The heart and the soul are both vehicles of our emotions, feelings and desires. The heart is the seat of our ordinary, earthly emotions and the soul is the seat of our divine, spiritual emotions and impulses.
The same sort of distinction must be made between the mind and the spirit: the mind is the seat of our ordinary, everyday thoughts and reasoning which concern only the satisfaction of our personal interests and our most material needs, whereas the spirit, on the contrary, is the seat of purely disinterested thoughts and activity.
The heart and the soul are both related to the one, feminine principle, which manifests itself either on the lower level of the heart or astral plane, or on the higher level of the soul or buddhic plane. Similarly, the mind and the spirit both stem from the masculine principle, which can also manifest itself on the lower, mental level or on the higher, causal level.
The two principles, therefore, masculine and feminine, each use two different vehicles: the heart, the mind, the soul and the spirit. And the two principles dwell together with the four vehicles in one and the same ‘house’: our physical body. I realize that all this is still rather abstract and difficult for some of you, so I shall try to make it a little clearer by illustrating it with a story.
Picture to yourself a house in which there is a master and a mistress with a man-servant and a maid. Every now and then the master of the house has to go away on a business trip and his wife stays to look after things at home, feeling a bit neglected and lonely while she waits for her husband to come home again. And when he does come, loaded with all kinds of presents, everything is joy and light again.
But then it also happens that the master and mistress go off together, and when that happens the maid and the man-servant, finding themselves free and with no one to keep an eye on them, decide to make the most of their freedom and begin to explore all the private storerooms and cupboards. There, they discover food and drink and, on the principle of ‘the more the merrier’, they invite their friends in for a party.
Well, after a few hours of feasting and merrymaking, some of the furniture has been overturned and a few bottles broken – and perhaps a few heads too. A truly horrifying spectacle greets the master and mistress when they get home and, naturally, they reprimand the servants and order them to clean up everything and restore order.
And now let’s interpret this little story. The house is the physical body; the maid is the heart, the man-servant is the mind; the mistress of the house is the soul and the master is the spirit. The spirit often leaves us, and when it is away the soul is lonely and feels abandoned. But when the spirit comes home again it brings with it an abundance of inspiration and light. When the soul and spirit leave home together, then the heart and mind can’t wait to commit every possible kind of folly in the company of other foolish hearts and minds!
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
Izvor Book 222, Man’s Psychic Life, Elements and Structures,
Chapter 3, Several Souls and Several Bodies