Soul, the movie— A thorough analysis of Music, Spirituality, Purpose and Life Mission
When I heard the recommendation “If you liked Inside Out and Coco, you’ll love the new Pixar movie”, mentioning two of my three favorite animations (the other Monsters Inc., of course, lol) I was sure Soul would be one of those films that only Pixar knows how to make, with mastery, perfection, and originality.
According to Wikipedia and the official website movies.disney.com/soul, Soul is a fantasy movie in the comedy-drama genre, produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Written and directed by Pete Docter, Mike Jones, and Kemp Powers, the film stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Phylicia Rashad, Donnell Rawlings, Questlove, and Angela Bassett.
Soul began to be developed in 2016, based on the authors’ reflections on the origins of human personality and the concept of determinism. In order to address such a peculiar topic, the directors counted on the help of consultants, experts in human behavior, spiritualists, and musicians.
Soul officially debuted at the London Film Festival on October 11, 2020. Due to the restrictions of the pandemic, it was the first feature film to be released through online broadcast on the Disney + platform on December 25, 2020.
I share below some interviews and a virtual round table, with authors, directors, and cast. Each telling details and insights from this cosmic journey through New York City.
The purpose of this article is to analyze scenes from the movie Soul, compare and contrast them with my knowledge, considerations, lessons, and learnings. I would like to emphasize that, as it is a thorough analysis, I will use examples of lines, images, and videos, which will automatically make important revelations about the film.
At 2 minutes from the beginning of the film, I found myself thinking, analyzing, taking notes, of what I could bring here for you. I study and work with Spirituality from a very young age. I am an Educator and Holistic Therapist and I felt that it would be the right time to write a special text, guiding and demystifying some points. Everything, exactly EVERYTHING in the film was developed according to spiritualist teachings and beliefs, making it a classic of the genre that is rarely discussed in children’s movies. Let’s dive into each scene, every detail, and debate about them. A real trip to the Disney-Pixar spiritual world … Let’s go?
The soul is a term equivalent to Hebrew néfesh, Sanskrit Ātman, and Greek Psykhé. It means “to be”, “life” or “creature”. Etymologically, it derives from the Latin term animu or anima, which means “what animates”. The soul is not the same as the spirit. For Aristotle, the human soul is rationality, intelligence, the thought that lives within the spirit. The natural state of the spirit would be a freedom from the matter, which means, disincarnated.
In the book Living on Earth — A Practical Guide, Matias de Stefano explains that we are a “Spirit-Soul-Physical Body-Personality-Karma” combo. We are part of the Mission of the planet Earth to help it in its Evolution and Ascension. We are an important tool to make this happen. Clearly, the film shows eager little souls preparing to embody Project Earth.
The Spirit — is the essence, the divine creation, rays of pure light that move in the immensity. They contain all knowledge from the beginning of time. The spirit has a specific function: to make everything that has become dense in the Universe return to its pure light, integrating all the experience and wisdom of the cosmos.
The Soul — The soul is the closest dense vehicle that the spirit has. It is composed of different energies, not pure light anymore. These energies are the famous chakras (Root, Sacral, Plexus, Cardiac, Thymus, Laryngeal, Third Eye, Coronary), energetic points that allow the spirit to connect with the matter. The soul is the bridge between pure light and matter, and it is the one that accumulates all history that serves as an experience for the spirit. We can say that the soul is the living agenda of the spirit.
The Physical Body — The soul must adapt to all forms of nature, to allow the spirit to learn from experiences, and through its actions in life also to look for the best way to get the matter back to pure light.
Personalities — Personalities are what allow us to grow. They are the best way for us to be able to focus on what we need to achieve. For each, a level of learning. We must understand this way when we see the differences between people, we need to understand that we are not from different worlds, or that some are bad and others are good, patient or stubborn, but that each one is learning something different, at a different stage. Many people must learn how to deal with the physical world because they used to be very spiritual. Differences between personalities must not separate us or create difficulties in living together, they must help us understand others and ourselves.
“The Karmic Package” — Karma is everything we bring as luggage; it is our history, everything we accumulate during our experience in our existences. Karma is not only negative as many believe, it is also a positive way to make us learn. Karma sometimes arrives due to the genetic, soul, etheric, historical, social, childhood background, or trauma in different lives. Karma is not something we carry; it is simply our “notepad”.
