After being on my mind for quite awhile, (especially since I began doing the Soul sessions) I sat down with this question the other day and gave it my full attention. What is the difference between our Soul and our Spirit?
First, and most important as a beginning, is this I think:
There are all kinds of ways to think about all sorts of things. Our world consists of a beautiful variety of cultures, philosophies, spiritualities, life focuses, paths and languages. Each culture, philosophy, or system has its own vocabulary or jargon that provides a frame of reference. For instance, the eskimos have many more words for ice & snow than we have in the English language. Their frame of reference around ice & snow is much more detailed than ours.
The word ‘Spirit’ for a metaphysician, will bring up different ideas than it would for a fundamentalist Baptist, because their frame of reference is different. So, it is important to remember that people’s frame of reference can vary greatly.
We are able to choose some of the frame of reference(s) with which we want to engage. We can even build our own frame of reference- what we believe, structures to express our creativity and ideas. You may choose that for you there is no difference between Soul and Spirit. Some may choose that the Soul or Spirit doesn’t exist. There is absolutely nothing wrong or not correct in that.
Frame of references usually provide value in some way. That is why we have them. Is there value in distinguishing a difference between the Soul and Spirit? Let’s see!
The Soul and Spirit as different vibrational aspects of ourselves.
If the Soul and Spirit are two aspects of ourselves, then what distinguishes one from the other, at the foundational level, is their vibration. A thing’s energetic vibration, whether it be physical matter, water, air, a chakra, or an organ, is a reflection of its qualities, purpose, or function and vice versa. This would hold true for the Spirit & Soul. Though they have distinctly (though perhaps subtly) different vibrations, they do intermingle and commune (see more on that below).
The Soul knows itself as experience.
The Soul has a history connected with physical realm experience, but experiences itself beyond concepts of past-present-future. It is non-linear. This is why traumas often continue to affect us as if they just happened yesterday. It’s also how our gifts & knowledge from pervious lifetimes can be immediately accessible (ever heard of the little boy who was a piano prodigy at age 6?)
Spirit is a vibrational aspect close to Source energy.
Our Spirit is an energy connected with high vibrational multidimensional energy realm realities. Our Spirit has the potential to know itself as Source, as Oneness, as that place from which all is birthed. Our Spirit carries Grace into our human experience, and assists.
If Soul is the horizontal axis of energy, Spirit is the vertical axis of energy.
The Soul axis involves connection with life- with others, the greater soul body of earth, the human Soul collective, and the physical universe, sensuality, experience at physical, mental and emotional levels.
The Spirit axis involves our connection to Source, our unique spiritual essence, the matrix of light-love-wisdom energy that exists at dimensions beyond the physical.
When these axis work together, spirit and matter commune. We experience synchronicity, flow and evolution.
The Soul is all our experiences, our joys, our wounds, life themes, archetypes, life history- in this life time and past lifetimes.
The Spirit is pure always and forever. It is our distilled essence. Our divine spark.
Spirit assists the Soul as inspiration.
An evolving Soul provides the opportunity for Spirit to embody more and more.
Soul is everywhere. Animals have a soul. The land on which you live has a soul.
There are larger overarching Souls such as the Soul of humanity, the Soul of the Earth, Soul families.
There is larger overarching Spirit. There are various levels within the Spiritual realm. Spirit is everywhere.
These were my thoughts, what came through from my meditation and contemplation of the subject. I’m still contemplating and looking at what I’ve wrote here with openness and curiousity.
Here’s what some others had to say:
Christian websites basically say: We were created with a Spirit, a Soul and a Body. The soul is attached to the earth, senses and feelings, which leave it always restless and disconnected from god. Through our spirit we connect with god, and therefore with things that are heavenly, and eternal, and we find peace.1
In ancient Egypt, they believed the soul was immortal and made up of nine aspects: Khat- the physical body, Ka-one’s astral self, Ba-soul that travel between realms, Shuyet-the shadow self which operated as a protective and guiding entity for the soul in the afterlife. Akh- spirit-union between ba & ka, Sahu- ghost or dreambody, Sechem- master of circumstances, Ab- the spiritual heart which reflected the person’s character, Ren- one’s secret name given to them by the gods at birth.2
The soul senses. The Spirit makes us more pliable and open.- Thomas Moore3
In Greek, the word for Spirit is pneuma and Soul is psuche. It’s interesting to me, the correlation of the breath with the word pneuma, and psyche= psuche. 4
“…according to Buddhist ideology, the you that you think of when you think of yourself -- the you reading this article right now -- doesn't really exist. Unlike almost every other religious faith or spiritual practice, in Buddhism, there is no concept of a "soul," eternal or otherwise. Instead, Buddhists believe that the soul, or "self" is only a temporary composite of matter, sensations, perceptions, thought and consciousness that dissipates and ceases to exist at death.”5
“Because Buddhism has its roots in Hinduism, the two religions share many of the same ideas. In Hinduism, however, the atman is an eternal self that exists in a continuous cycle of rebirth called samsara. The type of life one is born into -- animal or human, rich or poor -- is a direct result of the karma accumulated over previous lives. While Buddhists also believe in both karma and in reincarnation, they do not share the notion of the transmigration of the soul. In Buddhism, there is no such thing as a permanent, individual soul.”5
The Spirit~Soul Relationship
In response to some of the writings mentioned above on the Soul: I do not believe that the senses are bad or prevent us from spiritual growth. I believe the senses, when related to with respect, are a pathway through which Spirit enters, and one way we commune with Spirit.
