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Even after taking a yoga teacher training (ytt), I would say the soul cannot be described by the rudimentary nature of human language and it may be defined differently according to each individual depending on their world view.
In Vancouver, Victoria , Kamloops, Banff, Jasper, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, St Johns students learn in ytts that the soul is the ethereal essence of a living being that comprises abilities such as reason, character, feeling, consciousness, qualia, memory, and thinking.
YTT: It’s The Actual Person
A person’s actual self is their soul. While their body is simply the vehicle that houses their soul. Thus allowing it to experience the karma of a particular life.
When my mother was at the very end of her battle with liver cancer and barely breathing. I remember thinking to myself that she looked as though she had already passed away.
I had never seen a dead body before, let alone the body of someone I loved so dearly.
After she took her final breath, I witnessed a profound change; her soul effectively left her body. I then understood that there is an extremely distinct difference between being almost dead and being actually dead; that difference is the departing of the soul from the physical body.
Her dead body looked, but more importantly felt vacant, like the package that my mother had come in was still there, but all the contents that made her herself were gone.
I saw for myself that a soulless dead body lacks all of the qualities that even makes it human; it looks waxy and false, about as authentically human as a manikin posing in a department store window.
Yoga Training: Dead Body
Viewing my mother’s dead body after the leaving of her soul was a deeply disturbing experience, yet simultaneously strangely comforting. All my life I have thought of the soul as an energy that powers the body, where this energy also abides by the first law of thermodynamics, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed.
Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, thus all of the energy that exists in the multiverse. Which means it always has and always will be ever present in some form or another.
Doing yoga daily, this line of thinking lets me feel that even though the body that housed my mother’s energy was destroyed, the actual energy itself (herself) was not.
The energy associated with my mother’s spirit was simply transformed into another shape. Perhaps to a different time in another dimension of space.
This means that while my mother’s physical body is gone, her essence as an energetic entity is not – just converted. This thought brings me a sense of peace and comfort associated with both her passing. And regarding my own inevitable mortality.
My experience of watching my mother die and the perspective I gained thereafter aligns nicely with my own world view where I do not necessarily believe in a singular, omnipotent God.
For me the concept of God relates more to a collective of all-knowing energy that is raised into a higher level of existence and understanding about the nature and purpose of all things.
Our souls can then come back to this energy collective (what some people call God). Again, bringing with it new insight and revelation as a result of the life that was lived.
For me, from this experience and doing yoga, there is no purpose to life and why there is no difference between myself and anyone else.