New York is the city that never sleeps, it is the symbol of the American dream. If you’ve ever wondered why so many films are set in NYC, it’s probably because of the atmosphere there. Every type of movie fits the city, from a love story to a superhero saga. New York is a cosmopolitan city, it gathers all kinds of people, you can find what you need, whenever you want. Religion and spirituality events take place daily in all parts of the city. A New York Times article reveals that, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the search for spirituality and purpose in New York companies has grown dramatically, including, these companies started to adopt services of spiritual consultants to help their quarantined employees to better cope with the pressures of work and home. So, the perfect setting for our story …
Who is Joe Gardner?
The story introduces us to a music teacher named Joe Gardner, Pixar’s first African-American protagonist. The main character of the film was chosen as a musician because the authors wanted a “profession that the public could support”. Docter and Jones worked on character development for about two years. Once they decided that the character was a jazz musician, they chose to make him African American, as they felt it made more sense because of how closely African Americans are connected to the history of jazz. To accurately portray Afro culture, they created an internal cultural fund made up of black Pixar employees and hired several consultants for close collaboration, including musicians Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington, Quincy Jones and Jon Batiste, educator Johnnetta Cole and stars Questlove and Daveed Diggs.
The Power Of The Music
“I think the music itself is healing,” American musician Billy Joel once said. “It is an explosive expression of humanity. It is something that we are all touched on. No matter our culture, everyone loves music.”
Sound is one of the purest forms of energy that exists. It inspires us, elevates us, helps us to communicate, express ourselves, and even heal on a deep level.
Have you ever stopped to think that everything around you is composed of energy which vibrates at different frequencies? Thanks to science, we know that the denser an object is, the lower its vibration and the lighter something is, the greater its vibration. Vibration also corresponds to emotions. When we identify with emotions like anger, hatred, jealousy, guilt, we decrease our vibration. On the other hand, we ‘float’ experiencing high vibration states, such as love, peace, gratitude, creativity, and self-realization.
The Solfeggio Frequencies are a series of 6 electromagnetic musical tones that the Gregorian Monks used when singing in meditation. Rediscovered in 1974 by Dr. Joseph Puleo, Solfeggio Frequencies penetrate deeply into the conscious and subconscious mind, stimulating inner healing. Physicist, inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla once said: “If you knew the magnificence of 3, 6 and 9, you would have a key to the universe”. Interestingly, these three numbers form the fundamental vibration of the six Solfeggio frequencies.
396 Hz — turning sadness into joy and guilt into forgiveness
417 Hz — clears negativity and removes subconscious blocks
528 Hz — stimulates love, restores balance, repairs DNA
639 Hz — strengthens relationships, family and community unity
741 Hz — physically cleanses the body of all types of toxins
852 Hz — awakens intuition and helps you return to spiritual balance
Music has power. It affects individually and society. Wisdom from thousands of years from China and India. From a combination of Blues and Ragtime, Jazz was born. Buddy Bolden, born in New Orleans in 1886, is recognized as having been the first and probably the only one to play that song that would later be called Jazz. A few years later, the composer, poet, and esoteric Cyrill Scott wrote: jazz has an element that produces contentment, feelings of flirtation, and satisfaction. Jazz fans are addicted to the parahypnotic effect of this “good feeling” of their beat.
Listening to jazz has potential health benefits, as varied as the genre itself. Innovative riffs, cool tones, and complex rhythms can bring a natural relief to the body and mind. Listening to jazz can really affect brain waves, help with concentration, and increase heart rate. Provides motivation and reduces fatigue. A study in the area of Music Therapy has shown that listening to music can reduce chronic pain. After listening to jazz for an hour, every day for a week, patients experienced a 21% reduction in pain. Non-listeners saw a 2% increase. In addition, an increase in immunity has also been proven! Tests showed higher levels of immunoglobulin, responsible for preventing viruses, bacteria, and infections.
There is a stunning scene that perfectly captures the feeling of being “lost in the zone” — a feeling that artists, musicians, and writers can relate to more deeply — where everything else just disappears when you are stuck in your passion. I am blessed to have musician friends, and that is exactly how I see them on stage when they are handed over to their Essence, to their Major Gift.
