FIRST SPIRITUAL TEMPLE
Founded in 1883
The Mystery of Spirit-Soul-Body
Just about every religion on earth discusses some form of Trinity within the scope of the Spirit. In most cases, the concept of the Trinity is mystical and wondrous. Even the world of mathematics hails its unique element. The strongest and most stable geometric figure is the triangle (a three-legged stool wobble will never wobble). It requires three non-collinear points to determine a plane. We, in the physical world, are accustomed to perceiving and experiencing in three dimensions.
Traditional Christianity proclaims the Divine Trinity as one of its most basic tenets of faith. From a more esoteric perspective, the triune aspect of Father, Son/Daughter, and Holy Spirit helps explain so much in life and Creation. As Christianity began to evolve, the Trinitarian concept began to shake and weaken, and from that shaky foundation emerged a new — well, actually, quite ancient — concept of God and Creation, beautifully expressed in the Hebrew Shema:
“Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.”
Must Trinitarianism and Unitarianism oppose each other? I think not, if we consider the following: God is One, plain and simple. But, we, the spirits which God created, exist in a wondrous and most mystical trinity of Spirit-Soul-Body.
A question which countless people have asked us is: What is the difference between my Spirit and my Soul? We hope this article will help explain, at least in part, some of the confusion between these two elements of ourselves and, then, explain how body functions with them.
As always, the best place to begin is at the beginning. The Gospel of John — considered by theologians to be the most esoteric and mystical of the Gospels — begins with the single, most important and profound statement concerning life and creation: “In the beginning was the Word.”
God: The Creator
God is our Creator. From God came everything, and everything that is, has been, and shall ever be has its roots within God. Our most fundamental statement of faith, here at the First Spiritual Temple, is that God is Spirit, without gender, form, creed, or color. Subsequent to that is that we — the spirits; ALL the spirits — were created in God’s image as Spirit. This is fundamental to our faith and to our teaching.
Despite so much emphasis upon God’s Human image and the Person of God, especially amongst Catholicism and Orthodoxy, there is a fundamental truth deeply inherent within most religious and spiritual pathways: God is Spirit. I think you would be hard pressed to find any religious leader denying this fundamental truth. The unity and oneness of God is supreme. If God is One, there can be no splitting of God into gender (Him/Her, Father/Mother), form, or any other physical or spiritual personage. Yet, so many of us vehemently and rigorously subject God to physical characteristics. Oneness is oneness; it is a superlative.
As Spirit, we were created and we live in God’s image of Spirit. Thus, within us, we have all the attributes of Divinity; we are all part of God and of God’s Spirit; and we – all of us – are created of the same stuff as God; but, we are not God.
Spirit: The Creation
Your Spirit is that part of you which is the direct creation of God. Your Spirit is the highest aspect of who and what you are. Your Spirit is devoid of all elements of human personality and character. It is a direct fragment of the Divine Life of God.
The Spirit is one with all and understands, fully, that oneness, as well as its oneness with God, its Creator. The Spirit is perfect and universal in all aspects, save one: the Spirit is not God; we are not God.
The Spirit is the highest expression of universal individuality – an oxymoron which contains, within, many keys to truth – and has its roots in God and exists with all the spirits within the highest realm of Creation; a realm which we cannot even begin to comprehend with our finite minds.
The Spirit knows everything, because there is no new thing under the sun. Furthermore, there are no evil spirits. The most heinous people to have walked the earth were created in the same image as were the saints. On that level of life there are neither saints nor sinners; there is only Spirit.
Your Spirit is perfect in all ways. Why? Because God is perfect in all ways. There is only One, greater and more “everything” than your Spirit: God. Remember, we were created in God’s IMAGE as Spirit. Thus, as with any image, we are not the original. God is the original; we are the image. As Spirit, we may be a perfect copy, but we are just that: a copy. As perfect an image as we may be, we are nonetheless an image. Thus, there will always be a distinction – ever so subtle – between us, the Creation, and God, the Creator.
