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What Is Spirit?

Updated on January 15, 2014


Oct 11, 2013 copyright 2013 El Veasey Publishing

When someone says they're spiritual or a spiritual person what does that mean?

What is spirit? Well lets take a look at a couple of examples of the way spirit is used in literature. These examples are from the Bible whom many perceive to be a "spiritual" book.

"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3:8 (English Standard Version). In this verse spirit is associated with the blowing wind.That statement is kind of a double positive because if it's not blowing is it really the wind? If a river is not flowing is it really a river?

Spirit is also seen as something that acts spontaneously (blows where it wishes). Any questions or comments before we move on?

Another Example Of Spirit

Ok..Let's look at another example of how spirit is used: "But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth ” John 4:23-24 (English Standard Version) (some translation say "God is a spirit"). In this verse spirit is associated with something that's not located in any particular place and with truth. Interesting!

Any questions or comments before we continue?

What Is Spirit

So what is spirit?

Let's take a look at the origin of the word spirit: (Origin: 1200–50; Middle English (noun) < Latin spīritus orig., a breathing,equivalent to spīri-, combining form representing spīrāre to breathe+ -tus suffix of v. action) Spirit is from the Latin spiritus meaning breathe or breathing. Anyone find that explanation intriguing or interesting?

Let's look at some other meanings of spirit: (Spirit c.1250, "animating or vital principle in man and animals," from O.Fr.espirit, from L. spiritus "soul, courage, vigor, breath," related to spirare "to breathe, Original usage in Eng. mainly from passages in Vulgate" where the Latin word translates Gk. pneuma and Heb. ruah. Distinction between"soul" and "spirit" (as "seat of emotions") became current in Christian terminology (e.g. Gk. psykhe vs. pneuma, L. anima vs. spiritus) but "is without significance for earlier periods)

Spirit is seen as the animating, vital principle in us. In earlier times there was no distinction between spirit and soul they were different words for the same thing.

The Vulgate is the "Latin Vulgate" This was the first Christian Bible and it was written in Latin. Vulgate is from vulgar meaning it was written in the everyday language of the populace, rather than in the official language of the priesthood and the Nobles.

And just to show you that this association between breath and spirit is not limited to "Western" culture. Let's look at the meaning of , Atman, the Hindu equivalent of spirit "(Origin & History Atman 1785, from Skt. atma "essence, breath, soul," from PIE *etmen "breath" (a rootfound in Skt. and Gmc.; cf. O.E. æðm, Du. adem, O.H.G. atum "breath," O.E. eþian, Du. ademen "to breathe"). Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Atman is the spirit or soul by a different name wouldn't you agree? I thought you would.

Any questions or comments?

Let's continue

Spirit And The Body

So with all that focus on breath, breathing and spirit being the animating, vital principle, as the original meaning of spirit. I think we safely say that spirit is seen as life or the life force in us.So you can see how spirit came to be seen as something ephemeral, non-physical, that can't be seen, but is essential to life. And why when you die, the spirit is said to leave the body, because that's when you stop breathing (spiriting) And generally speaking, you're dead, when you can no longer breathe, wouldn't you agree? (Or at least your body is dead).

Can Spirit Exist Without A Body?

But what about your spirit?

We know the body can't exist with out spirit but can the spirit exist without a body?

Some people think so. It's an age old question that has plagued the mind of humankind since time immemorial. Spirit is also another name for ghost as in the Holy Ghost. People have been seeing ghost (spirits) since time immemorial. Do you believe ghost-spirits exist? Have you ever seen a spirit or a ghost?

So taking in consideration everything that's been said about spirit up to this point. We've come full circle back to our starting question and the question the title of this hub asks. What is spirit and when someone says they're a spiritual person what does that really mean?

I look forward to your answers and comments


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