body,

soul,
& spirit
 
 



What is Spirit?

Spirit is the experience of attraction to transpersonal experience. The focus is moved away from the personal towards insights about consciousness or life itself. The mythical movement is up and away. It is movement towards divinity or the cosmos, freedom from the hold of our emotions, history, persons, places, objects, and processes which bind us to the everyday world. It is also dramatic movement away from that which holds us physically---our bodies.

The quintessential description of Spirit was captured by pilot John Gillispie Magee, Jr.:

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
 
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds---and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of---wheeled and soared and swung high in sunlit silence,
 
Hov'ring there, I've chasted the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
 
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace where never lark, or even eagle flew and, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
 
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Spirit manifests itself in our daily lives in the form of calls, visions, and unions.

Hazards of Spirit

All throughout the world in almost every tradition that had a taste of Spirit, Body and Soul are seen as forms of corruption, if not down right evil. Spirit is all, says these traditions. Anything that is not Spirit is worthless and harmful. Hear the figure of philosophy in Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy speaking of Soul:

"So sinks the mind in deep despair and sight grows dim; when storms of life blow surging up the weight of care (the Soul),
 
It banishes its inward light (the Spirit) and turns in trust to the dark without (our everyday world which is laden with Soul stuff).
 
This was the man who once was free to climb the sky with zeal devout to contemplate the crimson sun, the frozen fairness of the moon--Astronomer once used in joy to comprehend and to commune with planets on their wandering ways.
This man, this man sought out the source of storms that roar and rouse the seas; the spirit that rotates the world, the cause that translocates the world, the cause that translocates the sun. From shining East to watery West; he sought the reason why spring hours are mild with flowers manifest, and who enriched with swelling grapes ripe autumn at the full of year.
 
Now see that mind that searched and made all nature's hidden secrets clear lie prostrate prisoner of night. His neck bends low in shackles thrust, and he is forced beneath the weight to contemplate---the lowly dust (a Soul filled life)." (Translated by V.E. Watts, Penguin Classics, 1984, p. 37; comments in () were added to illustrate this discussion).

The appropriate approach, at this point in history, given our understanding of reality, psychology, and comparative mythology and religion, is to explore Spirit as fully as we can but not to be overly possessed by it. Spirit is both a very rewarding experience AND a force that can strip you of your basic humanness. The dark side of Spirit which is spoken of all too infrequently is like the sirens in Ulysses, pulling us to the rocky shore line. While we may not physically hit the rocky shore and go down to our destruction, but Soulfully, and some times Body wise, we do suffer. To have Spirit is to be the unique human. But to be the full unique human, we too must have Soul and Body.

 
 
The Body Defined
The Soul Defined
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