The difference between soul and spirit, is something I think that that many people are not clear on and would like to share some of my thoughts on. I don’t think that it is about having a definitive answer to, rather opening a conversation and exploration, which is more the intention of my writing.
The spirit is the part of us that wants to be free, that seeks transcendence and detachment from everyday concerns. It is the spirit that seeks elevation through listening to a beautiful piece of music, or reaching a state of meditative bliss. I believe that there is a natural and strong desire and aspiration in human beings toward spiritual experience. It is the spirit that is the focus of much of modern spirituality as people seek freedom and transcendence from their daily life, even for a period of time, through certain types of meditation and spiritual practice. A spiritual approach seeks to deal with life and relationships from a place of detachment and essentially non-engagement, which taken to extremes can lead to a disconnection from life itself. Thus there is a necessary balance that is brought about by attending to the needs of the soul.
The soul is the often neglected aspect of our nature. It brings a balance to the aspiration and detachment, sought through spiritual experience. The soul seeks to express itself through the body and a connection with a deeper, felt sense of ourselves and in relationships with all aspects of our life and world. It is through expressing, honouring and experiencing the soul, that we find the sacred in our everyday experience. The soul seeks attachment, a sense of belonging, beauty and enchantment, to give a few examples. The soul finds nourishment in the daily rhythms of life and the seasons and the simple things of life – a meal cooked with love and care, carving a piece of wood or walking in the woods. It is our soul that gives life to our body and imbues us with the unique qualities that makes us who we are. All animate things also have a soul – the trees, the earth, our home and a musical instrument.
As I look around, in this modern world, one of the things I see is the dis-ease of disconnection and loss of soul and the pain and suffering this brings. Working in air conditioned offices, using dishwashers, driving cars and shopping at the supermarket makes life easy and yet, without finding ways to balance this through connecting with the world and life around us in real ways, we are moving more and more into a state of profound disconnection from ourselves and the world around us. Finding ways to nourish the soul throughout the day can bring a simple joy and pleasure to life that is a remedy to this state of disconnection.