Your Soul is my new book published in August 2012 as a Kindle book.
This book is for those of us who have a soul – and that’s everyone. Little is known of the soul – many even deny its existence but I believe that if you are aware of your soul it changes the focus of your life from that of our mortal life span to a more distant horizon.
The Writings of the Baha’i Faith are a rich source of knowledge and inspiration about the soul and are the main inspiration for this book. The book is a “owner’s manual” for the soul. Earlier chapters lay down information about the soul, and later chapters reveal how we can best equip our soul for its journey through the Worlds of God.
Here is a brief synopsis of each chapter with some extracts.
Chapter one: Stories of the soul
The following chapters of the book focus on the soul, but this one sets the scene. I approached people I know and asked them to summarise their life’s journey from the perspective of the soul. The stories range from those of a childhood in a prisoner of war camp, of fleeing the home country as a refugee, escaping a violent husband and running from a tsunami. The learning for me in this chapter was the unique stories we all have as we negotiate our way through this life.
Chapter two: How do I know I have a soul?
This chapter explores the basis of my knowledge and beliefs about the soul.
For most of my academic life I have strived to reconcile the world views of religion and science (both physical and social sciences). It is frustrating that religious discourse is excluded from Western academia, as it has so much to contribute. If this book was about some scientific subject, I would refer to the work of respected scientists to validate my work. As this book focuses on spiritual themes, I refer to the founders of the world’s great religions, and especially to Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, to validate my work.
The chapter outlines the validity of all of the major religions and the source of their knowledge – Revelation from God through Manifestations such as Jesus, Muhammad and Bahá’u’lláh. As the latest Manifestation of God, Bahá’u’lláh has revealed volumes about religious concepts such as the soul providing us with the most complete and authoritative source to date.
Chapter three: What is the soul?
`Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’u’lláh’s son tells us:
Verily the body is composed of physical elements, and every composite must needs be decomposed. The spirit, however, is a single essence, fine and delicate, incorporeal, everlasting, and of God.
From a Bahá’í perspective, all of the existence, material or spiritual is animated by spirit and the will of God. This chapter explores the various degrees of existence from the mineral through to the human soul and the Manifestations of God.
Some evidences of the soul, such as dreams, intuition and near death experience are touched on.
Chapter four: What is my soul’s purpose?
From The Hidden Words, Bahá’u’lláh tells us of our origins and purpose:
O SON OF BOUNTY!
Out of the wastes of nothingness, with the clay of My command I made thee to appear, and have ordained for thy training every atom in existence and the essence of all created things. Thus, ere thou didst issue from thy mother’s womb, I destined for thee two founts of gleaming milk, eyes to watch over thee, and hearts to love thee. Out of My loving-kindness, ‘neath the shade of My mercy I nurtured thee, and guarded thee by the essence of My grace and favor. And My purpose in all this was that thou mightest attain My everlasting dominion and become worthy of My invisible bestowals. And yet heedless thou didst remain, and when fully grown, thou didst neglect all My bounties and occupied thyself with thine idle imaginings, in such wise that thou didst become wholly forgetful, and, turning away from the portals of the Friend didst abide within the courts of My enemy.
So in many ways, the story of the soul is the story of our journey home to our Creator. Our destiny is also to become one with our fellow travellers and develop the qualities that unite us. Another of the empowering concepts from the Bahá’í Writings expressed in this chapter is the non-existence of evil, except for that evil born of our attachment to the things of the world. Abdu’l-Bahá elaborates:
The epitome of this discourse is that it is possible that one thing in relation to another may be evil, and at the same time within the limits of its proper being it may not be evil. Then it is proved that there is no evil in existence; all that God created He created good. This evil is nothingness; so death is the absence of life. When man no longer receives life, he dies. Darkness is the absence of light: when there is no light, there is darkness. Light is an existing thing, but darkness is nonexistent. Wealth is an existing thing, but poverty is nonexisting.
Then it is evident that all evils return to nonexistence. Good exists; evil is nonexistent.
Chapter five: How do I nurture my soul?
Here, seven practices are identified that nuture the soul:
- mindfulness – alignment with the will of God
- prayer – conversation with God
- virtues – provisions for the journey
- detachment – the essence of wealth
- service – the highest station
- teaching – sharing the message
- joy and happiness – `Abdu’l-Bahá ’s commandment.
Bahá’u’lláh’s clear logic provides the motivation to look after the soul:
Say: If ye be seekers after this life and the vanities thereof, ye should have sought them while ye were still enclosed in your mothers’ wombs, for at that time ye were continually approaching them, could ye but perceive it. Ye have, on the other hand, ever since ye were born and attained maturity, been all the while receding from the world and drawing closer to dust. Why, then, exhibit such greed in amassing the treasures of the earth, when your days are numbered and your chance is well-nigh lost? Will ye not, then, O heedless ones, shake off your slumber?
Our qualities of character are the asets we move on with, beyond the material world.
Chapter six: What’s my soul’s destiny?
The final chapter explores the journey of the soul. Here the limitations of language become apparent as language is grounded in our experience of this world. Bahá’u’lláh relates this concept with beautiful imagery:
The pen steppeth not into this region, the ink leaveth only a blot. In these planes, the nightingale of the heart hath other songs and secrets, which make the heart to stir and the soul to clamor, but this mystery of inner meaning may be whispered only from heart to heart, confided only from breast to breast.
Nevertheless, throughout His Writings, Bahá’u’lláh writes enough of the worlds of the spirit to enhance our understanding. His book, The Seven Valley provides much to reflect on about the destiny of the soul.
I set the price of this book at 99 cents as I wanted to be as cheap as possible. This was the minimum price to publish with Kindle. I want everyone to read it, please pass the word on.