Thus, it is in Heaven. But, what about here, on earth, where we live and breath and have our being?
Soul: The Liaison and Guide
God created us in His image, as Spirit. In order for us to live the Human experience, we created an image in the likeness of our Spirit. That image is the Soul. Just as Spirit is a fragment of the Divine Life of God, the Soul is a fragment of the Spiritual Life of the Spirit.
Your Soul is that part of your Spirit which has human character and which links with the human experience. This immediately brings to mind the question: Are there other realms of life within physical Creation, not human in nature, nor connected with our planet? We believe there are. Otherwise, as so aptly expressed in the movie, Contact: “What a waste of space that would be.” Furthermore, some Spirits – also created in God’s image as Spirit – have chosen to experience realms of life and Creation other than the Human experience and, like us, they have souls through which they manifest that experience. But, let us focus upon ourselves, members of the Human Kingdom, with the planet earth as our physical home.
Because the Spirit is perfect, the Soul is an expression of that perfection, but to a lesser degree. Again, your Soul is an image of your Spirit; just as your Spirit is an image of God. It is the Soul which “descends” from the home of the Spirit and resides within a level of Creation somewhat removed – in terms of vibration – from that of the Spirit. Our Souls are closely linked to the Earth plane and the human experience.
The Soul is sometimes referred to as the “higher self” or that part of us which guides, through intuition and through its connection with the Spirit and with God, our earthly affairs. The Soul has its roots in what we traditionally call the Spirit World, but it dips its feet, so to speak, from time to time, onto the Earth plane.
Like the Spirit, the Soul does not experience evil or negativity directly; it responds only to goodness. However – and this is a big “however” – the Soul’s response to goodness is only as powerful and vital as the presence of goodness within its various personality manifestations, here on the earthly plane. Thus, on the level of the Soul, we have limitation.
The Soul is limited and it is evolving, and that limitation is manifested in a variety of ways. The Soul can respond to its own goodness and to the goodness around it only to the degree in which that goodness is made manifest in its earthly incarnations. Like the Spirit, there are no evil Souls. Unlike the Spirit, there are “less evolved” Souls. This is important to understand.
Within the home of the Soul, spirituality is measured and made manifest not by the comparison of goodness and evil, but by the various degrees of goodness manifested within the multitude of Soul/personality lives. Where there is little goodness, there is little activity and life. As the Soul evolves, through successive incarnations, it becomes beautifully glorified and its aura takes on hues and colors unlike anything we can perceive with our physical eyes. The clairvoyant who has “soul vision” – and not all clairvoyants perceive on that level; in fact, most do not – is always awe-struck at the wonder and beauty of the Soul’s energy-consciousness body.
The Soul has conscience and it understands the difference between good and evil; right and wrong. The Soul evolves, through choice and karma, guided by the Spirit which, in turn, is guided by God. In many ways, the Soul is the “prodigal son” seeking to return to the Father; in this case, the Father is the Spirit and God.
Finally, the Soul is of Spirit essence; yet, it has its own body, the causal body.
Body/Personality: Hands-On Living
Having said all this, we have still not come to the level of Earth plane life and experience. We have mentioned good and evil, but no mention has yet been made of evil’s expression and manifestation.
In order for the Soul to incarnate onto the Earth plane, it does so through the creation of a physical body (the third element of the Trinity). With the creation of the body, the Soul creates the personality.
You have one Soul, which is an image of your Spirit, which, in turn, was created in God’s image. But, you have created multiple personalities, living within multiple bodies at various points in history. Each time you decide to reincarnate, you create a new earthly persona and a new earthly body.
The personality, also known as the “lower self,” is that part of ourselves to which we all identify. It has gender, form, race, social standing, ethnic attributes, etc. It is born and it shall die. It is born into a specific family and has a specific name. The personality is born into a body made of flesh, blood, and bones, rather than a body of light and energy. We tenaciously hold onto the personality and its bodily form, and we tenaciously subject God to our personality traits.
