What is the difference between Soul and Spirit?

Posted by Kelly L. Nelson Jul 3, 2019

Throughout the ages, whether through philosophical thought or religious theory, to be ‘human’ is to possess a soul. However, the soul and spirit have been presented on two levels, depending on what you believe. Either they exist separately or they are one and the same thing. Can you have a soul but be guided by spirit? If you free your soul, do you lose your spirit? This begs the question… is there a difference between soul and spirit?

In Catholicism, “soul” when distinguished from “spirit” means that which gives life to a body. “Spirit” when contrasted with “soul” simply means those aspects of human life and activity that do not depend on the body or the conditions of matter.

In Islam, within the body, it’s a soul and when it leaves the body after death, it is a spirit or “Ruh” (light).

In Judaism, soul and spirit are so similar that most understand them to be the same thing however Hebrews 4:12 says the Word is capable of showing us the difference between the spirit and the soul. It is like a sharp sword that is able to penetrate and divide the two and the body acts as a container for the spirit and the soul.

In Buddhism, from its earliest days, has denied the existence of the "self, soul" in its core philosophical and texts. Because there is no unchanging permanent essence or soul, Buddhists sometimes talk about energy being reborn, rather than souls.

Conversely, Nietzsche recalls his own illness and his recovery, stating they exist as one. “We philosophers are not at liberty to separate soul and body, as the people separate them; and we are still less at liberty to separate soul and spirit -- our thoughts must be continually born to us out of our pain, and we must, motherlike, share with them all that we have in us of blood, heart, ardour, joy, passion, pang, conscience, fate and fatality. Life — that means for us to transform constantly into light and flame all that we are, and also all that we meet with; we cannot possibly do otherwise.”

Body, Mind, and Soul

While the two words are often used interchangeably, many view soul as the animate life, or the seat of the senses, desires, affections, and appetites, dealing directly with attachment. The spirit represents movement, that part of us that connects to God or a higher power.

How do we observe the soul and spirit? Today, as stress levels skyrocket in our daily lives, there is a growing call to heal the ‘human condition’ where people are depending less on modern medicine and finding solace in meditation, therapies, and mindfulness. 

But first, one asks, what is the human condition?

According to the best-selling author on the topic of Personal and Planetary awakening, Deborah Skye King views conditioning to be the:  “…reaction to stimuli from experiences that affect the behavior of a person, including their thoughts, emotions, physical and spiritual wholeness, and well-being. This is experienced as disassociation, not knowing who you are, uncertainty about your life, loss of connection to the world around you, your emotions, unable to connect with your conscious mind. It is used as a defense mechanism to pain or suffering, a safety valve that automatically gets triggered when it fears any trauma, especially from past experiences.”

Conditioned neurons affect the brain in a negative way preventing a human being’s ability to be in flow and harmony within their body. 

A soul therapist is a professionally trained evolutionary educator supporting the eradication of pain and suffering from within the human condition. Core conditioning is a result of the imprinting of culture and society, religious beliefs, family upbringing and even the marketing geniuses of media, government and pharmaceutical companies. Pain and suffering are at the core of a condition and suppress the ability to live with balance. 

When regarding the spirit, spirituality is becoming more and more important in many people’s lives. As we get older, we question the spiritual beliefs that we were taught as a child and strikeout to solidify our own set of beliefs. Many get lost as they walk down their spiritual path and find themselves in need of guidance. Because of these situations, there is a need for spiritual counselors and leaders.

A spirit therapist provides counseling that focuses on a person’s spiritual side and they may seek out spiritual counseling in order to explore or solidify their own personal spiritual beliefs. Some people seek out the guidance of spiritual counselors when they need help solving other problems in their lives, based on their spiritual beliefs.

Whether you believe your soul and spirit are separate or both as one entity, the afflictions that exist in one’s body are real. In order to live more enriched lives filled with love, peace, and harmony, we must return to the acts of ‘soul-searching’ through meditation and therapies and also work towards becoming ‘free spirits’ to release the pain and suffering associated with conditioning. Perhaps, the real question is … are WE ready to heal our own human condition?

Written by an anonymous member, published by Avanti Women Marketing Advisor, Kelly L. Nelson

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