THE SOUL: – THE SOUL – in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological tradi- tions – is the incorporeal essence of a person, living thing, or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that only humans have souls, while others teach that all living things, and even inanimate objects (such as rivers), have souls. The latter belief is commonly called animism (attribution of con- scious life). SOUL can function as a synonym for spirit, mind or self. Scientific works, in particular, often consider ‘SOULl’ as a synonym for ‘mind’.
Plato, drawing on the words of his teacher Socrates, considered the SOUL the essence of a person, being that which decides how we behave. He consid- ered this essence to be an incorporeal, eternal occupant of our being. As bodies die, the SOUL is continually reborn in subsequent bodies. The Platonic SOUL comprises three parts:
the logos, or logistikon (mind, nous, or reason)
the thymos, or thumetikon (emotion, or spiritedness, or masculine)
the eros, or epithumetikon (appetitive, or desire, or feminine)
Each of these has a function in a balanced, level and peaceful soul.
Aristotle defined the SOUL or psyche as the first actuality of a naturally organ- ized body, but argued against its having a separate existence from the physical body. In Aristotle’s view, the primary activity of a living thing constitutes its soul; for example, the soul of an eye, if it were an independent organism, would be seeing (its purpose or final cause).
The various faculties of the SOUL or psyche, such as nutrition, sensation, movement, and so forth, when exercised, constitute the “second” actuality, or fulfillment, of the capacity to be alive. A good example is someone who falls asleep, as opposed to someone who falls dead; the former actuality can wake up and go about their life, while the second actuality can no longer do so. Ar- istotle identified three hierarchical levels of living things: plants, animals, and people, for which groups he identified three corresponding levels of SOUL, or biological activity: The form of a living thing is its SOUL (Greek psyche, Latin anima). There are three kinds of souls: the “vegetative soul” of plants, which causes them to grow and decay and nourish themselves, but does not cause motion and sensation; the “animal soul” which causes animals to move and feel; and the “rational soul” which is the source of consciousness and reasoning which (Aristotle believed) is found only in humans. Each higher soul has all the attributes of the lower one. Aristotle believed that while matter can exist without form, form cannot exist without matter, and therefore the SOUL cannot exist without the body.
One of the great problems and one of the great mysteries of life is the problem of human suffering and the problem of death.
According to the bible when man was put upon earth he was told to be fruitful, to replenish the earth, to subdue it. His first responsibility upon earth was to take care of the garden i.e. earth. To make sure that earth was properly nur- tured and properly supervised. The essence of that command still exists. Much of the suffering and tragedy man experiences is because he has not discharged this responsibility.
Man’s persistence in polluting the water, for example, has caused disease and other problems, which in some cases have been tragic. Man’s unwise use of the land has caused floods and tornadoes that have brought great tragedy and great suffering upon man. When we violate the natural environment that God has given us, we can not expect God to allow the consequences of this violation to occur. Another aspect of the problem of suffering is seen when we fail to heed the warnings of nature and thus reap the consequences.
Indeed this physical body that we live in, ugly as it may be from outside, is a marvelous machine and if properly cared for might run as long as hundred years without a valve job or a new transmission or even a change in oil. Some of us may sometimes feel like we need a new transmission, but the fact of mat- ter is that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Physical pain is that which protects us and enables us to survive in the environment in which we live.
Same type of thing is true in the emotional sense. Human beings have to ex- perience guilt and sympathy and compassion and should be able to relate to the needs of fellow human beings. One of the greatest tragedies of our society today is the fact that somehow we have equated the ability to be sympathetic, the ability to be compassionate, the ability to relate to the needs of our fellow human beings as weakness – when in fact it is sign of strength.
One of our great problems in the area of pain and suffering and death is brought on by ignorance. And that this is true of death more than anything else. Ignorance has caused us to throw away one of the great blessings that we are human beings. In fact is it not a marvelous thing that when those we love are no longer able to exist realistically in a physical way that they do not have to go on suffering. God has provided us means by which the spirit can be sep- arated from the body and the physical pain that we endure now fades in to in- significance. Ignorance is one of the great curses of man. Ignorance of death is one of the great curses of the human beings.