Through sacred senses, and higher senses such as intuition, we commune with Spirit within ourselves, and our vibration is raised. We begin to merge heaven and earth. We become the vessel of Spirit.
Through practices, we have the opportunity to experience our Soul and our Spirit and bring them into relationship. By way of this immediate relationship, we have new experiences, fresh insights, personal growth and inspiration.
Some practices that potentially provide communion of Soul & Spirit are yoga, painting, drawing, dance, and meditation. Even viewing art, watching a phenomenal ballet, or artist in action, could bring a Soul-Spirit experience,
One of the reasons people come to me (or other practitioners) for sessions, I believe, is to touch into their Soul & Spirit. It’s a time and place where their human personality or life issues have a chance to commune with the Soul and the Soul to commune with the Spirit. Most people’s daily lives don’t provide time for Soul-Spirit, a session creates that time.
We traverse the dimensions of Spirit & Soul maybe more often than we realize though. When we realize this and take the opportunity, we expand our experience of who we are. It’s pleasurable. These dimensions come with qualities such as Joy, Unconditional Love, Synchronicity, Serenity, and Peace. You can turn a moment into a Spirit-Soul experience - usually by slowing down and becoming more present.
Finally in my exploration, I turned to John O’Donohue.
I wish I could personally thank the guy who 20+ years ago introduced me to O’Donohue’s work. Unfortunately, we didn’t keep in touch. O’Donohue has been such nourishment and inspiration for me. Much of his work tenderly gives us a touch into the soul. His approach is beautiful, and offers perspectives that are so needed in our world today. Just to briefly share some of what he says:
When the spiritual search is too intense and hungry, the soul stays hidden.6
Candlelight perception is the most respectful and appropriate form of light with which to approach the inner world. It does not force our tormented transparency upon the mystery. The glimpse is sufficient. Candlelight perception has the finesse and reverence appropriate to the mystery and autonomy of the soul. 7
All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. 8
…the soul holds the echo of a primal intimacy, a fountain of love…the wellspring of love within the heart… 9
To be holy is to be home, to be able to rest in the house of belonging that we call the soul.10
Everything is stored within your soul in the temple of memory. 11
The human deeply desires expression. One of the most beautiful ways the soul is present is through thought. Thoughts are the forms of the soul’s inner swiftness 12
Presence is the way a person’s individuality comes toward you. Presence is the soul texture of a person. 13
There are invitations to move out of that protective, controlling way of being toward an art of being that allows openness and hospitality. To practice this art of being is to come into your soul-rhythm. If you come into your soul-rhythm, then the final meeting with your physical death need not be threatening or destructive. The final meeting will be the encounter with your own deepest identity, namely, your soul. 14
So, as I came to the close of this exploration of the Sprit and Soul, this is where I landed. There is value in the contemplation, and also value in the mystery. Soul without a little mystery is no longer the Soul. There is a lot out there in our modern world geared towards providing concrete answers and solutions, but there is deep nourishment in a path that has no definitive end or answer.
I saw this quote on Facebook today, and feel it can apply to our spiritual exploration as well: (disclaimer…I use the word ‘hike’ a lot, but like what he says here.)
“Hiking, I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains- not hike! Do you know the origins of the word “saunter”? It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people use to go on pilgrimages to the Holy land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply. “A la sainte terre” “to the Holy Land”. And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers, or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”~ John Muir
I leave you now to saunter with Soul and Spirit. If you want to saunter together, join the conversation below or on my Facebook post HERE.
6. John O’Donohue, Anam Cara; pg 81
7. Ibid., pg 81
8. Ibid., pg 9
9. Ibid., pg 26
10. Ibid., pg 28
11. Ibid., pg 81
12. Ibid., pg 178
13. Ibid., pg 136
14. Ibid., pg 216