Our Essence and True Identity
Each of us has experienced moments of
heartfelt kindness, of courageous daring, of steady strength, of deep inner peace. These
are fleeting experiences of our soulour deepest essence, our highest selfwho
we truly are. When we experience an expanded sense of oneness with all life, when we
forgive someone who has harmed us, when we inspire others with clear insight, when we
courageously do what is right--but not popular--these are expressions of our soul. For the
soul embodies not just loving compassion, but also purposeful will and wise intelligence. Balanced love, light and will are the signatures
of the soul.
The soul is
essentially energy, and to study the soul is to study the science of energy.. In the
Ageless Wisdom of East and Westwhich is often called the golden thread
which connects the inner teachings of the worlds religions -- there is a science of
soul development, with detailed theories and techniques for integrating the soul with the
We are essentially
spiritual beings having a human experience, rather than the other way around. Although we might initially say that we
have a soul, it is more actually more accurate to say that we are a soul who
has a personality, and this self-centered personality is our instrument of
expression in the world. Until our
personality is more purified and invokes the souls help, it tries to run the show
and often creates a mess.
popular modern writers primarily see the soul as our deep unconscious, or as some fragile
thing that our personalities need to care for or well lose, the truth is actually
quite the opposite: it is our soul which cares for our personalityif it is invited.
The soul is referred
to in the Christian tradition as the Christ within, the inner divinity in each
person. The realm of the soul is called
the kingdom of God. In the Jewish tradition, the soul is sometimes referred to
as the vital principle. In the
Hindu tradition, its called the Atma or Self.In the Buddhist
tradition, it is the Buddha Mind,
the mind of enlightenment (bodhichitta). In ancient Greece, the temple of the
Oracle at Delphi proclaimed, Man, know thyself, and thou wilt know the universe and
the gods. As we know our soul, the microcosm, so we will understand the macrocosm.
We know that the
human body is the endpoint of the evolution of physical forms. But evolution doesnt end with the perfection
of forms. Consciousness continues to
evolve. Soul expression is essentially the
next evolutionary step in consciousness for humanity.
Poets and songwriters have eternally written about the longing for the soul
as if it were a distant love. But the soul is
closer than our heartbeat. Today, modern science is beginning to prove the existence of
the soul and its survival after the death of the body.
Link Between Spirit and Matter
According to the
Ageless Wisdom, the soul is essentially the connecting link or relationship between spirit
and matterbetween spirit and our human personality.
The soul is the mediating or bridging principle of consciousness. It is the attractive force that holds all forms
together so that the life of God may express through them.
The soul is technically a unit of light colored by a particular ray
vibration. The soul is anchored in two places
in the body: whats called the
consciousness thread is anchored in the top of the head, and the life
thread is anchored in the heart. We can
sense the presence of the soul most easily in our hearts or at the top of our heads.
In the souls
experience, all of life is connected to each
other in a seamless web. The soul reveals
that we are not separate from each other or from all life, whether visible and invisible.
To experience the soul is to experience a deep sense of oneness with all that isa
profound sense of inspiration and joy.
The soul is
essentially the observer or witness, the higher part of us that watches our personality
life with detachment. The soul, working with
the Law of Karma, or cause and effect, draws to us experiences and lessons for our
spiritual growth as we are ready for them. Crisis
such as an illness or accident may be a calling card from our soul, suggesting we need to
do some deep reflection on our life, our purpose and where we are heading.
Qualities of the Soul
The soul expresses
the good, the beautiful and the true. The
only difference between a saint or master and the rest of us is that a saint or master
expresses his/her soul all the time, while most of us express our soul only occasionally.
Being in soul
consciousness is experiencing a sense of timelessness, of being in the eternal now. This is what the Christians call practicing
the presence of God. We feel expansive
and liberated-- the sense of pure being, without having to do anything to gain the
approval of others. In soul consciousness, we
often help and heal others just through the quality of being that we radiatethe
quality of joy, grace and inner peace.
Our soul is aware of
the Divine Plan for humanity, and strives to contribute to that larger purpose. For example, our soul realizes that peace on earth
is part of this Plan, so we find a way to resolve personal conflicts and conflicts in our
family and local community and eventually among the community of nations. Since the Plan includes the full expression and
self-realization of everyone on earth, we commit ourselves to helping others grow and
The soul is the
source of the clearest and best guidance for our lives, and through meditation and prayer
we can ask our soul for help in making important decisions.
cause of all our restless searching is actually the soul within us, as it constantly
pushes us towards spiritual growth. Once
weve fulfilled a desire or achieved something, we soon are restless again, as the
soul pushes us towards our next step in spiritual
growth and development.
Integrating the Physical,
Emotional and Mental Bodies
According to the
Ageless Wisdom, each human is a multi-dimensional being with layered levels of
simultaneous functioning in the physical and spiritual worlds. Our personality is a composite of three different
interpenetrating bodies, composed of various types of energy: the physical/etheric body,
the emotional body and the lower mental body. When
these three are integrated together and moving in the same direction, they create a unique
personality which then can be integrated with the soul.
