Tree of Life – Level 1, Lesson 4: Soul 2
Tonight, we shall touch the first part of the study on the soul. I think the question probably most important in your mind is to say what is it? Let us learn first what, or how…what is it?
It is so important that we realize the soul is not of such a material nature that we can hope to sense it, just by looking at it alone. This is part of the job of the teacher. It is there — the Self and the Soul. It is part of the objective and subjective of this School. This School seeks to bring each man and woman, at their wish, into the realization of the Self. Therefore, the teacher touches upon the sense of soul.
We have a material body; we have a spiritual body; we have a soul. We have come to see that even the blood, though visible to us in an objective sense, contains that which is not seen or perceived objectively. We come to understand the blood cells and the plasma of the blood — that which is easily seen and recognized by physicians, doctors and scientists — in the human blood of man. After all, it is only the medium for carrying throughout the system the real power and the real energy — the real force of the Christ; the light.
One great fact is quite evident, and that is the axiomatic reality. We can see the Self. That can be done. And we will notice, usually, that there is a soul for it is around the Self. We can understand it and we can learn to work with it only through its functions and its manifestations. We can see it. The functions and manifestations are so definite, so distinct, that we cannot make any mistake about its presence.
We can easily mark and define that function of the human existence which belongs to the soul exclusively as any other thing which we come in contact with in our spiritual endeavor and seeking. We can define those things which belong to the heart of man. Furthermore, these clear and unmistakable functions of the soul cannot possibly belong to any other part of man’s existence. The soul and the Self — this is YOU.
In fact, as one great mystic once said, if we had never been told and had never even heard or read about the existence of the soul in man, our studies, experiments, and our working and our existence, our life and our living, with its multiple functions of the human body, would have forced us to create, or invent, a soul to account for what we had observed and in order to know that happened in the totality of function.
God, the Great Creator, created man out of the dust of the earth, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life as it is said in Genesis, and man became a living soul. We truly do take this statement literally.
I believe the teachers of this School have shown us that the first part of this statement is absolutely true. Every form of science is proving to us that man’s material body is composed of earthly substance and elements; that man’s material body, both materially and physically, is of the negative elements of the earth. Man’s body is made of dust. It is like unto the clay images molded as some of the gods; like a pot in the potter’s hands. For it is the pot which is in our hands which we mold and form as we go along.
We compare the lifeless body of a man with that of a man who was lying beside it asleep. What was the difference? So far as the objective sight was concerned, they were similar. They both had the same organs, the spiritual and the physical, all forms and material things; each was the identical replica of the other.
The spiritual essence was there in the man. But, in the one, there was life. In the other, there was not. In one, breath was passing to and fro. In the other was no breath. We also noted that in the one, something was absent, while it was still present in the other. Our conclusions was that the soul was absent in the lifeless body.
We know, I am sure at this time in our studies, whether or not there is a soul. But we do not understand its functions necessarily. We do know that there is something of us which goes from life to life. Our work should prove to us that this is so.
There is a very close relationship between the breath and the psychic aura, between the breath and the psychic body of man, and the spiritual body and its charging.
This relationship is evident in the writings of the old mystics and philosophers. In fact, there is evidence of the soul and breath relationship in writings that remain practically from the dawn of civilization, back to the Zen Vesta, the languages of the Atlanteans and the languages that followed it; the Sanskrit, and then Greek, Roman and many of the some fifty-odd tongues.
We find in the dictionaries of their languages that the word soul and breath were synonymous, using the same root. We find also that in the soul quality of being, they used the same words that they used for breath. But most of them made a distinction between spirit and soul.
This, we find, is just proof that the old thinkers knew the functions that the soul and breath maintained toward man’s existed manifestation. Some of the ancient Stoics held that the divine principle, or first cause, of the universe, itself, was from the breath of God which permeates all things. This breath manifested in the series of creative laws and matter as what we term spirit. It became the physical laws which science knows and studies.
In man, this breath, or logos, meaning law become soul, draws together that which man does, lives, breaths, thinks, prays, manifests, lets go and allows the Great Power to come through him which moves man in his spiritual senses.
In the soul around the Self is etched the experience of man from life to life, from era to era, age to age, as he goes down that long path; as he climbs the ladder; or as he goes up the bootstrap path through the center of all being.
