(An excerpt from Dictionary.com)
The principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body, the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part. The part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and subject to happiness or misery in a life to come.
Above is the official dictionary description of the soul. I will here try to explain why it is not correct and even quite misleading, so I will attempt to clear this up by answering the posed question and also elaborating on the characteristics of the soul. Actually these questions present an opportune time to discuss the true nature of the soul as it will relate to our future discussions.
First question; do I have a soul? I would hope so because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be here and if you lost your soul, you would have a real problem finding it because you would have to literally dissect every cell, molecule and organ in your search and you still would come up empty handed. Your soul is indeed part of you and you are part of your soul, not all of it, but part of it. Your soul IS separate from your physical body, but it is inexorably interwoven within your physical image, becoming indistinguishable from the total you that you are, it is alive within your every atom, cell, organ, brain and mind. It is then, both separate and a part of. Upon physical death, it disentangles itself from the corporeal body structure and once again integrates itself within the true real identity, the inner self of the former physical personality.
The dictionary has it right in that it is a “Distinct Entity” and it does of course, survive physical death. It existed before birth, it alone is responsible for initiating your birth, and it continues to exist after your death. It is in that respect, eternal. It is not reliant on a body, but does assume meaningful form and derives much of its value fulfillment, pleasures and satisfactions through materializing a portion of itself within the physical system and experiencing perceptions not otherwise available to it alone. The physical being experiences its perceptions through the available methods within its given reality, i/e smell, touch, taste, vision and sound. The souls experience is more direct; using inner sense mechanisms not well understood by the ego self, so it translates the received outer data into inner perceptions more in line with its values. Every exterior object and experience has its distinct inner counterpart that must exist as a pattern before materialization can take place.
So, you do indeed have a soul, but it would be more correct to say that your soul has you. Your soul at some point in the past divided off and separated a small portion of its own consciousness into a neat little package of (self-ness) or (I-ness) if you prefer, individually self aware and actual consciousness, encapsulated and protected, precisely tuning it and then projecting it into your particular world, allying it with a newly forming physical embryo. In other words, you owe your existence to your soul. You are part of it, and it is a part of you and while you are in a physical form, you cannot lose it even if you are the proverbial absent minded professor. To make this perfectly clear and I know some will not like this; Hitler did not lose his soul. Souls do not get misplaced, diminished or destroyed for committing despicable acts.
As many of you know by now, I usually refrain from using the term soul as there is too much religious baggage associated with that reference, inferring a kind of spiritual wispiness that better describes a puff of ethereal fog. I am pleased that the dictionary uses the term “Entity” and I find that much less confining and misleading. The entity (soul) is a highly evolved, non-physical, energy essence personality, an electromagnetic field of unlimited probabilities and potentialities that encompasses many of the attributes that you ascribe to yourself, but in a far more advanced state of being. The soul is eternal and limitless. It naturally flows through other such fields (identities), forms alliances with and pools psychological resources with and becomes part of other such identities. In this way a psychological gestalt is formed which infringes in no way on each other. We have talked in terms of psychological gestalts in reference to the God Reality, but these kinds of gestalts begin with the entity/soul and work their way up the chain of command, so to speak.
Now, this is the important; the entity/soul is not human by any stretch of the imagination, but understands and manifests itself into the human realm of experience. The soul that is part of you has in its distant past, stood in the same position that you now hold and subsequently evolved beyond human form and interests. This soul, although its experience is now beyond anything you could now understand, still remembers and holds dear its physical days of dawns and dusks. In other words, it went through the human stages. It is a purposeful, distinct, action oriented identity, no longer ego focused, but with its own intents, goals and desires. It is not human, but it is also not by any means some misty cloud of nothingness.
In other words, the point that I am trying to get across, and not very well I think, is that the soul should be considered an independent identity, rather than just simply an electro magnetic field of purpose oriented energy, but not human in normal human terms. It is the most powerful condensed form of energy in the universe and groups of souls have formed with others of its kind to become the God-like highest evolved entities that none of us can even imagine.
The underlying purpose of all consciousness is to create and evolve into more sophisticated, intellectually and psychologically advanced identities and configurations and here is what you must know; at some point in YOUR distant future, you too will evolve beyond anything you can now imagine and will choose from many possible pathways for development, one of which could be to become an entity/soul that gives birth to other new personalities. If there is one general description that can be given of soul consciousness and all consciousness for that matter, is that it is endless action exploring its potentials through psychic growth and expansion and it knows no limitations. Your soul then is not some disembodied force, but an actual being, assuming form for its own intents and purposes, it is the greater part of your being, and you are headed in that direction.