Every being is composed of spirit and matter. The matter portion of the being by itself reduces the being to an object. Objects by themselves have matter – for example tables, chairs, wood etc. When the spirit enters the object – then the object is elevated to the state of a living being. A tree in its matter form is nothing but wood. But a wood with spirit becomes a tree.
The same reasoning extends to animals as well. Animals have the body and the mind. In some animals a very minimally developed intellect also exists. But these by themselves don’t make the animal what it is. It is the life giving spirit that enlivens the animal. The lion kills because the spirit enables the lion to do so. The deer attempts to escape because the spirit enlivens it to do so. Extending this idea to the most developed creatures on earth the Human Beings; the same logic applies.
Every human being is endowed with the body, mind and intellect. Even in the case of such an object (human being) with superior instruments such as the body, mind and intellect – it is the same spirit that enlivens it. Without the spirit being in the object – the human being is nothing more than the dead wood of a tree.
But the difference between spirit and matter can be conceived of and understood by only the human being., because of the presence of the instrument called the intellect. A very widely quoted example to understand the above concept is that of electricity and electrical appliances. The light bulb does not glow without being powered by electricity. The air-conditioner cannot cool without being powered by electricity. The fans cannot rotate without this electricity. In the analogy all objects can be referred to as matter; and the single electricity as the spirit.
Understanding this concept even at the most basic level can enhance one’s maturity immensely. If we start appreciating the fact that it is the same life of the same quality of the same proportion that is enlivening every other human being on earth it will become easy to live the adage ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”.
This concept can also be extended with little more thought to social units like family, society, institutions, organizations etc, and it would be worth the thought and action!