If our personality isnt integrated--if the emotions are going in one
direction and the mind or the body in another direction-- then our personality is divided
and the soul cannot work effectively through the personality as its instrument.
Our personality dies
with our body, but our soul is timeless. It soon reincarnates into a new body, bringing
with it the strengths and weaknesses developed by the personality in previous lives, as
well as new lessons for the personality to learn, as it works towards integration.
The Limited Personality
When the personality
is integrated, but not illumined by the light of the soul, it can be very unhappy. The
darkness of a self-centered personality often weaves such a smothering veil over our eyes
that we see only the material world of physical forms. We constantly desire more and more
of everything to fill that gnawing, empty space inside us.
Our ego-driven personality can be like a black hole, an insatiable black
hole that obsessively consumes everything in its path to fill its emptiness. Our personality is always graspingthings,
But fortunately, we
are more than this gnawing holewe are in essence the soul, the creator and generator
of light and joy. The renewal of interest in the inner life of the soul is the necessary
antidote to the toxic consumerist materialism that has poisoned so many peoples
Until a personality
has exhausted its obsession with running the show, the soul isnt given the space to
express itself. The personality can be very
threatened by the soul, because the personality has controlled a persons life for so
long and doesnt want to give up control. There
is always a stage in the process of spiritual development where a battle for control is
waged between the soul and the personality. One
minute, a person may be expressing the altruism of their soul, and the next minute,
retreat to a cynical self-centeredness.
This battle goes
back and forth, until a person has clearly experienced the difference between personality
separateness and soul unity, and is drawn to regular spiritual practices, such as
meditation, study and service. The
personality then cooperates with the soul and the two begin to work together. The personality eventually becomes soul-infused
and the souls instrument of expression in the world.
The Struggle Between Personality and Soul
How can we tell the
difference between when were in expanded soul consciousness and when were in a
more limited personality consciousness? The
first sign of the presence of the soul in a person is the spirit of service and the sense
of responsibility for oneself and for others. A
soul-infused person doesnt play the victim, but rather works to change his or her
consciousness to create better experiences and outcomes.
personality only thinks of itself and its own needslooking out for number
one. The soul is identified with others
and is group conscious. When we are in soul
consciousness, we experience our greatest joy in serving others. The soul is by nature
group conscious and fundamentally concerned with what is occurring for the whole, not just
for ourselves as individuals. In our deepest essence we are one with the whole. The outstanding characteristic of the soul is the
urge to service.
The personality feels separate; the soul experiences a
sense of connection to everyone and everything and is identified with the whole. The
personality is always taking, its primarily a consumer. The soul is a creator. The
personality acquires; the soul shares.
The personality is obsessed with competing; the soul
cooperates. The personality expresses
self-will; the soul expresses Gods will. The
personality is often aimless, obsessed with its latest desires. The soul has a clear sense of meaning and purpose.
How to Invoke the Soul
Inner work and practice can help us build whats
called the Rainbow Bridge (or antahkaranah in the Eastern teachings) between
our personality and soul. A regular practice of meditation can help us reflect on, and
identify with, the qualities of the soul.
We can begin our meditation by visualizing the
emotional energy in our solar plexus center rising up to the heart with each breath we
take, and being transmuted into universal love. From
the heart, we can visualize the energy moving up the head, where we dedicate this energy
in service to others. Then as we exhale, we
visualize it being radiated out through the throat. This sequence is visualized several
times, and then we affirm ourselves as the soul and its qualities of love, light and will.
We can visualize the Master in the Heartan image
of our own soul, either as a symbol, such as a star or a flame, or personified as the
Presence of God within.
We can also experience soul consciousness by honoring
it in others. The Hindu practice of the
Namaste greeting of bowing to the Divinity in people, helps remind us that we
all contain this Divine spark.
We can dialogue with our soul in a daily evening
review, looking back over our thoughts and actions, beginning with the most recent hour
and looking back until the beginning of the day. We
can honestly examine our motives for doing something and work to purify them. In difficult
relationships or situations, we can ask ourselves, What is the lesson I am learning
in this? What do I need to see more clearly? How
can I develop more detachment from this?
We can act as if we are already embodying
the soul, as this acting will help it become a reality.
We can practice harmlessness in thought, word, and deed, as this simple
awareness is a most powerful practice.
We can focus on thinking positively, as energy follows
thought. Look for the good, the beautiful and
the true in everything. Look into the essence
of things, not just their outer form. The
Agni Yoga teachings suggest, Behold as under a magnifying glass the good, and
belittle the signs of evil tenfold, lest thou remain as before.
we are in essence the soul, the Divine light within, our purpose and work becomes
clearerto shine light into the world and to relieve suffering, darkness and
ignorance. By radiating the light of love,
illumination and purpose, we help create a new heaven on earth.