Quite accidently I recently found this definition of a soul. It may be the single best definition of the term I’ve found in a long time. It comes from the novel “The Lyre of Orpheus” by Robertson Davies:
“Souls were a reality to Darcourt, however. Souls, not as gassy aspiration and unreal nobility, but as the force that divides the living human creature from the raw material for the mortician’s craft. Souls as a totality of consciousness, what man knows of himself and also that hidden vast part of himself which knows and impels him, used and abused by everybody, called upon or rejected, but inescapable.”
Souls are what make us distinctly human. They drive us forward toward the divine, like salmon that must locate their birthplace, the land of their origin despite the obstacles and traps along the way. And at once to find it, to die there in complete contentment, knowing all at once that we have found our soul’s longing desire, and in such, our very purpose for living.