The wisdom-religion teaches that every life-form on every plane of existence is a soul, a spark of the Universal Soul, which must pass from the state of innocence or pure essence, through every form of the phenomenal world, first by natural impulse, later by its own selective efforts made possible by the flowering of intelligence.
It is obvious that physical man is not the real man. We occupy many bodies — through wear and replacement — from infancy to old age, while our inner qualities persist. The organs of sight, touch, and hearing, etc., have their interior counterparts, which form a bridge between the perceiver within and the instrument without that has been evolved to serve our earthly needs. Whole man reflects in his being the constitution of the earth and universe. This is to say that man has everything potentially that the universe has.
In our evolutionary pilgrimage we have made the long descent through every life-form and up through such experiences as we identify now with the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms. As thinking and feeling beings, we are beginners on the upward pathway that leads to godhood. Often we are deluded by the old psychology that our greatest stumbling block is matter, that it is the root of all evil. But when we err it is in our mind. It is there that we make our choices whereby we can attain the greatest good — or the greatest evil. We can live our lives for things that have no lasting value and for ourselves alone, and that is living in the lower mind. Or we can live for others and for goals that will insure morality, justice, harmony, and peace, and that is living in the higher mind — that is, in intellect guided by intuition, or the light of the spirit. The soul's immortality depends on the degree to which we live in harmony with the truths which are eternal.
Man, a thinker, is not inclined to accept his lot as do the creatures below him, who do not yet have his intimations of immortality. At his present state of evolution he is attracted to earth through his desires and attachments to people and things, and his body with its senses allows him to function here; but with his finer feelings and free will man is an ensouled being able to develop the divine attributes which make him godlike.
The range of the soul's interests proves that it was designed for a greater destiny than one life can afford. Whatever role we play in this life or another, it cannot match the experiences of the higher self, that being of which our temporary personality is but a ray and which is at home in its own divine realms. Our real and greater home is the universe.
(From Sunrise magazine, April/May 1984. Copyright © 1984 by Theosophical University Press)