Some thoughts on Soul


 

I received these questions recently and there is no way I can answer with simple yes/no responses. So here are the questions and a more detailed response.

“I had a conversation with a couple of friends last night. The question came up ‘can a baby be born and the soul of the baby enter months later or do all babies come with a soul?’ I know a soul can enter prior to birth and I know a soul can leave the body prior to death. So I’m curious if there can be a physical birth and the soul enter later? and if so if there would be a time period a physical body could live without a soul and if so what would be the purpose.”

My response:

We cannot rightly say that there is a relationship between body and soul because relationship requires at least two entities. So the first thing we need to recognize is that our ideas and beliefs about boundaries and separations, though convenient and even necessary for life as a human, are specific to certain ranges of awareness. We could also say that those ideas are specific to certain levels of development, but then we must remember that the idea of development depends on the idea of time and movement through it. And as we have discussed many times, time is a convention, once again convenient and even necessary to the human experience, but a convention nonetheless. To be clear, a convention is “a way in which something is usually done, especially within a particular area of activity”. So we usually accept and operate according to ideas of separation and time, but they remain conventions. However, in order to provide an even semi-coherent response to the questions posed, I will depend on our shared use of those conventions. Consider this paragraph the warning label on the bottle.

I will begin by reminding us all that what exists is “What Is”. All One. Just as we think of our body as one entity even though we know it is made up of many organs that are made up of many cells that are made up of many molecules, and etc. To avoid constantly repeating such things, let me just tell you a story.

When an aspect of consciousness, call it a soul chooses to participate in the human experience that aspect has purpose(s). The possible reasons for such a choice are probably near infinite and can range from “It seems like fun and I want to play” to “There are things that are very important to me that I want to understand more fully or that I am curious about” to “There are other souls, incarnate or incarnating, with whom I wish to share experience”. The reasons, and thus the intentions, may be simple or complex, few or many.

But to fully participate in the human experience, the soul needs a human body. This is not a simple matter of jumping into a fetus or an infant because the human parents of the fetus or infant must be considered. No one can be compelled to participate in an experience to which they don’t acquiesce. Already existing relationships between the soul and the already incarnated family have resulted in an agreement about the incarnation of this soul into the family. (It is possible that the relationships are newly formed at this time, but always there is an agreement about what is to come.) All concerned parties have a say about all aspects of the coming addition to the family, the circumstances involved in pregnancy and birth, and frequently circumstances governing the life of this soul. The soul started this journey with purposes in mind, so the choice of family will depend heavily on those purposes, though the purposes of other family members will also be deeply considered and “discussed’. No one is left out of the equation. Such arrangements are mostly made “before” any of the players incarnate, e.g. outside of time. But even if arrangements are made “later” the arrangements still occur at the level of soul and frequently are not recognized by the conscious mind of the incarnate human.

The body, all bodies, are made of God stuff since that is all there is. But lets call it soul stuff in this story. Desire and intention are probably the most influential players in the formation of the body. But the formation of the body does not require the immediate presence of the soul. That is, the soul need not “inhabit” the body at any particular time and this includes any particular time after birth occurs. However, since the body is made of soul stuff, there is a relationship between the two. Most likely, the soul can come and go at will. Once a full commitment to this particular life has occurred, the soul and body “marry” in a more or less permanent condition. Or, if intentions have been met prior to birth and purposes fulfilled, there may be an abortion, spontaneous or otherwise, a miscarriage, stillbirth, or death of the infant shortly after birth.

But, anyone who has experienced astral projection or lucid dreaming knows quite well that consciousness does not depend on being in the physical body and/or that the physical body is not our only body. We know the physical body does not survive death but I trust you are firm believers in the continuation of individual consciousness after death. We don’t think or talk about it much, nor do religious or spiritual teachings address themselves much, to the issue of life before life, but this whole conversation is premised on the acceptance of such life before life. This is to say, individual consciousness exists both before and after the birth (beginning, more or less) or death (end, more or less) of a human life. These beginnings and endings, though they may seem quite real to us, are simply passages through connecting “doorways” between one range of experience and another.

It is important to note that the soul is not capable of incarnating fully as a human being. This is because the human condition is not encompassing enough to allow for the full expression of soulness or soul energy. So a very intimately connected aspect of soul continues to exist in non-human form when a soul incarnates, and this aspect continues its own exploration/expression. The energy and knowingness or wisdom of the discarnate soul is available to the incarnate human being. Think of this aspect of soul that does not (cannot) incarnate as you would think of the parent of a human child. Each is complete in its own being and follows its own path, but they are intimately related to one another and can call on one another for any number of resources if they so choose. In fact, each is an aspect of the other. It is good to remember that we contribute to the expansion of the soul, just as the soul contributes to our expansion.

And just as the anthropologists may claim that all humans are descendants of a single mother, all souls (and thus all humans) are descendants of the One God or What IS.
Thus we are all related, all aspects of each other, some seemingly more distantly related than others. You may think of your toes and your lungs as more distantly related than your lungs and your heart, but you don’t mistake the fact that they are related, aspects of the same body, the same self.

Another thing to consider is that What IS is not static. There is no ultimate state of perfection, and thus completion, and no ultimate state of enlightenment, human or otherwise. What IS is in a constant state of transformation. We may accurately enough think of this as infinite and uninterrupted creative expression/exploration. We are an aspect of What IS and thus engaged in the same movement of creative expression. This is true whether we recognize it or not, whether we like it or not, whether we resist it or not. Within the limits of the human condition and the world of our experience, we have only begun to tap the creative possibilities available to us. So even this story of soul and body and incarnation is subject to change, subject to new or currently unseen possibilities.

