Helping Understand the Mystery
By Rev. Simeon Stefanidakis
Just about every religion on
earth discusses some form of Trinity within the scope of the Spirit. In
most cases, the concept of the Trinity is mystical and wondrous. Even the
world of mathematics hails its unique element. The strongest and most
stable geometric figure is the triangle (never will a three-legged stool
wobble). It requires three non-colinear points to
determine a plane. We, in the physical world, are accustomed to perceiving
and experiencing in three dimensions.
proclaims the Divine Trinity as one of its most basic statements of faith.
From a more esoteric perspective, the triune aspect of Father,
Son/Daughter, and Holy Spirit helps explain so very much in life and
creation. As Christianity began to evolve, the concept of Trinitarianism
began to shake and weaken, and from that shaky foundation emerged a new --
well, actually, quite ancient -- concept of God and Creation, beautifully
expressed in the Hebrew Shema:
"Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord
is our God, the Lord is One."
The Oneness of God forms the
foundation of Unitarianism.
Must Trinitarianism and
Unitarianism oppose each other? I think not, if we consider the following:
God is One, plain and simple. But, we, the spirits which God created, exist
in a wondrous and most mystical trinity of Spirit-Soul-Body.
One question which countless
people have asked us is: What is the difference between my Spirit and my
Soul? We hope this article will help explain, at least in part, some of the
confusion between these two elements of ourselves and, then, explain how
body functions with them.
As always, the best place to
begin is at the beginning. The Gospel of John -- considered
by theologians to be the most esoteric and mystical of the Gospels --
begins with the single, most important and profound statement concerning
life and creation: "In the beginning was the Word."
God: The Creator
God is our Creator. From God
came everything, and everything that is, has been, and shall ever be has
its roots within God. Our most fundamental statement of faith, here at the
First Spiritual Temple, is that God is Spirit, without gender, form, creed,
or color. Subsequent to that is that we -- the spirits; ALL the spirits --
were created in God's image as Spirit. This is fundamental to our faith and
to our teaching.
Despite so much emphasis upon
God's Human image and the Person of God, especially amongst Catholicism and
Orthodoxy, there is a fundamental truth deeply inherent within most
religious and spiritual pathways: God is Spirit. I think you would be hard
pressed to find any religious leader denying this fundamental truth. The
unity and oneness of God is supreme. If God is One, there can be no
splitting of God into gender (Him/Her, Father/Mother), form, or any other
physical or spiritual personage. Yet, so many of us vehemently and
rigorously subject God to physical characteristics. Oneness is oneness; it
is a superlative.
As Spirit, we were created and
we live in God's image of Spirit. Thus, within us, we have all the
attributes of God, we are all part of God and of God's Spirit, and we are
created of the same stuff as God; but, we are not God.
Spirit: The Creation
Your Spirit is that part of
you which is the direct creation of God. Your Spirit is the highest aspect
of who and what you are. Your Spirit is devoid of all elements of human
personality and character. It is a direct fragment of the Divine Life of
The Spirit is one with all and
understands, fully, that oneness, as well as its oneness with God, its
Creator. The Spirit is perfect and universal in all aspects, save one: the
Spirit is not God.
The Spirit is the highest
expression of universal individuality -- an oxymoron which contains,
within, many keys to truth -- and has its roots with God and with all the
spirits, within the highest realm of Creation; a realm which we cannot even
begin to comprehend, here on the Earth plane.
The Spirit knows everything,
because there is no new thing under the sun. Furthermore, there are no evil
spirits. The most heinous people to have walked the earth were created in
the very same image as were the saints. On that level of life there are
neither saints nor sinners; there is only Spirit.
Your Spirit is perfect in all
ways. Why? Because God is perfect in all ways. There is only One, greater
and more "everything" than your Spirit: God. Remember, we were
created in God's IMAGE as Spirit. Thus, as with any image, we are not the
original. God is the original; we are the image. As Spirit, we may be a
perfect copy, but we are just that: a copy. As perfect an image as we may
be, we are, nonetheless an image. Thus, there will always be a distinction
-- ever so subtle, though, it may be -- between us, the Creation, and God,
Thus it is in Heaven, so to
speak. But, what about here, on earth, where we live and breath and have our being?
