The Spirit And The Soul Are Not the Same Thing – here is more about Why.
Thomas Moore had some great things to say about the difference between the human soul and the human spirit in his interview with Oprah http://huff.to/1RZGoFS. He spoke about the movement of the spirit and the attachment of the soul. This is a great way of distinguishing our experience of soul and spirit. Why would we want to do that you might ask? One great reason is to have more control of ourselves and our life.
While we all desire attachment we also know that it can be painful; we also know the feeling of freedom that comes with movement. Obviously if we understand more about why we feel attached and how we can feel free, life will be much more enjoyable. Although, the feeling of attachment, as Thomas says, gives us a sense of where we belong, of our family, friends, and colleagues. At the same time, we must admit that if we are too attached to things this is where the pain comes in. This happens if we become too attached to an idea that doesn’t work, or a person who has outgrown us. Then we have to go through a stressful separation. We can relieve this stress through the movement of our spirit. We do this by seeing the possibility of a new idea, a new friend, or a new opportunity.
In the ancient Greek language used to write the New Testament the word used for spirit is pneuma and can be translated as breath, wind, life or spirit. The word for soul is psuche translated as heart, life, mind or soul. Psuche or Psyche is the word from which psychology is derived. This takes on more meaning if we consider that our spirit and soul are expressed through our body, bios; our biology. Compare this to a motor vehicle; the driver is the spirit, the engine and mechanics is the soul, all working through the body of the vehicle. By stopping to think about this we will admit that most of the time we think of ourselves as the body and ignore the soul and spirit.
How can we be more aware of our soul and spirit? The best place to start is to think about how we connect to the outside world. It is through our senses that the outside world enters into us. All that we see, hear and feel enters into our soul where we make sense of these outer impulses. If the impulse is familiar, we quickly work out what it is, but if we see or hear something for the first time, it can take some time to figure out what it is.
A good illustration of this is told about Charles Darwin’s voyage to South America. They anchored the ship, the Beagle, and went ashore. It was a large ship, larger than the natives had ever experienced before. A sailor asked a native what he thought about his ship and the native replied through the interpreter, “What ship? All I see is a large bird out on the water.”
In our soul, our psyche, there are three basic functions; feeling, thinking and action. We use these three functions to make sense of the impulses we receive. This makes up the activity of our soul. As Thomas Moore says, we do this with attachment. We all have certain feelings and thoughts about things, and we have particular patterns of behaviour. We see this in our friends and family. “Oh Dad won’t like that.” Or “What will Mum think of that?”
If Mum and Dad can overcome their initial reaction, we can say that they detach from their habitual response because there is movement in their spirit as they accept their children’s behaviour. The movement of our spirit is the way in which we are open to the future. The spirit moves in our soul making it more mobile and pliable. Through our spirit, we can change, released from past patterns that hold us back. Those who allow this movement of the spirit within their soul are usually more content with life, more inspiring, accepting change and changing themselves to meet the future.