Soul and Dreams

Soul and Dreams

(dreams)

The idea of an inner soul distinct from the outer body is both ancient and widespread. Many different religious traditions embrace the notion that the inner self exists independently of the outer self, even surviving the death of the physical body. Among English-speakers, this inner self is usually referred to as the soul. Although sometimes conceptualized as part of a spiritual whole, the soul is usually conceived of as immaterial and separate from the body. Throughout human history the idea of the soul has appeared in many different forms.

It has been hypothesized that dreams are one of the sources of the idea of a soul distinct from the body. During dreams, one has the experience of traveling to other realms, interacting with people, and doing various things—even as the physical body remains in bed. Although the dream realm is shadowy and surreal, it nevertheless feels like a real place, apart from the world of everyday experience. Thus, it is not unreasonable to speculate that during dreams the conscious self somehow separates from the body and travels to an alternate world.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.