Tree of Life – Level 1, Lesson 4: Soul 3
One of the most confusing things any student has to contend with is when somebody starts talking about soul, and then the individuality, reality, actuality and all the other “alities,” one sort of feels that he has been subdivided, divided and subdivided. Well, this is not wholly so. You are all one in God.
We discuss now, for a moment, those conditions of which we call Personality, and are often confounded with that which is called by some, Individuality. These two terms are often used interchangeably and should not be so. They are not the same condition and state of manifestation.
But to us, they are much like the terms reality and actuality often used by schools of thought. There is a definite distinction between all of these, in reality, in the sight of God.
The English dictionary makes these two words almost synonymous. We read that Personality is, “that which makes for personal existence, or identity, or that which constitutes the distinction of a person.” Individuality, we are told, is, “the characteristic peculiar to the individual and some of the characteristic traits.
Now, let us take this point of view and define it in light of life and reality of God’s creation. Personality cannot pertain solely, or even partially, to one’s physical countenance, material body, or appearance. One’s personality may reveal itself, or even veil itself, in the clothes one wears, or in the manner of a physical expression; likewise, one’s home, furnishings, books, friends, hobbies and pleasures. Personality may be revealed or veiled. Personality is that subtle quality of the inner man which reveals itself, at times, in those material elements of the human manifestation in earth, which we notice as characteristic traits, and groups, in the mass individuality.
Actually, the personality of man is the sum total of many lifetimes brought together in the soul, which is around the Self. It is the reflection and reaction of man from his many lifetimes and his much learning, much error, and much development. It is not really something that has anything to do with his outer man, in a sense, except that it is reflected there.
The individuality, on the other hand, pertains solely to those materialistic qualities, attributes and expressions which constitute characteristic traits. The individual, the outer manifestation, plus education, habits, thoughts and creeds, is the wearing of the physical body and the physical world, so to speak. I use the word wearing because we are wearing a body. It is a vehicle which is carrying you — the Self and the Soul.
To continue this simple explanation, you might say that the personality is the naked body under the unchangeable cloak of Soul. It is YOU. The individuality is a cloak which you have taken on and give your personal appearance to.
An important matter to be considered here is what constitutes the personality of man. It is the personality of man, or the soul-personality, as we call it, which is most concerned with all earthly existence — all earthly existence through its reincarnations of man’s soul. Reincarnations, as we shall see, is the purpose of the evolving of the soul personality. This we may attain so that we may attain a certain goal.
But by the lessons we learn by the soul-personality, it is the process of evolution which is going on — which will bring us into the things we need to learn our lessons by. Because, whether we know it or not, the subtle forces of the soul are in function as long as we are in this functional body.
Man, only through his personality, expresses in each incarnation. He brings with him the knowledge of the material body functions. In a few words, personality may be said to be the mind of the soul in reality. It is and carries that record of wisdom or knowledge.
Just as individuality may be said to be a brain, in a sense, of the material body — in the using of the word “mind,” in this case, a distinction is made between mind and brain. This is a little different. It should be familiar to all students. The subjective faculties and attributes of the mind are particularly referred to in all references as the mind of the soul — mind of the soul.
Personality as it is used in the principle elements is the soul storehouse of memory. If we assume, or believe, that it is in a single incarnation the lessons learned today are preserved for us tomorrow, a year or 10 years hence, we must admit that the memory has its faults as a storehouse of facts and experiences, pictures and impressions.
The materialistic will claim that the memory and its possible storehouses are faculties and functions of the brain — a physical thing associated with a subtle mind of an unknown soul.
We will point out the fact that the brain will prevent the brain from remembering a past impression. That fact is that an injury to the brain will affect recollection and conscious memory. It is a fact also that a blow on the head, or an injury to the brain, may remove or affect the desire to eat or drink. But — not even the materialist would claim that this proves that the injury to the brain removes or destroys the existence of hunger or thirst in the body.
The brain is an organism of the body through which all the emotions and desires are consciously realized and find their power to function, or manifest, outwardly. To injure the functions of the brain is to affect the conscious objective realization of facts and impressions.
The brain is like a prism, very much — a prism, or a group of, should we say, cells — brain cells. They are like tiny reservoirs that pick up impulses and pictures. Then, they are reshuffled — like a little computer.
We may close, or obstruct, the threshold which leads from the inner subjective to the outer objective chamber, but such shutting off of the free passage of thought does not destroy the thought. And, most certainly, the blockade does not prove the non-existence of the chamber beyond. That memory is stifled in the non-manifest by an injury to the brain does not prove that the memory resides in the material outer chamber of the brain.
Paralysis may mute the activity of every human faculty and muscle of the human body to an extent that not a sign, or signal, of intelligence may be expressed. But the mind will and does continue to think and have, within its chambers, many thoughts unable to manifest objectively.
The reality is that the mind we use is part of the mind of God, the Creator. If we admit the possible existence of the storehouse of memory, in which all facts and impressions consciously realized are stored away for future use, it is just a little point to yield that this Great Archetype of the structure of the human body is a functioning part of, and reflection of, the temple of experience — this chamber of pleasures and sorrows; this school of lessons learned; this chart of likes and dislikes; this encyclopedia of facts; this court of justice and retention; this record of impression; this resort of test and trial; this tribunal of decision between the rights and wrongs; these combinations constitute in each existence the personality of the human being. Human being. This is his being — being alive in this particular existence.