Through the personality, we experience so many of life’s difficulties and determine how we shall respond or react to these challenges. It is the personality, created by the Soul, which incarnates onto the Earth plane in order to experience all that this physical world has to offer. It is the personality which is subject to the limitations of three-dimensional time and space.
Finally, and most importantly, it is the personality which is susceptible, receptive, and capable of creating and manifesting negativity and evil. Within the world of the personality – the Earth plane and that level of the Spirit World very closely linked to the Earth plane – both good and evil exist. Here, on the Earth plane, evil is not merely the lack of goodness; it is a real force unto itself, created and made manifest by the various people who inhabit the earth.
Somewhere, between the level of the Soul and the level of the personality – somewhere between the second and the third elements of the Trinity – there can be created and made manifest evil and negativity.
To sum up: Your Spirit is always guided by God. Your Soul is always guided by your Spirit. And your Soul always seeks to guide you and your personality, here on earth, to the degree that it can, in the daily affairs of your life. But, your personality can choose, consciously or unconsciously, either to accept, not to accept, or to reject the wondrous thread of guidance given by your Soul, your Spirit, and God. On the Earth plane, it really is a matter of choice. Furthermore, if we choose wrongly or choose not to listen, it does not minimize, in any way, the Love and Guidance given by God and the Spirit.
Thus, we have the Trinity of Spirit-Soul-Body/Personality: three aspects of the One. And here is another point which needs clarification. Within this Trinity, there is also a unifying force of life and guidance. The Spirit of God, through the mystery of the Holy Spirit, guides and inspires us all, no matter where we may be or what type of life we may be living.
We define the Holy Spirit as God’s Spirit alive in the world and within the affairs of men and women. The Holy Spirit can be likened to a grand web of consciousness. It is everywhere and everyone can tap into this vast network of the Holy Spirit. And because it is like a web, any two points within that grand network can connect, commune, and communicate.
Thus, even in our darkest moments, there is guidance, light, love, and healing available from God, through God’s Holy Spirit. Your Spirit knows this and seeks to receive and work with this to the degree that it can. The earthly personality must evolve to this level of awareness and, once it does, it must openly receive this and share it with others. In so doing, the Soul evolves and, subsequently, so does the earthly personality.
So, no matter who we are, where we may be, or what we are experiencing, God’s guiding Light is always there and freely offered. On some level, we all receive this Light. On the earthly plane, some manifest this Light; others do not; still others seek to squelch this Light.
Christ asked that we not hide our Light under the bushel. Christ instructs your Spirit and Soul to shine, radiantly, here on earth, through your personality.
Evolution: The Grand Journey
Spiritual evolution can be summed up quite simply: reuniting that which has become fragmented. Spiritual evolution is the process whereby the earthly personality is elevated and brought into at-one-ment with the Soul; while the Soul is elevated and brought into at-one-ment with the Spirit. This process is fueled, guided, and inspired by God and God’s Holy Spirit.
Death is the returning of the personality back to the Soul, bringing into the essence of the Soul all that it learned and experienced, both positive and negative, here on the Earth plane. The Soul, guided by the Spirit and by God’s Holy Spirit, then decides how it will make manifest the lessons it has received from the personality, as well as make amends, through the Great Law of Karma, for the injustices it may have committed against others, against God, and against itself. It does this through successive incarnations – each with its own personality and body – until it reaches a point where the earthly personality is a perfect manifestation of the Soul’s goodness; or, as stated in the Lord’s Prayer: on earth as it is in Heaven. At that point, it no longer seeks incarnation, and the Soul moves along in its evolution back to the Spirit. On a more cosmic level, death is the process whereby that which has been segregated becomes integrated. This is a good thing!
Ultimately, we are all – human and otherwise – wending our way back to the Spirit’s home, where we will be one with each other and one with God; thus completing the cycle initiated when God breathed life into us and created us, in God’s image as Spirit.
It is all really quite amazing and even more wondrous when you stop and really think about it.