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..:: The Soul ::..


Alan Schneider


         What is the Soul? As a starting point, we can say that the Soul is personal and individually expressed in each separate entity knowable in the biological world. This characterization pertains to both plant and animal life, down to the most diminutive level – even algae, bacteria, and viruses have Soul manifestation, albeit this manifestation is notably collective in nature, reflecting the subtle identity and vibration of the colony more than the individual. So, we can say that the Soul also has a collective aspect. 

            The Soul in the plant kingdom is sensed at a very subtle level – the plant Soul is quiet in the extreme, but plants can still express their level of consciousness to us as a harmonic tone audible to the most sensitive observers. Animals have Souls exhibiting various degrees of development as well. The recognition of the Soul at this level is enhanced by the display of behavior from the animal, and this can be both personal and collective – all cats display certain common behaviors that define what might be called the Cat Soul, and individual cats still display personal traits that define them as entities apart from the collective. The same is true of dogs, as another example. I once met a female collie that had a vibration that could only have been called Angelic – the creature simply radiated Grace and Compassion from every canine gesture she produced, and to look into her eyes was to see God as clearly reflected as possible in the animal world. So animal behavior – right up to and including “human” animals – helps to define the individual and collective essence of that level of manifestation present. 

            In some cases, physical structures can also have Souls. I used to regularly perform Reiki on my old Isuzu Rodeo by laying my hands on the hood, and always had a sensation of a conscious “presence”, particularly in that area – near (or in?) the engine. The engine is, after all, the Heart of the vehicle, and my Rodeo had a noble Heart, the Heart of an Angel of Deliverance. It served me well, and I honor its passing from my life. I have had other vehicles that exuded a sense of presence as well. One was a 1980 VW bus – another noble vehicle that myself and my former wife eventually traded in on a new Rabbit convertible. We both stood there in the lot and cried as we watched that old bus drive away into oblivion...

          This “rule” of Soul characterization in objects also applies to buildings, in particular older structures. Buildings and grounds tend to reflect the activities that took place in and on them, and they hold a vibrational residue of those activities indefinitely. I can remember one occasion in which I was touring a series of dwellings composing what had been a farm at one time. In the rear was a courtyard which exuded a very disturbing feeling from the earth, the dirt, in one area. When I looked at the dirt, it appeared to me to have a faint tinge of animal essence that was only peripherally apparent – it seemed to disappear when I directly observed the ground. When I asked the man who was conducting me around what had taken place on that spot, he replied that it was the place where the farmer had slaughtered animals many years before! The vibration was tainted forever after by the spilled blood that had seeped into the ground there.

            What is the common thread of expression that unites such a diverse number of separate conditions? Well, as already mentioned, it is personal and individual, and beyond that, reflective – the Soul of the observer sends forth a vibration that interacts with the Soul of the observed, and reflects back to the observer with a new vibrational message that the observer then interprets accordingly. In animals, the blood carries the essence of the Soul vibration, in plants the juices do so. When I observed the ground at the old farm, I was detecting the collective Soul residue of the slaughtered animals that died there, present in the dried blood still resident in the soil. So, all Soul emanations are potentially interactive with each other, and one who can sense those emanations accurately enough can tell much about any person, place, life form, or object. 

            Let us review what we have proposed thus far. We seem to have defined a system in which the individual, composite, and collective essences – or most pure expressions – of  conditions are manifested in varying degrees of quantity and quality. These essences are at least potentially interactive with each other at their common, or shared, level of existence. So we could say that the Soul is the most qualitatively pure expression of something or someone, and is more or less present everywhere, albeit in differentiation of intensity, and tends to interact on a vibrational level to some extent with other Souls. And this vibrational interaction is fundamentally reflective in nature – all the Souls in a given  vicinity are continuously “vibrating” their emanations to each other – in a word, are in communication with each other on a subtle level of interaction that is nonetheless quite present, and are experiencing changes of spiritual state as a result of this process. 

            We have discussed some of the factors that define this state. In animals, and particularly human beings, the blood, breath, and behavior influence the Soul expression. In plants, it is the foliage and juices present. In machinery, it is the mode of operation and mechanical interaction present. In static objects, such as buildings and grounds, it is the architecture and pattern of usage undertaken by the sequence of operators transitioning through the facility. In each case, some kind of essence of manifestation will eventually form – this functional essence is the Soul of the condition under observation. But, how does my Soul recognize the Soul of another person or condition, and subsequently interact with it? Obviously, there must be a common medium of transmission or recognition involved. 

