The Air Element — Breath, Spirit, and the Life Principle in Religions (And Greek distinction between Spirit and Soul)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pneumatology

Dream vs Reality

Similar concepts in other languages include Greek pneuma and Sanskrit akasha/atman, see also Prana.

Some languages use a word for “spirit” often closely related (if not synonymous) to “mind”. Examples include the German, Geist (related to the English word “ghost”) or the French, ‘l’esprit’. English versions of the Judaeo-Christian Bible most commonly translate the Hebrew word “ruach” (רוח; “wind”) as “the spirit”, whose essence is divine[citation needed] (see Holy Spirit and ruach hakodesh). Alternatively, Hebrew texts commonly use the word nephesh. Kabbalists regard nephesh as one of the five parts of the Jewish soul, where nephesh (animal) refers to the physical being and its animal instincts. Similarly, Scandinavian languages, Slavic languages and the Chinese language (qi) use the words for “breath” to express concepts similar to “the spirit”.

In (popular) theological terms, the individual human “spirit” (singular, lowercase) is a deeply situated aspect of the soul[citation needed] subject to “spiritual” growth and change; the very seat of emotion and desire, and the transmitting organ by which humans can contact God. In a rare theological definition it consists of higher consciousness enclosing the soul.[citation needed] “Spirit” forms a central concept in pneumatology (note that pneumatology studies “pneuma” (Greek for “spirit”) not “psyche” (Greek for “soul” — as studied in psychology).

An incorporeal but ubiquitous, non-quantifiable substance or energy present individually in all living things. Unlike the concept of souls (often regarded as eternal and usually believed to pre-exist the body) a spirit develops and grows as an integral aspect of a living being.[citation needed] This concept of the individual spirit occurs commonly in animism. Note the distinction between this concept of spirit and that of the pre-existing or eternal soul: belief in souls occurs specifically and far less commonly, particularly in traditional societies. One might more properly term this type/aspect of spirit “life” (bios in Greek) or “ether” rather than “spirit” (pneuma in Greek)

In religion and spirituality, the respiration of a human has for obvious reasons become seen as strongly linked with the very occurrence of life. A similar significance has become attached to human blood. Spirit in this sense denotes that which separates a living body from a corpse — and usually implies intelligence, consciousness and sentience.
Various animistic religions, such as Japan’s Shinto and various Native American and African tribal beliefs, focus around invisible beings which represent or connect with plants, animals (sometimes called “Animal Fathers”), or landforms; translators usually employ the English word “spirit” when trying to express the idea of such entities.

Individual spirits envisaged as interconnected with all other spirits and with “The Spirit” (singular and capitalized). This concept relates to theories of a unified spirituality, to universal consciousness and to some concepts of Deity. In this scenario all separate “spirits”, when connected, form a greater unity, the Spirit, which has an identity separate from its elements plus a consciousness and intellect greater than its elements; an ultimate, unified, non-dual awareness or force of life combining or transcending all individual units of consciousness. The experience of such a connection can become a primary basis for spiritual belief. The term spirit occurs in this sense in (to name but a few) Anthroposophy, Aurobindo, A Course In Miracles, Hegel, and Ken Wilber. In this use, the term seems conceptually identical to Plotinus’s “The One” and Friedrich Schelling’s “Absolute”. Similarly, according to the panentheistic/pantheistic view, Spirit equates to essence that can manifest itself as mind/soul through any level in pantheistic hierarchy/holarchy, such as through a mind/soul of a single cell (with very primitive, elemental consciousness), or through a human or animal mind/soul (with consciousness on a level of organic synergy of an individual human/animal), or through a (superior) mind/soul with synergetically extremely complex/sophisticated consciousness of whole galaxies involving all sub-levels, all emanating (since the superior mind/soul operates non-dimensionally, or trans-dimensionally) from the one Spirit.
Christian theology can use the term “Spirit” to describe God, or aspects of God — as in the “Holy Spirit”, referring to a Triune God (Trinity): “The result of God reaching to man by the Father as the source, the Son as the course (‘the Way’), and through the Spirit as the transmission”.

