The soul seems far out because it is far in

Some people think that the concept of the soul is far out because it seems incomprehensible or even unbelievable.

Yes, the soul is difficult to understand because it is far in. That is, it exists at the innermost core of our being, at a level of existence that we aren’t habituated to comprehend or even consider.

We are usually captivated by external material things, for we believe that possessing them will bring joy and losing them will bring misery. And as our physical body exists in this outer world and is our vehicle for interacting with the world, we naturally identify ourselves with the body. When the pursuit of externals agitates our mind, we try to pacify it by various self-help techniques. If we do experience some relief, we start identifying ourselves with the mind and often equate it with the soul.

But Gita wisdom explains that the mind is also made of matter, albeit of subtle matter – and that the soul exists beyond the mind. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (02.29) acknowledges that the soul is difficult to understand.

Though the soul exists far in, we can take our consciousness inwards and perceive it by the practice of yoga. Among various processes of yoga, bhakti-yoga spiritualizes our consciousness fastest because it connects us with the most attractive being at the spiritual level: Krishna. Connecting with him through devotional remembrance provides sublime, ineffable, transcendental fulfillment – something profoundly different from whatever we have experienced at the physical or mental levels. The more we relish this fulfillment, the more the reality of the spiritual realm becomes evident.

By steady yoga practice we realize our true identity as the eternal-cognizant-blissful soul, radically different from the temporary-insentient-miserable material body. Then we understand that what is far out is not our identifying ourselves as the soul, but our having misidentified ourselves with the body for so long.

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