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Gary Zukav: The Seat of the Soul Turns 25

Illustration Credit: Gary Zukav by Brett Affrunti

In 1980, Gary Zukav was awarded a National Book Award in the Science category for accurately explaining quantum physics in The Dancing Wu Li Masters. Then, in 1989, Zukav took on an even more elusive issue, the seat of the soul, in a best-seller that made him a spiritual teacher and led to more than 35 appearances on Oprah. On the 25th anniversary of The Seat of the Soul, Zukav spoke with Paul Sutherland.

View parts of the this interview at spiritualityhealth.com/zukav-video.

Paul Sutherland: In light of your research, and in terms of physics and science, have any discoveries been made that support the existence of the soul?

Gary Zukav: Science is, by definition, five-sensory. That’s synonymous with “empirical.” And you cannot prove the existence of nonphysical reality, or that of divine intelligence, empirically. We are in new evolutionary territory. We have passed a threshold. Our evolutionary requirements are different now. Our perceptual capabilities are changing rapidly and our potential is now different. The very word “soul” now means something that it didn’t mean just a few decades ago. The change that’s happening to millions of us—hundreds of millions—is that we’re expanding beyond the limitations of the five senses, and beyond our past ideas of who we are. Millions of us are beginning to sense ourselves as more than bodies and minds, more than molecules and hormones. And as we become multisensory, we begin to ask ourselves questions like: Do I have a soul? If I have a soul, what is my soul? And, what does my soul want from me?

Soul is that aspect of ourselves that existed before we were born, and will continue to exist after we die. The “you,” the “little you,” is your personality. It has a birthday and a death day. But your soul is immortal. It is who you are. You are not all of it—it is more than you, but it is your core, your essence. And it’s real, it’s powerful, it’s dynamic, it evolves. These things are becoming evident to us experientially—we don’t need to prove them anymore. What we feel is the need to express them. Live them. Explore them. Experiment with them. Tap the vast depth of the compassion and the wisdom that’s coming into our lives and then decide if we want to bring it in consciously or to resist it.

Is what we see going on in the world today—all the war and violence—the birth pangs of integrating the soul, or is it fear fighting with love?

This evolutionary transformation that we’re in is allowing us to distinguish between power as the ability to manipulate and control, as we’ve known it since the origin of our species, and power as we are beginning to understand it as a new species. Power as the ability to manipulate and control is what enabled us to survive and to evolve in the past. It’s what created technology and agriculture. It created shelter and transportation. The big change is that this kind of power has now become counterproductive to our evolution. The new understanding of power is the alignment of the personality with the soul—that part that can’t be quantified, measured, or weighed. The world that wants to be born is built on authentic power.

How does that happen?

One of the tools for creating authentic power is emotional awareness, emotional literacy, which can be developed. When fear, or rage, engulfs you—when you’re homicidal or genocidal or suicidal, or you just want to get even or can’t seem to resist your obsessive thoughts or compulsive activities, you can realize that they are just one part of your personality—a frightened part—and that you have the ability to experience them and challenge them. We live in a world that’s the polar opposite of the integration of the soul—a world of discord and competition and hoarding and exploitation of life. And now, hundreds of millions of people are becoming multisensory in this world and are asking, “What can I do?” And the answer is very surprising: you can feel the emotions and recognize that they are the experience of only one part of you and know that these feelings are not coming from the ground of your being. And you have the option of not acting on them. That’s the moment in which you consciously participate in the evolution of your soul, and that’s the moment in which you change the experiences you’re going to encounter, which means changing your karma. That is creating authentic power.

You were a Green Beret in Vietnam . . . a macho man . . .

Do you know what “macho” really means? It means scared. It means so frightened that you can’t acknowledge that you’re frightened. That’s what makes people dangerous. When I was in the military, I thought that the most powerful thing on Earth was a bullet. There’s no power in that. None. We can see that now that we’re becoming multisensory. A multisensory humanity evolves by growing spiritually, and it grows spiritually by creating authentic power—by aligning the personality with the soul. Authentic power must be created one person at a time, one choice at a time, one decision at a time. And that’s the only way you can really change the world. You have to change it in you. But that doesn’t mean that it all falls on you—you have the support of the Universe. But you must take the initiative. You must choose. And here’s the fascinating thing: We choose almost every moment. The question is, do we choose consciously or unconsciously? If you’re like me, for most of my life, the choices were unconscious.

Autopilot decisions?

Yeah. And they were powerfully creative decisions. The pain in our lives is the distance between our self-image and the reality that we are powerful, creative, compassionate, and loving spirits. The final piece in creating authentic power is to release yours to a higher power. You have to pray. You have to co-create with the Universe, sharing your aspirations and your struggles with the understanding that there is a receptive intelligence listening that is co-creating with you through your choices.