The Flowers of Our Souls

Mark J. Janssen
3 min readOct 5, 2023

How spiritually alive do you want to be?

It’s not the books we read — or write — that make us spiritual giants. If that were the case, imagine if we looked at the spirituality in the books of Elmore Leonard or John le Carre. Both wrote wonderful novels. I greatly admire their dexterity not only with their genres, but how well they wrote about their topics. Their capacities to mold and manipulate the English and American English languages is truly stunning. Each, in his own way, challenged us. They dared us to look inward to see the beauty and the ugliness there as well as in the world outside.

To look at our interior ugliness, our spiritual garbage heap, is far more challenging than it is to see it in other people in the world around us. It’s easy enough to see the belching smoke stacks of others’ souls. But us? Aren’t we supposed to be pluperfect? The clearest path to examining our answer is through our own unworldly lives.

Having a fancy title and a corner office in some charitable organization or another does not necessarily make one spiritually alive. My personal experience from having been in that position was that I, like almost everyone else I’ve observed who’s held such a position, is that we can easily feel cornered in the corner office. The expectations of others all too quickly become overwhelming. We swiftly find ourselves in the position of feeling that we have to do more work. We have to work harder and faster. We have to do better and be better than any human being possibly could be or ever has been. We concentrate more time on the business of the world’s business than on the business of human souls. When I was working in the fancy office with the fancy title I had nearly no time for the reason I was there in the first place — to pray and meditate. On a day when I decided I was fed up with being in the office and went to communal prayer, I was met with an anxious crowd asking who was running the place if I was praying.

God, I assured them.

It’s far from being how often or how long we pray or meditate that brings our souls to life. Why do we meditate? Why do we pray, for that matter? What’s the point of it all?

Do we meditate and pray to gain mystical brownie points?

It’s not enough.

It will never be enough.

We can look outside of ourselves to see other people whose spiritual lives appear to be dry as the desert. If we don’t feel…

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Mark J. Janssen

Mark Janssen is a spiritual warrior, mystic and author. His writes a weekly blog. His memoir “Reach for the Stars” is available online and in bookstores.