I believe that there is a “spiritual” dimension to life that transcends the physical, psychological and emotional realities. I believe that God exists, and that man is essentially a spirit being in a physical body, and having a soul.
The spiritual dimension connects with each one of us through our personal spirit within, which can be discerned as a quiet “self” that exists deep inside each of us, regardless of any outer circumstances. I believe that our spirit is eternal, and depending on the definition given to "soul", given the definition that I have, part of that is eternal as well. Together they define the eternal part of our total personality.
Some authors I have read refer to what I see as being our spirit as “the watcher”, which was how I first recognised it within myself many years ago. It was the part of me that could remain detached and objective, even when I was behaving in some erratic manner. The funny thing was that I discovered that this enabled me to recognise that I was behaving the way I was, and reason with myself to make some necessary changes.
Some years ago when I was very stressed, (and distressed) I felt as though I was living life through a tunnel – detached from all that I was doing and experiencing. I believe that at that time, my real self – the eternal part of my personality – had retreated and somewhat detached from the temporal part of me that was so distressed. I believe in hindsight that this detachment allowed me to get through this time relatively unscarred. It can feel pretty weird, and I realised at that time that if I was not careful to accept that this was my own normal reaction to my circumstances, there was a danger of becoming even further stressed by the experience, making things worse still!
It seems that most people don’t recognise this spirit within because we are so tuned to and distracted by everyday living in our temporal existence – locked into time and our senses, which are so dependent on time and circumstance. We are so busy “doing” that we don’t have time for “being”. Once we can live life as a human “being”, rather than a human “doing”, we become more objective (some would say more "grounded") and we are equipped to start on the path to wholeness. I believe that we can at least for short periods step outside of the physical and experience the reality of eternity – I have experienced it.
The state of preoccupation with life, bogged down in circumstances and unaware of our own spirit is experienced as what the Bible refers to as “separation”. We are separated from our true source, God, as well as fragmented within ourselves. I believe that this separation is the source of much physical and emotional disease. This is the state that many would refer to as “sin”.
There is a way out of this fragmented state. It starts with a decision – an act of our God-given will. We have to want to change. Change is not that easy. Sometimes it takes a crisis in our life to make us reconsider our position, and to decide what is really important to us.
If we genuinely want change – to change ourselves and through that, our circumstances – then we will experience real life-giving change. I believe that God will respond to a heart that is open and is ready for change. Jesus encouraged his followers with the words, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." This is found in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 7, verse 7. It may start with a radical shift in consciousness, such as happened for the apostle, Paul, on the road to Damascus, (see the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 9.) but the real work of change can be expected to take a lot of time and patience – in fact a lifetime! I am consciously travelling on that path.
All Scriptural references quoted are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.