            I can choose to see myself as an object functioning in a world of objects, or I can choose to see myself as a consciousness functioning in a world of consciousness. To the extent that I make one choice, I decline the other – they are diametrically opposed.  If I make the choice for consciousness, certain things become incumbent upon me. The prime condition of consciousness is feeling awareness on some level – I “exist” because I feel my manifest presence in the environment. And I can feel the presences of other beings and conditions as well, and I can also feel their essential manifestations – their Souls. This is a very different condition from that of object detection. As an object, I can only experience the object-nature of something or someone as defined by their sensory characteristics on an external level – sight, sound, smell, taste, touch define the composition of the world of objects. To the objective assessment of the materialist, the Soul is simply an anthropomorphic fantasy, nothing more. To the spiritualist and the clairvoyant, the Soul is a fundamental structure of consciousness. The difference in these two perspectives lies in the observer’s level of feeling response to stimuli.  How does the alternative feeling level of perception just postulated occur? What is it? Where does it come from? 

            Certainly some feelings are physical and literal. The sensory inputs all conform to this criterion. Now, there are integrated, higher order emotional states that are also feeling conditions, above and beyond simple the sensory manifestations that we assemble into our impression of “the world”. This is the level of feeling that I am concerned with here. It is this level that lies at the foundation of our sense of presence in the world. It is this level that demarcates the origin of the Soul in consciousness. And, most importantly, this level is intuitive in character – I cannot say with precision where I am, or how I am, only that I am – I have an intuitive sense of my intrinsic presence. If I deeply examine this state of affairs, I will eventually discover my Soul – my essence as a condition of consciousness. It is intuitive feeling consciousness that is the medium of recognition and transmission between Souls! The old Cartesian postulate of “I think, therefore, I am” just became “I feel, therefore everything is”. And “everything” implies God...  

            Just as I can have an intuitive sense of my Soul as the “most pure expression” of my individual consciousness, so it is that I can have an intuitive sense of God as the “most pure expression” of the Totality of All Consciousness, and the two conditions are very definitely involved with each other. In fact the personal Soul, or Jivatman in Hinduism, is the extension of God that is associated with the body and its pilot mechanism, the ego. The Soul could be thought of as a naturally occurring manifestation of the Freudian Superego, acting through the medium of the conscience. All personal Souls are connected to and through God. The intuitive feeling consciousness previously mentioned is our personal sense of that connection from the individual human perspective. This is how we can and do tune in to the Soul level manifestations in the material world around us. The God in us is acknowledging the God in each other and the world! The Hindu term for this condition is Namaste.  

            When I tune in to something or someone’s spiritual essence – their Soul – this  occurs through my essence. Although I may think that essence is a part of “me”, it is in fact God manifesting through me as the available medium of expression on the material plane. The Soul supersedes the body and encompasses it in the material realm. The human Soul emanation is very special, because it is potentially sentient – self aware –  requiring only the correct sequence of events to realize its own existence as a discreet condition within the field of conscious perception. Thereafter, the world of Soul vibration becomes increasingly available to perception as an alternative method of comprehension to logical thought processing. I personally prefer to use this method of vibration assessment as my principle means of negotiating life’s many challenges, because it has become so reliable as an indicator through the years of practice that I have invested in the process – the vibration never lies. It does, however, take time to learn how to interpret vibrational cues accurately. The real psychics of the world have become Masters of this art by learning how to turn off the ego, and tune in to the collective Soul for their source of information, although they may have varying names for, perceptions of, and feelings about that phenomenon.  

