The Experience of the Ladder of Souls – Part 2
There’s no way I could complete the topic of the soul last week, so now I’ll talk a bit more about what the soul is, but also what it feels like, experientially.
Let’s start with some definitive understanding:
- One of our sources tells us that our soul is part of the Divine, above. That may be a quote from Job, I’ll have to check that out. But the idea is this – our soul is Divine, although this seems like a contradiction in terms because the Divine is infinite, and there’s no such thing as a “part” of the infinite. I don’t have an answer about how to deal with that discrepancy, but our souls are partly inside of us and partly outside of us, making us part Divine and part human.
Our soul is a part of the Divine, so that gives us a big hint as to what our soul is all about. Its natural home is in the Divine realm. Everything that we can do to connect with the Divine will connect with our soul.
- The soul can be measured and expressed according to different criteria:
- According to soul-type teachings, the esoteric, Kabbalistic teachings. The more it grasps those, the higher the level of soul.
- The soul can be expressed and rectified by the way that we express holy words, such as prayers, studies and devotions. That expression is an expression of our soul.
- The soul can be identified and realized by taking note of the smoothness level of different aspects of our life, relationships, events we go through, our personal drives, words of Torah and mitzvoth that we express. To the extent that they are smooth, the soul being expressed is rectified.
- The soul can be measured by the clarity of way we can view the four letters of the Divine Name in our mind’s eye. That’s a meditation of the Arizal, and there’s an entire analysis that can be done by picturing the four letters of the Divine Name, the Yud and the Hei and the Vav and the Hei. According to the brightness, clarity, size, animation, aliveness, etc., that’s a reflection of the level of a person’s soul, determined by what they see.
- The soul can be identified and perfected according to the drives and the values we naturally have. That’s a mirror reflection of what our soul is.
- The soul can be measured and perfected by the level of concrete or abstract articulation. The more abstract and multi-meaning concepts we give expression to in our lives, usually the higher kind of soul we have.
- The soul can be measured by the degree of G-dliness that invades our lives, and if we’re driven all the time towards it our soul is at a higher level.
- The soul can be measured by the degree of self-actualization. The more we do what we’re here for in this world, the more we are soul-ing, to turn that word soul into a verb.
- The soul can be measured and realized to the extent that we can relate to others, or that we have others inside ourselves. The greatest example of that is Moses, who had everybody inside himself, and could relate to and counsel everybody, not only in his own time, but for all generations to come as well.
- The soul can be measured according to the level that we prepare our post-life in this life. If we’re truly concerned, if we’re truly “soul people,” we will be prepared for what’s coming afterwards. The soul can be measured and realized by the way and to the extent that we are primarily motivated in all our life choices, to return to the infinite, to return to G-d. Our soul is part of G-d, so to the extent we make our connection to G-d real and important in this life, that’s what we will experience.
- The soul can be realized also, to the extent that we feel, inside ourselves, a feeling for the highest levels, to the extent that we experience what is our “summons” in life. To the extent that we experience what it is that we are here to do to make it better for the rest of the world, and what we’re driven to do to manifest our own purpose in life, and to the extent we experience our complete immersion in the here and now, and to the extent we express our unique, individuated selves, and to the extent that we are living in a state of amazement of all that is Divine in the world, that is the level to which we can realize our souls.
Also, I believe that it’s when we’re able to feel deeply, to be a healthy, deep-feeling person, that’s when we become a powerful soul person. We see and feel a strong desire to have nothing to do with what’s going on now, a strong yearning for something that’s not going on now, but for an ability to do the extraordinary instead. It’s a desire to do things which are completely out of our range, but yet we do them effortlessly.
These are soul expressions, soul experiences and some of the soul drives we need to know understand our own soul.
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