Soul: The Liaison and Guide
Just as God created us in His
image, as Spirit; in order for us to live the Human experience, we created
an image in the likeness of our Spirit. That image is the Soul.
Your Soul is that part of your
Spirit which has human character and which links with the human experience.
This immediately brings to mind the question: Are there other realms of
life, within physical creation, not human in nature, nor connected with our
planet? We believe there are. Otherwise, as so aptly expressed in the
movie, Contact: "What a waste of space that would
be." Furthermore, we believe that some Spirits -- also created in
God's image as Spirit -- have chosen to experience realms of life and
Creation other than the Human experience. But, let us focus upon ourselves,
members of the Human Kingdom, with the planet earth as our physical home.
Because the Spirit is perfect,
the Soul is an expression of that perfection, but to a lesser degree.
Again, your Soul is an image of your Spirit; just as your Spirit is an
image of God. It is the Soul which "descends" from the home of
the Spirit and resides within a level of Creation somewhat removed -- in
terms of vibration -- from that of the Spirit. The Soul is closely linked
to the Earth plane and the human experience.
The Soul is sometimes referred
to as the "higher self" or that part of us which guides, through
intuition and through its connection with the Spirit and with God, our
earthly affairs. The Soul has its roots in what we traditionally call the
Spirit World, but it dips its feet, so to speak, from time to time, onto
the Earth plane.
Like the Spirit, the Soul does
not experience evil or negativity directly; it responds only to goodness.
However -- and this is a big "however" -- the Soul's response to
goodness is only as powerful and vital as the presence of goodness within
its various personality manifestations, here on the earthly plane. Thus, on
the level of the Soul, we have limitation.
The Soul is limited and it is
evolving, and that limitation is manifested in many ways. The Soul can
respond to its own goodness and to the goodness around it only to the
degree in which that goodness is made manifest in its earthly incarnations.
Like the Spirit, there are no evil Souls. Unlike the Spirit, there are
"less good" Souls. This is very important to understand.
Within the home of the Soul,
spirituality is measured and made manifest not by the comparison of
goodness and evil, but by the various degrees of goodness manifested within
the multitude of Soul lives. Where there is little goodness, there is
little activity and life. As the Soul evolves, through successive
incarnations, it becomes beautifully glorified and its aura takes on hues
and colors unlike anything we can perceive with our physical eyes. The
clairvoyant who has "soul vision" -- and not all clairvoyants
perceive on that level; in fact, most do not -- is always awe-struck at the
wonder and beauty of the Soul's energy body.
The Soul has conscience and it
understands the difference between good and evil; right and wrong. The Soul
evolves, through choice and karma, ever guided by the Spirit which, in
turn, is ever guided by God. In many ways, the Soul is the "prodigal
son" seeking to return to the Father; in this case, the Father is its
Spirit and God.
Finally, the Soul is of Spirit
essence; yet, it has its own body -- energy rather than material.
Having said all this, we have
still not come to the level of Earth plane life and experience. We have
mentioned good and evil, but no mention has yet been made of evil's
expression and manifestation.
In order for the Soul to
incarnate onto the Earth plane, it does so through the creation of a
physical body (the third element of the Trinity). And, with the creation of
the body, the Soul creates the Personality.
You have one Soul, which is an
image of your Spirit, which, in turn, was created in God's image. But, you
have created multiple personalities, living within multiple bodies at
various points in history. Each time you decide to reincarnate, you create
a new earthly personality and a new earthly body.
The Personality, also known as
the "lower self," is that part of ourselves to which we can all
identify. It has gender, form, race, social standing, ethnic attributes,
etc. It is born and it shall die. It is born into a specific family and has
a specific name. The Personality is born into a body made of flesh, blood,
and bones, rather than a body of light and energy. We tenaciously hold onto
the Personality and its bodily form, and we tenaciously subject God to our
Through the personality, we
experience so many of life's difficulties and must determine how we shall
respond or react to these challenges. It is the Personality, created by the
Soul, which incarnates onto the Earth plane in order to experience all that
this physical world has to offer. It is the Personality which is subject to
the limitations of three-dimensional time and space.
