“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” ~ Irish novelist C.S. Lewis
An ancient idea still holds sway, despite disdain from matterists: the soul encapsulates the consciousness of an incarnate individual. In common parlance, soul and consciousness are largely synonymous, but there is a distinction. Whereas consciousness embodies a live constituent, a soul has a resonance which transcends mortality.
“The senses in the body operate only thanks to the consciousness. And you are separate from this body and the consciousness.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“The soul is a simple essence.” ~ Johann Friedrich Herbart
Our absorbing experiences in the everyday world obscure our extra-dimensional relations. Like quanta, which are incomplete without their virtual companions, souls do not exist in solitude.
“You are never alone. There are powers and presences who serve you all the time most faithfully. You may or may not perceive them, nevertheless they are real and active.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Just as transcendence affords freedom from the mind, a soul may transcend the mortal coil. As with all else, there are state-based rules associated with transmigration, though not morally grounded, as some religions have it. The evolution of a soul is in its learning.
“‘Tis too horrible! The weariest and most loathed worldly life. That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment can lay on nature is a paradise, to what we fear of death.” ~ William Shakespeare
As mortality is dreaded, the afterlife has been a core spiritual concern of the Collective: whence the ridiculous conceit of Heaven.
“Every religious tradition uses the afterlife to speak of the ultimate reward of the good.” ~ American religion scholar Alan Segal
“Attachment to life is attachment to sorrow.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Individuality is cherished via memory, but memories are always adumbrations, suspect in their fidelity. Memory’s evolutionary import is for survival skill, not sentiment; yet those in the Collective cling to their memories, as they envelop self-image. Upon death, a relative few refuse to let go and move on. A confused, obstinate soul may sustain itself for some time after the body dies.
“Ever since the dawn of humankind, people have believed in ghosts.” ~ American paranormal researcher Hans Holzer
“A ghost is somebody who’s gotten stuck in the physical world but is not part of the physical world.” ~ Hans Holzer
Ghosts have been noted in every culture across the world throughout all of history, and doubtlessly ever since hominids could communicate the concept. Ghosts exist, albeit rather tenuously, and certainly not in any recommendable way. Attachment to life can be abiding, and the shock of its sudden termination unacceptable.
(At death, the conscious spirit is ushered out of the body. What is known about the near-death experience gives insight into this process. In the instance of those who become ghosts, the process fails because of their traumatic state at the time of death. Ghosts just won’t let go.)
“A ghost appears to be a surviving emotional memory of someone who has died traumatically, and usually tragically, but is unaware of his or her death. Unwilling to part with the physical world, such personalities continue to stay on in the very spot where their tragedy or their emotional attachment had existed prior to physical death.” ~ Hans Holzer
“There are many different kinds of ghosts.” ~ English paranormal researcher Peter Underwood
This 4d actuality we take as the walls of incarnation are not the final confines. There is what is often called the spirit plane, where extra-dimensional beings exist, including revenants.
“It’s quite arrogant to ignore these experiences and to say they’re all deluded.” ~ English psychologist Ciarán O’Keeffe
Nature is an entangled dimensional web of inconceivable complexity and diversity. There is an interface between our existential 4d plane and the expansive HD platform.
White House Ghosts
“The damned place is haunted, sure as shootin’.” ~ US President Harry Truman
The American White House is haunted, with copiously documented sightings. Abraham Lincoln reportedly received regular visits from his son Willie, who died in the White House in 1862 at age 11 from typhoid fever. A bereaved Mary Lincoln spoke of seeing her son’s ghost once at the foot of her bed. Willie Lincoln was also seen by staff members of the Grant administration in the 1870s. President Lyndon Johnson’s daughter Lynda saw and talked with the disembodied young Lincoln.
After his 1865 assassination, Lincoln joined his son in phantasmal appearances. First lady Grace Coolidge spoke of seeing Lincoln looking out a window in his former office.
In 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had just stepped out of a hot bath in the Lincoln bedroom, wearing nothing but a cigar, when he encountered Lincoln by the fireplace. “Good evening, Mr. President,” Churchill said. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage.”
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom in 1942 when she heard a knock on the bedroom door. She opened it to see Lincoln and fainted.
