Are we a soul? Do we have a soul?

 

I saw the trailer for Soul, the new Pixar movie. It reminded me of the question of soul and how it relates to us. Are we a soul? Do we have a soul? What is the soul?

If we are mainly identified as a human being, then it may be natural to say that we have a soul. The soul is somehow connected with us and we may not have a very clear sense of what it is.

We may also be mainly identified as a soul. As a part of us that moves between lives. As what lights up when we see ourselves as something within content of experience and yet not quite physical.

When we find ourselves as that which experience happens within and as, then soul – whatever it is – becomes part of content of experience. It too – as anything else – happens within and as us. It’s something temporary. It’s what we are and yet not what we “really” are since it can and does come and go.

And then, what is the soul? I don’t have a super clear definition or sense of it. It’s a part of content of experience that is not our physical body and continues beyond the life of this human self, and it’s something we can identify as. Perhaps we can call it a type of subtle energy body.

For me, it’s something that lit up when I was moved by art or a deep connection with nature or another person. It had a sense of fullness, richness, and gentle bliss. It was clearly not physical. It seemed timeless. I had a sense it was – or a part of – the vehicle I would find myself as between the physical lives.

I am talking about this in the past tense since it seemed to dissolve at some point in the process. Early on, during the initial awakening in my teens, I was very aware of this “soul” or whatever label we want to put on it. It seemed like it was part of what moved between physical lives. I could see that it would be easy to identify with it for a while. And it was also clear that it was something within content of experience and thus something that would come and go and – at most – would be a passing identity.

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