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It is not necessary, though it may be helpful, to consciously recognize or understand your purposes for being human. But if you look at the pattern of your life experience they may become evident. Most people will think of the recurrent problems or challenges they face/have faced and such experiences may certainly point to purposes, which might include learning and practicing different methods of coping or responding. Such methods could include simple acceptance or different ways of interpreting or different ways of perceiving...the possibilities are endless. Look at activities and involvements to which you are repeatedly drawn, even if they prove problematic to you. Look also at the areas of your experience that seem problem free and consider that enjoyment, relaxation, freedom from stress, are important not just for the respite and ease they might offer, but also as powerful lessons. Ask yourself how you are creating such successful and easy experience. Examine the difference in your thoughts and feelings between “successful” and “problematic” areas and thus how your outer behavior is different , what you do, how you talk about it to others, what assistance you seek if any, what you tell yourself about yourself and life in general in each of these areas. Find where your passions lead you and where your frustrations lead you. And remember we are in no way limited or defined by the purposes that led us to incarnate in the first place. A nearly infinite range of possible expressions, experiences, creative possibilities, explorations both inner and outer, are open to us as human beings.




Discussion:

With your teachings, I have discovered the infinite resources that we are able to tap into if we are open enough. The challenge for me is to keep the doors of perception open enough to remind me to stop closing up if fears come up. So, I work on the ridiculous fears and just realize that the big picture is without fear. I have seen a theme in my life and I am slowly trying to resolve an issue of alway feeling like I miss the "big events". A childhood dream haunted me of everyone going on a trolley car ride but me. Slowly, I am learning to just realize that I am always where I am supposed to be. I do feel the people around me are there for many reasons that as a human, I cannot know. Lately, when my life gets extremely busy, I find myself relaxing into the warp and woof of this reality and everything seems clearer. It is letting go of the time constraints and enjoying the flavor of the events in fullness. I look at the people and feel as if we are actors in a magnificent play. This teaching is very helpful for me and although in our limited awareness as humans, it is difficult to comprehend an identity outside of time/space. Your words allow me to absorb that which I could not even put into words and I thank you!
I do enjoy your descriptions. It is not just a magnificent play but plain magnificent play. Just as during watching a good film we can feel sad, afraid, exhilarated, a whole host of emotions, but remind ourselves at any moment "it's only a movie", when we become fearful or notice that the "doors of perception" are closing, we can remind ourselves "this is just play". To live in the moment is to appreciate the moment and that's the only big event there really is. As you say, you are always where you are supposed to be. And that is always in the heart of our own creations.
Thank you! You always put it all in perspective~!
Barbara and all, When I started to read this article, and began to recall the journey of soul you described, one I've heard and repeated to myself and others, there was a feeling of both recognition and great comfort. I am so grateful to be reminded that the journey is not linear, not about achieving or accomplishing. It's not about something I need to get right or figured out, once and for all. And, that the process doesn't begin and end with this lifetime. Good to hear it isn't up to "me" (little me in this lifetime) to have created the goals of my being here (written the business plan). Good to be reminded that it is creative exploration, letting the ball of string (rubber bands?) unwind with guidance and intention, but also with curiosity. It may even be a winding up of the ball, or a messy knotting or maybe a weaving of the strands. Though I feel it in myself as an unwinding. And, while recognizing all the above, I also acknowledge my desire to "know" I've done the things I've set out to do, to be able to see the scorecard now and then, and especially at the end of this lifetime. I am still feeling pulled toward some sort of linear thing, while at the same time I am comforted knowing it's mind-made. So, I move like this, back and forth between remembering how things really are (being awake) and falling back into scared, overwhelmed, too-muchness and trying to control it all (my version of being asleep). At any rate, it seems that the key is paying attention, learning to love, understand, and even engage the process, and trusting that it is a benevolent unfolding at it's core and that there is a lot of support, tangible and not. When I am in the flow of remembering this (awake), all life feels relaxed, anything possible. When I forget (asleep, more often), I am tight and plotting. I also appreciate the important last paragraph, the clue to the puzzle of this in terms of inspecting your life by finding out what's working and how. QUESTION #1: Is this dance of being awake and asleep part of the process of creativity, on the way to navigating soul-ness and human-ness? Will these states begin to co-occur more often, meld into each other, become unified? How to strengthen or accelerate the process? QUESTIONS #2: What about Karma? Do we need to worry about the past and karma? Isn't simply leading a good life and doing this with as much clarity and openness enough? I find myself overwhelmed at adding in the concept of "undoing, paying for, or creating karma". It feels like adding a spiritual linear-ness, an accounting concept or scorecard to the idea of creative expression and unfolding....or maybe this is the "scorecard" system I was desiring above in spiritual terms, laid out over lifetimes? Confusing. I have pulled out two of the most significant (to me anyway) pieces of your article that seem the most mysterious (non-linear) and maybe have to do with my questions: "It is good to remember that we contribute to the expansion of the soul, just as the soul contributes to our expansion." "Thus we are all related, all aspects of each other...infinite and uninterrupted creative expression/exploration...engaged in the same movement of creative expression." (three pieces of two related paragraphs.) Welcome your feedback, Barbara, and thanks so much for the article. I find myself anticipating your message will be different and am delighted when it is not.

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