The Soul – part 3

The soul is essentially the capacity to be aware. That’s what manifests through us: our sense of awareness expands and that’s a product of the soul.

Robert: Hello and welcome to Inner Sight. We’re continuing to explore the soul in part three. So often people speak about the soul with very superficial explanations of what the soul is. I like this thought from Alice Bailey that she sets forth in one of her books about the soul: “The soul is the force of evolution itself and this was in the mind of Saint Paul when he spoke of the ‘Christ in you the hope of glory.’ We think of Christ as being the full manifestation of soul and I suppose that might be tangential to that idea. We were talking about the group soul last time. Just to recap, you were saying some very interesting things about the group soul before our show came to an end last time. Could you pick up on that?  

Sarah: Yes, we human beings are so fiercely individualistic that we even think of the soul as my individual soul, my special destiny, but in fact the soul has a consciousness that is oriented or identified with the group, and in the more advanced beings it’s identified with universality, with the one humanity. I think most of us can’t say that we really have a clear sense of the one humanity. We might have an inner response to that concept, but perhaps not yet a really inclusive identification with all the many different types of human beings. But most of us could say that we can realize the idea of belonging to a group of one sort or another. That is a reflection of the soul in the sense of the group. Some people might think their group is their family, their loved ones. Other people might think that their group consists of those who are like them, by race, religion or culture. Others might say that their group is those people who share a view of life that is similar to their own, or a sense of commitment to the world that is similar to their own, but in all these cases it’s an expression of the group soul.  

Dale: Yes, I’d like to pick up on that and call it group consciousness, that kind of like mindedness. There is as you say a likeness of mind, a similarity of thought, a similarity of note, that people give off. You find this among close friends, close family members, among coworkers; you could find it anywhere. It’s a way of distinguishing your group; in other words, for people who think like you, have the same similar philosophy, perhaps the same politics and that sort of thing. 

Sarah: You could also say it’s a similar or a shared destiny. This quotation that you opened with, Robert, that the soul is the force of evolution itself, gives us a sense of the soul as that which propels the human being forward in his unfoldment, in his evolution. So, maybe one’s group soul is those beings who share our intended goal.  

Dale: There was another example that I was thinking of the other day which demonstrates a group soul and that’s what you might see in a choir or chorus. A well-trained chorus—and  I mean one that is really trained with professional singers and who are there to work as a chorus and not just a group of soloists who come together to sing—but a group of singers who can listen to each other and who can sing as one voice. 

Sarah: Didn’t you used to sing in a chorus many years ago? 

Dale: Yes, many choruses and choirs, and that’s one of the things we strive to accomplish. It’s not easy because it means that each singer has to relinquish his or her little ego and the desire to stand out and sing out these pearl shaped tones. But to blend with a group, with a whole chorus, with the choir, is something quite different and not so easy to do. But when that happens you begin to realize there is a  oneness in the group, because what you’re doing is trying to convey the music with a singleness of voice, with one voice, and no voice should stand out unless it’s written that this particular melodic line should stand out more. So, that I think is one example where the group soul really begins to take over.  

Sarah: Actors speak of that kind of affinity when they feel themselves to be an ensemble, where they’re really collaborating for something greater than themselves, working for a larger creation than the sum total of the parts that make up the group. It takes on a life and vitality and a significance that’s more than the sum total of the parts and that’s what a good chorus or a good ensemble does. I think I know what you mean in terms of dancers. I once saw a Balanchine ballet danced to a piece of music by Tchaikovsky. It might have been Serenade, I’m not sure, but it was a group of dancers all moving as one, in very simple costumes with no particular stage setting. Balanchine’s ballets are so often set against a very abstract background. All you saw was the movement of all these dancers as one and it was really moving and inspiring.  

Robert: Let me see if I understand the analogy. If we were to compare that to group soul consciousness, what you’re saying then is that when one is truly enlightened and has an awareness of the commonality of soul within all people, it’s more or less as though you would be able to see yourself in everyone, even a person who may not be socially advanced and maybe has some problems. You still see a certain divinity or you can acknowledge the soul within them, and in that sense you more or less identify with them, is that correct?  