But he could be alive in another existence, in another world entirely, and still use the same function — the same mind. He might even be in another type of body, but the mind would be the same.
Now let us take for the subject of the soul a separate condition, the personality or character of the being. The study of its purpose and function of which is said that the religious tendencies of the Egyptian’s, related with the theories and explanations of man’s physical and spiritual existence, contained nothing that could be interpreted as belief in the existence or possibility of the soul.
This is true only of the popular religious beliefs and principle. This is not true of the tenets and beliefs of several religions and cults which existed in Egypt as far back as 1500 BC and later.
These Egyptian cults, or religious bodies, were the forerunners of all modern secret cults of a semi-religious, or philosophical, nature and in their peculiar symbolism ceremonies and rites copied or adopted even to this day. There is much evidence, not only of belief in the soul, but considerable understanding of its origin, nature and purpose.
In fact, the learned Egyptians definitely recognized the duality of man’s being — the reality. They said duality because he had two bodies — and really, he has four.
The learned Egyptians definitely recognized this duality of man’s being. The inner divine nature of man, or his soul, was known to them as RA, or BA. RA was the sun and the life force coming in — the inevitable. It was principally symbolized in the form of a bird. This material symbolically represented the flight into eternity of the soul after death — namely, after the transition of the body.
At times, there were many other gods or spirits known, but this is not the way in which it was done in Egypt. Soul is likewise symbolized by the lotus flower, the unfolding, the everlasting, the white, the being, the perfect, the unblemished, which flourished in the rich soil along the Nile. These symbols and flowers go further and further into the reality. The concepts of the ancient Egyptians were highly evolved in religious matters and many of them were mystic.
In the Orphic religious cults of the 6th century BC, the soul was considered a divine element of evolution, which was evolving through the earthly expression. We read, also, that the soul is a
part of the divine, or universal, soul for which the body of man in its limited and moral conditions is but a womb or prison. The continuous existence of the soul and the body together is a punishment for sins in a previous condition.
The Orphic principle and rites tend to establish a belief in the homogeneity of all living things. In this particular doctrine, or in many doctrines of the original sin, is the transmigration of the soul. For instance, John Milton, in his English manuscript on the Secret Laws of the Orphic Rites, said it was taught that the soul was entombed in the animal, earthly body for that length of time which would enable it to gradually attain perfection during its contact with matter. It is the same way by which your dog or mine learns to know us and assimilate our actions, for they get to know even almost what you speak. They do realize the symbol and the sound of the word.
When the soul has attained the perfection, it is freed from the cycle of generation and no longer requires contact with these conditions, tests, trials, and re-cycling. It again becomes a pure and evolved soul which returns to its divine source as before its first imprisonment.
The oldest rite in the early philosophy shows that belief in the soul was a part of the principle of the primitive culture. Furthermore, it has always been believed by nearly all of the primitive and modern philosophies. Let us realize also that our mystic cults said that man’s soul is a divine essence and is rarely associated with the material body.
We find that much thought in the writings of many great people; historic philosophers born in the Taurus, about 301 BC. They held that the sun was the abode of God. From the sun, radiated a divine essence, the soul of God. This soul pervades all space and, in separable segments, entered into the human body to be born on the earth. The soul, or god-man, essence was the revivification of the fire or the universal emanation of the intelligence provided providence of God.
There is added on the original idea, that the degree of the validity of the soul, after so-called death, depends upon the degree of its vitality in its life in the body. Arguments in favor of these believe that the soul is a divine element, or entity, having its own origin in God, residing temporarily in an earthly body, and freed at the dissolution of the body to return to its origin, or source.
There are many and learned discussions regarding these things. To really understand what life is, then one must begin to see and know that all of this and the great wonders which we see around us, must have something that remembers from life to life — that we are, that we are going to be, and that we are not going to be just a man. We are going to be a being. We are going to be a highly intelligent individual. If we listen to the words of the inner being, and if we reach a state of spiritual consciousness, where we listen to the direction from within, we will soon realize that there has to be a soul. For, many of the answers and things we get will be impossible without a record brought forward.
That science — that hard, materialistic goal — we recognize that we take cognizance of the soul and we even admit that a man might think and still not have or think about the things which might come from the soul.
Plato voiced this same idea in the words: “As manifestly as the human soul is, by means of the human senses, it is linked to the present life, attracting itself by reason of concepts, conclusions, anticipations and efforts; to which reason leads it to God and eternity.”
We see that the human mind not only conceives the existence of the human soul, but that the duality of man’s earthly existence is at once made apparent by our recognition of such concepts of the soul. It is not possible after considerable thought to conceive of a man as having a soul without conceiving that man’s expressions on earth — that is, in the form of body and soul. The material form enclosing the immaterial which has continual existence.
Consider the soul as a separate part and shell of the Self — immaterial parts of the dual man. Mind must naturally be considered the immaterial entity of the being immortal, divine and immanently from God. This the reality. This is the actual heritage which God has left us with, that we can take with us: our life history, our life library from one life to another without hesitation.