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Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Essence of a Human Soul: A "Life Star" Transforming

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; 
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
          Hath had elsewhere its setting
               And cometh from afar;
          Not in entire forgetfulness,
          And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 
               From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy! 
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
               Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, 
               He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east 
     Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
          And by the vision splendid
          Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away, 
And fade into the light of common day.

 From Intimations of Immortality by William Wordsworth

Do you think you are more than the sum or your biological parts? If you accept that you are a human being with a soul, which can be defined as a spiritual essence, then you must believe the soul is distinct from the physical body. This understanding affirms that upon death, the soul transforms in some manner.

Even an atheist, who certainly holds that a physical body decomposes and returns to dust, cannot account for what happens when a soul migrates. A non-believer simply dismisses the existence of the soul within the body, and, thus, he denies his own spiritual entity. I feel pity for those who live a life without spiritual awakening. Surely, their faith is limited to such small boundaries that their denial impedes their understanding that infinite concepts and divine wisdom exist.

I believe the human soul is a jewel of infinite worth. It is our gift from God, and the initiator of our internal and singular world. As an energy center with consciousness and conscience, the soul allows us to deal with our human condition, which, unfortunately, is primarily selfish and self-serving. I believe my soul, on its spiritual mission, is obliged to increase my own altruistic behavior above the gains of simple reciprocity.

Nothing is more important than enriching the soul on earth and preparing it for its migration. I know I must address all issues that threaten my soul, and I must be responsible for seeking any healing for my soulful distress. My soul must be fortified and remain strong even as my body becomes weaker with age. I understand that death will release it from my body, so, in fact, death does not exist in reality. In this light, my soul seeks sweet relief from one frame of existence to claim rebirth. By its nature, my soul persists in existence and comes to no "real" end.

With my limited human mind I cannot accurately envision the next destination for my soul. Yet, my firm belief in this next dimension fills the sails of my spirit. I know my soul is reaching its point of departure, and, for me, this adventurous journey is as certain as a walk down the sidewalks of my town -- no, not a physical movement but a "spirit walk" fueled by faith.

Of course, you can say, "There is absolutely no scientific evidence that the soul exists." And, I can counter with, "Give me scientific certainty about concepts such as infinity and a boundless universe." Deny the existence of the soul if it fits your concept of life. That's fine with me. Yet, don't insist I discard my spiritual beliefs just because 21st century "science" cannot verify what it doesn't understand. And, I do not respect the scientist or atheist who avoids the entire issue and merely labels the soul as a "disreputable entity."

Many researchers think the recognition of a soul appeared hand-in-hand with human consciousness, and it was probably voiced when humans acquired language to put the idea of a soul into words. That would put the time frame for a soul around 200,000 years ago, when scientists contend humans experienced a cultural explosion which they expressed in art, clothing, and religion. As people gained knowledge, they most certainly found reason to express their presumptions of the soul.

Around 360 BC, the philosopher Plato acknowledged the existence within humans of an all-loving, innocent, pure, aligned-with-Godly-ideals, original instinctive self or soul when he wrote that humans have "knowledge, both before and at the moment of birth…of all absolute standards…(of) beauty, goodness, uprightness, holiness…our souls exist before our birth." (Phaedo, tr. H. Tredennick) He went on to write that "the soul is in every possible way more like the invariable," which he described as "the pure and everlasting and immortal and changeless… realm of the absolute… (our) soul resembles the divine."

(Jeremy Griffith, "Soul." 2011)

The Weight

After research, Dr. Duncan McDougall wrote in the journal American Medicine in 1907 that the weight of a soul was about 21 grams. When McDougall's patients expired, he noticed an extremely small sudden change in the weight of the deceased which could not be accounted for by other means. The missing mass, which this weight loss represented, was used to support his hypothesis that the body had a soul and that the soul had mass. On the death of the visible body, the soul departed, and so did this mass.

Since then, McDougall's theory has been the subject of much debate and scientific research. In 1988, Noetic Science, an American non-profit research institute, carried out experiments on the largest number of patients and concluded that the human soul weighs 1/3,000th of an ounce.

These experiments were done by East German researchers who weighed more than 200 terminally ill patients just before and immediately after their deaths. In each case the weight loss was exactly the same – 1/3,000th of an ounce. This is approximately 0.01 gram or 10-5 kg.

The expert’s report on these experiments, co authored by physicist Elke Fisher, was criticised by Gerard Voisart, a leading French pathologist, who said that the weight difference between the living and dead could be accounted for by air leaving the lungs. However, Drs. Fisher and Mertens pointed out that this was considered in their calculations. Furthermore, they argued that the device they used to weigh the ‘soul’ had a margin of error of less than 1/100,000th of an ounce or 0.0003 grams.

“It occurred to us that the weight loss could be the result of an instantaneous physical deterioration,” said Dr. Fisher. “But after exhaustive study we agreed – that was not the case. The only possible explanation is that we were measuring the loss of the human soul or some kind of life force.”

Dr. Becker Mertens of Dresden claimed in the German science journal Horizon that the only logical conclusion is that the existence of the human soul had been confirmed and its weight determined. “The challenge before us now is to figure out exactly what the soul is composed of,” he said. “We are inclined to believe that it is a form of energy. But our attempts to identify this energy have been unsuccessful to date.” This author’s Dark Plasma Theory, first published in 2006, proposes that these bodies are composed of low density plasma of dark matter particles.

(Jay Alfred. "What Is the Weight of the Human Soul?" April 25, 2011)

I have no clue whether the soul has mass that can be accurately weighed by other human beings. I do not need that assurance to solidify my belief in the existence of the human soul. All I need is the self-assurance that my existence includes an essence capable of union with the divine.

I mean, that is what is important, isn't it? The eternal soul? To a loving human being, all else pales in value. At some point, we reach out to find nothing here can address our weak psyche, and then we reach out to seek assistance from the divine. What a wonderful epiphany when we discover that we are part of a much, much larger whole -- a whole that encompasses our being and our spirit.

Despite your religion, your denomination, or even your lack of belief, you do understand you have been "ensouled" with a bit of divinity. Your soul is more than a concept that shapes your worldly cognition: your soul is the element of the Almighty within you. Disbelief is actually born from staunch resistance that grows in a limited mind. Your soul, like all others, seeks to solidify and strengthen its eternal purpose because it, alone, survives any boundaries of time and space you can comprehend.

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