Is speaking of spirituality speaking of God?
I read that question in one of the film’s critical comments. “How could a children’s film talk about God?” Asked the person in his comment. Many confuse grandiosity with complexity. We humans are God in essence, created in his image and likeness. We have all divinity within us to help us grow, develop and evolve. The film does not speak of God directly, but of His creation, in a free, light, loving way, without determinisms or convictions, only from the point of view of the author’s personal belief — which for some may be fantasy, for others the reality.
Life Mission and Soul Purpose
The film begins with the scene of the teacher giving music lessons to a class that is out of tune, inattentive and disinterested. All of this automatically discourages him, making him think that he is teaching only until he succeeds in fulfilling his big dream, which is to become a professional musician.
A recent survey reveals that most people change their lives at least two or three times!
I have thoroughly analyzed the aspects of the teacher’s will to change, and I must highlight some important factors:
Reality test — where are you? when there is a feeling of inner emptiness or meaninglessness, you begin to question what direction to take. Testing reality means perceiving and recognizing. Everything in life is clarified with patience, compassion and understanding. So it is important that you prepare the ground for your new life, the more neat this preparation is, the more beautiful the fruits will be. Use as much time as you need. If the first step is correct, you are already in the right direction!
It’s never too late — No matter where you are now, it’s never too late to find a new direction and follow it. Sometimes, unfortunately, we go through painful experiences until we reach our true mission.
But was this what happened to Gardner? No!
The teacher vibrates when he sees a student vibrating! The rest of the students who don’t understand the surrender mood, laugh. However, in a beautiful scene, they listen carefully to the teacher play and tell his story about how he discovered his passion for music. He said he was dragged by his father to a jazz concert. And that day, he was surprised to see the musician vibrating on stage. In this storytelling tool we felt when he understood what his life mission and soul purpose would be.
The class is interrupted by the principal informing the teacher that he has just been hired! And from now on, he will teach full time, receive benefits such as 13th salary, health insurance, retirement. Everything he did NOT want.
Sharing the news to his mother, she says:
“After all these years, MY dream is fulfilled. My son got a job ”
“You will not pass up this opportunity”
Bert Hellinger, one of the biggest names in the Family Constellation, explains that parents bring profound influences to their children. Here, I leave a warning that words, attitudes and actions can become limiting beliefs which, later on, may affect our children’s choices.
What is the difference between Mission and Purpose?
The Mission is what we do.
The Purpose is the reason why we do it.
Your life mission is the reason why you exist.
To achieve → lasting happiness, find out what you were born for and follow your true mission. Each human being, each soul comes to this world charged with a unique and positive mission. Mission is an internal desire to pursue an activity or provide a service. It’s a Calling. It is what you intend to do or achieve. That’s what we want. It is what we want to be.
Your soul’s purpose is why you are here on Earth. What you are looking for, and it is probably connected to your soul’s purpose. It is an aspect of your life that drives you forward. When you know the purpose of your soul, you are content with your life. When the theme of your life is right for you, you feel a sense of flow, as if you are going in the right direction. Everything feels right. In the book Flow (2008), Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says that when you reach your soul’s purpose, you feel a sense of satisfaction and harmony.
Some people discover their soul’s purpose early in life, as a response to a childhood experience, while others discover it later when they will make choices for their studies or job market.
In the book The Art of Healing (2013), Bernie Siegel, says that he believes that the purpose of our soul is to achieve the true balance we need to use our bodies and light to become soulful in our actions. He suggests that we think of ourselves as candles, with flames reaching for the heavens in the hope that they will connect with the Divine.
If you find yourself at a crossroads in your life, it may be time to ask yourself some questions that inspire transformation. Here are some of them, they will give you clues to your soul’s purpose:
:: What am I good at?
:: What part of my day is happy?
:: What brought me joy as a child?
:: What in my life no longer serves me — emotionally, physically and spiritually?
:: Is there a synchronistic event that could be a clue to my soul’s purpose?
:: Did I have an accident that served as a warning for me?
:: Who are my idols?
:: What do I usually teach others?
:: What are my dreams and wishes?
:: How can I help others to transform?
:: If I had just one more year to live, what would I do?
