There is great confusion between soul and spirit in our language today. Unless we clearly understand the difference between the two we will never understand either one of them.
George Kuhlewind in his book “The Gentle Will” describes spirit as “matter-free and meaningful.” Then he points out that meanings are matter free and therefore they are spiritual. He connects this with understanding, which must include the one who is doing the understanding.
What is it within the human being that “makes and understands meanings”? To answer this we need to understand the difference between making a meaning and instinctive response. Think about it this way. Rationality is a human activity, while instincts, imitation, and habits belong to the animal kingdom. This means that when a human being operates instinctively or habitually their lowered consciousness aligns with the animal kingdom. I have written about this often and it is something to deeply consider. Our task is to rise above this condition of consciousness in which we find ourselves far too often, and until we do, we cannot be truly human. See post about the difference between humans and animals
What is it that makes and understands meanings? It is that part of the human we refer to as ‘I’, the human spirit. The more consciously aware we are, the more connected we are with our human spirit. So where does the soul come in? This ‘I’ expresses itself in our soul through our feeling, thinking and will. The stronger the connection of our ‘I’ in our soul, the gentler is our will. Kuhlewind’s book explains this at length. See post about hard will and gentle will.
When seen in this way there can be no confusion between soul and spirit. We could say that spirit is a precursor to the soul. As something spiritual approaches matter it becomes soul. Taking the idea of love we could say when love is understood by the one who is understanding it, they will want to express it. This expression will take place in the soul in three ways; it will be a thought, then a feeling and then an action. In this way the spirit can use the body via the soul to give a kiss, a hug, do a good deed or some other expression of love.
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