Some people compare the conservation of energy to the eternal nature of the soul. That is an interesting idea. But it is not an idea which I need. I do not see our souls as being energy, except as maybe an analogy.
By the way, I should stop for a moment, and tell you of two books which most strongly influenced my thinking on spiritual matters. If you have a time and interest, I hope that you will read them, and we can discuss them.
http://thefreedomofchoice.com/ - This is an e-book, meaning you read it on the computer. You can request it from this site, or ask me to send it as an email attachment. It is a very fast read.
http://www.spiritlink.com/book3.html - I have read most of 'Seth Speaks'. It is a book dictated through a person being a medium. It is about the nature of the soul and reality itself. But it is the existence of Seth himself which is most important. He is a being, who for the time being has not been reincarnated. The main point I am trying to say, is that we are not simply some vibration which is preserved from life to life. Each of us is a complete Being, with consciousness and experiences continuous through eternity. And we do not have to be physically alive. But each plane of existence has its own challenges, so this is why Beings come into human body form in the physical universe. As a final point in this summary, as physical beings we are not limited to being aware of ourselves as physical beings. This is explained in the 'Freedom of Choice' book. We can choose to be living in several planes simultaneously. So when we die, we are simply casting aside one particular mode. Make sense?
Our soul is more complex that you or I can imagine now. But at its very essence, we are each at our core a single, perfect, unique vibration......like a musical note, each of us different from the other*. In the literature (I am talking about thousands of years of books), there are many names for the soul, because at each level of existence, the soul takes on different characteristics of itself.
As far as science is concerned, it is best to think of it as a very useful game. Science is a way to MEASURE nature. That is ALL that it is. And the scientists themselves formulated the rules of the game which they play. It is useful stuff, since science is the basis of so much of what we take for granted today, like health care and technology. One simple scientific fact, like that light can be made coherent, led to the invention of the laser, which is now used in so many places it is amazing. The most common laser is in our CD and DVD players. But it is important to step back and not turn science into a religion. This is what the atheists do. They think that everything can be understood by science. This is so absurd. When I was in school, I wanted to understand the color blue. What is blue? And when I was finally old enough to get the answer, I was told that blue is energy which has so and so vibrational frequency and so and so wave length, and that those two characteristics are really the same, since as the frequency increases, the wave length decreases proportionally. And I was told that blue light is created when certain atoms are energized to certain levels of energy. And my first reaction to this new knowledge was 'COOL'. My second reaction was, that this does not tell me what Blue IS! It simply is restating that blue is blue, only using a different language, the language of science. It was then, that I realized that what we know and FEEL, is much more than science can address.
There is no conflict between science and religion/spirituality, as is mentioned in the popular media. They are like comparing apples and oranges, as the expression goes.
An interesting thing about me, is that I believe the stories told by psychics, and yet I never had the experiences myself. I tend to "collect" computer friends who have had these experiences. And I have a theory (my favorite word), that people who need convincing that there is more to life than the physical, are the ones who need these experiences to wake them up. And since I intuit truth directly (maybe I have a special mind or maybe in a past life I was more psychic), I do not need the experience. However, I have been a source of comfort to people who have had such experiences, and were faced with disbelief or ridicule from others.
I think that 'ghosts' are an aberration. They are people who do not believe that they have died. Very sad.
What is a psychic experience is hard to even describe. I think that it is culturally based. And since we live in a very shallow secular consumer culture, what was taken to be normal by past societies, people now label as being psychic. In fact, we are in such a cynical age, that psychic stuff has been turned into a form of entertainment. So, it is hard to actually distinguish between fakes, legitimate people who try to turn it into making money (John Edwards?), and legitimate psychics. Usually, the most legitimate people will claim that everyone can do what they do.
God is a more complex subject which I could spend forever discussing. What some describe as God, being all matter and energy (and by extension lets say the sum total of all thoughts feelings and experiences), is best thought of, as a single thought of God, not God himself. This may or may not be where paganism has gone wrong. The whole concept of idolatry, is when people substitute the creation by God, for God.
I was born Jewish. But I am not a completely observant Jew. I was raised in a very secular home. But I was sent to Hebrew school (this is like an after regular school thing connected to the synagogue), where I learned to read Hebrew (I do not understand it though) and learned Bible stores and so on. I also went through a period in my life, when I set myself onto the path of being an observant Jew. But I gave that up, since I really did not have that level of commitment.
I take the Jewish traditions seriously, but I do not limit my thoughts to Judaism. I have interests in other religions. For example recently, I have involved myself in Buddhism. But the way I approach Buddhism, is to look for the level of truth in it. At this point, I see Buddhism as being mostly a very slow self help discipline. The essence of Judaism, is that a pact was made between God and a tribe of people, where the tribe would do a complex set of instructions, in order to keep their link with God active. The essence of Buddhism is that each person has the capacity to take control over their minds, and instruct their thoughts to be good thoughts. And through good thoughts comes virtuous actions.
The essence of Christianity, is that through accepting Jesus Christ, one becomes a changed person, and will have eternal life in Heaven. I do not wish to offend, but I see Christianity as being so simplistic as to be worthless. But that said, I was most impressed with my Christian friends in college, as being the nicest people around. I do not remember their specific denomination. But I always had more personal strife with my fellow Jews, than I ever had with the born again Christians. Most people of all religions are that religion in name only, so I do not mean that everyone who comes from a Christian background was nice.
By the way, I love the Bible stories, and I can get alot of meaning out of them. One of my favorites was about the coat of many colors which Joseph, son of Jacob/Israel, had, and what his brothers did to him.