How To Get To Know Your Soul
The Nature Of Knowledge
If you don't know your soul, and are wondering what this is all about, halfway through this hub you would know enough to want to introduce yourself to your soul and become friends. For starters, your soul has no physical properties that can be perceived by your 5 senses, so you cannot see your soul. But, if you look out for them, you would see indications of your soul.
Over the past 6,000 years, man has pondered over questions like: Where did we come from? Why are we here? And where are we going? Answers to these questions have provided man knowledge about himself and the universe, but it was not enough just accumulating knowledge. Man wanted to understand the fundamental nature of knowledge to determine whether it accorded with facts, reality and morality, and this gave birth to the study of philosophy.
Understandably, many people are put off by philosophy, but at it's core, philosophy is just the study of the inherent features of knowledge. For example on the question, what makes a cup a cup? The answer is a cup is a cup when its inherent features allow it to hold liquids congruent with its nature. Therefore a cup that cannot hold liquids, may have the appearance of a cup, but is not a cup because its inherent features are not congruent with its nature, which is to hold liquids.
The Nature Of Your Soul
Now this question: if you know your soul exists, how do you know it to be true. I will begin by saying, to know your soul is to acquire knowledge. This knowledge informs you about the inherent features of your soul, which are that your soul is the incorporeal animating force by which you think, feel and will, and by which you receive revelation through intuition, your sixth sense, or clairvoyance unaided by reasoning. Therefore, if you saw something and thought it was your soul, you can be sure it is not the truth, because the inherent features of what you saw is not congruent with the nature of your soul, which is your soul is incorporeal, and cannot be seen.
As though trying to understand the human body and soul was not more than enough, look through the telescope at the night sky, there you would see the earth's galaxy, called the Milky Way. It is considered a mid-size galaxy with more than 200 billion stars and 50 billion planets, many of which are larger than the earth. For comparison, the sun is 1,300,000 times the size of the earth. If you thought these figures for just one galaxy are breathtaking, brace yourself: there are about 200 billion galaxies in the universe, each with about 500 billion stars. The question is how did all these stars and planets come into existence, and for what purpose?
Other questions like, "Does God exist, and if he does how did he come into existence?" Does the human soul exist, and if so how did it come into being? These questions are unanswerable by philosophy and science, and so from antiquity to the present time, it has been generally accepted that some truths come to man by spiritual revelations translated into human experiences by the soul. Driven by this view, religions flourished to prepare man to receive spiritual revelations from a God whom the Athenian philosopher Aristotle described as, uncreated, eternal and unchangeable.
The Truth And Religion
Notwithstanding the reverence accorded the Universal Consciousness (God), man did not accept at face value the truth as given by religion. This brought the Athenian philosopher Socrates (469-399 BC) into conflict with the teachings of organized religion, when he would not recant what he believed as the truth, and consequently was charged with impiety, and sentenced to death by drinking the hemlock poison.
In refuting the charges of impiety against Socrates, his student Plato (427-347 BC), also an Athenian philosopher quoted Socrates as saying, "I certainly do have altars, and have shrines, both domestic and ancestral, and everything of the kind, just like other Athenians". Adding that Socrates believed in the existence of the gods, but he rejected the view that the gods lied, stole, or desired sacrificial offerings in exchange for answering prayers for external goods.
Following the footsteps of his teacher, Plato also believed in the existence of the gods, and proposed that religion should be taught with three tenets in mind:
1. That gods exist
2. That they cared for the world
3. That they cannot be bought, or corrupted by man's gifts or prayers.
But even as Plato declared his belief in the gods, and his proposals on how to interact with them, he stressed that his views were not the final word on questions about the gods. He did so in order to allow anyone with a better understanding of the subject to come forth with ideas superior to his.
Parenthetically, here is a case study on knowledge that was believed to be true, but later found not to be. In his "Passion Of the Soul" the French mathematician, philosopher and metaphysician Rene Descartes, believed that the human soul, admittedly an incorporeal substance, was joined to the body at the pineal gland.
Rene Descartes was a renowned 17th Century scholar with many accolades, his belief that the soul was joined to the body at the pineal gland would have gone unchallenged were it not for the philosophical tradition promoted by Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and others, which demanded that the inherent features of knowledge should be examined to prove they are in accordance with facts or reality. Consequently, regarding Descartes thesis, there was no proof in facts or reality that a material substance as the body could be joined to an incorporeal substance as the soul; therefore the thesis that the soul was joined to the body at the pineal gland was not true.
This finding in no way diminishes Rene Descartes monumental achievements in modern science and philosophy, it only restates what has been known for centuries, and that is no truth is sacrosanct until it can be proven that the inherent features of the knowledge that gave birth to it are in accordance with facts or reality.
Finding The Truth About Your Soul
Today's sophisticated and scientific minded people reaction to the name of God is predictable. The name brings to their minds what critics refer to as the proclivities and excesses of organized religion. Relying heavily on history, and failing to make a distinction between spirituality and religion, critics of God have been led to throw out the baby with the bathwater; ignoring the fact that even if there were no religions, the human soul would still yearn for a connection with God.
