Proof That The Soul Exists
Indications Of The Soul
Although the soul is a part of your personality, it has no physical properties that can be seen, counted or measured, which is why discussion on its existence stirs so much controversy. To the modern sophisticated and scientific minded person, the soul must offer physical proof of itself, otherwise it does not exist.
If this was the end of the story, we would all be happy, turn off the lights and go home to a hot meal and a warm bed. But honestly, we know this is not the end of the story on the existence of the soul. We know this from 6000 years of recorded history on man pondering over questions like: What is the meaning of life? Where did we come from? Why are we here? What is the meaning of death? Where are we going?
In the West, our first encounter with the soul occurred in Genesis 2:7 where we read, "The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul" (King James version). While this is not sufficient proof for you, there are indications that the soul exists, and this finding came not from priests and believers, but from scientists doing research on the conscious, subconscious and unconscious minds.
Sigmund Freud And The Human Consciousness
Prominent among the research scientists working on the different levels of human consciousness was the Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud who popularized the concept of the hierarchical architecture of the human consciousness, which he believed comprised of the conscious, subconscious or preconscious and unconscious minds. In Freud's view, the conscious mind contained thoughts of which we are aware. The subconscious or preconscious mind contained thoughts of which we are not aware at the moment, but could be recalled and become conscious thoughts. And the unconscious mind is where he believed socially unacceptable thoughts are repressed and stored, including traumatic memories and painful emotions. Based on this view, Freud developed his psychoanalytical theory to diagnose and cure neurotic behaviors.
However, Freud's contribution to our search for proof that the soul exists is limited to his discovery that the human person is influenced not only by the conscious mind. Beyond this, his view that the unconscious mind is a storage for repressed thoughts, memories and emotions has been found not to be true. The unconscious mind is not found in the head, it is found in the enteric nervous system embedded in the walls of the gut, beginning from the esophagus to the anus. It is made of brain tissue with an estimated 500 million neurons capable of sending and receiving impulses, recording experiences and responding to emotions, independent of the brain. Yet it is not conscious of itself, or the important functions it performs in the body.
Knowing where in the body to find the conscious and unconscious minds, the next task is to locate the subconscious mind. Going back to Freud's definition, the subconscious or preconscious mind is where thoughts are kept until they are retrieved by the conscious mind. In fact, this is the definition of the memory, not the subconscious mind. Unlike the memory where only physical and experiential information are stored for possible future retrieval, the subconscious mind stores physical, experiential, as well as spiritual information. If the conscious mind could retrieve information from the subconscious mind at will, it would certainly stumble upon disturbing images, or information it could not process with the human brain.
Where Is The Subconscious Mind
So far, we have proof of the conscious mind, it exists in the brain. We also have proof of the unconscious mind, it exists in the enteric nervous system embedded in the walls of the gut. We found these proofs with the tools of science because the conscious and unconscious minds are embedded in physical organs of the body. The subconscious mind is not embedded in a physical organ, it resides in the soul, for this reason proof of its existence cannot be found with the tools of science.
Being a spirit, what resides in the soul cannot be seen, but you can see indications of it. Just as you cannot see the wind, but can see indications of it from the movement of the branches of trees. So too you cannot see the soul, but can see indications of it when you live by the universal divine law that calls upon you, "to treat your neighbors as you would want to be treated." That said, I would assume even though you cannot see the wind, you know it exists from indications of it on the branches of trees. Similarly, I would assume you would agree that the soul exists from proof that the subconscious mind exists.
While proof of the subconscious mind as an indication of the existence of the soul may sound mysterious to you, it is based on a testable spiritual principle that reads: when you treat others as you would want to be treated, your soul is oriented for a spiritual connection with God. After the spiritual connection with God, all that is good would flow into your mind and body bringing sustained happiness to your life; a happiness that is sustained not only by what you can achieve in life, but also by the connection of your subconscious mind with the superconscious mind of God.
What Is Happiness
Happiness is the ultimate purpose of life. Without happiness we are reduced to being born, to reproduce and to die like salmons swimming upstream to their watery graves. Owing to the multiple sources of happiness, it could be said that happiness is in the mind of the beholder. What makes one person happy may not make another happy; yet broadly speaking, concepts like well-being, quality of life and flourishing are often present wherever you find happiness.