Sarah: Yes, the soul is what lies behind the outer form and so the differences of form that put us in different classes and races and groups don’t intrude on the level of the soul. As Dale said, it’s like-mindedness and so there can be this sense of common ground that you share with people who are very different from yourself and yet there’s something you share if you are part of the same group. I imagine that the people who work within the United Nations, for example, and who have a real commitment to our planet, to humanity and to international relationships are able to get a sense of this transcendence of national, cultural and linguistic origins and a sense of how they are working for the one humanity. That would be an expression of the group soul.  

Dale: Also, you mentioned the other day about the Founding Fathers of the United States. That was a good example. 

Robert: How would that be an example of group soul?  

Sarah:  I think they constituted a group soul on earth at a time when humanity was taking a major step forward in the late 18th century. There was the French Revolution with its declaration of the rights of the human being for liberty, equality, and brotherhood, and the American Revolution which declared the right of a colony to have its own independence. The group soul was made up of those people who served in leadership at the time: Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams. Just the other week or so I heard a program about James Madison because I think it’s the 250th anniversary of his birth or his death, I’m not sure. What a remarkable man he was! He stood more in the background but he was one of the real thinkers within that group. I believe he drafted the constitution; his thinking really formed the foundation of the American constitution. Jefferson I believe wrote it up, but Madison was a guiding thinker in the group. Washington whom they all trusted and acknowledged as unquestionably the right person to be the first president, Jefferson with his brilliance, these were great souls and they collaborated at a time when there was a major experiment underway in humanity. 

Dale: Yes, it took a group soul and those willing to work together to pull this off, to really found a nation and that’s essentially what they did. It was a group effort and that’s the real significant thing about it that should stand out.  

Sarah: I think there are other examples of the group soul that we can point to; for example, scientists often collaborate on mental levels in the working out of new ideas in the scientific field. For example, there’s been this rivalry among the people who are working for a cure for AIDS, between the French and the Americans and probably others too. They’re all racing to find and claim responsibility for a cure when in fact they could see themselves as members of a group on the level of the soul, working for one goal: the healing of a horrible disease afflicting humanity. There’s no reason for this rivalry because on the level of the mind and the soul we share ideas and insights. Another example in the scientific field, to me, is the collaboration between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, in the development of the electric light. They were rivals but if you think of it in terms of the soul they probably stimulated and augmented each other’s work.  

Dale: Yes, you find this happening quite a lot in the scientific community because it is made up of deep thinkers who spend their lives just concentrating on some particular theory of whatever they want to work on. Quite often you will find scientists, or a small group of scientists, working on a theory or project in one country, and in another country another group is working on the same theory, and they come up with practically the same conclusions. So, there is in fact I’m sure on the inner side, communication and collaboration at the soul level, only you don’t see it. They’re not phoning each other up or faxing or e-mailing each other, but somehow they come up with the same conclusions!  

Sarah: I wonder if another example of that would be the experiments and research underway with nuclear fusion, in Geneva Switzerland at CERN, and at Lawrence Livermore laboratories.   

Dale: There are many examples if you begin to see the soul in those terms. Then you look around the world and you see it happening everywhere, in all walks of life, in politics, in science and in education.  

Sarah: Not all of us, though, are able to contribute to world betterment on the level of the people we’ve just cited, but we can all imagine that we belong to a group that somehow is undergoing a shared destiny. We might begin by thinking of our families and why we have come together as a family, or we might think of people with whom we feel very close. That would be for each listener to decide, to determine who are the people that he or she feels closest to in terms of what’s really important in life, and then extend that concept to the idea that maybe you form a group on the level of the soul. What would your contribution to the world be? It may not be something really tremendous but it might be a concern for the environment or work on behalf of children or neighborhood harmony—who knows? The soul is present in all kinds of activities from the sublime to the very small.  

Dale: The soul is essentially the capacity to be aware. That’s what manifests through us: our sense of awareness expands and that’s a product of the soul. 

Robert: What happens to the soul at death? 

Sarah: That’s a challenging question and, not remembering having died, I don’t know what I can say. One thought that comes to mind, which I enjoy, is a saying that’s attributed to the German mystic and shoemaker, Jacob Boehme. When he was asked where the soul goes when the body dies, he said, “there’s no need for it to go anywhere.” That points out the realization that the soul is consciousness. It’s not a body, it’s not a physical object, so it doesn’t go anywhere. The soul is consciousness and it continues even after the death of the physical body. 

