or our physical beings? What

is the cost of the safety we enjoy?

Do we feel more or less Connected to Creator and to one another as a species? Why?

How has organized religion affected mankind? Do we have access to God outside of religion? Is it dangerous to do so in some way?

What difference is there between organized religion and individual spirituality?

How do modern-day conveniences affect you, your family and your world?

Is there such thing as an innocuous distraction from God / Creator?

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