BY BOB FRISBY, M.S.
If you have a religion you believe in, you probably believe you have a soul. Looking into Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition, 1962, a SOUL is defined as “an entity which is regarded as being the immortal or spiritual part of the person and though having no physical or material reality, is credited with the functions of thinking and willing, and hence determining all behavior…. the moral or emotional nature of man…. the spirit of a dead person, thought of as separate from the body and leading an existence of its own.”
Again, I urge you to remember that these are my thoughts and reflections, and some things from my archives; take what you want and discard the rest.
Some folks believe that the soul contains the energy that will flow for eternity. Some religions believe your soul begins at conception. I’ve been taught to believe that my soul is like an umbilical cord, connecting my body and mind to the “Higher Power.” The Higher Power is therefore with me wherever I go, in life and in death. Kind of a comforting thought when you’re in “times of trouble” ...like when you’re in combat.
If you goggle Hinduism, you’ll see many different schools of belief about the soul. Wikipedia said “The six orthodox schools of Hinduism believe there is Atman (Soul, self) in every being….” In the Saint Joseph “New Catholic Edition” of the Holy Bible we see Jesus quoted in Matthew 22:37: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.” A clear separation between the mind, the body and the soul.
Chinese philosophy speaks about a theory of Yin and Yang; a universe with equal amounts of positive and negative energy. Perhaps they believe in a positive Higher Power in constant struggle with a negative Higher Power? For us Christians, that would be the struggle between God and the Devil. If you do good deeds, you’re in God’s zone, if you do bad deeds, you’re in the Devil’s zone. Makes me think of that old saying, “get out while you can!” I’d encourage folks to stay in the good deeds zone; brings you plenty of energy to fight physical and mental illnesses.
I believe there is a primitive tribe in Indonesia called the Sukkudi Tribe, that live by the creed “Never hurry; never work too hard; never get angry; for if you do these things, your soul will depart from you and may get so far away that it won’t want to return and you will die.” I heard this on a public television program many years ago, and thought it was interesting that a primitive tribe was actively paying attention to the care of their souls. The Sukkudi were a very happy people.
It is interesting that mass media advertising talks a lot about taking care of your mind and body, but you don’t hear much about caring for your soul. I’ve heard it said, “The body is the tabernacle of the soul”. With this belief, you will need to take good care of your mind and body, so your soul is comfortable and proud to be there. You were born with this mind and this body, and you should be proud of it as a whole. Don’t compare yourself to others and point out what you see as shortcomings in yourself; appreciate who you are and take good care of yourself. If your mind is hurting or confused, talk with folks about it. If your body is hurting, talk to your doctor about it. Some would say you need a strong mind and body to fend off the evils of this world.
Some ideas about caring for your soul: We see the mass media pushing a lot of sex, drugs and alcohol these days. They really want you to try that new vodka. I saw what vodka did to our Infantry troops in Germany and it wasn’t pretty; had to save another soldier’s life on one occasion when he passed out near our barracks on a freezing winter night. When you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your mind isn’t clear and your judgement is impaired. There is where your soul is probably at the most risk. Having a drink of alcohol isn’t as much of a concern as having several drinks of alcohol.
Street drugs are often times taken for the same reason as several drinks of alcohol; a way to cope with what is going on in your life. Other coping skills would be more appropriate and more helpful to your soul.
We see many states making the recreational use of marijuana legal, knowing full well that use of this drug later results in a significant percentage of users going on to use cocaine, and the harder drugs. Many of my clients had increased paranoia following marijuana use and were jumpy, suspicious and on edge. I believe marijuana slows your reaction time and contributes to poor judgment, just like alcohol and other drugs. I will be making a serious effort to avoid every state that has approved the use of marijuana for recreational use. I have no problem with the use of marijuana for approved medical purposes. If I'm forced to go through one of these states, I will be especially cautious with the traffic and people I encounter.
Just some thought lines for you to consider: is there positive and negative forces that affect humans on this planet; like devils and angels? Wouldn't an evil force encourage the small steps that later lead a legislative body to do something that isn't best for the people? We hear that allowing the recreational use of marijuana will increase revenue for our state and open up a lot of job possibilities. You don't often hear the horror stories that go with addiction and we can't measure the deaths that come from addiction. I believe we should focus on elements of the human inventory and get our gratification from there, rather than from using addictive chemicals.
