The following is from my forthcoming book, Awesome Your Life: A Journey to Ecstatic Joy Through Soul-making.
The Soul is a Morphic Field
Some people are very uncomfortable with the world “soul.” To them, it conjures up connotations of dogmatic religious doctrine—souls damned or souls saved, tortured or redeemed. But I’m not talking about the soul in any dogmatic sense. I’m talking about the soul as an energetic reality.
It’s my understanding that the energy traditionally and poetically known as the soul corresponds to the phenomenon which the biologist Rupert Sheldrake called the morphic field.
Sheldrake first developed his theory of morphic fields as a means of answering a huge problem faced by biologists: how do organisms take on their particular forms? Most of us who aren’t biologists assumed that the discovery of the DNA molecule resolved this question—but biologists know it didn’t. The mystery of how organisms take on their specific shapes remains unsolved and unaccounted for by DNA. DNA tells organisms what type of cells to form—but it doesn’t tell those cells what shapes to take. The DNA and cells are the same in both our arms and our legs—yet our legs and arms don’t have the same shape. So what tells a leg to form into a leg and an arm to form into an arm?
Sheldrake posited that everything has a morphic field surrounding it (“morphic” comes from the Greek word for form, morphe) which tells it how to form into whatever sort of thing it’s meant to be—a human, a fern, a bacterium, a crystal. There are many levels and many kinds of fields. Each general thing has its own distinctive field, but so does each individual within that category of thing. So there’s a morphic field for the human species but there’s also a morphic field for each individual human.
These fields are stable in the sense that they run on memory— for example, the field of a species will produce new members of the species based upon the collective memory of form lodged in that species’ field. Yet these fields are not static. They’re intelligent and responsive. They can alter, evolve and expand when new information comes into the species field as individual members of that species learn new skills.
Morphic fields accomplish this spread of positive innovation through the principle of morphic resonance. Morphic resonance just means that like influences like. So if the morphic field of one individual resembles the morphic field of another individual, then those two fields will be able influence and act upon each other, even at great distance, because morphic resonance is non-local. So if I’m a monkey and I do all the hard work of being the first monkey ever to learn to play the guitar, I’ve created an innovation in the energy patterns of my individual morphic field. I’ve changed my field through the introduction of new information (my mad guitar-playing skills). If you’re a monkey on the other side of the world, it will now be easier for you to learn to play the guitar because your individual monkey field will be influenced by the innovation in my individual monkey field through morphic resonance. This influencing happens because our morphic fields have a similar shape to begin with since we’re both monkeys. So we see that morphic resonance is the means by which morphic fields act upon one another and communicate information.
Yet it’s not just similarity of physical shape which can make individuals capable of influencing one another through morphic resonance—it’s also similarity of behavior or action. For example, in religious rituals, participants perform actions that have been performed over thousands of years by other believers in the same tradition. Through their ritual action, participants thus connect themselves via morphic resonance with the larger morphic field of the religion built up over time, and they thereby gain intuitive access to the knowledge and wisdom stored within that field.
It’s important to understand that morphic fields are creative. They create based out of habitually ingrained patterns, patterns that have become so habitual that they’re unconscious. This means that a field will continue to produce the same results unless new innovation, new information is introduced into it.
So what does this mean for you?
The Care and Keeping of Your Morphic Field
There are levels of your morphic field which unconsciously create certain things about you that might be damn hard to change and which you probably wouldn’t want to alter anyway: say the level of biological organization which tells your fingernails how to shape into human fingernails. Your field has learned over eons of evolution just how to make those fingernails— and they’re great. The shape of your fingernails is a deep habit in your field that you don’t need to change.
But there are other levels of the field that organizes you which perhaps you do want to change: say, for example, the field that organizes your consciousness, your perception of the world. It’s a new age truism that your consciousness creates your reality. I would offer that it’s actually more accurate to say that your morphic field (or soul) creates your consciousness which then creates your experience of reality. It’s actually not possible to work directly on raising your consciousness since consciousness is not a “thing” in itself but an effect organized by the morphic field. What it is possible to do is work on your morphic field, your fabric of unconscious memory, which will then alter your consciousness.
The way to work on your morphic field is to introduce innovative information to it. Unfortunately, this is not a quick and easy process. The innovation has to strike deep for the field to be able to creatively act upon it— the innovation itself needs to become a habit, since the field creates unconsciously, out of habit. This is why self-realization is not a one-day project. This is why we need to do our spiritual practices (more about those to come) every day. We do it to ingrain new habits and thereby alter our field at its basic, unconscious level so it will produce for us new creative results in our consciousness and thereby in our life.
