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Spirit of Work Episode 5: How The Soul Relates to Work

How the Soul Relates to Work

Understanding the relationship of the nature and qualities of the soul for work

Episode Highlights

In this episode, we explore the qualities and nature of the soul from various sacred traditions and how they matter for good work. We delve into the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Indigenous spiritualities to understand how the soul relates to and influences our work. From the power to accommodate to the concept of respect and interconnected relationality, the insights from these sacred traditions provide a unique lens through which we can approach work and workplace dynamics.

Here are three things you will learn from this episode:

What is the Soul?

Encyclopaedia Britannica writes on page 22 of my book, “Soul in religion and philosophy, is the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being that confers individuality and humanity, often considered to be synonymous with the mind and the self. In theology, the soul is further defined as that part of the individual which partakes of divinity and is often considered to survive the death of the body.”

 According to the Baha’i teachings, the soul is not a combination of elements. It is of one indivisible substance, associated with the body but not inside it, and eternal.

How Various Religions Define the Soul

On page 21, you find simple summaries of how different religions have spoken about the soul.

  • The ancient Egyptians talked about the soul as being buried in a stele, meaning the container in which the body had been buried, and that the soul was inside this container, meaning the body.
  • In Christianity, Saint Augustine wrote about the nature of the soul as having 3 parts, the body, or somatics, the soul or the psyche, and the spirit or the pneuma.
  • In Hinduism, there is the concept of Atman, which is the essence of life that exists in all living things and within human beings is an opportunity to achieve transcendence.
  • Islam and Jainism state that the soul exists before its association with the body and must pass through the physical life to overcome bondage and become liberated from the constraints of self and desire. 
  • In both Judaism and Christianity, the soul is alive if it follows the commandments of God and dead if it does not.
  • Many North American Indigenous spiritualities have references to life as emanating from the Great Spirit who imbues all living things with the spirit of life.

Qualities and Powers of the Soul

From page 23 to page 32 in my book, “The Spirit of Work: Timeless Wisdom, Current Realities,” I highlight the qualities and powers of the soul. Interestingly, these qualities are the same across all sacred traditions. The qualities include purity, peace, love, joy, bliss, and knowledge. The powers of the soul include the power to accommodate, be flexible, consider the other person, and act based on both your needs and the other person’s needs, power to back up, and the ability to bring things to closure and move on.

Understanding the soul and its characteristics can inform and improve workplace dynamics, including addressing issues like bullying and toxicity. When work is only a struggle for existence, it feels hopeless. If work is only a search for purpose and meaning, then we may not develop the necessary practical tools required to be able to deal with the struggle of existence. I propose work that is meaningful because it is related to the qualities and characteristics of the soul. It combines the struggle for existence with purpose.

If you are finding these episodes insightful, you can purchase the book “The Spirit of Work: Timeless Wisdom, Current Realities” online on Amazon and Barnes and Noble or directly from my website shiftworkplace.com. Feel free to send me your insights and stories at marie@shiftworkplace.com

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