It’s hard to answer a question like this without regurgitating whatever we’ve been taught on such matters or spouting some reaction to such beliefs. What we really need to do is to rise above logical arguments and emotional reaction . . . but even those of us on a quest for truth and aware of the manipulations of our mind find that difficult! But we have to try:
I used to think that our DNA was the physical manifestation of our soul, that our genes were our unique material self corresponding to our true spiritual nature. I’m not so sure now.
Many theories about human souls see them as not just unique to each of us, but separate: that they come back in body after body in a series of linear lives. Whilst accepting that many religions hold such ideas firmly, I’ve never been too comfortable with it. I’ve always felt that ‘I’ came from ‘The Source’ and will return there when I die.
I would certainly agree that our soul is our divine essence, the ‘bit’ of us that lives on after death. Key here is that notion that this divine spark within us is part of ‘The One-ness’. Our soul is interconnected to absolutely every other bit of life, the universe and everything. This to me is the truth that rings most true: our inner being is not some separate thing: it’s but a drop in the ocean of life itself, a grain of sand on the beach of creation. This is vital in how I now perceive soul: as ‘soul’, not ‘a soul’. This distinction is small but significant.
Within religious circles there is often debate as to whether animals have souls. Personally I feel it’s typical human arrogance to think that it’s only humans who have this divine essence. Why should we be any different to the rest of God’s creations?
But it’s not just animals capable of (at least some) thought and feeling. Why should the line be drawn there? Since life just IS . . . and embraces all things, surely everything has soul? We, you and I, are as connected to the planet’s eco-system and our pet cats as we are to our best friend or lover . . . at the level of soul, spirit, universal energy of life .. . or whatever you want to call it.
Take this PC that I’m writing this message on. It most certainly has a mind of its own! How often does an electronic gadget seem to not work at critical moments? As I’ve become more aware of my own thoughts, at so many levels, and at how life responds to them, I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that God is continually using his/her presence in all things to give me messages. For example, to help me to not send e-mails when I’m not at peace with myself . . . to make me stop and calm down. I’m beginning to not just think but feel that absolutely everything is infused with soul, with God’s presence and through this we’re being guided and supported on our own soul’s growth.
So, that’s where I stand at present . . . though with the proviso that ‘soul’ is still only a word, a human concept. If is does exist, in whatever form, it just IS . . . so why don’t we just let it get on with being and stop trying to label and define it!
Keith Beasley, 23.1.08