What is The Soul: 15 Definitions to Consider


As the author of novels about reincarnation I’m asked all the time, “What is that ineffable part of us anyway? Really. What is the soul?”

The soul in many religions, philosophical and mythological traditions, is: the incorporeal and immortal essence of a living being. According to Abrahamic religions, only human beings have immortal souls.

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The ancient Egyptians believed that a human soul was made up of three parts: The Ka, the Ba, and the Akh.

The Ka is essentially a person’s double, it is the life force and at death it is separated from the body.

The Ba is the part of the soul that can travel between the worlds of the living and the dead.

The Akh is the transfigured spirit that survives death and mingles with the gods.

That’s very romantic…

Yet, understandably, most people today are looking for something more, or perhaps different, to grab onto.

 Merriam-Websters defines the soul as:

noun \ˈsōl\

Definition of soul

  • : the spiritual part of a person that is believed to give life to the body and in many religions is believed to live forever

  • : a person’s deeply felt moral and emotional nature

  • : the ability of a person to feel kindness and sympathy for others, to appreciate beauty and art, etc.

The Catholic church defines the soul as:

“Human consciousness and freedom; each human soul is individual and immortal.” – Catholic.com

What Spiritual Experts, Scholars and Poets Say

If you’re like me—and are looking for even more than that—here are 15 other definitions to consider:

Gary Zukav: The soul is that part of you that existed before you were born and that will exist after you die. It’s the highest, most noble part of yourself that you can reach for.

Iyanla Vanzant: The soul, I believe, is the fingerprint of God that becomes a physical body. I believe that. It’s the fingerprint… It’s unique to everybody.

Deepak Chopra: The soul is the core of your being. It is eternal. It doesn’t exist in space/time. It’s a field of infinite possibilities, infinite creativity. It’s your internal reference point with which you should always be in touch.

DeVon Franklin: The soul is the spirit. It is the connecting line to God. I believe the soul is where the Holy Spirit resides. I believe that it is literally, you know, when you pick up the phone and then you have your 4G network? The soul is the 4G network right to heaven to me.

Sarah Ban Breathnach: The soul is the spiritual essence of who we really are.

Daniel Pink: The soul is, I think, our capacity to see that our lives are about something more than simply the day to day, and that we’re here for a purpose. It could be connected to religion or not, but that there is a purpose of your being here.

Debbie Ford: To me, the soul is a part of us that never dies. It’s who we are at our core. And it carries all the messages and the lessons that we’ve learned in the past, and will carry all the lessons and the messages that we will carry into the future.

Eckhart Tolle: The soul is your innermost being. The presence that you are beyond form. The consciousness that you are beyond form, that is the soul. That is who you are in essence.

Michael Singer: The indwelling consciousness that watches the mind come and go. That watches the heart come and go, the emotions of the heart. And watches the world pass before you. You, the conscious, the consciousness, the center of being, is soul.

Wayne Dyer: The soul is the birthless, deathless, changeless part of us. The part of us that looks out from behind our eyes and has no form. The soul is infinite so there is no in or out of it. It is everywhere. There’s no place that it is not.

Marianne Williamson: For me, it’s the truth of who we are. The light, the love which is within us goes by different names, but the truth of us. Michelangelo said when he got a statue that he would go to the quarry and get a big piece of marble and the way he imagined it, God had already created the statue and his job was just to get rid of the excess marble. So that’s what we’re like. Inside is the being that God has already created. Some call it the Christ, the Buddha mind, the Shekinah, the light, the soul. And our job is to get rid of this excess, useless fear, thought forms of the world that actually hide the light of the soul.

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: The soul is a divine part of our self. It is our divine nature. It is a part of us that is one with God. Everybody has a soul. It is the immortal internal part of ourselves. It never dies. It’s immortal. It belongs to God.

Jean Houston: I believe that the soul is the essence of who and what we are. I personally believe that it transcends our leaving this mortal coil. And I think it it comes with codes, and possibilities, and the next layers of who and what we may yet be. It is often a pain in the neck because it says, “Wake up. It’s time to wake up. Don’t go to sleep.” I think it is also the lure of our becoming. That’s what I think the soul is.

Daniel Defoe: The soul is what is placed in the body, like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Within man is the soul of the whole; The wise silence; The universal beauty.

Tiffany FitzHenry is the author of The Oldest Soul trilogy

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  1. Sally Markay

    Fascinating!! With all these interpretations, the essence of the Soul is still somehow elusive. My mind begs for more.

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