“…inner light…”

It’s human nature to look for advice or confirmation from others when we face a decision about job and career.

Ironically, we often trust others over ourselves as we generally lead “unexamined lives”. Socrates was maybe too harsh when he said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” But you get the point. It takes time and commitment to be introspective, and to search our soul for direction.

Parker Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak, encourages us to believe that we know who we are and what we should do. And always did!

“Now I become myself… the person I was meant to be.”,
he relates from the Hasidic tale of Rabbi Zusya.

Of course this sounds easy, but to pull it off we need to be acquainted with our soul. Parker again helps,

“Philosophers haggle about what to call the core of our humanity, but I am no stickler for precision. Thomas Merton called it, true self. Buddhists call it original nature or big self. Quakers call it the inner teacher or inner light. Hasidic Jews call it a spark of the divine. Humanists call it identity and integrity.”

What we name it matters little–that we name it matters significantly, and that we address it, embrace it, and sometimes wrestle with it.


What role does your soul play in your daily decision making? How can what you know about your soul (and your soul’s longings) impact your transition? Read Mary Oliver’s poem on the soul in better understanding how it guides us.

The Soul

By Mary Oliver

Nobody knows what the soul is.

It comes and goes like the wind over water.

But just as we can name the functions of the wind, so we can name some of the functions of the soul without presuming to penetrate its mystery.

The soul wants to keep us rooted in the ground of our own being, resisting the tendency of other faculties, like the intellect and ego, to uproot us from who we are.

The soul wants to keep us connected to the community in which we find life, for it understands that relationships are necessary if we are to thrive.

The soul wants to tell us the truth about ourselves, our world, and the relation between the two, whether that truth is easy or hard to hear.

The soul wants to give us life and wants us to pass that gift along, to become life-givers in a world that deals too much death.

Thomas Bachhuber, Ed.D., President of the Board and Executive DirectorThomas Bachhuber, Ed.D.
President of the Board and Executive Director for The Center for Life Transitions. Tom is responsible for overall Center leadership and strategy. His individual coaching/counseling as well as workshops and retreats focus on integrating leading career development ideas with spiritual exploration. Read more.