Happily, though, there is a shortcut. We can speed up the work of making our souls by deliberately practicing actions which align us with the morphic resonance of the mythic journey. The mythic journey is an ingrained pattern in the morphic field of the human species. It pervades every culture and every time. In effect, the journey is a series of rituals. But these are not the rituals of the large group, meant to affirm the regular processes of communal life. These are the mystery rituals of the solitary adventurer, of one who steps out of the social order so that she can bring back a new truth which will change everything and everyone. In other words, these are the rituals not of stability but of evolution.
When we consciously undertake participation the actions of the mythic journey (answering the heart’s call, accepting the heart’s call, meeting our guide, undergoing trials in the dreamworld, etc.) we connect our individual morphic field to the fields of all those who have preceded us in this great work. We begin to resonate with heroes and heroines across time and to gain intuitive access to their knowledge and experience. This resonance makes it exponentially easier for us to achieve our own transmutation. In one sense, though the individual genius we find and eventually live is uniquely ours, we might say that it’s also the collective treasury of truth forged by those who dared to step outside the bounds of conventional social life and into the dark forest of the soul’s interior, a treasury whose riches we claim when we walk the same wild path and embody its resonance.
So we can alter our morphic field through changing the thoughts, feelings, memories and experiences that we practice—through rewriting the information in the field. When we’ve changed the images in our field, the field then works on us, on our consciousness and on our experience, altering the way we perceive ourselves and the world.
I call this work of putting new images into our field and changing our morphic field for the better the work of soul-making. The more we evolve our own fields through soul-making, the more sensitively we can perceive and interact with the morphic fields (souls) of others. We become both highly receptive and highly influential.
As we make our souls into evolved fields, our genius is nurtured and our presence and everything we create becomes charged and capable of positively altering the fields of others. In this process, we become more essentially human—which is to say, paradoxically, more divine. As we become more essentially human, our field gains greater influence over other humans through morphic resonance because like affects like. We are able to affect others at a deeper level because we have become more active on the deeper level ourselves. This is what it means to be a great poet, a great maker.
We change our souls by using the power of our imaginations and as we do this our imagination becomes less the agent of our will and more the organ of a visionary perception. We become able to see and commune with the souls / morphic fields of plants, animals, other people, groups, gods. We become able to detect what Emerson called “the metamorphosis”—the spiritual flow of relationship, thought and evolution moving around and underneath the whole world of manifest form. The soul-maker poet is able to see the dance of spiritual forms which underlies and pervades all physical form. Because the poet has this spiritual perception, her mind is not stuck in the literal and the material. She can see the flow, the relationships, the energies and ideas underlying all things. Because she can see these relationships she can see the meaning of things, because nothing has meaning outside of its relationships. The poet is then able to express and communicate this astounding perception of the underlying flow to others through her use of language, action, presence and everything else.
To make our soul means first to come to understand that our soul, our field, is the source of everything we are, that our material fate is determined by it. We can then shift our focus from trying to control or resist external reality and instead focus on enlarging and purifying the images, feelings, memories and thoughts that shape our soul / field. As the images, feelings, and memories of our soul change, the soul then acts upon us and alters the form of our being. The soul evolves our spiritual organs, making us capable of visionary perception and beneficial influence upon the souls of others.
First we shape our souls through our deliberate choice of new thoughts, feelings, memories, experiences—through our spiritual practice and our decision to undergo the mythic journey. Then our soul, thus thus nurtured, takes over and works on us. It changes our perception, our circumstances, our abilities. It evolves us and makes us capable of evolving others.
In an important sense, our souls don’t belong merely to the physical bodies we currently inhabit. The field of energy, knowledge and feeling that we shape during this lifetime will continue after this body and this local personality have dissolved. Our souls are magnetic fields of organizing possibility. After this body fades, the magnetic energy field we’ve created in our souls will go on to call forth a new body and a new personality, this time differently shaped based on what we have succeeded in bringing into the field. Furthermore, because what we make of our own field affects the collective field, the collective soul of humanity benefits from our growth.
About Carolyn Elliott
Carolyn Elliott is an emergent leader in personal growth for the millennial generation.
Her book, Awesome Your Life is forthcoming this fall from a division of Hay House Press. Her primary passion in this world is waking herself and others up to love, truth, and beauty.