Pain and Suffering: –
No one would want to bring the pain and suffering in to a man’s life, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes it takes pain, sometimes it takes suffering, sometimes it takes a tragedy to make us realize that we need God. Pain hum- bles us. Somebody has said, “Humility is a funny thing, just when you think you have it, you’ve lost it. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make us realize that we are not self-sufficient. Sometimes it takes a disease to make us realize that no matter how much money we have, no matter how much vocal we are, no matter how many friends we have, no matter what our situation in life might be, that sometimes there is no one who can help us but God.
Time of Death: –
When we keep putting off our spiritual life to tomorrow, we end up copping out every single day. Death draws near, with every step we take, every tick and
every tock of the clock. It could strike any moment and we can’t do a thing about it. While death is certain, its moment of arrival is unpredictable.
There are two types of lunatics, those who don’t know that they must die, and those who have forgotten that they are alive.
Death seems to be so distant, yet it is always so near. Distant because we always imagine it at some time yet to come; near because it can strike at any moment. While our death is certain, its hour is unpredictable. When it comes, no elo- quence can persuade it to wait, no power can stop it, no wealth can buy it off, no beauty can seduce it.
FACING THE REALITIES OF LIFE: A. FEAR OF DEATH Death is an inescapable and inevitable reality. To ignore it is utter foolishness. To attempt to avoid it is impossible. To hope for physical immorality is absurd. The suggested exhortations are the following:
Make death a part of life by understanding that life without death is incomplete and never possible. As soon as we are born, we begin to die. Life is sacred so we cannot afford to squander it in daydreams, fantasies, and false hopes. Life without death, pleasure without pain, light without darkness, and good without evil, are never possible. We must either accept both or rise above both, by overcoming embodiment through the knowledge of self.
Develop immunity against death by practicing meditation and dispassion.In meditation we try to reach our true identity, the deathless self, by crossing over the three states of consciousness – waking, dreaming, and deep sleeping. We partially and temporarily die in our physical and mental existence. With meditation, practice dispassion, which is knowing that nothing material will accompany us when we leave this earth and nothing in this world can be of any help to us to overcome death.
Build your own raft to cross the ocean of mortality.Life is a journey toward our true self, the realization of which alone can give us immortality. But the raft for this journey is not given to us. Each person must build his or her own raft by the practice of self- awareness through meditation on the self and self-analysis. No practice of this self-awareness is ever lost. As we go on with our practices,all our experiences of self-awareness join together and grow in to a mass, which is called the raft on which a mortal crosses the ocean of mortality.
Free yourself from all attachments. Our attachments and desires keep us tied to our physical existence. We often hope for the impos- sible and want to achieve the unachievable. To free ourselves from these attachments and desires, we need to cleanse ourselves. Just as we cleanse our body with soap and water, so do we cleanse our mind with self-awareness?
B. AFTER LIFE: –
Medicine and religion share at least one trait – both can be seen as responses to the prospect of death. But while science is quiet on a possible afterlife, following religious practices are shaped by their conception of their undiscovered country.
Judaism: – Jewish texts have little to say about a possible afterlife, placing more focus on the proper actions in this life, not the one to come.
Christianity: – The vast majority of Christians believe in heaven and hell – and that your destination depends on your deeds and faith during this life.
Islam: – Similar to Christians, Muslims believe in a day of judgment in the afterlife, when the dead will be divided between paradise and damnation.
Buddhism: – Though specific beliefs vary by sect, Buddhist hold fast to the doctrine of reincarnation, ending only in the final liberation known as Nirvana.
Hinduism: – Like Buddhists, Hindus believe in reincarnation and Karma, with the status of your next life depending on your actions in this life.
Taoism: – Life and death are flip sides of the Tao, and death is a transformation from being to nonbeing, with no heaven or hell.
