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What is the soul? I hesitate to write about the soul since the concept of the soul is deeply intertwined with spiritual, religious, and philosophical discussions that have spanned throughout history. The term is used in everyday language such as soul mate, soul music, soul child, old soul, soul searching, soul food, and more. Differing interpretations and conclusions can lead to confusion as we consider insights provided by teachers, sages, and mystics. Modern science, for the most part, tends to ignore or dismiss discussions about the soul due to methodological limitations and a lack of consensus on the nature of consciousness.

Spiritual teachings acknowledge that the ordinary human sense is that each of us exists and that we are autonomous, independent beings living in a material world. However, they also recognize that this perspective is incomplete and limited, suggesting the possibility of knowing ourselves in a truer and more expansive way. The soul is described in diverse ways across different traditions, pointing to a deeper aspect of individuality and our true nature.

In your personal journey, it can be helpful to acknowledge a distinction in how the term "soul" is utilized between eastern traditions (such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism) and western traditions (such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam). The former group generally suggests that the idea of a personal soul becomes absorbed or dissolved through the revelation of the illusion of reality, while the latter group emphasizes the immortal nature of the individual soul.

Our ordinary perspective shaped by lifelong conditioning keeps us trapped in habitual patterns that impede our knowing the deeper nature of our soul, our truer self. Recognizing this and seeking to know who or what we are marks the beginning of our spiritual quest.



The ego is frightened by death, because ego is part of the incarnation and ends with it. That is why we learn to identify with our soul, as the soul continues after death. For the soul, death is just another moment.
~ Ram Dass

The soul informed by the ego is asleep. This is why enlightenment is called awakening -- your soul wakes up to what is really here. Many people believe that this awakening happens automatically the moment you have an experience of Being. Some parts of your soul may wake up, but the soul is very deeply imprinted by the egoic sense of inferiority, and this depth of the soul does not awaken easily or rapidly. When your awakening does approach this level, the first thing you wake up to is this sense of inferiority. The most evident manifestation of the soul being asleep is one's unshakable conviction in conventional or consensus reality, and in the content of one's overall social conditioning. Regardless of what profound experiences of Being you may have had and how objectively you may have seen reality, when you get up off your meditation cushion or leave a meeting with your teacher, you act, feel, and behave as if reality is the world you learned from your mother. When you do this, you are expressing the asleepness of your soul.
~ A.H. Almaas

The soul has no birth, no death, no beginning, and no end. Sin cannot touch it, nor can virtue exalt it. Wisdom cannot open it up, nor can ignorance darken it. It has been always and always it will be. This is the very being of man, and all else is its cover, like a globe on the light. The soul's unfoldment comes from its own power, which ends in its breaking through the ties of the lower planes. It is free by nature, and looks for freedom during its captivity. All the holy beings of the world have become so by freeing the soul, its freedom being the only object there is in life
~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

Ego (is) an illusional sense of selfhood which causes the soul to feel that it is independent–separate from the one field of Consciousness.
~ Roy Eugene Davis

What is this precious love and laughter budding in our hearts?
It is the glorious sound of a soul waking up!
– Hafiz

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' Say not, ' I have found the path of the soul.' Say rather, 'I have met the soul walking upon my path.' For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
~ Khalil Gibran

Spiritual practices help us move from identifying with the ego to identifying with the soul. Old age does that for you too. It spiritualizes people naturally.
~ Ram Dass

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the Universe and all its powers… When they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells the Great Spirit (Wakan-Tanka), and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
~ Black Elk

Deep within the heart there is the primal pain of longing, the cry of the soul separated from its source. This pain comes from the memory of when we were together with God, what the Sufis call "the sweetness that was before honey or bee."
At special moments in our life we can be given a taste of this union, a taste of divine remembrance. It is so unbelievably sweet and intoxicating. And it awakens the knowing, latent in the soul, of being together with God. This is what ignites the longing, the fire within the heart that begins to burn as a heartache.
~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Realize this: one day your soul will depart from your body and
you will be drawn behind the curtain that floats
between us and the unknown.
While you wait for that moment, be happy,
because you don't know where you came from and
you don't know where you will be going.
~ Omar Khayyam