Finding your soul’s purpose can be seen as an investigative journey or a treasure hunt. If you are a spiritual seeker, then you are already on this path. It is important to be self-aware and alert to all possibilities. It’s about asking questions that take you back to where you should be. Some people know early on what their soul’s purpose is, but for others, it takes time and experimentation.
How to discover your Life Mission and Soul Purpose — IKIGAI
Ikigai (生 き 甲 斐) is a Japanese concept that means “reason for being”. The technique helps to obtain a direction, meaningful purpose, constituting the meaning of life.
The concept of this idea comes from a larger philosophy used within the traditional Japanese healthcare system, called Wuxing, which was introduced in Japan in the early 6th century and adopted by the local folk religion and culture
The call that changes our lives
Joe Gardner, in conflict whether or not to accept the school’s proposal, receives a call, an invitation to audition to be able to play in the band of a renowned singer. He did the test. Passed on. Show scheduled for that same day. And ironically, fate. Or fate of his life, he suffers an accident.
At that moment, the film makes us think: Is that it? At 10 minutes we have our main character dead? Yes, and from then on, a great trip to the spiritual world bringing us insights, reflections and learnings about Spirituality.
In one side, the Light, Joe needs to cross it to continue his life after death. On the other, Joe denying his death. “How can I die on the day that I will make my big dream come true?”
What do religions say about death? Each one explains in their own way, according to their beliefs. Heloísa Pires, daughter of Herculano Pires (1914–1979), a strong promoter of the spiritist doctrine in Brazil and translator of Allan Kardec, says: “The main surprise of the individual when faced with the experience of death is that he is still alive. Death does not exist. Believing in spiritual immortality implies changing living standards completely… ”
However, the film will not report what is after crossing this Light, as the continuity of that soul will be. The scene portrays as he doesn’t want to die, he wants to live to experience his dream. Ego or desire of the heart? Certainly, the heart’s desire. He did not want to become a professional musician for money, for success or fame, but for the love of music, the feeling of fullness, of a goal achieved, of a dream come true.
The Pre-Life, its colors and meanings
And in an intense sequence, he falls and ends up in a dimension called Pre-Life.
The color palette of the Pre-Life, a place we visit before we are born, was perfectly aligned with what is believed to be a spiritual plan. Pastel colors, evokes frankness, relaxation, neutrality, softness.
Color is a silent language. The plan is conceived in a subtle state and level of reality, where green, blue and lilac predominate. Green symbolizes development, evolution and birth; blue represents peace, harmony and tranquility, and lilac spirituality and transformation.
The concept of this spiritual plan can be found in several esoteric and religious teachings, each with its details and definitions, but very similar — Vedanta, Ayyavazhi, shamanism, hermetism, neoplatonism, gnosticism, Kashmir shaivism, Sant Mat / Surat Shabd Yoga, Sufism, Druzeism, Kabbalah, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Rosicrucianism, Esoteric Christianity, Eckankar, Teachings of the Ascended Masters.
Education and Mentoring
Ghandi once said: “True education consists in uncovering the best of a person”
In Joe’s attempt to escape the Pre-Life, due to some mistakes, he is tasked to do mentoring. To mentor soul number 22, considered the most difficult soul to be trained. She has already gone through several famous mentors but were unsuccessful in sending her prepared to Earth. Abraham Lincol, Gandhi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Nicolaus Copernicus, Marie Antoinette, Jung, George Orwell.
According to Numerology, the number 22 is considered one of the most powerful numbers, capable of turning all dreams and wishes into reality. In its full capacity, that number is the master builder, which means that it provides the power to accomplish almost impossible things. People influenced by this number are very ambitious, confident, disciplined and pragmatic. They are also very intuitive and emotional, very reliable, honest and responsible. They need to learn to control the thoughts that govern their subconscious minds. These people make careful choices about their lives. Any resemblance to our darling character?
The School of Life is divided into pavilions, where souls go through tasks that help to form the personality, before incarnating on Earth. Confirming then, the teaching that we saw above taken from the book of Matias de Stefano.
The soul comes to Earth with some pre-established points, but will use earthly tools to grow, evolve, and return back. We are part of a positive energetic current, with strength and intensity, capable of contributing to the Elevation and Ascension of the planet, contributing to its vibrational elevation, reducing chaos and imbalance.
