Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Animal Soul
Bringing Together the Animal and Angelic Impulses
What emerged for the participants in this seminar—and, we hope, for the readers of this book—is the recognition that the bringing together of our animalistic impulses with the angelic sacredness of our spiritual nature in our human experience can contribute to the journey toward wholeness. We can live fully as physical beings on Earth, inseparable from knowing ourselves as the exalted transcendent truth of spirit. The integration of these levels of existence will allow us to experience the dynamic living presence of our spiritual nature pouring into the world, taking on form and living through that form as who we are in our uniqueness—all the while never stopping being the totality of all.
The Power of Divine Eros, pg. 2
Civilizing the Soul by Disowning Her Animal Dimension
The animal soul is originally run by drives and instinctual appetites, but it is not particularly destructive or grossly and intentionally selfish, but similar to animals in the wild. However, because it is disowned, it loses contact with the other elements of the soul, and becomes distorted and extreme in the intensity of its aggression, worse than actual animals. Society has learned to civilize the soul not by transforming her animal dimension or harmonizing it with her overall psychic economy, but by disowning, controlling, repressing, and splitting it off; this recognition is among Freud's most enduring contributions to our knowledge. Our animal qualities are seen as bad, and the superego functions to control the impulses of the libidinal soul, so that they do not penetrate to consciousness or get acted out. This separates the animal dimension of the soul from true learning and civilization, and also from being impacted by spiritual aspects of the soul. Thus in the course of inner work, when we first get in touch with the libidinal soul we find it in this split off and hence distorted and exaggerated animalistic form. We feel then justified to continue our rejection and revulsion; but when we observe them with nonjudgmental awareness, it may transform to its original animal form, with its grace and power.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 203
Drives of the Animal Soul
The animal or libidinal soul is driven by two primary instincts or drives: the aggressive and libidinal. The aggressive drive includes the soul’s power and energy directed toward survival and all of its correlates: dominance, rivalry, territoriality, etc. The libidinal drive includes sexual and erotic energy and impulses, animalistic wanting and desire, and the desires for togetherness, connection, and so on. These two drives appear in the animal soul within the context of two primitive object relations, again split off from each other. The first contains the aggressive drive and we refer to it as the "rejection object relation," and the second contains the libidinal drive and we refer to it as the "libidinal and/or frustrating object relation."
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 204
Experiencing Some of the Forms of the Animal Soul
During the spiritual journey one may experience some of these forms of the animal soul, depending on the degree of structure one is dealing with. When we are dealing and working with more structured parts of our soul we tend to experience animal forms high on the phylogenetic ladder. This happens, for instance, when we are investigating feelings and states of irrational and extreme aggression and destructiveness. By seeing through the distortions that have twisted our soul, the dissociation and splitting of our aggression, power, and strength, and coming to a place of acceptance, resolution, and understanding of these elements of our potential, the forms we experience may move from that of a heartless and primitive animal form that embodies hatred and vengeance, like a hissing black snake, into the more evolved, graceful, and beautiful form of a black panther, at peace with its vitality and power. We experience then our essential power and vitality, but in the animal form of a panther that is in harmony with its nature but also in a contented and peaceful state.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 147
How Appetites and Desires Transform into Greed and Craving
The animal soul constitutes the potential of our soul that is the prototype of animality, in all of its primitiveness and irrationality. Because of this our appetites and desires can easily transform into greed and craving, and our aggression and power can instantly turn into rage, hatred, vengeance, and heartless destructiveness.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 143
On Being the Animal Potential of the Soul
When we experience the animal potential of the soul, what we call the animal soul, we are then full of desires, cravings, uncontrollable impulses, lust, and passion for what the world offers. We want with passion, crave with hunger, and desire with instinctual abandon. We desire instant gratification, but our appetite for such gratification has no bottom and no end. We want and want and want. We want to eat, copulate, possess, dominate, even nourish and nurse ad nauseam. Even when we believe we are being human because we want contact and sharing, our attitude about such fine qualities is animalistic, and worse. We are greedy for contact, and our need for sharing is bottomless. And whoever stands in our way had better beware. The animal drives for shelter, survival, pleasure, and sex reveal their true primitive potential when we experience a barrier to their satisfaction. Our animal side can instantly become inhumanly brutal, grossly aggressive, crassly greedy, heartlessly selfish, and totally uncaring for others to the degree of complete disregard of what they feel. We can go about gratifying our desires with complete disregard of others, sometimes not even remembering that there are other living beings. When our survival or objects of desire are threatened, we can lose all heart and rationality, and become so primitive, cruel and insensitive that it would be difficult to find such behavior in the animal kingdom.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 142
Seeking Instinctual Gratification
Because the soul is structured in a way that dissociates her from her essential nature, in the normal course of ego development the soul becomes predominantly an animal soul with a civilized veneer. She inherits from the animal soul its external orientation which is reinforced by the early dependency of the human infant. The soul is powerfully driven by the animal instincts, dominated by the need for gratification. Gratification is the pleasurable satisfaction of her desires, whether they are for safety and security, company and intimacy, sexual and physical pleasure, or for anything else she craves. Structured thus, the soul grows up adhering to two deep delusions: that the purpose of life is the gratification of her desires; and that the objects of gratification exist outside her in the physical world. She becomes enmeshed in a life of seeking instinctual gratification, ruled by the pleasure principle, which is seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 236
The Animal Soul is Not Another Soul
We need to note the important truth that the animal soul is not another soul, not a separate soul. It is one of the dimensions of the soul. We have, or more accurately are, one unified indivisible soul. We have many dimensions of potentialities. At any time, and at any stage of development, we can experience any of these potentials, even though different forms of experience dominate at different stages.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 150
The Divine Animal, the Lusty Angel
The type of love we are talking about doesn’t differentiate between appreciation and desire, between love and eros, between the divine and the animal. That is why, when the soul has developed in a way that unifies the animal and the angel, we call it the divine animal. Another expression for it is “the lusty angel.” What is a lusty angel? It is a soul that is full of desire but it is still angelic, which means that it is pure, total light. It is the luminous force of the mystery of unity that all souls are looking for, and they are seeking it because it is driving them together with its magnetism. We might believe that we are searching, but in fact we are simply being attracted. The more that we feel we are not in control, the more fortunate we are.
The Power of Divine Eros, pg. 193
Uniting the Animal and the Angel
Many teachings enable us to realize the unity of Being. And there are many ways to reach or recognize the nondual condition, the primordially natural condition of our Being and our consciousness. Our approach here is that of uniting the animal and the angel, our animal nature and our angelic or divine nature. Human beings possess the potential to integrate these two parts of ourselves even though we begin as animals. That is, we begin life as babies with the animal drive dominant, and our animal nature continues to be a very important part of us. No matter how much we want to disown our animal aspect, it is not possible, because we are animal in our physicality.