Differentiating Soul and Spirit
Excerpted From 'Living in the Light' Copyright © 2017 by John Van Auken
by John Van Auken
From Edgar Cayce's perspective, spirit and soul are different. Spirit is the life force while soul is the individual entity with its unique memories, thoughts, desires, energy, and motivations.
"The soul is an individual that may grow to be one with or separate from the whole. The spirit is the impelling influence of infinity, or the one creative source, that is expressed in the life we see and experience." (5749-3)
Cayce was asked and replied:
"Q: What is the soul of a body?" He answered, "A: That which the Maker gave to every entity or individual in the beginning, and which is seeking the home or place of the Maker." (3744-2)
"Spirit is the First Cause, the primary beginning, the motivative influence - as God is Spirit." (262-123)
Here Cayce is quoting Jesus' comment to the lady at the well in the Gospel of John 4:24:
"The woman said, 'Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place to worship.' Jesus said to her, ‘The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. ... But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.'"
And again: "There is a vast deal of difference between spiritual and soul forces. Spirit forces are the animation of all life-giving, life-producing forces. The spiritual element, the vitality, produces the motive forces of the entity, whether physical or spiritual. Spiritual forces being the life, the reproductive principle. The soul is the development principle." (900-17)
Cayce stated that, "Each soul is a portion of the Divine. Motivating that soul-body is the spirit of divinity." (ECR # 1096-4)
Motivating our soul to live and develop is the divine spiritual essence within us. This motivating spirit is driven by our highest purpose for existence, as stated in this Cayce comment:
"The purpose of the heart is to know yourself to be yourself and yet one with God." (ECR #281-37)
Seeing us as spirit-souls rather than earthly persons, Cayce instructs us:
"Don't put the material first, for you have to live with yourself a long, long while! Become acquainted with yourself. Know yourself and your relationship to the Creative Forces." (3484-1)
He is encouraging us to become acquainted with our more eternal self. The body will eventually die but our soul-self will live on and on, so best to become familiar with that portion of ourselves now.
The view Cayce had of us is amazing. He saw us as eternal star beings, celestial souls temporarily sojourning in this physical world. He saw our deepest motivation to be more connected to our primary purpose than to anything earthly.
"As the entity moves from sphere to sphere, it seeks its way to the home, to the face of the Creator, the Father, the First Cause." (EC 136-8)
Cayce identifies the First Cause as:
"That the created would be the companion for the Creator."
This is the reason we were created, and as a result, the created (our soul) is given opportunities to "show itself to be not only worthy of, but companionable to, the Creator." (EC 5753-1)
When asked how we become worthy he went directly to the "Fruits of the Spirit" - stating that if we make them a part of our being, then we becoming godling and companionable to our Creator.
According to the disciple Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, the Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
In the Edgar Cayce discourses, he adds patience while maintaining long-suffering. He also adds mercy and forgiveness. A blend of these sources would produce this list: Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Patience, Faith, Meekness, Humility, Kindness, Gentleness, Peace, Joy, Goodness, Temperance, and Long-suffering.
According to Cayce, we simply have to live our lives applying these in our daily thoughts, words, and interactions with others. The magic of transformation is innately in these fruits, so as we live them they naturally createthe Spirit, the Spirit of God within us - and we become companionable to God.
With us today is the connection to the Divine, to that Life Force. Cayce stated:
"As your body, your mind, your soul is attuned to that Divine that answers within, so may you indeed be quickened to know His purpose; and you may fill that purpose for which you entered this experience." (622-6)
"It will require that there be such an attitude in mind, in purpose, in hope, and in relationships to others, that each cell of the body may be attuned to the divine within. Each cell must become expectant, that there may be the renewing, the revivifying of the relationships that the soul-entity bears to Creative Forces." (3511-1)
Here are some more explanations from Cayce:
"The soul is eternal and if the entity will analyze its own self, it is body, mind, and soul. Soul ... longs for spiritual interpretations, mental understanding, and physical harmony and rest. These are parts of the experience of every soul." (5330-1)
"As has been experienced in the mental self, there is as much reason to dwell upon the thought from where the soul came, as it is upon where the soul goes. For, if the soul is eternal, it always has been - if it is always to be. And that is the basis, or the thought of Creative Force, or God. He ever was, He ever will be. And individuals, as His children, are a part of that consciousness. And it is for that purpose that He came into the earth; that we, as soul-entities, might know ourselves to be ourselves, and yet one with Him; as He, the Master, the Christ, knew Himself to be Himself and yet one with the Father."
"The purpose of manifestation in the material plane is that we may apply a little here, a little there, line upon line, precept upon precept, and we may become like Him.
"And as the entity has through the experiences seen and aided others in the application of their efforts and their abilities to become more and more aware of their relationships to the Creative Forces or God, so may the entity - as He gave - in patience you become aware of your soul. (3003-1)
Edgar Cayce taught: "Spirit is the natural, the normal condition of an entity." (816-10)
Now given how physical we are or at least see ourselves, this is a perplexing statement. How can our "natural," "normal" condition be spirit? Those of us who have known a living pet or person and then seen their body dead, have seen the spirit - for that was the entity, the essence of who they were inside the body we view left behind. And we do not need to wait for their death to see their spirit if we learn to look and perceive with inner, enlightened eyes and feelings. We can even learn to feel our own spirit within our physical bodies, and even know that we are the spirit, the life essence, the life force using the body for this incarnation. That is a very liberating perception to have! Now we are spirits living through a physical vessel for a purposeful, meaningful incarnation for a time - knowing that we will return to the eternal life in the spirit with the Great Spirit. And we not have to wait for death because sleep is a shadow of death, so each night we "die" to this world and experience the nonphysical realms! Live and learn!