About the Soul

newbirds6From: On the Fourth Way

"I don't say it's comfortable, but it's lively."
Rodney Collin, The Theory of Conscious Harmony

In many great teachings, in one form or another, the idea of three worlds is presented.  These three "worlds" may be called the body, the soul, and the spirit.  The term "body" in this case includes what we normally think of as our body, but also our emotions and thoughts — to the extent that they are driven by sensory inputs.  It is who and what we are, as we are.  It is a miracle, but we have much greater possibilities, and these are our  "soul" and our  "spirit".

And each of these (our "soul" and our "spirit") is a much greater miracle than the body.

Practically everything that we do, we do with the body, and with that we are more or less familiar.

But we are not familiar with the soul, and we are not familiar with the spirit.

It may be said that we lack soul, but it cannot be said that we lack spirit.  How can we lack the infinite?

What we lack is our connection to the infinite, our connection to spirit, and that connection is the soul.

Connection to the infinite

In some teachings, the world of the soul corresponds to what is called "imagination" (Ed. as a side note: in the Fourth Way, the term imagination refers instead to uncontrolled mind activity).  It is that which "images" the influences of spirit, the inspiration, for presentation to the sense-based body.

It may also be called the astral body, the higher emotional center, the ruah (kaballah), and so on.

In addition to the different names for the soul between different teachings, it can be confusing because the same term used for soul may be used for our emotional function, just as the same term used for spirit may be used for our intellectual function.

This apparent confusion exists because there is a correspondence between the emotions and the soul, and between the intellect and the spirit. In fact, our emotions and intellect may be seen as something like imitations, or symbols, for the soul and spirit.

An example of this confusion of terminology occurs when we read translations of ancient Greek ideas about "Nous", translated as Mind, or Intellect.  Better terms might be Spirit, or Consciousness.

Basic Functions


Higher Functions

Intellect Higher Mind, "Spirit", Nous
Emotions, "Heart" Higher Emotions, "Soul", Logos
Physical Body
Physical Functions:
Moving Function
Instinctive Function
Higher Bodies
e.g,  "astral""causal",  etc.
(See also Fig. 1 in In Search of the Miraculous for a similar but not identical naming scheme.)

Just as the soul images spirit, so does the emotional function present images to us in dreams.  In the latter case, the role of spirit is played by the intellectual part of the emotional center, which seems to draw on instinctive, moving, emotional, and intellectual images to creatively "speak" to us.  The intellectual part of the emotional center is our "Shakespeare", and is capable of putting a lot of symbolic meaning into the image plays of our dreams.