Consequently, that soul will also be contributing to its self-development. And to leave here better and more evolved than it entered. We exchange teachings, energy and blessings with all the people, places and situations we encounter. Daily we are co-creating our future. Everything we harvest is the result of what we have planted in the past.
We have a mission to accomplish in this lifetime, and we need to know how to align with it. The only purpose is not to work, to survive, to make money. It has to evolve! And help others in their evolution as well.
The art of deciphering people made me pay attention to the peculiarity of the character Terry. Emotional identity is the driving force that explains why you do what you do. Some of her actions in the film made me reflect: even though I’m working for spirituality or in a religious place, can we be dominated by ego-personality? She is not a villain, she is not doing evil. On the contrary, she wants things right. But she wants things just her way. And she still demands to receive awards for that! The ego is an integral part of our psyche. It is an excellent ally for our self-knowledge. However, in its negative state, it leads us to self-centered and narcissistic actions. It is important to evaluate ourselves and learn how to maintain the balance of the ego, not letting us be affected by its negative characteristics.
Accepting the invitation of 22 to literally “get out of the box”, they find a being with all the Age of Aquarius vibe, Moonwind. 2020 was the date chosen for the release of the film. Does it have any purpose? Yes! Astrologically, we started the “Age of Aquarius” on December 21, 2020, when Jupiter and Saturn met for the first time in the millennium generation, at 0° Aquarius. One thing we do know, however, is that it takes about 200–300 years for the gradual transition from one Age to another. And now, we are making the transition from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. We can already witness the Aquarian influences. Technological advances, science and the internet. The ultimate goal of the Age of Aquarius is individual freedom and liberation. Launching a film worldwide with all this content after this transition, is it coincidence? I do not think so!
The companions Moonwind, the so-called Mystics Without Borders, are people who are incarnated, but through meditation, make an astral projection, and manage to help lost souls, healing their energy, and guiding them back to the True Path.
They are Lightworkers, beings who feel an enormous attraction for helping others. Also called crystal, indigo, angels of the Earth and star seeds. These spiritual beings volunteer to act as a beacon for the Earth and pledge to serve humanity. For the sake of sensitivity, they tend to choose professions in which their empathic nature can be used to help, such as nursing, therapy, rehabilitation, healing, care, veterinary services, research and teaching.
Lightworkers are intuitive and guided by their inner guidance. They often skillfully perceive the emotions and needs of other living beings, which allows them to control and direct their healing powers to those who need help. They also believe in coordinated efforts to dispel or chase away negative consciousness using their positive energies and healing powers. They are driven by a deep desire to serve and are blessed with intuitive powers and inner guidance that enables them to feel shifts in energy and emotions in others around them.
And in an attempt to reincarnate on Earth, with the help of Moonwind, Joe and 22 incarnate in different bodies. She, in Joe’s body who was on standby in a hospital. And he, in the body of a therapist cat who was working on his recovery.
Changing bodies! Wonderful metaphor for explaining compassion and empathy, helping to see life through the eyes of others.
Joe needed to see his life from a different perspective to know what people thought of him, what he really liked and what he missed most. The limitations of being in an animal’s body made him visualize life and see things he didn’t yet see.
The idea of the therapy cat and its entry into Joe’s body came from Jones. Docter and Powers appreciated the idea, as it offered filmmakers a much-needed way for Joe to “be able to look at his own life from a different perspective and enjoy it.” It could be a therapy dog but the cat’s symbolism denotes independence, wisdom, wit and balance. In addition, this mystical animal represents the merging of the spiritualwith the physical plans.
This was one of the scenes that caught my attention and has a very special learning. Moonwind was waiting for the right moment, the alignment of the planets and stars to be able to exchange the bodies, the cat, Joe and 22. There he is, sitting on the sidewalk, in the middle of busy NYC, lighting his candles and with all the materials needed to perform the ritual. You may feel well, more connected with God, with your Spirituality within a Church,Temple, etc. these are sacred places and the connection is much bigger and stronger. However, when there is a need for something to be done, just remember that you are your Temple, your connection with the divine, say your prayer, your requests, or rituals, wherever you are, whatever you have, whenever you need.