As a case in point, your present state of mind is a reflection of the condition of your life. If you are sad, it's because you are grieving over a loss. If you are happy, it's because something or somebody you desired have come into your life. Interestingly, when you hope for something, you are seeing the reflection of what your soul sees of God's purpose for your life, and focusing on the things you hope for can bring you joy, even when the present condition of your life is miserable.
You may wonder how is it possible to have any semblance of joy when, for instance, you have lost your job, and unable to pay your rent, or make your car payments, or pay your health insurance? In the natural course of events, your state of mind would reflect what is going on in your life, and having lost your job, you would naturally be sad and scared, and if nothing changes, you may fall into despair.
But you can take a different course of action by, "treating others as you would want to be treated", even when things are not going well in your life. And the best place to start is at home with your spouse, children and siblings. Unimpressive as this may sound, it orients your soul toward God for an eventual spiritual connection with him. God's wisdom and power would flow into your mind and body, giving you the means to create the conditions in which the things you hope for take physical form to change your life for the better.
I know you may not be impressed by this, but I would urge you to find the truth about your soul by putting the above concept to the test in your life. For further reading on hope, contact me at email@example.com with your questions.
The Purpose Of God
Meantime, the rigorous process used by Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and others to uncover the truth about God and his purpose should give you comfort that their belief in the gods did not come from unexamined thoughts. Although Socrates believed in the existence of the gods, he found no truth in the view that the gods desired sacrificial offerings in exchange for their blessings. He saw no correlation between the amount of sacrificial offerings given, and the blessings bestowed upon the giver, and accordingly rejected sacrificial offerings as a truth to be followed in religion.
Your question would be, what is the truth? The truth is knowledge that is in accordance with facts or reality. To confirm that a specific knowledge is the truth requires examining the facts or reality that formed its fundamental nature. This was the principle that motivated Galileo Galilei, the Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomy and philosopher (1564-1642), while peering through his telescope at the night sky, to find the truth that the earth moves around the sun, and not the other way around. Galileo almost lost his life for contravening the religious belief at the time that the earth was the center of the universe, and all the stars and planets revolved around it.
In this case, what was believed to be true turned out not to be the truth. All that was needed was for those in authority to accept a specific knowledge as the truth, pass it down to the general public, then it became the truth. Fortunately, in our time because of the increasing number of intellectuals searching for the truth, the actual truth often comes to light. But even when the actual truth comes out, it has to contend with opposing views designed, not to prove it wrong, but to discredit it. An example of which has been the debate on global climate warming: is the globe really warming up, or not?
Meantime, regarding the search for the truth on the existence of God, philosophers and scientists from both antiquity and modern time agree that although they have not found the facts to prove how God came into existence, they have gathered sufficient information from personal revelations and experience to identify the purpose of God, and his effect on man and the universe. Agreeing with this view on God, the 17th Century German philosopher Immanuel Kant asserted that no one can know if there is a God and an afterlife, therefore it is prudent to believe in the idea of God, since it could not be separated from happiness and morality.
Immanuel Kant got it right. The purpose of God is for every man and woman to find happiness through morality. However, you may have read learned arguments that morality is relative. But that is only half the story. The other half is, all morality is not relative. For instance, who in his right mind would insist on relativism in the prohibition, "a son shall not have sexual intercourse with his mother". Since nobody would, it confirms that some moral behaviors are absolute. And as far as attaining happiness is concern, morality, in shaping human behavior, asks for nothing more than that, "you treat others as you would want to be treated".
The Purpose Of The Soul
The drive behind the search of evidence for the existence of God has been that without a God, it was impossible to explain the purpose of the human soul. With a living God, existing in spirit form, the purpose of the human soul could be justified, in that it made possible the spiritual connection between God and man. God being a spirit, and man being a physical person, by their nature there could be no connection between the two without a spiritual entity residing in the human body to make the connection possible.
Socrates and Plato knew this when they proposed that the soul is the essence, or the animating force of a person. They saw the soul as an incorporeal and eternal substance living in the human body. Plato added that the soul had a mind, emotion and desire, and while the soul's mind was eternal, its emotion and desire ended with the death of the body. In other words, Plato was acknowledging that the subconscious mind of the soul was eternal, and is made of the same substance as God, while the conscious mind, a product of the body, died with the body.
On his part, Aristotle did not see the soul having a separate existence from the body. He believed the soul gave form to life, manifesting itself through the activity of living things. In his work "De Anima" Aristotle's reference to the "active intellect" or "active mind" seemed to put him in agreement with Socrates and Plato view that the soul is eternal. Aristotle classified the activities of the soul at three levels: the plant, animal and people, attributing the nutritive activity to all living things able to take in nourishment for growth, and the appetitive activity only to animal and people with the ability to desire, perceive things, and move. To people alone, Aristotle attributed the activity of reasoning. For Aristotle, the soul is alive, and can be seen at work through the activities of all living things.