Finally, and most importantly,
it is the Personality, which is susceptible and receptive to negativity and
evil. Within the world of the Personality -- the Earth plane and that level
of the Spirit World very closely linked to the Earth plane -- both good and
evil exist. Here, on the Earth plane, evil is not merely the lack of
goodness; it is a very real force unto itself, created and made manifest by
the various people who inhabit the earth.
Somewhere, between the level
of the Soul and the level of the Personality -- somewhere between the second
and the third elements of the Trinity -- there can be created and made
manifest evil and negativity.
To sum up: Your Spirit is
always guided by God. Your Soul is always guided by your Spirit. And your
Soul always seeks to guide you and your Personality, here on earth, to the
degree that it can, in the daily affairs of your life. But, your
Personality can choose, consciously or unconsciously, either to accept, not
to accept, or to reject the wondrous thread of guidance given by your Soul,
your Spirit, and God. On the Earth plane, it really is all a matter of
choice. Furthermore, if we choose wrongly or choose not to listen, it does
not minimize, in any way, the Love and Guidance given by God and the
Thus we have the Trinity of
Spirit-Soul-Body/Personality: three aspects of the One. And here is another
point which needs clarification. Within this Trinity, there is also a
unifying force of life and guidance. The Spirit of God, through the mystery
of the Holy Spirit, guides and inspires us all, no matter where we may be
or what type of life we may be living.
We define the Holy Spirit as
God's Spirit alive in the world and within the affairs of men and women.
The Holy Spirit can be likened to a grand web of consciousness. It is
everywhere and everyone can tap into this vast network of the Holy Spirit.
And because it is like a web, any two points within that grand network can
connect, commune, and communicate.
Thus, even in our darkest
moments, there is guidance, light, love, and healing available from God,
through God's Holy Spirit. Your Spirit knows this and seeks to receive and
work with this. Your Soul knows this and seeks to receive and work with
this, to the degreee that it can. The earthly
Personality must evolve to this level of awareness and, once it does, it
must openly receive this and share it with others. In so doing, the Soul
evolves and, subsequently, so does the earthly Personality.
So, no matter who we are,
where we may be, or what we are experiencing, God's guiding Light is always
there and freely offered. On some level, we all receive this Light. On the
earthly plane, some manifest this Light; others do not; still others seek
to shadow and dim this Light.
Jesus requests that we not
hide our Light under the bushel. Jesus instructs your Spirit and Soul to
shine, radiantly, here on earth, through your Personality.
Evolution: The Grand Journey
Spiritual evolution can be
summed up quite simply: reuniting that which has become fragmented.
Spiritual evolution is the process whereby the earthly Personality is
elevated and brought into at-one-ment with the Soul; while the Soul is
elevated and brought into at-one-ment with the Spirit. This process is
fueled, guided, and inspired by God and God's Holy Spirit.
Death is the returning of the
Personality back to the Soul, bringing into the essence of the Soul all
that it learned and experienced, both positive and negative, here on the
Earth plane. The Soul, guided by the Spirit and by God's Holy Spirit, then
decides how it will make manifest the lessons it has received from the
Personality, as well as make amends, through the Great Law of Karma, for
the injustices it may have committed against others, against God, and
against itself. It does this through successive incarnations -- each with
its own Personality and body -- until it reaches a point where the earthly
Personality is a perfect manifestation of the Soul's goodness -- on earth
as it is in Heaven. At that point, it no longer seeks incarnation, and the
Soul moves along in its evolution back to the Spirit. How and in what form
it does this is for another article.
Ultimately, we are all --
human and otherwise -- wending our way back to the Spirit's home, where we
will be one with each other and one with God; thus completing the cycle
initiated when God breathed life into us and created us, in His image as
It is all really quite amazing
and even more wondrous when you stop and think about it.
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