I wrote this article many, many years ago but I thought I would re-post it on my new blog.
We have a soul, so we have been told. We must believe that we have a soul. Belief in a soul is only an intermediate step between what we want and what we have. It is a practice created to assist us along the way. But, the belief in a soul, like any artificial creation, eventually gets in our way. This belief becomes a burden. When we look at why we choose to believe in a soul, we must ask ourselves what we are making important. What form (our ‘self’) do we worship? Are we practicing idolatry?
When no form, no idol, not even our soul becomes important to us then we are perfectly free to live life. When we have nothing to lose, we are free to follow our heart. We have nothing to fear so why not love.
One of the “Principles of Truth” is that the truth shall set you free. Therefore, that which does not speak of freedom is not of the truth. Does our definition of soul trap us or limit our life experience?
When we ask a question, we expose our doubts, our weaknesses, to the world. Any corrupt and manipulative person could use this to control and manipulate you. If a person were fearful then they may ‘answer’ you with a concept that creates a controlling fear in you. Such is the idea of soul.
The idea of a soul does have its value. It is a relative point or perspective. For example, one person has a certain size foot and a second person has smaller size foot. The first person’s shoe is not right for the second person. The second person’s shoe is not right for the first person. Yet this does not make the shoes either right or wrong in themselves only as they are relative to the person’s foot. A third person comes along who has no feet. Neither the first nor the second person’s shoe will “fit” since they have not feet. The question is not relative for the third person has not position. For the third person there is no right or wrong shoe. Therefore, truth is relative to the position that is seen from.
Right and wrong, good and evil require a datum, a point of focus, a reference point. For humanity, the datum is the self or soul. As long as we are human, we will have the datum of self and soul. When one awakens and realizes they are infinite, they recognize they are not limited to a self or soul and hence they are free of datum. Without datum there is no right nor wrong, no good nor evil. Without self and soul, you are free to love and appreciate all that is.
BUT, (and this is a BIG but) prudence is necessary for survival. When you get to understand that we are not going to survive this thing called life, we wonder why worry about it. The worrying destroys the quality of the life experience. It is the concern for our “self”, our body and soul that creates the fear and erodes the joy and love.
The whole truth is that for a whole life one is aware of both the desire to be prudent and the desire to be free of worry and concern. Too much of either will be self-destructive. Too much prudence will erode the inner quality of life. Too little prudence will destroy the body through which we experience life and without which we would not have the opportunity to enjoy and love life.
What does it mean to have no soul or self? It means that we no longer think of our “self” or soul as important, which is perfect humility. It means we no longer concerned with protecting the illusion we call our “self”. When we have experienced the truth of the absence of permanence or realness of self or soul, then its temporariness becomes insignificant. We become insignificant. If we are insignificant and unimportant then we have nothing to lose in life. We become free to experience all that life has to offer.
Of course, we will also recognize that if our soul or self is insignificant then so is everybody else’s soul and self. Then, only the quality of the play of life becomes important. The only real question remaining is, are we enjoying or loving life? Hence, the fulfillment of the scriptures is to love.
When we no longer have make the self or soul important then we have broadened our mind, we have expanded our awareness, we have gone beyond the body and mind, we have “denied thyself” completely. Now we can go on to something greater, much greater. We go on to infinity. Now there is no end to the true Self, and there was no beginning. Now you have eternal life, with no beginning or end.
No amount of thinking can release us from this question. It is only when we come to the breaking point will we willingly let go of the question. It is in the peace and stillness that comes after letting go that gives us the clarity to perceive the perfect truth that will set us perfectly free.
This creates a dilemma: How much of all the thinking that comes from philosophies, theologies, doctrines and beliefs is too much and how much is not enough. The answer, we cannot possible know. Here is where we get the opportunity to jump with faith. When we realize that life, soul or self is less important than getting peace from the question, then we will be free. Then we will let go of the questions. Then we will be free to enjoy and love what is.
There is no need for a limited concept of soul. Nor is there a need for limiting ideas of life after death and reincarnation. The truth shall set you free so that which does not speak of freedom is not of the truth. If there are aspect of our concept of soul that create limitation in our minds then that aspect is not based on truth or reality. If we feel trapped in our destiny by our acts or karma then we have based our feelings on untruths. If we have an expectation based on our belief about soul, life after death or reincarnation, then we have trap ourselves in our belief.
Do we have a belief that something or anything we do here in life will affect what happens to us when we die? Are we afraid that we might go to hell or reincarnate as something less than desirable because we were a bad little boy or a bad little girl? If we have these beliefs then we are dealing with an untruth in our concept of soul.
Where did the concept of soul first originate? We will probably never know absolutely, and it does not really matter who started the idea, but we can imagine how somebody might of come up with the question that soul became the answer or solution to. We all have asked ourselves at one time what is to become of us when we die. It is this question, and the doubt that it produces, that motivates a person to seek to know their destiny. With this question, one has to create a language for answering it. The word soul is part of that language.
Yet, if people were to seek to understand themselves, this would force to ask them where this question came from. What was the motive for asking this question in the first place? Eventually in our exploration of ourselves, we will discover that what we really want is not answers but peace from the question. This does not take away from the natural desire to understand and communicate that understanding. It is the sense of needing an answer, the neediness, being negative, that motivates us to seek release.
So let us imagine that the word soul was created as a way of sharing our understanding of reality. It is difficult for a person to imagine his or her own nonexistence, for if we did not exist we would not have a reference point for our perspective. How could a person imagine the future if their being did not exist in some form or another? How could a person conceptualize the future beyond death if they did not exist? Such thoughts are seemingly impossible to comprehend. Therefore, from this perspective of difficulty in comprehension we wish to create an easier way of perceiving the future beyond. We wish to create an easier way dealing with our discomfort with these difficult and seemingly impossible thoughts. So, we create the concept of soul. We create the idea that we are an entity, a being, which would exist beyond the existence of our body, a being that did not end with body’s destruction or death.
Once we know where we came from, we will know where we are going. Where were you before you were born? If you believe in reincarnation then I ask you where were you before the universe was created? What was it like to be there? What was your experience before you had the reference point of the human experience? Again, seemingly impossible questions; impossible maybe to answer given our limitation of language, but not impossible to understand. When you stand at the beginning you shall not taste death.