Even though we are engaged and agreed on the teachings that the soul and the breath are closely related, we have discovered little regarding the soul in a concrete manner, except those things which we have seen and have changed in relationship to. This we must try to do. We must try and we can only hope to know the soul a little better through experimental work, through working with the Self and through other things of this nature.
We cannot demand to know, for it is that part of us which has nothing to do with our objective material lives, directly, with the exception of control over the body systems. A knowledge can be based upon objective senses, but we must depend upon the sensing of the soul, subjectively, and the soul essence. Although, in working with the Self, if we have gone through God-Realization, we will notice that there are things that take place and there are changes in the perimeter of the Self around it. The very first point we discover about the soul is its divine nature; that it is of God. We are sure, naturally, that the question arises: “What do we mean by God?” That is why our first lesson of this particular subject and level of work in the lessons of the Golden Dawn are devoted entirely to the subjects of God and the soul.
If we recognize God as the Great Divine Power and Intelligence which animates the universe, we can readily see and understand how the soul is a part of the Intelligence and Power. God and the soul are divine because both represent the infinite and supreme, the everlasting, the evermoving, the records of all being, and the first Great Cause and Principle of all creation to the mystic. That is, this supreme is infinite; a part of the first Great Cause. It is Divine.
In no other sense do we mean this word. In no other sense is it applied. Therefore, we say that the soul of man is a part of the divinity. Why is it there? How did it come to be there? What is its part of the scheme of Creation? These questions are the next important parts. What purpose does the soul serve as a divine and immortal element residing temporarily with the human body. This is a question which should be profoundly followed up.
In looking at man’s existence from a purely materialistic standpoint of view, the soul, granting its existence in man, serves no purpose not already served by all of the physical functions and attributes of the material man. That is, of course, the very foundation of why the soul is there. Here is the infinite man in memory, although this is not from a material point of view.
The attempts several years ago made by the University of Columbia to create living organisms artificially by the process called spontaneous generation proved that living organisms could not be artificially created, except so far as to produce, or to bring together, the necessary material elements, as needed, was concerned.
The life and vital force that animate such an artificial generation organism was not created and remained unknown in the growth. However, such experiments often repeated seemed to prove that life is purely a chemical action; something which resulted from the action of several groups of elements upon one another under certain conditions.
Such a theory would bring the question of vital life free of principles of divinity and man’s brain would be all there was in intellectual reactions. Consciousness would then become something that would simply be action and reaction, or reflex action due to the materialistic stimuli of minerals and elements, whereas, life would come primarily and principally from the air breathed into the lungs bringing with it a certain vitalizing element of a chemical nature, just as an electrical current animates a motor with nothing divine, nothing super physical, nothing pertaining to the soul.
Such a chemical materialistic theory of life is still propounded by men of science. The soul was not placed in the scheme of things and, therefore, the soul did not exist. They had not reached that level of thinking in its reality.
Even the theological explanations for the existence of the soul, and its purpose in the human body, did not make the soul a necessary attribute. Thus, in the earthly existence and development of man, there was no propagation of life after life because they left out the reincarnations. They left out the experiences of those who had experienced the present existence and living before.
Here again was called into existence the problem of the soul because something had to move from this life to another. Something had to, just had to, know and understand how this body worked so that its automatic systems would work readily, freely and in perfect rhythm. That rhythm, that perfection, came out of the divine essence within man’s soul — the divinity to make him simply an image of God and nothing more.
It also had its affect upon man’s morals or development. It has also failed to fulfill the unknown purposes designed by God if the soul were placed in man simply to give him an immortal attribute — something to live after and await a day of spiritual existence. This is not practical. The only purpose served by such an example of reason for the soul’s existence would be to foster the theological idea of the final judgment — the day when all the souls released from the earth from millions of years would come together to be judged and to suffer punishment or receive reward.
This theological idea has long since been shown to be illogical. It is not in keeping with nature, its laws and principles. Therefore, it couldn’t be of God. There is another reason for the existence of the soul.
We may consider the mystics, philosophers, and even Spinoza which said that he affirmed that when man is self-conscious, that is, when he is aware of his own existence, which soul makes possible, then man realizes himself; because the Self of man is the Self of God — a part of it — a great cell in the being, form and body of our Great Father.
We shall contemplate upon the reality of God and see what our consciousness of Him is when we exist in that consciousness in tune with Him.