President Ronald Reagan said that his dog would go into any room in the White House except the Lincoln bedroom, where he’d just stand outside the door and bark. Reagan and his daughter Maureen both admitted that they saw the spectral Lincoln in the White House.
There have been many other reports by numerous people serving in various administrations of seeing Lincoln, including President Theodore Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin Roosevelt.
Abigail Adams was the 1st first lady to live in the White House. She used the East Room to dry sheets. Since her death, there have been repeated sightings of her likeness in that area. She walks with her arms outstretched, as if holding clean linens.
Dolley Madison liked taking care of the White House garden. During the Woodrow Wilson administration, staff members reported seeing her ghost as they were about to move the Rose Garden. They decided to leave the garden where Dolley wanted it.
William Henry Harrison was the first president to die in the White House. He haunts the attic.
“The White House has the best ghost stories, and the most verified. If I said I didn’t believe in ghosts I’d be calling about 8 different presidents liars.” ~ American tour guide Jared Broach
There is nothing to learn from the disembodied souls who seem to be in a shadow world. (ed beings seem disembodied in our experience, but are, of course, embodied within their dimensional platform, while encountered beings from our 4d plane seem similarly disembodied to them.) ed beings have no more to teach us than we do them. Their world is not ours. Living 4d while knowing that extra dimensions exist is all that may be relevant. The challenges here and now are enough, as is the tangible entertainment to be had.
“Don’t hassle the dead. They have eerie powers.” ~ American cartoon figure Homer Simpson, who has eerie entertainment power
Those who pursue the spirit realm for insight are wasting their time and energy. Such pursuit can bear no fruit.
“Dropping the body is like letting a bird out of its cage.” ~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
In contrast to the Collective, those who are enlightened are utterly unconcerned about what follows life, as individuality has no value. To have experienced life and be done with it is sufficient.
Death may mean dissolution of an individual soul from the organism in which it existed: merging back into the great pool of Ĉonsciousness. For many, the path back to the pool is more convoluted.
“Reincarnation implies a reincarnating self. There is no such thing. The bundles of memories and hopes, called the ‘I’, imagines itself everlastingly and creates time to accommodate its false eternity.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Maharaj is, of course, correct: the concept of self is illusory, and incarnation a phantasm. But actuality – the shadow play that the Collective mistake for reality – is what is being described here.
“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on Earth plants something in his soul.” ~ Anglo American Catholic writer and mystic Thomas Merton
The actions of the mind-body may impress upon the soul. Memories may ferociously hold the illusion of individuality.
Memories are a burden that restrain potentiality, as they envelop the artifice of self-image. Nonetheless, sometimes snatches of a previous incarnation may linger.
(Young children, typically between the ages of 3 to 5 years, have the strongest reportable memories of a past incarnation. Before 3 years such children commonly lack the mental discrimination and language faculty to decently describe these previous incarnation memories. From ~5 years, memories of the current life gradually smother those of past lives. There are (of course) exceptions. Strong reincarnation memories commonly occur when the previous incarnation ended traumatically.
Canadian-born American psychiatrist Ian Stevenson extensively recorded the memories of reincarnation in 3,000 children worldwide. Stevenson remarked: “Too often the children are troubled by confusion regarding their identity and this becomes even more severe in those children who, conscious of being in a small body, can remember having been in an adult one, or who remember a life as a member of the opposite sex.” Other researchers have reported on reincarnations where the particulars of memory recall have been verified; cases where the reincarnated child could not possibly have known such details. Stevenson and others have found correlations between previous lives and birthmarks or physical defects in the reincarnated, and otherwise inexplicable food and clothing preferences (and, in some cases, certain fears). In a relative few instances, such children exhibit xenoglossy: being able to speak an unfamiliar foreign language.
“As far back as I can remember I have unconsciously referred to the experiences of a previous state of existence.” ~ American author Henry David Thoreau
Sense of self is not intended to transcend a lifespan; nor should it. But coherence plays a complicated game, and the resonance of existence may extend in a localized field beyond the corporeal, as ghosts illustrate. A soul coming back for another round of life is termed reincarnation.