Normal sexual development helps us be good partners later in life. Sexuality can be addicting and take over a lot of our thoughts and behaviors. We are sexual beings, but we are more than that. Sex is just a part of living. Who we interact with as a sexual partner has to be of interest to our soul. That partner should have a comfortable and positive soul. I suspect that what we think about as a sexual being has impact on our soul. It therefore behooves us to keep it positive and in keeping with our moral beliefs. Maybe the churches of America should put some of their budget funds into mass media advertising and address these issues of addiction and care of the soul?
Some thoughts about soul communication: Dr. Carl Jung spoke about meeting a young girl on a walk once and he was impressed with how the interaction felt: “and she walks along with me as naturally as if we belong together.” Sometimes you just jive with someone; doesn’t matter their age, sex, race, or other attributes; you’re just comfortable with each other. This is probably touching on “Soul Communication.”
As I walk through this life encountering people, I’m aware of the energy that is between myself and others. Some folks I feel drawn to and others I feel repelled from; is that my soul informing me of what truly lies inside that human body? Or, is it just my animal self reading the non-verbal signs of the other person and responding.
The Christian Bible, chapter 18 of Matthew, verses 2-6, it reads in part (depending on your Bible) something like this: Jesus called a little child to stand among them. “Truly I tell you, He said, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” I believe he is referring to a feeling of equality and love for the person as they are; a genuine caring for the other person and a desire to see the other person accomplish good things.
A possible example of soul communication occurred while I was sitting in a train in Washington, D.C. and I look over at a woman who right away struck me as suffering from a severe mental illness. Her look back to me indicated to me that it was as if she knew I knew; and she didn’t like it one bit! Out of respect I stopped looking directly at her and continued with my vacation. Perhaps my soul picked up on the pain in her soul. My soul wanted to reach out to her, but her soul was saying, “leave me alone, I don’t want your help!” I have had this happen many times with people that have severe mental illnesses. The relationship starts off as adversarial and changes over time to a friendship.
Another day I was having a meal in a restaurant and noticed this man sitting alone, gorging himself with a very large meal. The “air” about him impressed me as being pure evil. To this day, I wonder if I was touching upon the status of his soul, or was it just my imagination getting a bit carried away?
Many therapists have urged others to pay attention to their feelings toward someone, as much of human communication is non-verbal. How someone looks at you, their body posture, their smell, their hand gestures, even the way they tilt their head, all convey a message. That message could be welcoming you or urging you to keep your distance. That message could be whether they accept you or not, whether they feel equal to you or not, or whether they aim to hurt you.
Yogi philosophy and Oriental Occultism may be more difficult for some of us from the West to relate to, but I urge you to read more about it (listed under Additional Readings). Don’t let the word “Occultism” scare you away from the book. The writer of that book gets as deep into talking about the soul as Sigmund Freud got into infantile sexuality, but I still learned a great deal from the book. I particularly remember Ramacharaka talking about the importance of merging eastern religious thought with western religious thought. I remember him talking about being careful about what you allow your senses to experience.
I believe that I have a soul, and I’m doing what I think will help it stay strong. I believe that taking good care of your soul will help you stay mentally and physically healthy. This is what I hope for each of you. In our catholic mass we have this prayer: "Lord, I'm not worthy that you should enter under my roof; but only say the word and my soul shall be healed". Maybe saying that prayer will help us all have a decent soul.
1. “Memories, Dreams, Reflections;” a book by Dr. Carl Yung
2. “Fourteen Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism;” a book by Yogi Ramacharaka (one of the “pen names” used by William Walker Atkinson)
3. Read about “Yin and Yang” in Wikipedia
4, Read about the “soul” in Wikipedia
5. “Life after life;” a book by Raymond Moody Jr., M.D.
6. “The Bible,” especially the new testament
7. Read about Hinduism in Wikipedia
8. Read about non-verbal communication in Wikipedia