This is a question that comes up often, and for very good reason, since almost everyone has a pet that they love, even if it is just a goldfish in a bowl sitting on the mantle. Of course, it is easier to love a cute little furry kitten than a goldfish, but bear in mind in this discussion the consciousness of a goldfish is no less value than the consciousness of a dog or cat, or of a human for that matter. They all emanate from the same source, so there is no way that one could be more or less than the other. All consciousness has a common origin and it's all-good.
There is however a vast difference between the individuation of the consciousness of plants, fish, animals and men, at least from the perspective of the human species. There is also a vast difference between the differentiation within the animal kingdom and as a rough rule of thumb, you may assume that when it comes to the quality of consciousness, none is better than any other, they just view their ("I"ness) in a different way in relation to the rest of the physical world.
To really answer the question of whether or not animals have souls, you would first have to agree on what a soul really is and therein lies the problem. Unfortunately, religion has so distorted the understanding of the nature of the soul, I almost have to start from scratch, and even then, I have to, in a sense, try and surmount the teachings that many of you hold dear. But it needs to be done if you are to understand my explanation.
Let me start by saying that the soul is not something that you have or possess. It is not something that you can hold in your hand and it is not something you can lose. No soul has ever been lost. Period!
To understand animal awareness, human awareness, soul awareness and entity awareness, you must at least during the reading of this article, jettison your assumption that you exist as a separate something from everything else. All consciousness is connected, but this connection became more and more transparent as humans developed the attribute of the ego over the centuries. The human ego wants to separate itself from the rest of nature even though; inwardly it knows that is impossible.
Now, you guard your individual identity, as something separate from everything else and even any hint of other aspects of your own identity seem to in some way minimize or jeopardize the existence of your own, so you tend to ignore those other portions of your own identity.
There are other aspects of your total identity that exist in other reality systems that you are presently unaware of except for occasional contact in the dream state. The only real thing that keeps your knowledge of these other portions of your identity unknown is your belief structure and the characteristics of earthly tuned consciousness as it has evolved. There are other systems where this knowledge is common.
The existence of other portions of your personality does not make you any less and in fact, makes you more, since these other "you" aspects add to the totality of your overall identity in terms of available multidimensional information that would not otherwise be easily accessible to you in your waking reality. You sometimes intermingle with these "other yous" in your dreams.
You do not have a soul. You are soul temporarily in physical clothing or more accurately, you are a portion of your soul, a soul that never fully materializes itself within the physical world. You are then, while you are alive, the earthly appearance of the soul. The soul is a self-aware psychic energy gestalt identity that for many reasons must remain aloof from physical form. I want to emphasize here that in terms of power, ability and multi-dimensional capabilities, the soul is more than equivalent to attributes that you usually only ascribe to the Prime Source, All That Is or God.
You cannot legitimately comprehend the soul and its goals, intentions and purposes in terms of the physical world; in fact to understand the physical world is the intention of the soul, and it accomplishes this through YOU and your life experiences. The soul is NOT A PERSON, but a soul is an identity that experiences what you would consider yours and alien worlds, other than your own.
The soul gobbles experience, and it gobbles on many fronts simultaneously. As the soul learns from your earthly adventures, it also learns from the adventures of other personality aspects of yourself. In terms of life experience, souls are immortal, but so are you. The soul thrives on the experience of its individual "selves" and your lifetime is "only a day" to your soul.
You belong to your soul, but the soul does not concentrate on your physical escapades, yet It senses everything you do, but never tries to control its personalities. You then, reside within the subtle psychic embrace of your soul and that connection is also eternal, though the relationship may change.
There is an inner connection between your inner self, your soul and your entity, which is as far as we will go up the ladder of evolved consciousness for this discussion. Beyond the entity lie dimensions of existence that are not translatable since we enter a psychological area approaching the ultimate, and I am not prepared to go there in this article. Let it be known, that the psychological entities of which I speak here, possess abilities and characteristics far beyond any that have been attributed to your mythical gods suggested by your religions.
You are part of your whole self, soul or entity. As many of you know, I prefer the term entity, because of the strength of misleading religious connotation connected with the term "Soul". If we must establish some hierarchy of evolution of the personality, then it would be; plant, animal, human, inner self, soul, over-soul, entity, intelligence psychological gestalt, God.
Obviously, this is again a great oversimplification, but nevertheless it does convey the idea of evolving consciousness and in-between these designations, there are countless variations and deviations, which are not necessary in this discussion
There are then, powerful entities beyond souls, (and I am not fond of the term powerful, but I don't know what other words would convey these massive psychological entities that activate vast amounts of energy that provide the background for earthlike realities to spring into existence.
These Souls and Entities are difficult to describe but they are both psychic, mental gestalts. They both are action oriented, purposeful and creative within their own sphere of interest. They are what could be called, very ancient and evolved psychic individualities in their own right.
Their abilities, aspirations and involvement in other dimensions are beyond description. The main differences between the Soul and the Entity are in the level of intellectual and spiritual development, the Entity being more than the Soul.
The soul creates and manages a group of human personalities, or conversely speaking, a group of human personalities makes up a soul. Both are a part of each other and neither violates the others individuality. A group of Souls create and support an Entity and the entity includes a group of souls within its psychic reality. Entities exist within and under the umbrella psychic existence of other more advanced entity gestalts.
All just mentioned exist within the reality of All That Is (God). All of this is of course, a great oversimplification, but I don't see any other way to get started with this material, so it will have to do for starters.
Again, it is important to remember that everything that exists is part of something else. None infringes on any other, yet all benefit from these gestalt arrangements.
The most advanced psychological entities have evolved far beyond the ability to see into the earthlike reality systems, or to materialize themselves into human identities for direct experience in any physical world, but they do savor the kind of earth experience that can be tasted in no other way, through creation and activation of individual personalities such as yourselves, through which they can sense the needs and feelings of entire civilizations, the beauties of earthly sunrises, sunsets and the events of the ages.
Pictured below is an approximation of how all consciousness exists as part of the God Consciousness Gestalt hierarchy. Everything that exists in the lower portions are part of the consciousness of that which exists above. As a generality, everything that exists nearer the bottom of the pyramid would be newer consciousness and at the upper reaches, you approach the ultimate. The rule is that as you grow, learn, expand your consciousness and move higher in the pyramid, you become more aware of these connections. As an example, Souls are quite aware of the existence of their Entity affiliations.
To be continued in a few days.
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