I, the Soul (contd.)

In the first part of learning about the Soul, we took our first step towards realizing ourselves by understanding who we really are. Our true introduction – we are not this body but rather the soul, the consciousness, the subtle energy, situated in the center of the forehead that governs this body.

We learnt that the soul is tiny, a spark, a shining star and yet can you imagine that it is this tiny spark that dictates what this huge body does! We’ve heard actors that perform in plays etc. talk about how they had to wear a heavy costume that weighed 20 lbs., all the jewelry and makeup etc. If that makes them feel like they have done a lot, imagine how proud they would feel if they knew that they are lugging around this gigantic costume, every waking second of their lives?! Interesting, right?

We learnt that while this body is perishable and made of matter, the soul which is energy is not.

We learnt that the soul and the body need each other – they complement each other. How?

  • The soul is the energy that operates the body- issues the impulse that is then processed by the brain which then issues the directions to the appropriate organs of the body to perform the appropriate actions.
  • The body of course is what then allows the soul to experience, feel and perform actions.
  • The example we used to understand this was that of a car and its driver

So focusing on the role that the soul plays – how exactly does the soul, or how do I work to issue that directive? What within the soul does this? How does it work? This was our open question the last time that we will explore in this article.

The soul exists in the form of 3 faculties – The mind, Intellect and Sanskars

We’ll talk about what these are in a minute but the one key thing here to understand is that these are not three separate energies but rather the same energy, that spark that we call the soul that manifests itself in these three forms.

Mind: This is the thinking faculty of the soul. This is where thoughts surface. It can go very far- it can from where it is travel into the depths of the ocean as well as touch the sky.

Intellect: is the decision maker, the evaluator, the judge, discriminator and in that sense the intellect is the most important of the three faculties

Sanskars: are the personality traits, the qualities we talked about in the last session that distinguish between souls and make them unique. These are the characteristics that define each of our identities and take the form of habits, talents, actions etc.

Think of the mind when left alone as a wild horse that’s running wild with no aim or control. The intellect is what reins the horse in and the sanskars are the resulting impressions from the tasks that the horse performs.

The process in which the Soul functions is cyclical in nature.

From the sanskars, various impressions emerge into the mind in the form of thoughts. These thoughts are the impulse or the directive that is passed to the brain which then makes the body perform the action. Now where does the intellect come in? It comes in between the mind and the brain- assesses the thought, decides and then either sends it through for action or decides to hold back.

Every action performed then leaves an impression on the soul. Every input from the environment collected through the senses also accumulates as sanskars. So when we perform an action, it could reinforce an old sanskar which then becomes a “habit”, create a new one or cancel out/ eliminate an old one. We’ll see how in a minute.

We all have five types of Sanskars– Genetic (from parents), past life, environment, will power, original

Genetic – She gets this from her mom! She behaves just like her dad etc.

Past life – Identical twins while they have identical bodies in this life, they have come with different characteristics from two different environments

Will power – I will not be angry from this minute on.

Original – What each soul has inherent to it including the three fundamental qualities discussed in Soul1.  They are peace, love, knowledge of who I am, will power, bliss.

Quality of thought

The thought is the seed from which either positive experiences and feelings can be grown or negative experiences can be grown. If there is a desire for a pure experience along with the knowledge of the power of the thought to generate such an experience, then the intellect will pick only those appropriate seeds and discard the others. The positive experiences could be peace, harmony, happiness etc. and so those seeds are picked. What happens when you only have the desire but no knowledge?

The difference between a weak soul and a strong soul is the power of the intellect. A weak soul is one in which it is almost as though the intellect has no role i.e. no evaluation, discretion etc. while a strong soul is one which can claim a control over the kinds of thoughts that surface to the mind and consequently the experiences.

For example, if we were to look at the mind as a soccer field. There are two teams – one is the intellect whose players include will power, judgment, discrimination, etc. with the will power being the goal keeper. The other team is the sanskars whose players include habits, beliefs, memories, traits etc. In the case of a weak soul, the will power is not minding the goal post, it’s gone to sleep. In the case of the strong soul, it is actively minding the goal post.

There is the story of the three best friends – a man, his horse and his dog. Of course, it is very powerful if one can make the mind, intellect your best friends and equally harmful if you cannot.

Sometimes at work or when I sit down to meditate or when I am doing something and I feel the rise of waste or unnecessary thoughts, I see myself as the General Manager and call on my two managers- the mind and the intellect and request them to ensure I am not disturbed. Cancel all my meetings for the time being because I am busy connecting with myself and that those are the only thoughts I’d like to entertain at this time. I don’t sound forceful but gently request. Remember though that they will listen to you to the extent that you are convinced that you are in fact the boss. To the degree that you waiver in that belief, your success will be limited.

Therefore, only when the intellect receives the nutrition of the “knowledge of the self” and “will power” will it feel strong enough to do its job. Rajayoga enables this to happen by teaching us to look deep inside the self to find those original qualities of peace, purity, will power and contentment which when surfaced, automatically allow for love and happiness to be experienced. With practice, this muscle will build and we will be able to surface these qualities and have those experiences at will in our daily lives. In situations where we would have normally been sad, angry, we will now be objective observers and be able to maintain stability in the mind without being agitated.

A soul reacts to situations depending on what it considers itself to be at that moment. Just as how when a chef considers himself to be a chef, he can cook well. A teacher can teach but if the soul considers itself as the body instead, then it reacts to stimuli differently.

Awareness

Thought

Emotion

Action

Result

Body Consciousness

I am the boss and I know best

He reports to me and should listen to me

I’ll put him in his place

Argument

Ill feelings that can last a long time

Soul Consciousness

I am a soul and my natural qualities are peace, love

He is also a soul and has his own place

I will respect him and listen to his ideas too

Mutual Respect

Fine working environment

When the soul starts to see itself as the body, the seeds of prejudices are sown – gender, son of, etc. The soul classifies the world, its perspective is suddenly limited to what the body can do, how far it can see, what it can smell and hear etc. So you are suddenly a slave to or at the mercy of the senses. This sets in insecurities, fears, anxieties, tensions. And since you are this body which you know gets hurt, is perishable, the biggest fear is that of death. When you are in the awareness of being a soul instead, you realize that you are eternal and there is no longer fear. You realize that peace, love and happiness are your right and are qualities within you that you can experience at will. There is no longer a desire to accumulate material possessions, craving for praise, need for someone to behave a certain way or say a particular thing in order for you to experience anything. Thereby there is no longer a fear of losing.

You are suddenly free, powerful because you know you control the thoughts and can have any experience you want to have at the time you want to have them, peaceful because you no longer have any desires because you are already full of those things that you desired for – love and happiness.

Can you imagine a soul that always stays in soul consciousness, a perfect soul full of powers and beauty? In the next article, we’ll find out if such a soul really exists, and have some fun thinking about what perfection might look like?


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