It may seem strange, but Gurdjieff used to say that not everyone has a soul. He also used to say that to have a soul is an achievement; only rarely does it happen that someone acquires a soul. He was right. The concept that everyone has a soul is misleading. It appears as if the soul is something you already have, but it is not so.
It is a possibility, a potential…it is a flowering.
You can be a soul, but you may also miss. If your whole consciousness becomes an actuality, if the potential becomes an actual center of perfect awareness, then the attachment to the body will be lost. You will appear to be a body to others, but for you there will be no body. This duality must be thrown away. Body means unconscious energy and soul means conscious energy. The energy is the same. Look at it in this way: matter means only one thing, potential soul, and soul means only matter that has come to its flowering. Forget completely the concept of creation and forget any concept of duality. Only then can you go deep into existence as it is.
Philosophies and theologies will not help – they are all mental creations. Whatsoever mind can create will be in the shape of duality. Wherever there is mind, there is bound to be duality because mind cannot conceive of polar opposites as one.
How can mind conceive of body and soul as one? It is impossible. That is why there are two types of monists.
One type is like Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Mao. They are monists: they say that there is no soul, that only matter and body exist. Mind cannot conceive of these two opposites existing side by side. Where will they meet, and how? The mind always inquires how consciousness and matter can meet – what the bridge between the two will be, and who will bridge them.
The question exists for the mind because the mind has already divided them. Then the question arises how they are able to work together along parallel lines. But they are already bridged. For example, if your body feels hurt, the mind is hurt. If there is a thorn in the body, you feel it in your soul. Your mind is depressed and your body becomes depressed; your mind feels blissful and the whole body becomes young and fresh. They do not behave as two, they behave as one. But the mind divides them so there is a problem: how to make them behave as one, how to bridge the gap?
Consciousness and matter are so opposite – what type of interrelationship can exist between them?
A monist will do one of two things. He may deny the soul completely, as materialists such as Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Mao have always done. Then only the body exists, there is no soul – the soul is just a fiction.
Or there is another type of monist, like Shankara, who has said that there is no body, only the soul. Their conclusions are contradictory, but their logic, their argument, their thinking, is the same. Shankara says that matter is just an illusion, a dream – it cannot exist – and Marx says that the soul is just an illusion.