            The issue of undoubtedly the greatest significance for our race concerns the proposed immortality of the human Soul. Does our spiritual essence persist beyond physical death, and, if so, how? Since the Soul is a very subtle phenomenon that many people cannot detect at all, it would seem to be appropriate to begin our discussion with the consideration of perceptual sensitivity. If I simply observe the gross action of events on the material plane through the lens of the ego, those events probably will not organize themselves into the Soul level of perception, because they are occurring to quickly, and too randomly (in most cases – the ego is only able to capture and organize a small part of all the meaningful information in the environment). One must cultivate the habit of meditation to begin to bring the Soul into focus for the mind – by quieting the mind enough to allow study of the subtle realms of manifestation. The Soul resides in the background of consciousness for the inexperienced observer, requiring many sessions of detached contemplation of the universal conditions that compose the subtle planes of expression. Meditation is an indispensable tool for investigating consciousness on that or any level. It is through this practice that all but the innately gifted few attain the higher perception of spiritual and astral events that reveals the presence of the Soul and God. 

            Enough practice in meditation with the assistance of a competent advisor will enable the student of mysticism to discover most of the archetypal elements that comprise the subtle planes of manifestation – the Chakras, the Tree of Life, the Zodiac, the Jungian expressions (the Shadow, Anima, Animus, Great Mother, Great Father, etc.), the Primal Holy expressions (God, Angels, Divine Light), and so on. Since it requires turning away from the senses and searching the Inner Realm, meditation has occasionally been characterized as a step away from life, and, therefore, toward death. Certainly the subtle level of all that takes place in the meditative phase of consciousness is somewhat death-like, although the experiences may be perceived as very real and enervated. An adjunct area to meditation worthy of study is the realm of near-death experiences, and what those who have had them report upon returning to the living. Let us examine this discipline and then correlate the results with the meditation experience.  

            The near-death experience, or NDE, typically results from borderline lethal exposure to drowning, asphyxiation, electrical shock, chemical systemic shock, and a few other types of traumatic experience. The subjects generally have the experience of heart stoppage for brief lengths of time (several minutes), loss of consciousness, severe decline in blood pressure, stoppage of breathing (again for several minutes), and lack of response to efforts that may be made to revive them for the interval. To synopsize, they are in a dead state for a brief time, then finally respond to revival efforts and return to consciousness. The people who have undergone these experiences have reported many similar perceptions, even though they were technically “dead”, and should not have been perceiving anything. These perceptions include the witnessing of an intense white light, traveling backwards through their memories, traveling both forwards and backwards in time, meeting and speaking with deceased friends, loved ones, and relatives, witnessing fantastic landscapes and visions, and meeting and speaking with God, Angels, and occasionally demons of various kinds. 

            These are many of the same experiences that occur in meditation as well. At the very least, it would appear that the activity of the Subtle Realms in consciousness is incredibly extensive and varied, and can and should be seriously studied with an eye to determining correlations with fully conscious experience on the material plane. To be absolutely accurate, the NDE and meditation do not prove conclusively that perception continues after death, but the tantalizing similarities present offer powerful evidence of the presence of some kind of extensive transitional state. 

            Hinduism believes that the Soul passes through many human lifetimes in the process of participating in the physical form on the material plane. The Hindu theory is that we must acquire Karma – or spiritual lessons to be learned about the dense form of existence – when we take the material form of the body, and that we return to God as we learn these lessons, and release our Karma in the process. Eventually, the Soul learns all that can be known about living incarnation, and returns to God permanently, enriched with this fund of experience and information. To attain this level of perception of our spiritual essence is to step beyond, or transcend, the limits of mortality and reality as defined by materialism. The Soul represents the bridge to another form of knowing that exists beyond the senses and sense perception, yet can still utilize both as models for higher functioning in all of the Planes of Manifestation, including the material plane where they originate. 

            In Hindu cosmology, the Soul perception begins in the Heart Chakra, and is linked to compassion as the defining process, and challenge. We realize – actualize – the Atman – the Soul – as  we successfully practice unselfish love and compassion for the other forms of living expression that we encounter in this material life. Christian cosmology interprets the Heart as at least the potential center of the living embodiment of the Consciousness of Christ – the struggle to live in Christ’s example as, again, a compassionate person, is one of the primary challenges to the Soul in that faith as well. As has been mentioned in other Searchlight essays, the Heart Chakra is the gateway to all of the Chakras to follow. It is critical for spiritual growth that we come to terms with the Heart, and accept the Karmic lessons to be learned there – humbling though they may be. God is Love, and the Soul is God’s expression of Love on this Earth. Let us honor that expression as living examples of  open awareness and consciousness. 

- With Love, Alan -

                                                                       (CR2007, Alan Schneider)


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