In their theories the Persian philosophers Avicenna and Ibn al-Nafis made a distinction between the soul and the spirit, adding that the immortality of the soul was derived from its nature. On his part, the 17th Century French mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes, dubbed the father of modern philosophy, made a distinction between the soul and the body, but were connected at the pineal gland. In Descartes view, the soul is immortal and it thinks, whereas the body does not think. It is defined by its physical form, and all the kinds of movements it is capable of, which end with death.
I have made this long journey from antiquity to the modern time to provide you with references that attest to the existence of the human soul, and by extension the existence of God. In fact, the soul finds its purpose in the existence of God, without whom the soul would not exist. If you think all this is hogwash, you are not alone.
The Critics Of God
The 19th Century German social philosopher Karl Marx wrote in his book "Das Kapital" that "religion is the opium of the people". Friedrich Nietzche, also a German philosopher wrote in his book "The Gay Science" that "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him". In contemporary time, there is also the British ethologist and evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins whose book "The God Delusion" seeks to convey the view that neither God nor the human soul exists, and those who believe in them are delusional. These are only three of the tens of thousands of critics who have devoted their lives work to proving that God does not exist.
When you carefully read the books of these critics, you would notice their criticism is directed at the institutions of religion, completely overlooking the difference between the institutions of religion, and spirituality. By the institutions of religion, I mean the organization, management, and dissemination of religious dogmas and doctrines, and their effects on believers. By spirituality, I mean the pursuit of the truth aimed at connecting spiritually with God, which can be promoted or hindered by the institutions of religion.
By the truth, I mean knowledge that accords with facts or reality. Over the past millenniums believers have accepted the existence of God as the truth. In our quest for the truth about God, we can now examine the fundamental nature of the knowledge that gave birth to that truth to find whether it is in accordance with fact or reality, using as our light the advice of Professor Paul Tillich. He was a German philosopher who came to the U.S. in 1933, and became a professor at Harvard University. In an article in the 1955 issue of Christianity and Crisis, he wrote that "Every religion which cannot stand ultimately the radical question that is asked by the intellectual critic of religion, is superstition".
On the question regarding the truth about God, I would begin by making a distinction between scientific knowledge and spiritual knowledge. Scientific knowledge is based on facts gathered from observation, documentation and experimentation. To remain true, when tested it should produce the same result according to the facts that gave birth to it. On the other hand, spiritual knowledge is based on facts gathered from individual revelation and personal experience. While a scientific experiment can be repeated at will to prove the truth of a scientific knowledge in accordance with facts, spiritual revelation and personal experience cannot be repeated at will. However, spiritual knowledge can be tested by the facts derived from the effects of spiritual revelation on the life of the believer.
Consequently, to write off the spiritual experience of a believer as a delusion amounts to intellectual dishonesty. It is contrary to logic to say because you have not had my spiritual experience, what I believe cannot be true, and therefore delusional. To the critics, I would ask, since you have not had my spiritual experience, on what basis do you make your judgement that what I have experienced is not true? Certainly, when finding the truth about a scientific theory, both the proponent and critic would have had the same experience of witnessing the theory in a test. Without having had my spiritual experience, isn't my critic basing his judgement on a lack of knowledge, which in effect renders his judgement pointless?
Bridging The Gap Between Your Soul and You
Getting to know and having a relationship with your soul requires more than just turning on a switch and having it done. You need patience and dedication to bridge the gap between you and your soul, as both of you, although living in the same body, do live at different levels of existence. In other words, you being human live in the physical world, while your soul being a spirit lives in the spiritual world.
More specifically, you and your soul live in parallel worlds. The two worlds do not meet, but under certain conditions the two do communicate. The nature of the communication is determined by your relationship with others. And this is where many believers lose their way, believing that they have a spiritual relationship with God when in fact, they do not. Nothing directly connects your soul to God besides your resolve to, "treat others as you would want to be treated".
People often chuckle when reminded to "treat their neighbors as they would want to be treated". They have convinced themselves that treating their neighbors as they would want to be treated is a golden rule that has never worked in the real world. Is it any wonder then that we have relied exclusively on human knowledge to manage our affairs, and created a world in which we can see no end to wars, poverty and unhappiness, despite all the efforts we have made since the end of World War II to end all wars, poverty and unhappiness?
Unfortunately, those in position to change things recoil from the golden rule because it smacks of religion. The truth is you don't have to be religious to benefit from, "treating your neighbors as you would want to be treated." You can believe in whatever you want, so long as you commit yourself to treating others as you would want to be treated, your soul would connect with God, allowing your subconscious mind, which is the mind of your soul, to overlap with your conscious mind, bringing you divine wisdom and power, to create the conditions in which what you hope for would become yours in physical form.
Needless to say, what you have read so far would bear no fruit until you commit yourself to, "treating others as you would want to be treated", and the best place to start is at home with your spouse, children and siblings. For answers to questions on religion, spirituality and God go to: www.benaidoo.hubpages.com. You may also contact me with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org