Many people use the words spirit and soul interchangeably, and yet there is a difference between soul and spirit. Understanding the subtle but important distinction between these two will help you to develop spiritually and live by your authentic life purpose.
The Engine and the Driver
One way to perceive the difference between soul and spirit is to compare a person with a car. The soul is the engine, absolutely vital to make the machine (or in the case of people, the body) work. The spirit is the driver, who dictates in which direction the vehicle, or person moves. Of course, people are not machines so this analogy will only get you so far. Still, it’s a useful concept to bear in mind when trying to develop your understanding of the differences between the soul and the spirit.
What is the Soul?
The soul is the entity that animates the body and gives it life. Some spiritual teachers regard the soul as a combination of mind, will, and emotions. We do our thinking with our brains, but it is the soul that dictates the quality of thoughts. The soul can be focused or distracted, vitalized or discouraged. If we’re unhappy with life, and particularly when we’re constantly seeking out meaning but never quite finding it, we might be regarded as ‘restless souls’, or in extreme cases – ‘lost souls’.
It’s interesting that even though most of us would struggle to explain the difference between soul and spirit, our use of language suggests an instinctive understanding. When was the last time you heard someone referred to as an anxious or lost spirit?
And the Spirit?
The root of the word spirit translates as breath or wind. The soul is indwelling from birth to death, it has an independent identity and is distinct. The spirit is a universal force that is interconnected and extends into all things.
A spiritual disconnection may occur when people lose hope and enter the fear state. When we are not connected with our bodies and emotions, we are only living in the mind and we lose the connection with the reality around us. By using techniques that help you reconnect with your body, your emotions, you can restore the connection with the spirit that replenishes the sense of hope and trust.
Connecting Soul and Spirit
Many people live good and useful lives without troubling themselves with esoteric questions about the difference between soul and spirit. There’s nothing wrong with this. For others, however, and perhaps for you, if you’ve been drawn towards reading this article, everyday life without spiritual meaning can start to seem dull or even pointless.
A feeling of dissatisfaction and a sense that something is missing is often a sign that you’re ready to start your spiritual journey. To align your soul and be connected with the spirit of life, you can orient towards your authentic purpose.
It can be hard to focus on the spiritual amid the chatter and distractions of daily life. You may find it helpful to set aside some time to go on a spiritual retreat, such as those offered at Spirit Vine Retreats. At the retreat, there are integration workshops that give you techniques to bring your practice to your everyday life.
By being in a supportive environment with a group that has the same intention, you can learn from others about how they face and overcome the obstacles in their journey to keep growing in the spiritual and material realm.