On what is happiness, in the 2nd and 3rd editions of the "Handbook of Emotions", evolutionary psychologists Loda Cosmides and John Tooby say, "encountering unexpected positive events" brings happiness. Mark Leary says, "we are happiest when basking in the acceptance and praise of others". While Sara Algoe and Jonathan Haidt see amusement, satisfaction, joy, gratification and achievements as related emotions for happiness. And lest we forget, Michael Lewis adds that "happiness can be elicited by seeing a significant other".
As you bask in the sweet fragrance of these happiness definitions, a point to keep in mind is that happiness begins only after you have met your basic necessities including food, shelter, clothing and medical care. Until these basic needs are met, you cannot truly be happy. All the same, meeting your basic needs does not automatically make you happy, it only gives you the means to find happiness.
When you are no longer worrying about where your next meal would come from, where you are going to spend the night, where to get clothes to protect yourself from the elements, and where to get medical care when you fall sick, there would be room in your mind to think about the higher things in life including questions like, what is the meaning of life? Where would I go after death? I'm like the flowers of the field, to be born, to reproduce and to die, and nothing more?
Finding answers to these questions would reveal that you are not an island. You are related spiritually to all peoples on the face of the earth, regardless of race, nationality, tradition, culture or religion. And your happiness depends not only on your personal achievements, but also on how you treat others, and their reaction to you. It goes without saying, if you desire positive reaction from your neighbors, you should treat them as you would want to be treated.
Good Relationship Is The Key To Happiness
Good relationship with your neighbors would increase the pleasant events in your life, and with time bring you sustained happiness. For this to happen though, you should begin at home. You should work on improving the quality of your relationship with your spouse, your children and siblings who are the closest to you. Difficult as this may be, if you cannot treat members of your family as you would want to be treated, there is no chance you could treat your neighbors as you would want to be treated, to unlock your happiness.
Happiness, or more specifically sustained happiness, is the highest refinement of the human person. To attain this level of refinement, requires that you transcend the inclinations of your human person. How to do this is demonstrated by the lives and work of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. They are among the top 10 richest men on the face of the earth, who found great pleasure in accumulating and holding onto wealth, which by the way is a normal and legitimate human inclination. Now, they are finding greater pleasure in giving away their wealth to people who have done nothing for them, other than that these people are desperate and need help, and Bill and Warren can relate to their suffering, and have the means to help.
Why are Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, having spent their lives accumulating and holding onto wealth, now giving it away? No law requires them to do so. Why are they doing this? The answer is, besides the pleasure of doing something larger than themselves, they are doing this in alignment with the spiritual law that says, when you stop complying with the inclinations of your human person, you would automatically start complying with the inclinations of your soul, by treating your neighbors as you would want to be treated. In other words, attaining sustained happiness is an indication that your actions are informed by the attitude of your soul, and I can say without a doubt that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are among the happiest people on the face of the earth.
Why Do People Become Unhappy
Besides not able to meet their basic needs which is the primary source of unhappiness, in general people become unhappy because things are not going well in their family, employment or business relationships, or in their mental or physical health condition. They want things to be the way they perceive to be right, and so long as things are not going their way, they would remain unhappy. The danger here is that they could become chronically unhappy, and quickly descend into depression.
The free fall into chronic unhappiness and depression can happen to people where money is not the issue at all. If you have heard that money cannot buy happiness, you saw it demonstrated in real life by the suicide of Robin Williams. He had everything to live for. He had money, he had houses, he had cars, he had the best clothes money could buy, he could afford the best healthcare available, he had a family, and a job he loved. Why did he kill himself, if all he needed to be happy were material things? He was certainly not happy, and relationships or health problems may have taken him down the road he chose.
If what I am about to say has the effect of a shock therapy, it may well be to inform those who are unhappy that they cannot get their way all the time. They can control only their own thoughts, feelings and reactions, they cannot control the thoughts, feelings and reactions of others, neither can they prevent the vicissitudes of life. They should see problems in their lives not as destructive elements, but opportunities meant to motivate them to think harder and deeper for solutions that are always there.
