Chapter 12: What is the Soul?
By “consciousness” I mean a movement toward total aliveness. You are never totally alive; sometimes you are more alive - that you know - and sometimes you are less alive. And when you are more alive you feel happy. Happiness is nothing but an interpretation of your greater aliveness. If you love someone, then you become more alive with him, and that greater aliveness gives you the feeling of happiness. Then you go on projecting the reasons for your happiness onto someone else.
When you encounter nature you are more alive, when you are on a mountain you become more alive, and when you are just living with machines you are less alive, because of the whole association. With trees you become more alive because you have once been trees. Deep down we are just walking trees - with roots in the air, not in the earth. And when you face the ocean you feel more alive because the first life was born in the ocean. In fact, in our bodies we still have the same composition of water as the ocean, the same salt quantity as the ocean has.
When you are with a woman, if you are of the opposite sex, you begin to feel more alive than with a man. With a man you feel less alive because nothing is pulling you out. You are enclosed, the opposite energy pulls you out; the flame flickers, you can be more alive. And whenever you begin to feel more alive, you begin to feel happy.
When we use the word soul, we mean total aliveness; total aliveness not with someone else but with yourself; total aliveness with no outward causes. The ocean is not there and you become oceanic; the sky is not there and you become the whole space; the beloved is not there and you are just love, nothing else.
What I mean is that you begin to be alive independently. There is no dependence on anything or anyone: you are liberated. And with this liberation, this inner liberation, your happiness cannot be lost. It is total aliveness, it is total consciousness. It cannot be lost.
With this total aliveness many things happen that cannot really be understood unless they have happened. But tentatively I can give you this definition of the soul as being totally conscious, totally alive, totally blissful, without being bound by anything. If you begin to love, or if you can be happy without a reason, then you are soul, not a body. Why then?
By body I mean the part of your soul that always exists in relation to the outside existence. You begin to feel sad when some cause for sadness is there, or you begin to feel good when some cause for happiness is there, but you never feel yourself without something else being there. That feeling, that state when nothing is there, but you are in your total aliveness, in your total consciousness, is the soul.
But this is a tentative definition. It just indicates; it doesn’t define, it just shows. Much is there, but it is just a finger pointing to the moon. Never mistake the finger for the moon. The finger is not the moon, it is just an indication. Forget the finger and look at the moon. But all definitions are like that.
You ask whether the soul is individual. It is a meaningless question, but it is pertinent because of you. It is like a question that a blind man would ask.