“Like most of us, Emerson had been taught to think of the soul as an immortal spirit placed inside each of us by God, which can be either saved or damned. But as his faith evolved during these tumultuous years, culminating in his pilgrimage abroad, Emerson came to a very different understanding. Through meditation and experience, Emerson came to see his soul as a part of the universal consciousness. The “oversoul,” he believed, is the very ground of existence, out of which all things—energy, matter, life—come into being. We cannot define the soul, he insisted, only evoke it with metaphor and poetry. Emerson likened the soul to the sun—too bright to be gazed upon directly, yet by it, we see all things. He also pictured it as a vast ocean, with our individual souls being waves upon it, emerging for a time and then returning to the whole. Individuality, in Emerson’s view, is secondary to unity. Each of us is inseparable from all people, all plants and animals, the Earth, our solar system, and the entire cosmos. And we each carry the universe inside ourselves, just as each wave carries the ocean.” ~Sam Torode
The initial belief of Emerson that the soul was immortal spirit was correct. But we need to be aware that just because the soul is spirit, doesn’t’ mean the spirit is the soul. The spirit and soul are two different things, though both of them are spirit. Where he, like many others, was wrong is in the idea that the soul could be either saved or damned. A human can be saved or damned, but not the soul. A person who develops their spiritual self while still alive in the physical world can integrate with the spirit and soul. Then that person is truly saved. But for those who fail to do that, the soul will separate from them at death and return to the higher realms of spirit without them. So the immortal soul is saved, although the person may not be.
Yes, the soul is a part of universal consciousness. Yet it also retains its individual existence. It is much like each of us in physical form is a part of the human race, yet still individuals.
What Emerson and Torode are calling “the Oversoul” seems to be just another name for God. I’m not sure why so many people are afraid to say God but must use other words like Oversoul, the All, or Universal Consciousness. Perhaps it is because of the idea of God as an old man sitting on a cloud and looking down on us. That image was an artist’s concept and never intended to be taken literally.
So the Oversoul is the source of all things spiritual; the soul, energy, life, etc. It is not the source of matter, not directly anyway. Matter is the creation of the false god, the Demiurge. That is why the realm of matter is defective, full of illness, horrors, and death. The true creations of God have no such faults.
Defining the Soul
I think Emerson was correct in the sense that nothing spiritual can be accurately described with words intended to describe the physical. That is one of the reasons why all prophets and spiritual masters have taught that we must each experience such things ourselves. We cannot rely on the descriptions of the experiences of others. And if words cannot adequately describe the individual soul, they certainly can’t describe the Oversoul, except in a very general way.
If we are all part of the Oversoul, we are all joined as one. Even though we are individuals, we remain joined like the bricks in a wall to all other souls. But even more, we are linked to all living beings via what is known as the thread of life. We in Cosolargy wear a symbolic thread with crystals or gems attached to it to remind us of that fact.
One thing to remember however is that although we are part of the Oversoul, it isn’t correct to say we are the Oversoul, or we are God. When we do that, we are just being arrogant and egotistical. Humility is the mark of the truly spiritual, even when they have become very close to the Oversoul.