Robert: We often make the mistake of identifying with the physical form, but you’re talking about the consciousness that’s always there and that always was.  

Dale: Yes, the soul is, as you said, consciousness. It is said that for the soul at the moment of death, it’s like a transition from one room into another. It simply leaves the body and starts its return to its source on the inner planes of life; at least this is the way we understand it. It makes its transition from the purely physical environment, its identification with the physical world, and it leaves all of that behind. The life thread is severed so there is no more connection with the physical world. It returns first to the plane that is called the astral plane, the plane of the emotions, and there it may encounter loved ones who have already passed on. I think we talked about this in a past program on near death experiences. The soul is all right, and when you die, you’re well taken care of.  

Sarah: I think one comforting thought to keep in mind is that death in most cases is undertaken at the direction of the soul. It’s not an accident, it’s not a terrible tragedy. It’s actually a decision that’s made by the soul; when the soul determines that whatever its agenda or plan was for that particular lifetime is complete, then it withdraws. If we could think of death as a decision by the soul we might see it as more joyous, and as a release in fact. There’s an amazing comment in the writings of Alice Bailey that says that to the soul real death is coming into a physical body, having to inhabit a little six- or seven-pound baby body that’s totally helpless and vulnerable. You can imagine that for the fully conscious soul this is a kind of a death, a kind of sacrifice, in order to come into the world and live in in a physical body.  

Dale: Just the opposite from the way we view death, as a terrible thing and as an unhappy thing. Try to imagine it from the soul’s point of view on the inner planes, free with no impediments at all, and then suddenly having to incarnate into this very limited physical body, with a brain that doesn’t work very well. It is like death to the soul.   

Sarah: Another kind of death that strikes me is the idea of living forever. What is this science that’s developing where they freeze people—cryogenics is it? I find that whole concept just stupefying! Why would you want to preserve this—what probably is—a decrepit old arthritic body? I’d certainly like to give up mine and trade it in for a new one. The idea that we would want to be stuck in time forever and ever seems to lie behind cryogenics, and I don’t understand that. That would be a kind of death, to be so static that you’re not able to evolve and change and grow, and that applies not only to a human being but to a civilization. We can see that happening in the world, where certain civilizations become so stuck, so fixed and unable to grow, that they undergo a kind of death.  

Dale:  I think there’s something of that in the whole idea of cloning that’s so popular today. Why would they want to clone this same body over and over again, because it wouldn’t be the same body; it would just look like the same body? Presumably it would have to have a different soul that would take it over, so it would come out much different than the original. 

Sarah: That’s quite bizarre when you think about it—the same body but a different soul. It gets very confusing, doesn’t it?  

Dale: Yes, and I’m not sure what that would look like because we haven’t done that yet, but I don’t think it’s a good thing, but I do think it’s another example of holding on to the world we know now, and not allowing the soul freedom to move on and to evolve. 

Sarah: Alice Bailey writes in her Unfinished Autobiography that she likes to think of death as a touch of the soul which is too strong for the body. She said it’s a call from divinity that brooks no denial, that you must return to your centre or your source and distill the lessons learned. When we think of it that way it’s a liberation for the soul.  

Robert: I remember the quotation, “we are spiritual beings going through a physical experience, not physical beings going through a spiritual experience,” and I think that’s good to remember because it touches on what is reality. Alice Bailey says the soul is the agent of karma. What does that mean?  

Sarah: Well, that really is another program altogether so I don’t think we can go ahead with that; perhaps next time.  

Robert: All right. In closing we invite you to ponder on this thought: There is a world prayer called the Great Invocation. It’s a call for light, love, and goodwill to flow into the world. Let’s listen for a moment to these powerful words.  

Sarah: Closes the program with the adapted version of the Great Invocation. 

(This is an edited transcript of a recorded radio program called “Inner Sight”. This conversation was recorded between the host, Robert Anderson, and the then President and Vice-President of Lucis Trust, Sarah and Dale McKechnie.)

(Transcribed and edited by Carla McLeod)




Quote of the Month

“Students of the writings of Alice Bailey know that the year 2025 is anticipated to be of vital spiritual significance….” Read more….

Latest Posts

Social Media



Inner Sight

Spiritual Festivals

The Light of the Renaissance