IF WE SAW SOULS INSTEAD OF BODIES is the title of an essay by author Brianna Wiest and appears in her book 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think. I quickly noted that the entire piece consisted of questions. Before reading further, I stared into the pine trees outside my window. Would my questions look much different from hers? Don’t we humans yearn for the same emotional comforts? I pulled a chair snug to my desk, closed my eyes and started typing. The following is my reflection.

If we saw souls instead of bodies, wouldn’t we see flares of colour—yellow for loneliness, orange for traumatized, blue for discouragement—as signs that we’re among people who understand our own isolation, wounds and hopelessness and mightn’t we reach out a hand to help and be helped? Are we so different from one another? If our souls were on our outsides shining the full spectrum of colour, couldn’t we lose sight of differences and love each other better?

Wouldn’t our built-in system of categorizing others change if we saw souls instead of bodies? How would we treat each other differently without defining-attributes or differing features that trigger assumptions about each other? Isn’t it time we eradicated beliefs formed by generations of colonialism?

How many ‘isms could we dispense with if we saw souls instead of bodies? Might the intolerant among us accept a gender non-conforming individual, value a person with differing abilities, or revere a silver-haired human for their lifetime of experience?

Who would be our new heroes if external beauty, youth and genetics were off the table? Would we redefine our value system to prize compassion, authenticity, and love? Could spiritual beauty of a soul become the new aspiration?

What would change in our lives if there was no fear of judgment of our physical form? How freeing would it be not to measure others and be measured?

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