When a human soul is encased within a human body, we call that entity a man, or a woman. When that same soul is encased within a spiritual body, we call that entity a spirit. Note that under this definition, a spirit is not the same thing as a soul. The soul is the essential element that lives within both the material and spiritual bodies. The bodies themselves are simply means to an end. They are more like specialized clothing that allow the soul to operate in either a physical or a spiritual environment.
I define a soul as a “naked consciousness” unencumbered by a body of any kind. The term “encumbered” means “to limit”. Matter limits and confines consciousness so it can learn the lessons of cause and effect. Our world of matter is only one of God’s many “realities”. It was created specifically as a crutch to allow preexisting conscious entities like us to evolve in a material container which limits our natural freedom of movement while still allowing us the full use of our free will to make decisions. As you will come to understand, free will is the most important single element of both the material and spiritual worlds, and it is the reason we were created in the first place. It is also the reason that our existence here seems so uncertain.
The material world is a little like an enclosed kindergarten with lots of kids and four secure walls. The walls limit the children’s movements while at the same time forcing them to interact with each other and with their enclosed environment. Thus the children all learn the lessons that they need in order to begin the process of growing up. The material world is just a big school for newly hatched souls.
But naked souls cannot interact with matter. The world of matter is as alien to a naked soul as the surface of the moon is to a naked human being. That’s why we have material bodies. Our bodies act as exquisitely well-tailored spacesuits that allow our souls to explore and interact in this alien world of matter. The human brain is just the telemetry system that allows our souls to communicate with our bodies so that we can experience and manipulate matter… and each other. The brain simply channels the human soul in much the same way that the Mars rovers communicate with the engineers in Goldstone California.
The term “soul” should hold no mystery. It’s your consciousness. Granted…It’s limited by the mechanism of your brain and the materiality of the world in which you live, but for all practical purposes, your mind is really a limited version of your soul. It’s the “you” that appears to live in your head. It’s the part of you that makes you self-aware. If you are reading this book, your soul is reading it. If you have a physical body, your soul animates it, lives its life and experiences its triumphs and defeats.
Your soul is not the same from day to day. It is constantly evolving and growing. That is the reason you are here. If you doubt that you are not the same person today that you were yesterday, think back to when you were twelve. Are you the same person now that you were then? If not, when did the big change take place? The answer is that there was never a big change. You changed just a bit each day. You just never realized the extent of your progress because the changes were so gradual. That’s called “evolution” of the soul.
When you die, your soul will at first occupy a spiritual body because a soul recently released from its physical body would be disoriented without one. The possession of a spiritual body makes the transition to Spirit easier and allows your soul to continue its gradual evolution, just as it did while occupying your physical body.
As you progress in Spirit, your soul slowly learns that it doesn’t need a body at all, and begins to discard the parts of the spiritual body for which it no longer has use. Indeed, it will eventually discard all form. It will once again become a naked spark of consciousness and once again, (sooner or later) it will join God’s great consciousness. Only, this time, when it finally returns, its spark will have ignited into an inferno! That’s the point of experiencing all of those triumphs and defeats.
The soul’s consciousness is a great deal larger than the corresponding human mind. The brain is simply a material device that limits the soul’s consciousness, just as the world of matter limits the soul’s freedom of action. We know this because very little escapes your subconscious while quite a lot escapes your awareness.
A person under hypnosis can recall huge amounts of information unavailable to the conscious mind. The brain narrows the focus of attention and excludes factors irrelevant to survival while the full consciousness secretly records all peripheral detail. This is the reason that witnesses to crimes are sometimes hypnotized in order to recall details of the scene to help police.
In addition, experiments conducted in 1886 by the French psychiatrist Pierre Janet and later repeated and elaborated in the 1930s by Leonid Vasiliev have shown that a person in a state of hypnosis exhibits enlarged psi facilities. Hypnotized persons tend to perform better in laboratory tests of clairvoyance, telepathy, and precognition. The reason for this is that the cognitive functions of the left hemisphere of the brain is placed in a state of quiescence when a person is hypnotized allowing the “naked consciousness” more room to operate openly. Psi (the collective name for psychic faculties) is a normal function of an unencumbered mind.
Whether a soul occupies a physical body or a spiritual body, it remains a soul; a piece of God’s consciousness.