The first truth the soul understands is its individuality. We are all unique. Being an individual means one is the same. The initial paradox, the first obstacle to understanding a definition of the soul, is that we all share the distinction of being different. The second truth, accessible only after the individual senses its separateness from its mother, is the individual's universality. Protean and isolated organisms, all macrocosmic samples of a vast organism called humanity. Here comes everybody. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls ...
When you are young, nothing is more exhilarating than your own perceptions. And as you mature, nothing so encourages compassion and humility than the realization that your perceptions are universal. Your flaws, short of an actual derangement, are no worse than anyone else's. And no better. With the exercise of some discipline and willpower, you stand a good chance of being no worse than average. If circumstances and the route of your life do not present too many or too frequent threats to your well-being, you stand a chance of getting through the journey with any large freight of disgrace.
... in the middle of life, I found myself lost in a dark wood.
The first line of Dante's Inferno may express a universal human condition, for those inclined (or forced) to pull over at the scenic overlook of trauma to find directions to one's destination.
Where do you stand, at the moment? An absolutely unique individual? A man or woman like everyone else? Or are you still utterly without peer. living a life that defies comparison. The life of youth is a life of unchallenged supremacy. It will end.
the same in being