The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Brain-Soul Mechanics: Sorting Out the Voices


AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

In our post Voices in Your Mind, we explained that many of the thoughts in your mind don’t originate from you. We also explained that the thoughts that do actually come from you are your brain’s attempt to translate portions of what your soul has already said. Because your soul doesn’t use a verbal language to communicate, much of what it says simply can’t be put into words. For this reason, and because your soul is simply too hard to keep up with, your brain only translates a small portion of your soul’s thoughts into verbal words in your mind.

Now for those of you who want to delve deeper into this concept of sorting out soul from brain, there’s a handy little exercise we can run through to help you learn how to identify the voice of your soul. As we say continuously throughout this site, your soul and your earthsuit each have a will of their own, and those wills often conflict with each other. The real you is your soul.  Your brain is part of your earthsuit, which is merely the vehicle your soul is using to get around in while it is in this physical world.  So when you listen to the thoughts in your brain, it’s like you’re hearing someone else repeating portions of things that you have already said. Since that sounds confusing, let’s use an example.

You are sitting with your friend Mary in a café. You say, “I’m in the mood to try a cookie. I think I’ll get a chocolate chip one. Well, no, make that a snickerdoodle. Yes, definitely a snickerdoodle because I had chocolate cake as dessert for lunch earlier today so a change in flavor profile would be nice.”

Mary stares at you while you talk. When you’re done, she says, “So, you’d like a cookie.”

Notice how Mary’s summarization of what you said is leaving a lot out. Notice also that Mary isn’t telling you anything new—you know what you said, you know what you want, and you know that Mary’s condensed version of what you said is leaving a lot out.

This is how it works between your soul and your earthsuit. When your soul listens to your brain forming thoughts, your soul has already expressed the contents of those thoughts and a whole lot more. So when we talk about your thoughts, what we’re really talking about is a bad replay of what your soul has already said.

Now realize that we’re only talking about your thoughts right now, we’re not talking about all the stuff that demons dump in your brain, nor are we talking about your earthsuit communicating its needs to your soul or your brain trying to translate things that God has said to you. We’re just talking about your brain translating things that your own soul has said. In this very specific situation, your soul always talks first, there is a delay of time (however brief), and then your brain repeats or summarizes some portion of your what your soul said.

If you could learn to distinguish between the two separate activities of your soul speaking and your brain summarizing what your soul has said, it would go a long way towards helping you get more in tune with the voice of your own soul. So how do you do this? Well, there are ways.

Normally it seems like these two events happen so close together that it is impossible to tell them apart. But here’s where we can trick your brain by intentionally feeding it soul messages that are too complex for it to easily translate. When your brain receives this kind of feedback, it’s translation process gets sluggish and you hear your thought voice tripping over itself as it struggles to find the right words. By slowing down your brain’s translation process, it becomes easier for you to identify the separate steps of your soul speaking and your brain repeating. You’ll notice that some part of you clearly knows how it feels, but you just can’t put those feelings into words. The part of you that has clarity is your soul. The part of you that can’t find a good verbal translation is your brain. Let’s try an exercise.

Picture the person you love most in the world. Don’t try to form verbal thoughts, just focus on them. As you do, your soul will instantly communicate all kinds of sentiment which you will experience as an emotional stirring. Now try to give a sixty second verbal description of the way that person makes you feel. It’s hard to put that kind of stuff into words, isn’t it? You end up with a lot of incomplete phrases and halting pauses. Now notice what you’re doing: you’re trying to describe a surge of non-verbal feelings. You’re trying to put something into words that isn’t in words. This is your brain trying to translate soul sentiments.

Now let’s do some more practicing. This time, we’re going to present you with a list of statements. After you read each one, your soul will instantly respond to them. Pause for several seconds before moving your eyes to the next item and pay attention to how your soul is reacting. Don’t try to form verbal thoughts, just try to tune in to what your soul is feeling. Here goes:

God smiling at you.


God wanting you.


Standing before God in Heaven.


Seeing Jesus face to face for the first time.


God carefully creating you.


God holding you.


Now go back through this list and try to describe in full sentences how your soul reacted to each one. Notice how it’s much easier to just react to these things on a soul level than it is to try and put your soul’s feelings into words. Notice how your brain often has difficulty locating words that feel like an exact fit for what you are feeling. Do you think that any of your verbal descriptions are succeeding at fully communicating your soul’s response to these different concepts?

When you do an exercise like this, you start to realize how lacking your brain’s communication skills really are. The language of your soul is a very rich, multi-dimensional thing. It’s also extremely fast. What your soul communicates in one nanosecond, your brain takes minutes to try and explain and even then it doesn’t get it right.

By the time your brain even forms the thought, “I should pray to God”, your soul has already begun talking to Him and it has already communicated volumes of sentiment. When you begin your prayer with, “Dear Lord…”, your soul has already finished the prayer and is now waiting for your sluggish brain to catch up. Like your friend Mary who did a very poor job of summarizing your speech about cookies, the prayers you form in your mind to God are extremely poor translations of what your soul has already said to God. Your soul always speaks first, and your soul is always way ahead of your brain. Start paying more attention to your thought formation process and realize that some part of you already knows what it is you want to say before you even say it. That part of you is your soul.

With practice, you can learn to start recognizing when your brain is merely trying to summarize something that your soul has already said. The better you get at doing this, the easier it becomes for you to separate the will of your soul from the will of your flesh. There are plenty of times in life when you’ll find your soul longing to please God and your flesh longing to sin. When you stop seeing your flesh and soul as one entity, you become much harder for demons to deceive about your standing with God. Being able to identify when your soul is truly aligned with God is a critical part of defending against condemnation, shame, and guilt. Being able to tell when your soul is in rebellion helps you know when repentance is necessary and when repentance has occurred. Distinguishing soul from flesh is an important part of developing good discernment skills and it all starts with paying more attention to the mechanics of your thought life. When it comes to expressing the desires of your soul, your brain never speaks first.

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