One distinction that has often caused me some confusion and uncertainty is how to differentiate between Spirit and soul. I am guilty of using the two terms interchangeably at times, as distinguishing between them can be confusing and often warrants an extended explanation. Spirit and soul are quite different and I’ve finally come upon an explanation provided by one of my mentors, Sonia Choquette, that feels true to me and is easy enough to explain.
What is the soul?
The soul is the aspect of our self that embodies the sum total of our conscious lifetime experiences. I believe that our souls return to various physical bodies over many lifetimes in order to learn, grow and expand. Our souls carry the totality of consciousness from one lifetime to the next. You can say that the soul has a memory of its experiences whether these are positive or negative. The soul contains all our feelings, understanding, love, confusion, despair, joy, trauma, transcendence, and learning from our first moment of separation from Source until the present day. The soul’s vibration is both light and dark as it is comprised of so many various experiences. The soul uses past patterns and experiences to guide it on its quest back to nonphysical Source energy. When we allow ourselves to be guided exclusively by the soul/ego there is a tendency to repeat old behavior patterns, experience clouded perceptions, lack clear boundaries, become easily distracted and confused by others, and allow fear to overshadow love.
What is Spirit?
In contrast to the soul, the Spirit has no past and no story to carry. The Spirit is the eternal flame of light within. The Spirit has never been separated from Source. There are no patterns to repeat, no timeline to follow, no urgency and no restlessness. The energy of our Spirit feels light, limitless, boundless, joyful, vibrant, and peaceful. While the soul is the ‘self’ that experiences life, the Spirit is the witness overseeing the experiences. When we allow ourselves to be guided by Spirit, we have a clear sense of ourselves and our boundaries, we easily deflect negativity, remain calm under pressure, find humor in all things, and live in the moment. In order to merge our soul with our true Spirit, we must strengthen the focus and attention we place on our Spirit rather than focus our attention on our soul. As we get better at this practice, we find that our lives are more joyful, light-filled, purposeful, meaningful, and humorous. And isn’t that what we all want?