What is the Soul?

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 1 month ago

Dr Demartini answers a frequently asked question, “What is the soul?” and reveals the soul’s link to your authentic self and unconditional love.


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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 1 month ago

For millennia, humanity has pondered the nature of the soul, asking whether it is an essence or something that truly exists. Aristotle's treatise, "De Anima," delves into this inquiry, exploring the essence of our existence by studying the soul's intricacies and drawing ideas from the wisdom and speculations of pre-Socratic philosophers.

In our daily lives, for more practical purposes, let's conceptualize the soul as a State Of Unconditional Love - what I'll call SOUL. It represents our authentic, or true identity, when we are in a momentary state of non-judging, unconditional love.

While debates persist about the essence or existence of an immortal soul versus a mere physical body and brain, for our practical purposes today, I will describe the soul as the state of unconditional love.

Like the majority of people, you may find yourself frequently immersed in a world of judgment on a daily basis.

As the pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles suggested, your existence oscillates between love and strife. When in love, elements integrate, fostering unity; when in strife, elements disintegrate, leading to duality. This metaphor holds true today; in moments of love you are in essence integrated, in moments of self or other judgment, you experience internal or external strife and disintegration.

Consider this scenario: you're strolling down the street, and you encounter someone you perceive as more intelligent, achieving, wealthy, relationally stable, socially influential, physically fit, or spiritually aware than you. Your initial response might involve elevating them and, by contrast, diminishing your own self-image or self-worth. This tendency to exaggerate others while minimizing oneself is a common pitfall.

This distorting judgment of others and yourself reflects an inauthentic self and most often leads to inner strife. When you're too humble to admit that you equally own the traits, actions, or inactions you admire in others within yourself, you create a disowned, dismembered, or deflected part. This internal void fractures and fragments your sense of self, resulting in disintegration and a self-expression that is minimized or deviated from your authentic self.

On the flip side, if you encounter someone you judge as less intelligent, achieving, wealthy, relationally stable, socially influential, fit, or spiritually aware than yourself, and you indulge in the act of minimizing them while puffing yourself up, you're entering another opposite state of inauthenticity. In this case, being too proud to acknowledge that you share these same traits also creates a disowned part, leading to a similar sense of void and emptiness.

Whether you're in a state of minimization or exaggeration, you experience disowned parts that leaves you feeling fractured and inauthentic. True wisdom lies in realizing that anytime you judge someone as above or below you, you lose touch with your authentic self, through self-minimization or self-exaggeration due to subjective bias from the law of contrast.

When you exaggerate others and minimize yourself you inject their values into your life and futilely attempt to live more according to their set of values.

When you minimize others and exaggerate yourself you project your values onto their life and futilely attempt to have them live more according to your set of values.

In these scenarios, Aristotle's concept of the golden mean, the true virtue between excess and deficiency, becomes relevant.

Therefore, the challenge you face in being authentically true to yourself, or reclaiming your SOUL, is to transcend the state of self and other judgment. Whether that judgment originates from infatuations or resentments to others, or from inferiority or superiority complexes within ourselves. Embracing the equanimity of the golden mean allows you to be yourself without the need to exaggerate or minimize self or others. Authenticity, then according to Aristotle, would be the true virtue, and it tempers or governs the excesses or deficiencies of judgment.

So, the next time you find yourself experiencing either extreme of judgment, it would be wise to consider the golden mean and strive for authenticity - it's the path to embracing your true self, or your soul.


By moderating the extremes of superiority or inferiority complexes, you are positioned to reach a greater state of authenticity and unconditional love - the essence of your soul.

In moments of judgment, you're not being your authentic self, as I said, leading to a fracture within. In ancient Greek philosophy, this state of disharmony was termed HETEROGENEITY. However, restoring balance brings about HOMOGENEITY, a state where the law of similars and differences finds equilibrium.

Pure reflective awareness, where the seer, the seeing, and the seen are the same, authenticity, and unconditional love, are powerful keys driving homogeneity.

When you refrain from attempting to change others to align with your set of values or vice versa, a profound shift occurs. The futile pursuit of imposing your values on others or trying to live by someone else's set of values initiates strife and dissipation.

In a state of equanimity and pure reflective awareness, the desire to change either yourself or others dissolves. Instead, you have nothing to change within yourself or others. All is in order. There is nothing to fix. Your will and intention now aligns with what is, as it is, or what theologians once called ‘divine will’ or ‘divine perfection.’

And when your human will matches what theologians called ‘divine will’, you experience grace, inspiration, enthusiasm, revelation, and heightened, pure reflective awareness, which is the soul - a state of unconditional love.

Achieving equanimity within yourself and equity between yourself and others, is the same as attaining balanced Golden mean and authenticity, which is the key to understanding your soul's essence.

Symptoms in various aspects of life - physiological, psychological, sociological, theological, and in business – all act as valuable feedback mechanisms, helping you identify when you stray from authenticity. By maintaining fairness in your exchanges and cultivating a soulful, authentic state, you are more likely to empower all seven areas of your life and maximize lasting endurance in those areas.

Living congruently with your highest values helps you foster objectivity, balance, and completeness. Objectivity here implies a state of neutrality and wholeness, where you embrace and own all aspects of yourself, leaving no parts disowned. This completeness, termed Pleroma by the Gnostics, contrasts with the emptiness and lack associated with judgment and disowning, referred to as Kenoma.

Attaining fulfillment and authenticity or a sense of fullness reflects being one with your soul. At the level of the essence of your soul, nothing is missing. At the level of the existence of your senses, something appears to be missing. That which appears to be missing is whatever you are too proud or too humble to admit that you have that you perceive in others.  

When you live congruently with your set of highest values, your temporal and spatial horizons tend to expand. Your goals are also more likely to keep expanding until they transcend your individual lifetime, and you naturally become a leader, inspiring others to join your authentic mission.