22 needed to experience the human form in order to find her Path. Each human being is unique, that learns in a unique way. We have a methodology but it needed experiential learning to find her purpose. There are lessons through words. There are life lessons, breaking the surface and arousing her desire to live on Earth, since she was so used to that life and was afraid to come to Earth, and unknown place where she could not be happy. And all of this with Joe’s help. A good mentor leads his/her pupil to a solution or to the next step. He used his gift and talent to help her build trust and model positive behavior. After so many famous mentors, Joe proves to us that an ordinary person can be the great mentor of our Life.
And there she goes our cute little soul 22, a soul prepared with personality, mission, purpose, everything to fulfill Life in Project Earth.
There are theories that say that we already know the character embodied in a famous Pixar film. Any guesses?
The authors chose to leave this gap, because the important thing would be that we understand its passage through the stages of the School of Life and the Will to come to Earth to grow, evolve and fulfill its Mission. Certainly, later on, we will know who 22 is …
Joe’s Second Chance
By an agreement between the spiritual beings, Joe has a second chance to return to Earth and continue his mission. Many critics did not accept this decision. Others tell stories of near-death experience, which are classified as a second chances.
The question of whether life continues after death has been at the forefront of much research. In 2017, the University of Virginia Medical Center held a lecture dedicated to 50 years of research on the topic. According to professor and psychiatrist Bruce Greyson, many patients on the verge of death experience the slowing down of time, watch their lives go by before their eyes and have a sudden feeling of clarity. “Changes in feeling include a sense of peace and well-being, feelings of joy, a sense of cosmic unity, an encounter with what appears to be a loving and warm being of light. Apparently paranormal features include extraordinary sensory vividness. People report seeing colors they have never seen on Earth, hearing sounds they have never heard before, having what seems to be a frank extrasensory perception of things that happen elsewhere, visions of the future and a feeling of leaving the physical body.
The debut of the movie was a great success, but it was also a little questioned: Would it really be a movie to watch with the children on Christmas morning? In a pandemic year? Or would it be a movie for everyone to watch together on a Sunday afternoon, open debate, questions, talk about spirituality, choices, death, life after death? Each family chooses what is right, what time is right, what ensures that their children are in a safe, caring and stimulating environment, with opportunities to learn and grow every day.
Errors or successes on the topic?
Some say that there are distorted or mistaken views of some points. For me, it is a matter of individual differences in perception. According to Positive Psychology, people perceive things differently. We choose to select different aspects of a message to focus our attention based on what interests us, what is familiar to us or what we consider important.
In fact, according to Murray, the filmmakers were undecided about the end of the movie. There was a final version where they really made Joe move to the Great Beyond. Another version, made him return to Earth after an year in coma. Another he remains, on merit, in the School of Life, as a mentor. Docter considered “what would be powerful to give to the public” and, finally, chose the ending as you know.
Spiritual or not, Soul is a film that undoubtedly makes us reflect on what we are doing daily with our life, if we are living aligned with our purpose and if we are feeling a sense of accomplishment, happiness and fulfillment. I always say that when obtaining any information, we must filter and take to us what is part of our moment. Without criticism, without judgments. How many times have we watched a movie more than once and we have the feeling of not paying attention to that scene. Perhaps it was not so important at that time, but watching it again, years later, complemented what we need to see or hear.
So many other topics covered taught us things that we might never learn if it weren’t for the cartoons. We have traveled to so many countries, planets with Disney and Pixar, and learned from Mulan, Moana, Kung Fu Panda, Lilo, Coco etc. For some, it may be fantasy, for others, true beliefs. Respecting differences, religions, culture and being open to learning is essential for a harmonious life in society. If it is really like that described in the film (or if it is not) it is up to us to study, research, create our own internal library.
The film received highly positive reviews with praise for its animation, story, voice acting and music and its way of expressing intangible concepts and ideas in a story that is pleasing to children. That’s Pixar!
And you, what do you think? What have you learned? Leave your message, your comment, I will be very happy to know your opinion about the film and your learnings.
Lots of Light on your Path, so that you can experience your Life Mission with Consciousness, Love and Inner Peace. Namaste
For avid fans who believe in The Pixar Theory, (the one that all films have a connection with), where does the film “Soul” fit?