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Soul or Spirit?

To: soc.religion.gnosis
From: (Eric)
Subject: Re: Soul or Spirit?
Date: 16 Nov 1994 07:01:46 GMT

Quoting: | (Dean Edwards) 

|In any discussion in English, as will most often be the case here in
|soc.religion.gnosis, this whole concept of mind, soul and spirit
|gets a bit ambiguous and cloudy. Each person uses slightly different
|vocabulary and in somewhat different ways. I am curious what these
|three words, mind, soul, spirit mean to readers of the gnosis newsgroup.
Thanks for the invitation.  I'll try to write down what I am thinking
of in the back of my mind when I use these words.  These are not intended as
formal definitions that follow a particular discipline, only an amalgamation 
of what seems to work for me right now. 

Mind: The domain of thoughts -- whether in words, images, or abstractions. 

Body: My physical life processes as well as chi or life energy that brings my
body to life.

Feeling: Full range of emotional experience felt in my body, mind, or intution.

Psyche: The form, structure or image that integrates my mind, body, and 
feelings. The psyche encompasses both conscious and unconsious parts. This form
can be learned or self-created.

Ego: The _conscious_ part of my psyche.

Shadow: The unconscious part of psyche.  Shadow can be projected onto other
individuals, lost in the unconsious, or "misplaced" in some physical place.  THe
shadow is part of the psyche that we do not want or do not accept in our 
consicous ego.  When various therapists talk of gathering up pieces of the
soul, I believe they are gathering up pieces of shadow, not soul.

Persona: The portion of the ego presented to the outside world.

Anima or Animus: The portion of the ego or shadow presented to the inner world. 
If the inner person is consicous, the anima or anima is part of ego.  If the
inner person is not integrated into consciousness, the anima or aniums is part
of shadow.
Soul: The intermediary between the mundane and sacred realms.  The soul creates
all components of the psyche. The soul has access to the sacred realm through
images, symbols, spiritual experience, and other means.  The soul lives out
these experiences in the mundane realm by creating psyche to imitate the sacred
realm.  The soul longs to touch spirit, and that longing takes form in the
psyche created by soul.

	The soul is always within me, is never itself fractured, projected,
lost, or found.  I suspect that my understanding of soul is similar to those to
describe it as the "deep seated spiritual essense of self."  It is my experience
or access to spirit.

Spirit:  The realm which the soul can taste but not touch, glimpse but not see,
feel but now know completely.   Soul longs to touch spirit always.
Soul approaches the spirit in many different ways and so we each see spirit
differently.  The struggles and joys of the journey of the soul toward spirit
are very similar though.  That is why it is possible to compare notes with
eachother.  But the actual experience of spirit through soul is something
highly unique and individual. Spirit is everywhere in everything and in
everyone.  At the same time it is nowhere, nothing, and no one particular

Gnosis: Soul touching Spirit.  The creative seat of being which creates my
psyche directly touches and feels the spirit which the soul longs 
for.  I am still undecided whether this is possible while I am living in the
mundane realm in a physical body.  I know that I feel this longing as a soul to
touch spirit.  But that longing does not know where or when I will find spirit.   
There in lies my faith; that I will find what my soul is looking for.

Self: The boundary between what is me and what is not me -- what I call "I" or
"me." For now, I include the psyche and the soul within the boundaries of self.
I exclude the spiritual realm from self, even though the soul knows the 
spiritual realm.  
	I'm really grey on this boundary, though. It is never
precise.  The boundary of self can shift and evaporate, allowing
the soul to touch spirit more directly.  Or the boundary of self can become
very distinct, allowing soul to concentrate on creating pysche, ego, persona,
or anima.  The soul is also the creator of these ever-changing boundaries of

	The "call of soul" in my experience occurs when the soul removes its
creative energy from the ego and persona and allows the boundaries of self to
change to encompass more of the sacred realm.   As the soul's creative energy
is removed from the ego and persona, they begin to die (egocide)  Taken too
literally or if I identify too closely with ego, this egocide can be
experienced as depression or the wish for death.   However as the ego and 
personas die, the soul is able to explore the sacred realm. As the self comes 
to know more of the sacred realm, the soul is challenged to recreate a 
different psyche, ego, persona, and anima which better reflect the soul's 
experiences in the sacred realm.
	The disintegration of ego and the fuzzying of the boundaries of self
can be terrifying and make me feel very vulnerable. Many spiritual 
practices seem to be ways to aleviate that terror and vulnerability by 
providing humans with a grounding  way to remove their  conventional 
boundaries of self, expand their conscious parts of psyche, and to recreate 
ego's and persona's which are more reflective of the spiritual realm.  That is
why I follow a regular yoga and meditation practice -- to ground myself as my
soul explores, creates, destroys, and recreates the components and boundaries
of self.


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