“A soul grows by reincarnation.” ~ English writer Annie Besant
Reincarnation may be an expansive experience in the life cycle of a soul, but considering experiences as a metric is a mistake.
“One who entertains desires is repeatedly born here and there and on account of it. But one who has sated desire fully, who is a perfected soul, all desires vanish even here on Earth.” ~ Mundaka Upanishad 3:2:2
“Souls must reenter the absolute substance whence they have emerged. But to accomplish this, they must develop all the perfections, the germ of which is planted in them.” ~ Zohar
A common myth about reincarnation – as expressed in the Upanishad (“perfected soul”) and Zohar (“all the perfections”) – is that incarnation is supposed to be progressive: that a soul matures through existential seasoning. Some Buddhists and Hindus try to get a leg up on the quality of the next life by token good deeds in the current one.
Nature is not a moral accountant, and the soul is not a pecuniary ledger. The exhibition of right action is an existence proof, not a bank deposit.
“Karma is only a store of unspent energies, of unfulfilled desires and fears not understood. The store is being constantly replenished by new desires and fears. It need not be so forever. Understand the root cause of your fears – estrangement from yourself; and of desires – the longing for the self, and your karma will dissolve like a dream.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Every incarnation presents a challenge that reflects the residual of the previous incarnation. Learning in life works as a puzzle to be solved: to progress from ignorance to realization.
Reincarnation is not about perfection in any sense. It is only about wiping the soul’s slate of needless graffiti. (Desire is part of incarnation; the issue is attachment to it. The phrase “sated desire” in the above Upanishad verse refers to having no attachment to desires.)
“You are a little soul carrying around a corpse.” ~ Turkish Hellenistic Stoic philosopher Epictetus
Every culture since prehistory, and practically all religions, have teachings related to spiritual presences, including Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islamism. The concepts of spirits, angels, and demons reflect these beliefs, which are well-grounded experientially.
The most publicized, and extreme, aspect of presences is exorcism: the expunging of a malingering spirit. Exorcism rites feature in all the aforementioned religions.
An individual soul is part of a group, like a leaf on a tree. This spirit complex corresponds conceptually with the fact that the human body is a symbiorg: a host with a vast, multitudinous microbiome.
Further, like virtual particles which enliven subatomic quanta, there are spiritual presences which transiently make themselves felt in various ways, including moods, thoughts, insights, and in dreams. Presences may feed or feed off of psychic energy.
“You have the ability to sense energy.” ~ American spiritualist Amanda Linette Meder
The body is warm, and energy is cold. Strong presences may sometimes be felt as a core of cold which may cause an internal shiver. Beyond any material effects on objects, ghosts may come across through such a sensation.
People are aware of presences to various degrees. Ascension to enlightenment may make one more sensitive to spirits, just as sensitivity to all aspects of being is heightened. This acuity can be instrumental in identifying the source of certain curious mentation.
Presences are part of life: an ed involuntary sociality. There is nothing much to be done about them beyond living in meditation: being focused on the present moment and letting all else slip by like water off a duck’s back. To indulge in sussing spirits is not spirituality.
“Nothing dies. The body is just imagined. There is no such thing.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Actuality is not reality. In reality, nothing lives and nothing dies. If materiality is a mirage, so too is life and death.
“Death is not an event in life. We do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.” ~ Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein
“The person comes into being when there is a basis for it – an organism, a body. In it the absolute is reflected as awareness. Pure awareness becomes self-awareness. When there is a self, self-awareness is the witness. When there is no self to witness, there is no witnessing either.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
A soul is the consciousness of a living being. The term is used to indicate that the resonance of a consciousness may transcend corporeality. A soul may reincarnate.
A soul is part a social group and is constantly attended and visited by other souls: presences. As our existence is mired in matter, the best course of action is to focus on skills and entertainment in the earthly realm.
A sated soul abandons its quantized form with the expiration of the mind-body, merging back into the infinite and eternal Ĉonsciousness. Satiation comes in not desiring more experience as a phenomenal entity.
“He who is related to a mind that is restrained, possesses discrimination and therefore always pure, then the embodied soul attains the goal, from which he is not born again.” ~ Katha Upanishad 3.3.7