When your unhappiness is caused by a mental or physical health problem, you can be certain to find solution for it if you can afford the medical care you would need. It gets tougher when seeking solution to relationships problems, especially spousal relationship problems. Howerver, the day you become aware that people don't like you, or that you cannot get along with people, including your spouse, you have arrived at the threshold of the solution to your problem.
Left alone though, you would want to ask, why don't people like you? A better question is, how would you want to be treated by others? They may include your spouse, your children, your co-workers, or business associates. How do you want them to treat you? You would need a couple of days to get your thoughts on paper, think about them and confirm them as how you want to be treated by those in your personal and business circles.
When you are satisfied you have got every thought down pat, turn the table around, and treat others as you would want to be treated. You don't have to look too far for what to do. You have everything on paper before you. When you do this experiment honestly for 30 days, you would feel the deadweight of unhappiness and depression lifted off your shoulders. Now you got it, something you can test in your life and see the results. But don't be disappointed when you run into a roadblock. You are dealing not only with the physical, but also with the spiritual dimension of life when searching for happiness.
The Mind Of The Soul
As I have said before, the soul as a living spirit has no physical properties that can be observed, weighed, measured or counted. Although, you can see indications of the soul, as wherever you find smoke it's an indication of a fire.
From the research work of the Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, we know the human person is influenced by the conscious, subconscious or preconscious and the unconscious minds. With some modifications, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, and the French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan agreed with Freud on the hierarchical architecture of the human consciousness, as a useful theory for diagnosing neurotic behavior.
Not surprisingly, several prominent psychiatrists including, Erick Fromm, Jean-Paul Sartre, David Stannard and John Searle disagreed with Freud's view. Their criticism centered mostly around Freud's definition of the components of the hierarchical architecture of human consciousness, rather than the existence of the concept itself. An example of this came from cognitive research done by other psychiatrists proving that although the unconscious mind existed, it did not contain the information Freud thought it did, and on top of that the unconscious mind is not located in the nervous system, but in the enteric nervous system in the gut.
For our purpose we would go no further than identifying the neurological and biological functions of the conscious and unconscious minds respectively, and their locations in the physical body. Next we go to the question on the existence of the subconscious mind and its location in the physical body. Parenthetically, if we can show that the subconscious mind exists, as has been done by Freud and his colleagues, as well as show that it is located nowhere in the physical body, we can then extrapolate from these facts that the subconscious mind is located in the soul. And if this conclusion is correct, then it is also correct that the soul exists, because the subconscious mind cannot manifest its functions without a host, as the conscious mind cannot manifest its functions without the human brain.
Living With Your Soul
If you are still with me, we have found that the soul exists. And if the soul exists, you may want to know, what is the purpose of the soul ? Knowing your soul exists informs you of the second person living in your body, and that you have never been alone since you were born. You have always had a physical body and a soul. The purpose of your soul is to connect you with spiritual entities. As a result your soul could bring you unwanted spiritual visitors who can influence your decisions in negative ways.
As long as you have a soul, you cannot opt out of receiving spiritual visitors, neither can you get rid of your soul who allows entrance into your body. Your soul is an integral part of your personality, and it will be with you until death. But you can choose which spiritual visitors to allow into your soul. If you don't choose who is allowed to enter your soul, your soul would be like an opened door allowing wandering spirits to enter your body at will, and cause havoc with your well being and happiness.
The choice you must make to keep unwanted spirits from your soul is between treating others as you would want to be treated, or not doing so. When you choose to treat others as you would want to be treated, it puts in motion a spiritual process that orients your soul for a spiritual connection with the God. When spiritually connected with God, divine wisdom and power would flow into your mind and body to help you make productive decisions, and have the strength and confidence to implement them.
When you are making the right decisions in your life, and able to carry them out to sustain your happiness, you have reached the highest point of human refinement. At this point the attitude of your conscious mind and the attitude of your soul have merged and become one, where treating your neighbors as you would want to be treated becomes second nature to you, reinforced daily by your spiritual connection with God, made possible by your soul as a living spirit. Find more background information on the soul here.