Authenticity is magnetic and charismatic, drawing people who are eager to contribute to the pursuit of a shared vision.

Living authentically, in harmony with your soul's state of unconditional love, unlocks your maximum potential in life.

Are you likely to dwell in a state of unconditional love every moment of every day?

The answer is no. The notion of someone perpetually residing in such a state is more fantasy than reality, despite the allure of marketing that sometimes suggests otherwise.

Your journey involves constant growth, learning, transcending each new judgment one at a time, integration, and progression to the next judgment, with moments of unconditional love.

While you may experience moments of unconditional love and authenticity, an intriguing aspect of your psyche is that whenever you exaggerate yourself, the licensing effect simultaneously leads to self-minimization. This interplay happens even if you're conscious of only one aspect and unconscious of the other. There's an inherent balance, an ongoing equanimity that sustains your immortal soul, even when you might not consciously perceive it.


The impact you leave by being authentic is more enduring, contributing to what could be termed an "immortality quotient."

As such, ideas, businesses, wealth, loved ones, societal influence, physical impact, and your spiritual quest are more likely to extend beyond your lifetime when you’re truly authentic.

Living authentically, therefore, provides the most lasting effect. As such, the path to your soul's immortality requires audacity and courage - the audacity to be yourself.

Courage, rooted in the Latin word "cor" for heart, involves owning everything perceived externally, fostering reflective awareness, and cultivating true intimacy and love, or soulfulness.

The courage to be authentic far surpasses any symbolic acts of bravery, like firewalking or bungee jumping. Its power lies in being true to yourself, owning every trait, and maintaining reflective awareness.

This courage is what can lead you to full consciousness, mindfulness, satori, moksha, liberation, or whatever term resonates with you - a state of being known as the soul, the embodiment of unconditional love.

Giving yourself permission to live authentically, thereby accessing your soul's power, is a powerful and transformative journey.

In my signature 2-day Breakthrough Experience program, where I also teach the Demartini Method, I guide individuals to dissolve judgments, rediscover their power, and live authentically. I teach individuals the science of awakening their soul, experiencing unconditional love, and embracing their authentic self.

Witnessing the transformation in attendees as they recognize the hidden order in the apparent chaos is truly inspiring.

In this state of grace, they realize there's nothing to change in others relative to them, and nothing to change in themselves relative to others. This leads them to experience true gratitude - the key to unlocking the gateway to the heart and access to their soul.

When you experience unconditional love in your heart, you attain an authentic state. You also find inspiration, and your body transforms with enthusiasm or the influx of the divine within, embracing certainty over uncertainty.

In this state, you are also more likely to momentarily break free from the cycle of living in the past or future, where you are navigating the uncertainties and fluctuations of emotion. What emerges is a holistic integration of all the parts within yourself.

As stated previously, at the level of the essence of the soul nothing's missing. At the level of the existence of the senses things appear to be missing.

The only things that might appear missing are the aspects you're either too proud or too humble to admit that you perceive in others but fail to recognize within yourself.

According to Arthur Schopenhauer, your journey toward your true self involves embracing everything as a part of yourself. The boundary of human existence becomes elusive, echoing Stephen Wolfram's idea that entropy in physics signifies the limits of your own computation and awareness.

Full awareness, recognizing every aspect, from the micro to the macro, leads to fulfillment as you realize that you are all-encompassing.

In other words, every time you observe another individual and recognize that what you see in them mirrors you, and you extend love to them and yourself, understanding there's nothing to alter, you're embodying the essence of your soul - the namaste of the Indian mystics, where the divine in you honors the divine in others.


And that's probably your atma, where you have the greatest atmospheric awareness—the overview effect. You realize it's neither positive nor negative, neither good nor evil. It's beyond judgment, beyond the pairs of opposites. In that state, you have your soul.

I invite you to attend my next online Breakthrough Experience program, so I can teach you the science to awaken your soul and have love for your life, yourself, and others. It’s also why I am inspired to share the Demartini Method with you - to help you have a science to reproduce that soulful state no matter what's going on in life, there's nothing your mortal body can experience that your immortal soul can't love.

To Sum Up:

  • In a nutshell, pondering the soul's nature has been a timeless quest. From Aristotle to the daily struggles you face, the key lies in seeing your soul as the spirit of unconditional love - or SOUL. It's the actual you, representing your state of authenticity amid the ongoing debate about an immortal versus a mortal physical existence.
  • Judgment puts you in a tug of war within yourself and between yourself and other, just as Empedocles envisioned. Whether inflating others and belittling yourself, or deflating others and aggrandizing yourself, this judgmental dance can lead to inner chaos.
  • Aristotle’s ‘golden mean’ offers a path to the soul where you embrace authenticity. Integrate the superiority or inferiority extremes, and you'll find yourself in the center of authenticity and unconditional love - your soul's essence.
  • This journey isn't about perpetual love, but navigating growth, judgment, and self-discovery. The key is finding balance, where authenticity reigns supreme. The impact you leave in this authentic state is more likely to extend beyond your lifetime - call it your "immortality quotient."
  •   It is wise to be audacious and courageous, owning every part of yourself. It's not about daredevil acts but about being true, leading to full consciousness, mindfulness, and the soul - the embodiment of unconditional love.
  • I encourage you to give yourself permission to live authentically, embracing your soul's power. This transformative journey towards true gratitude and heart-centered living is something I teach in my Breakthrough Experience program. Experience the shift, observe the hidden order, and live authentically. When your heart feels unconditional love, you embrace certainty, integrate all parts, and find your soul within.

In a world where things may seem missing, acknowledging every aspect in yourself and others, and experiencing love, is the essence of your soul.


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