Reply To: What is Soul?

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Hi Richard (@richard), thanks for your interesting thoughts. I love the idea of “whole brain” integration–your EQ + IQ + SQ equation. I, too, find neuroscience to be a fascinating opening to metacognition–the brain understanding itself which, as you suggest, cannot be done from the same level of conscious thought as the ego. I do think that the metacognitive must come from some higher level of awareness. To me, that awareness is loss of ego identification to witness ego from a soul level. I do think the spirit, as opposed to soul, is bound somewhat in time and space, and to transcend time and space requires perhaps what we might call meta-soul awareness, or spirit (i.e., consciousness).

It’s really just a change of perception. The way this shows up for me is when I want to transcend ego thought, I literally transfer my vision from seeing and thinking from my body level to looking at “my self” and my actions from above. Think of sitting on a riverbank and watching the water rushing past as Tier 1 awareness. Then walking or running alongside the river and tracking/keeping track of the water’s flow with the progress of, say, a branch floating in its current would be Tier 2. Seeing the water from a precipice above the river gives you a sense of the whole, all at once, Tier 3. You watch the branch in the current and the forces that overtake it as another current merges or sweeps it along, and the people or boats, and all that interacts with the scene. And you can have an entirely different experience in each state.

Tiers 1 and 2, you have a more limited view in your relationship to the river.Tier 3 allows you to see the many forces at work. One is not better than the other–just different.

So with the soul–we are able to observe the self and the world from a Tier 3 level. It is metacognitive. What is above that level is consciousness itself, or what I call spirit–it embraces and transcends that experience to comprehend all at once.

In creating my teen time travel novel and learning platform, Edge of Yesterday, (out this week!) I have studied the Renaissance genius, Leonardo da Vinci, to glean how this artist, engineer, geologist, anatomist, inventor, musician, scientist and philosopher was able to tap into some profound field of knowing that enabled him to observe, study, design and invent the future–things like a robot, scuba gear, a glider and helicopter, tank and bicycle, hundreds of years before these came into being in our world. My favorite quote of the qualia of Leonardo’s experience is this:

“In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.”
~Leonardo da Vinci

In honor of the polymath’s 565th birthday on April 15, I salute the spirit of transcendence that can enable us all to tap into the river of consciousness and design a better future for all of humanity.