The Neglect of the Soul by Branka Čubrilo

 The Neglect of the Soul by Branka Čubrilo

I write about the human soul, my favorite and the most explored topic in my books and tales. Why? Because I believe that the greatest malady of our time, implicated in all of our troubles is – the neglect of the soul. We are here to expand awareness and to express and experience our soul and when we neglect the soul it appears as loss of meaning. Does the soul exist and what is the soul? I have explored those questions in my book of memoirs, The Mosaic of the Broken Soul. These are questions one surely asks at some point in their lives, usually in times of crises brought about by the soul itself. A crises may appear as depression in order for the soul to learn from it, in order to understand what qualities the soul needs.

By the time of Socrates’ death, the soul was thought and spoken of as the distinguishing mark of all living things, as something that is the subject of emotional states and that is responsible for planning and thinking, a bearer of noble virtues such as justice and courage, for example.

I can say that from a tender age I tried to figure out what my life was about, trying to figure out why I was placed here, all in an attempt that I could give meaning to my deeds and my desires. I couldn’t understand why my friends were not concerned with such questions because, I thought - If you are not going to figure it out for yourself, if you don’t develop your own philosophy, then some authority will figure it out for you or will force onto you their philosophy, which could bear serious consequences for your development or for the development of your soul.

“All my life I have been searching for answers. Everything had to have an answer, just as when little kids ask why the sun is setting and where it goes when the moon comes out.

Why did I cross the big waters? What was I expecting to find in the vast emptiness? It only imprinted itself into my soul, or left my soul unimpressed or betrayed. What am I supposed to do with all my questions? Shall I hang them here, on the beach poles, and wait for the next morning to find maybe somebody has answered them or somebody has stolen them? If they were answered, would it be that I would be the same old self? Or if they were stolen, I might be freed from me? I’d be free to dance the flamenco without inhibitions, because my questions make my legs numb while they are trying to catch the rhythm. The rhythm of my thoughts (questions) and the rhythm of flamenco are in disharmony. How can I learn to dance without thinking, just let myself dance and follow the natural rhythm, let myself enjoy my body, the vibes which are penetrating into me and threatening to take me to an unknown land? Fear of the unknown is within me. What would I meet there? To whom does it belong? Is it mine or have I inherited it from my ancestors or even from some other lives I have lived, who knows when and who knows where? Do my questions make me who I am? And if I just change them, do I change again who I am? And what about those who do not have any questions? Are they alive at all, or do they have any reason to be here if their questions have been answered? The universe continued unchanged regardless if the answers were given or not.”

(An excerpt from The Mosaic of the Broken Soul).

So far, it has been very obvious that money and material things will not solve our problems; or the world’s big problems with this relentless pursuit of money and material things could be the major cause of the world’s ills. The relentless pursuit of money results only in impoverishment of the soul as when soul-neglect happens. We suffer a wide range of problems, as it seems we have developed into creatures that value money more than the soul. We tend to believe that the problems of our time have a material solution that can be solved with money, rather than by the spiritual solutions, which we can address acknowledging the existence of our soul and finding ways of connecting and caring for it. How can one care for their soul? Soul care is an art that demands us to observe our soul’s needs continually giving them our undivided attention.

We live in the time of materialism and consumerism, in a world where what matters most is economic growth, and if this is the central purpose of the modern world, then we have found ourselves in really big trouble, trouble called Soul Malady caused by lost values and a shift in ethical/moral standards. Why so? Because the purpose of economic growth has no soul in itself, hence it can’t reflect our humanity. And when did this happen? When did this dehumanizing process sneak into our culture almost unnoticed, this horrendous phenomenon, where we care more about economic growth than we care about the human soul? Like boats without anchors, humans float unaware of their souls.

My aim for my reader is the rediscovery of spirituality and awakening awareness of the soul, for absence of spirituality deprives the soul of important symbolic and reflective experiences.

“When we claim that we lost ourselves does that mean that we have lost our very soul? And what is the soul and what is the self? Are they the same, inseparable like a canvas and the paint? Is it so that the beginning of one is the end of the other? Or are they interwoven so finely that no scientist can separate them, no mystic can define them, and no fool can find the words to say which one is hurting? Is this grand malady of mine, and my fellow humans who walk unnoticed with me, simply the loss of soul? And how can one retrieve the lost soul? Do you simply call for it; are there secret rituals for it so you can be initiated in this fine craft of finding it? Can it be the same, the loss of soul and loss of meaning? Which one led the way, and which blindly followed? Does the soul prefer to be unanswered? Is it just a tiny voice that can tell you how to separate good from evil? Which tells you which way to take when in confusion? When it goes, the voice, where has it gone?

Where does the soul live? Between understanding and unconsciousness? Is it married to imagination? Oh, sweet lovers, they cannot be separated! It uses the body to live in it and the mind to wonder but its instrument is neither the body nor the mind.

If I say ‘my soul’, does it really belong to me?

One more question before I go: Pain, loss, sadness, frustration, looking for meaning and personal substance, are they the gifts so that we can come face to face with the grand invisible?”

(The Mosaic of the Broken Soul).

Giving more importance to material things and money whilst neglecting the voice of our own soul (that is often known and referred to as the ‘inner voice’) may turn out to be the roadmap to nowhere as our politics, our education, and our culture are anchored in material values for which the whole planet and its inhabitants are paying an enormous price. When we pay attention to our soul and when communication unfolds, we become more willing to look ourselves right in the eye and then we will gain more understanding about who we really are and what is our purpose in this world. In the same way our body needs food in order to function optimally our soul needs food in the form of acknowledgment, intense observation and due care through spiritual life, whilst reading spiritual books and poetry brings awareness, growth and insight.

The soul is after insight.

Fascinating! So much to think about here! Thank you for stopping by to give us a glimpse into the human soul and how to get back in touch with our true selves, Branka!  :)

Readers, let's take a look at one of Branka Čubrilo's books, a memoir collection titled The Mosaic of the Broken Soul


Here is the blurb.


She called the lump in Her breast ‘a black pearl’, She called her Mother to nurse Her in the darkest hours, She called memories of the three men She loved at different times of Her life to draw the parallels between seemingly similar situations of betrayal. Who is going to betray Her, who is going to stay...?

She struggles with the meaning of life trying to find it through themes of motherhood, friendship, betrayal, displacement, illness, pain, grief and loss.

She traveled to Andalucia, London, The Isle of Man, where She met colorful characters believing that the unknown can reverse the fragmentation and change reality, believing that all the little broken selves can once again bring the broken pieces into a cohesive mosaic.


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Readers, don't forget to pick up your copy of The Mosaic of the Broken Soul!



Guest Blogger Bio


At the age of eighteen Branka Cubrilo wrote her first novel, I Knew Jane Eyre, which won the Yugoslavian Young Writers Award in 1982. Soon after she wrote a sequel called Looking for Jane Eyre. In 1999 Branka published the book Fiume Corre – Rijeka Tece, a year later Requiem for Barbara, and in 2001 Little Lies – Big Lies (as a part of a trilogy called Spanish Stories for which she obtained a scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to research the cultural and historical settings of Cadiz in Andalusia). The Lonely Poet and Other Stories is Branka’s third book published in English by Speaking Volumes, following her earlier novels The Mosaic of the Broken Soul (2011) and Fiume – The Lost River (2014). Branka’s latest novel, Dethroned, will be published with the same publisher in 2017. Branka has been living in Sydney with her daughter Althea since 1992. Now she predominantly writes in English and translates her earlier works in English. Praise for Branka Cubrilo 5-Star Reviews on  

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