All religions postulate the three fundamentals, the world, the soul, and God, but it is only the one Reality that manifests Itself as these three. One can say, 'The three are really three' only so long as the ego lasts. Therefore, to inhere in one's own Being, where the 'I', or ego, is dead, is the perfect State.
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

I will not make a poem nor the least part of a poem but has reference to the soul.
Because having look'd at the objects of the universe, I find there is no one nor any particle of one but has reference to the soul.
~ Walt Whitman

We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.
~ Albert Einstein

This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.
~ Mary Oliver

Aesthetics wander shrine to shrine,
looking for what can only come from visiting the soul.
Study the mystery you embody.
~ Lalla (14th century)

Religions often use the term "soul" to point to this eternal nature of our being.
When we are able to pause and look into ourselves we may recognize that essential aspect of ourselves...our soul...that true and unmoving quality that was there before we were born and will be there after we die.
The quest of the seeker is to know his own soul. It is to recognize the fundamental nature of who they are. How this happens in each person is quite variable. But to some degree the quest to know oneself and to come to peace with who and what we are is the ultimate journey.
~ Wayne Liquorman

Spirituality is the science of the soul.
~ Swami Vivekananda

To me there is no difference between
one person and another;
I behold all as soul-reflections of the one God.
I can't think of anyone as a stranger,
for I know that we are all part of the One Spirit.
When you experience the true meaning of religion,
which is to know God,
you will realize that He is your Self,
and that He exists equally and impartially in all beings.
Then you will be able to love others as your own Self.
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

With love and space, absent from any kind of judgment, our soul unfolds into deeper reality beautifully, because it inherently knows the way.
~ Miranda Macpherson

Q. "When does the soul enter the baby still in the womb?"
Nisargadatta: "There is no question of consciousness needing
to enter the body, since it is already everywhere."
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

As you awaken into Presence, you will experience a gradual revelation of truth, first about yourself and your life, then about your soul and its journey, and then about the true nature of God and existence.
~ Leonard Jacobson

The immortality of the soul is a matter which is of so great consequence to us and which touches us so profoundly that we must have lost all feeling to be indifferent about it.
~ Blaise Pascal

I call the light and high aspects of my being spirit and the dark and heavy aspects soul. Soul is at home in the deep, shaded valleys. Heavy torpid flowers saturated with black grow there. The rivers flow like warm syrup. They empty into huge oceans of soul. Spirit is a land of high white peaks and glittering jewel-like lakes and flowers. Life is sparse and sounds travel great distances. There is soul music, soul food, and soul love... People need to climb the mountain not simple because it is there But because the soulful divinity needs to be mated with the spirit.
~ Dalai Lama

Part of the human Self or Soul is not subject to laws of space and time.
~ Carl Jung

While all great mystical teachings agree on the importance of surrender, it is not a thing to be done, but a compassionate relaxation of the learned tendencies of mind. In the same way that your body knows how to heal and repair itself — so your soul is homeostatic. It contains the inherent intelligence to know its own nature.

~ Miranda Macpherson


Love is the individual, collective and universal soul. Love is God. Love is truth. Love is beauty. Love is peace. Love is self.

To truly know yourself, to surrender to the truth of yourself, is to surrender to love.

Love is the Mystery.

~ Gangaji


Silence is the communing of a conscious soul with itself.

If the soul attend for a moment to its own infinity,

then and there is silence.

She is audible to all men, at all times, in all places, and if we will

we may always hearken to her admonitions.

~ Henry David Thoreau


I have been a seeker and I still am,

but I stopped asking the books and the stars.

I started listening to the teachings of my soul.

~ Rumi


As you awaken into Presence, you will experience a gradual revelation of truth, first about yourself and your life, then about your soul and its journey, and then about the true nature of God and existence.

~ Leonard Jacobson


We can be aware of our Source of Being. The illusions of the mind may hold our love for a time, but to love Love itself, we must turn within. The soul's longing for its true Home is the guide to finding this Love. Follow the lover of the Beloved back upstream to your Source.

~ St. John of the Cross


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