6.08 – LIFE AFTER DEATH: –
Human life is animal existence but with human spirit empowering the brain with intellect. The human spirit in man makes possible the union with the Holy Spirit and mind and immortality of God. When mortal man dies, the body reverts to dust, and the spirit returns to God. The departed human spirit at death is in fact a spiritual mold, of itself unconscious, yet in the resurrection bringing in to the resurrected body all the memory, knowledge and character as well as form and shape of the person before death. The human spirit of itself cannot see, hear, think or know. The only real Life, inherent and self-contain- ing, lies in the holy spirit of God, united with the human spirit. The value of the human life lies in the human spirit and its potential of being united with God’s Spirit – which is God Mind and God –life.
Senses: –Most of what we know about our surroundings is a result of the working of man’s five senses – touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. In fact almost every- thing we think we know about our world and the universe has come to us through one or more of these sense organs. We feel quite content in our belief that we can rely on these sense organs to give us a completely factual, dependable, and highly accurate picture of the universe in which we are each immersed. But this is a false belief.
Consider the sense of sight. Our eyes can see only the fraction of what is going on all around us. They can detect only matter, which reflects light in the very narrow band of wavelengths we call the visible spectrum. Laboratory research has shown that there is much going on all around us in wavelengths that our limited sense organs cannot detect.
Everything in our world, this universe and the cosmos, results from ENERGY, and ENERGY manifests as vibration at some specific frequency. All of the scientific knowledge like Supersensible Sight and Supersensible Hearing teaches us that we know very little about important aspects of our Body, Mind and Spirit (Soul). Our ignorance of what we know about the “solid”, everyday “material” world can be described in one word “Colossal”. The normally invisible sights and unheard sounds have a most important bearing on the question of Life after Death.
How much does a Soul weigh: –
Since we would like to identify that portion of the individual person, which survives death of the physical body, it would seem we could narrow our search.
Obviously the water portion will evaporate during the days, weeks and months after death. Yet there is a solid proof that the essence – that is the mind, personality and soul – depart the physical body within a period of minutes to a maximum of three days. Moreover there seems to be a possibility that the surviving mind, personality and soul may be “contained” in a very small and per- haps almost weightless “package’, because by scientific research it has been found that the instantaneous weight loss at death varied between 1⁄2 and 3⁄4 ounce.
Your Brain is not your mind: –
Certainly one of the greatest blocks modern man has in understanding life after death seems from having been told that brain and mind are synonymous. However, a different picture emerges for those serious researchers in to the nature of man who can look beyond conventional notions. For such scientists it has become increasingly obvious that the brain and mind is not the same thing. Neither the psychologists could identify the site of brain, for conscious, subconscious, or super-conscious states of mind. Yet concepts attributing the three levels or aspects to the human mind existed hundreds of years before psychiatry and psychology came in to existence. For example, both the native peoples have the Pacific and American plains Indians recognized three levels of mind, and represented them in their tribal Totem Poles. Only in the last few years it has been discovered that most of the many millions of cells in the physical body have what the scientist call “communication capability”. This means that cells can receive and send messages. We are also learning that cells go beyond this function and it is almost as though each cell has a mind of its own. Now we can begin to understand that not only is “the brain not the mind’ but that the mind function extends throughout the entire body.
We know that the brain controls all aspects of the body, which it serves. We can say that the body, the “bio-electrical mechanism’, is controlled by its computer, the brain. We can go further and say that the brain is infinitely more sophisticated than the most advanced computer yet built by man. But we also must say that the brain, like even the most fancy computer, is totally useless unless there is a programmer – some intelligence separate and distinct from the computer itself. It is only in the last three decades – that science has given us a valuable tool which enables us to understand that the Mind is the programmer, how it can penetrate the ‘empty space’ in our wet, squishy physical body, and how it can control every single action of the more than 60 trillioncells which make up the physical body. What is this magic and mysterious tool called Mind?