soul and spirit


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Saw this thread in Christianity forum & wanted to respond with another view, (though, Thomas, found your detailed theological background quite interesting), but as it might not be seen as sufficently in tune with Chirsitanity & did not want to inadvertantly offend, put it over here, which might also allow for other diverse responses. I guess when it comes to these terms I tend to follow the Jungian notion of them. They, when theorizing, indicate their thepories attempt to understand the human, experiential aspect of such terms and are careful to point out they are not actuallly engaging in metaphysical speculation. In fact, one of the chief current Jungian thinkers on the subject, Lionel Corbett, put it this way: "Since the psyche is the essential medium for religious expereince, within the psychological approach to divinity any conceptual distinction between God and the psyche's expression of the divine is purely theoretical and of little practical significance...The religious approach to the psyche, (his forte), avoids all speculation about the essence of divinty beyond the psyche." His is a psychology of the immanence of spirituality.

At any rate, as to "spirit," Jungians would see that as the "transpersonal" level of mind, that which structures the world as we know it and transcends the "personal" sense of self. "Soul" is the aspect of the psyche that feels as if it as personal- as taking on personal significance when Spirit embodies or incarnates or moves through the personal level of psyche. Corbett has used the metaphors of Spirit being the film in a movie projector and soul is the mechanism which creates meaningful images from it-acts as linkage between the transpersonal level of Spirit & personal level of self. In essence soul to a Jungian would also be metaphorically like DNA to the body-it is the "blueprint" for how the Spirit is to manifest within and through us. To them "honoring the soul" would literally be tuning into and then embodying the inclinations of the soul.

Now my belief is a metaphysical extension of their thinking- DNA comes in many combinations of the human form, yet their seems to be an overall "oneness" to what is human. To me Spirit has that flavor yet to embody we honor how that Oneness manifest uniquely- the One & the Many. Corbett believes and I agree that experientially their is no One Truth which must be manifested but as many flavors of the One Truth as individuals, though there is one path, the path of honoring the soul we came into the world with. Of course, it can be quite confusing to distinguish what are soul urgings and what are simply the false self chattering away. For instance, my soul has been telling me lately I need to get out more & stop hanging around forums so much:p So, time for some balance. Take care, Earl
I'm not listening to my soul, am I?:rolleyes: Thought I'd tag a follow-up aspect of this onto the first post. OK, so what about "soul?" Words are lovely concepts that I think we sometimes use to alleviate Mystery rather than reveal it and can therefore obfuscate as well. I do believe in a "soul" function, but can't pin it down to a "thing." Fundamentally, to me soul is the conduit of revelation/"flow" of Spirit through to "me." The big mystery to me is who's "me?" Jungians talk about self, Self, soul, and spirit, but cannot definitively say who/what is the experiencer of all that. Interestingly, just as big of a mystery to non-theists such as Buddhists. Was a big topic of discussion at a large Buddhist cyber forum not long ago-"who/what becomes enlightened?" Buddhists like to use a word concept to believe they've "answered" that question, too, they talk about "mindstream." Hmmm, that explains it-not quite to me;) Theistically-inclined or not, think the words of both St. Francis of Asissi & Eckhart point to this central mystery:

St. F had said, "we are looking for what is looking." Eckhart said, "the eye which sees God is the eye with which God sees me; His eye & my eye are identical."

Sure, but "who" is seeing "whom?" We are left to live, look, & love; hopefully ever expanding in our ability to see more & love more of what we see whether we like what we're currently seeing or not; living out the Mystery. Other views expressed here most welcome! OK, now time to play, Earl
Lovely post, earl, and very close to how I think about the spirit and soul.

Based on my own experience, I generated my own ideas about the spirit and the soul that resonate with Jung's ideas, though I had not realized this until I read your post.

I'll preface my ideas by saying that I believe in reincarnation, but I do not believe it happens to everyone, or in the same way or for the same reasons for everyone. I don't have a mechanistic, animatistic view of the afterlife- I believe it is different for different people. My belief is theistic, with the concept that we are each created uniquely and thus are on different paths, though just as we are each unique biological creatures but may be similar in personality or gifts or purpose to another, so too we may be as spiritual creatures.

Based on my own experience and ponderings, I came to conclude that my spirit is my core, essential spiritual self. It is the original me, without any life experiences whatsoever, without incarnation. It was me as I was as a thought-creation of God, if that makes any sense. Difficult to explain, but something I've experienced in brief moments when all else fades away- all memory, all action, all thought into simply being in relation to the Being from which I was created. My overall sense, though it's highly likely I'm missing pieces from the puzzle, is that my spirit is what I was when I was first created before I had my first bodily form, and may be what I return to becoming when and if my cycle of incarnations is ever complete. There is a "me" there, but it is a "me" that is not very recognizable to the rest of me. Based on a mystic experience, I think of this "me"- the spirit- as one melody in a great symphony that is God. I was created with my own unique timing and sound and sequence, and therefore purpose in the Song of Creation, but it is only relevant in relation to the Song itself, and therefore what "I" am, in spirit, not very much about "me."

My soul, on the other hand, is what I think of as the amalgam of all my various lives experiences, actions, ponderings, memories, etc. It is all the layers upon layers that clothe my spirit, combined with the layers from this lifetime. Some of those layers I've consciously worked through, and others- no doubt- I'm completely unaware of. Some lives resulted in memories that I have a somewhat open door to, and others seem to be closed to my soul in its current form. My soul is experienced through my brain and body in this lifetime, as well as my cultural and religious background, and this contributes to the multi-layered effect, rendering understanding some memories and insights into my soul and spirit a bit difficult without significant thought and prayer.

So I see my spirit as the most essential "me"- what I was created to be in relation to the Creator and the rest of Creation.

I see my soul as the "me" that has emerged from my various choices, experiences, etc. in the lives I have led, including the limitations of my body and mind.

My personal take on it is that each spirit is unique, as is each soul. A lot of attachment to one's perceived "self" can freeze a person in their process of being and becoming, by keeping them tied to the particular perceptions of themselves from one lifetime (or several) without the openness to the idea that such things may be transitory. I do not think the process of incarnation and being is necessarily goal-oriented for all people- i.e., to exit the cycle of reincarnation or something. I'm more open to the idea that each spirit has its melody in the Song, its place in the dance of life, and for some this may be to always incarnate again- this may be their place and bring their spirit joy- while for others it may be a single life and an eternal afterlife, or for some a cycle of reincarnation with an end in nirvana/moksha, etc.
Hi Path! glad to see you doing well:) . i have no big opinions on this. i will be your spirit if you will be my soul. (or something like that)

do you believe in soulmates?
i think i have a few in my life.

I'm rather undecided about soulmates- depends on what one means by that. I think it is possible to find souls out there you've known before, which produces a very deep relationship. (And I mean relationship in the general sense, not romantic specifically.)

I think it's possible to be in a relationship with someone that was "supposed to be"- crucial for one's spiritual development. That could be a different type of soulmate.

Then there's folks with whom one just forges a very deep and meaningful relationship, for whatever reason, that become tied up in who you are.

But I'm not sure if I buy the romantic concept of soulmates- that there's some person out there specifically for another person. It seems a bit idealistic to me- setting oneself up for expectations that no person can reasonably meet.
Hmm.. I think I have notes on this topic somewhere. About "Mind, Soul, and Spirit"...
No wait, or maybe my notes were on "Body, Mind, and Spirit"... :confused:

Either way, it's all very interesting, as I recall.

Haha, I only have to find it now....