In (popular) theological terms, the individual human “spirit” (singular, lowercase) is a deeply situated aspect of the soul[citation needed] subject to “spiritual” growth and change; the very seat of emotion and desire, and the transmitting organ by which humans can contact God. In a rare theological definition it consists of higher consciousness enclosing the soul.[citation needed] “Spirit” forms a central concept in pneumatology (note that pneumatology studies “pneuma” (Greek for “spirit”) not “psyche” (Greek for “soul” — as studied in psychology).

Hinduism
Yoga
Prana

Taoism
Tai Chi, Qigong
Chi

Judaism

Nephesh

“Nephesh (נפש) is the Hebrew word commonly translated as soul in English. It literally means the “complete life of a being” though it is usually used in the sense of “living being” (breathing creature). The Hebrew word nephesh applies to humans, lower animals, corpses and to God Almighty (Leviticus 26:11; 26:30; Psalm 24:4; Isaiah 42:1). In some Jewish traditions, such as Chabad-Lubavitch, plants also have souls. The concept of an immaterial soul separate from and surviving the body is common today but was not fully founded in ancient Hebrew beliefs.

It will be seen that the word “soul”, in its theological sense, does not cover all the ground, or properly represent the Hebrew word “Nephesh”. The correct Latin word for the theological term “soul” (or Nephesh) is anima; and this is from the Greek anemos = air or breath, because it is this which keeps the whole in life and in being.”
Nephesh – Wiki

Neshima Neshoma
“One of the experimental and clinical findings of scientists and doctors has corroborated the benefits of meditative breathing, because the combination of cadenced contemplation has apparently the power to harmonize imbalances to the psyche and emotions caused by life’s daily stresses. However, the esoteric teaching of the Jewish scriptures (Torah) reveals far deeper connections between the breath and the soul (neshoma). It is no coincidence that the word for breath in Hebrew (Loshen HaKodesh) is the word neshima whose root letters are the same letters (osios) as neshoma which is the Hebrew word for the soul . The Torah thereby has for over three thousand years revealed this secret of the symbiotic relationship between the soul (neshoma) and the (neshima) breath. In lay language one could say that in order to turn up the volume of the metaphysical realm one needs first to turn down the volume of physical sensations.

Many mistakenly assume that these meditative practices originated in the far East, however this revelation actually has its roots going all the way back to the very creation of man. On a deeper level we can add that within every breath, that is bound to a positive thought, we are able to nourish from the spiritual treasury of the Source of all life.”
Jewish Heritage Foundation – Article on Meditation

Ruach Elohim

“The Spirit of YHVH is YHVH Himself…

In the Tanakh, the word ruach generally means wind, breath, mind, spirit. In a living creature (nephesh chayah), the ruach is the breath, whether of animals (Gen 7:15; Psa 104:25, 29) or mankind (Isa 42:5; Ezek 37:5). God is the creator of ruach: “The ruach of God (from God) is in my nostrils” (Job 27:3). In God’s hand is the ruach of all mankind (Job 12:10; Isa 42:5). In mankind, ruach further denotes the principle of life that possesses reason, will, and conscience. The ruach imparts the divine image to man, and constitutes the animating dynamic which results in man’s nephesh as the subject of personal life.

When applied to God, the word Ruach indicates creative activity (Gen 1:2) and active power (Isa 40:13). The Spirit of God also works in providence (Job 33:4; Psa 104:30), in redemption (Ezek 11:19; Ezek 36:26-27), in upholding and guiding his chosen ones (Neh 9:20; Psa 143:10; Hag 2:5), and in the empowering of the Messiah (Isa 11:2; Isa 42:1; Isa 61:1).

In short, as the ruach is to the created nephesh, so the Ruach Elohim is to God Himself, part of God and identified with God. Ruach may be understood as the Author of the animating dynamic of the created order, the underlying Principle of creation, and the One that imparts the nephesh to the entire universe.”
Hebrew Names of God – Hebrew4Christians.com

http://bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/3455/Ruach.htm

Ruh and nafs, ruach and nefesh – Velveteen Rabbi Blog

pneuma?

Ruach Studies – Hebrew-streams.org

Christianity

Islam

 

Listening Wind – Talking Heads  (also add interview about PG’s cover)

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Listening Wind – Peter Gabriel

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Listening Wind – Geoffrey Oryema

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