Understanding the meaning of “Soul” and “Spirit”

What is  “SOUL” and what is “SPIRIT”?  Are these both words refer to the same meaning? Many a times I myself got confused reading about this and listening to people when they used these two words interchangeably.

Lately I started reading  a book authored by an internationally renowned psychic medium, John Holland. In this book he talks about the power of our soul. In the beginning of this book he explains the difference between ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’.  Below is an extract from his book which might be of help to those who wish to understand more on the difference of the words  ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’. John Holland, in his own words:-

Soul is consciousness. It’s my belief that the soul is the true essence of a person. When you look Into a mirror and see your reflection, you notice your body, your hair, your eyes, your smile, or even your frown!  The reflection looking back at you, the image you see, is just your external shell; It’s not who you really are. The soul is the person within your body. Your  personality can oftentimes be an instrument for your soul to express itself in the outside world, and this plays a significant role in how you relate to others and to yourself. No two souls are ever alike; fortunately,  every one of us is unique. It’s your soul that determines who you are and what makes you … you.

Some people ask, “Why should 1 acknowledge the existence of  my soul?” To put it as simply as I can, I’d say, “Because we’re spiritual beings in a physical body having human experiences,” Therefore, since you’re both a physical and spiritual being, you should honour all of you. If you go through your days denying yourself the experience of combining these two sides, you’re missing out on so much of what life truly has to offer. Why lead a life that’s half lived?

Many people who surround themselves with material possessions are under the false impression that doing so will bring happiness, fulfilment, and a sense of purpose to their lives. Even when they acquire these things, they often find themselves asking, “Why do I still feel so empty inside?” People who live spiritually and who work from a soul level realize that there’s so much more to this existence than the visible and materialistic physical world. I’ve noticed that these individuals seem to get the bigger picture, a higher perspective or view, and have both a richer understanding and a deeper meaning with respect to who they are, what they do, and how they conduct their lives. In contrast, if you’re the type of person who continues to seek answers from the outside world alone, then I hope that perceiving and working with your soul will confirm that there is true wisdom and guidance that’s readily available and can be found within. This phenomenal place of unlimited resources is accessible to each and every one of us, and once you begin to recognize that, you’ll start to feel, see, and experience a world that you never thought possible.

When I decided to write about the remarkable power and abilities of the soul, I wanted to provide you, the reader, with an understanding (based on my research and personal beliefs) of the soul and how it differs from the meaning of the word spirit. Throughout this book, I will refer to both concepts.

In ancient writings and references  in the Bible, man is described as a triune being, which means that he consists of the three inter, related parts: the body, soul,’ and spirit. The soul has also been described as an envelope animated by the spirit; and the physical body, in turn, acts as a protective envelope for the soul. When I first heard this explanation, it reminded me of the matryoshka, or Russian nested dolls, placed one inside the other, with their ever decreasing sizes.

To help you better understand the difference between soul and spirit, here’s a simple analogy: Imagine an automobile of your choice. The outside or shell of the car is your physical body; the driver is your soul, steering the vehicle in different directions and destinations; and the gas that fuels the vehicle is your spirit. The Divine force of spirit is what infuses and feeds your soul, pushing you ever forward to strive to be all that you are and all that you could hope to be in this life.

Spirit is the life force, the vital energy that animates us all. It’s the spark or the portion of the Divine Source that’s in every living thing, and it has a consciousness of its own. In Eastern traditions, the spirit (force is known as chi in Chinese (or prana in Sanskrit), and it’s referred to as ti or ki in Hawaiian. We may be uniquely distinctive and individual souls, but there’s a commonality that binds us all together, a spiritual force. The same energy that makes up the stars in the sky – which is the same energy that’s coursing through the Universe – is in each and every one of us. As a matter of fact, it was believed in ancient times that each star visible in the sky was the soul of one person. Thus, it was thought that just as the stars shining b the dark, so too can your soul.