This is ALL experiential. None of this is imaginary. It might be hard to understand but then we're not supposed to only intellectually understand this. God Himself shows us all this in our spirit. This is what happened to me anyway :) and I hope you will get to know all this strongly in your own life! I was oblivious to this until I experienced it in my own life. Please read my other articles to know more!
But first, some basic definitions:
Body -- through which we act on the physical world.
Soul -- through which we act on the intellectual world (our emotions, intellect, will).
Spirit -- through which we know God personally.
New age/spiritual gurus try to copy what happens or parts of it but they end up keeping their followers hungry for more and more "spiritual truths". Life coaches might try to adapt it to empower their clients and therapists might help others heal themselves. However, it won't work. All humans can do is help the body and soul.
No technique, therapy, knowledge, magic, energy healer, impartation, spirit-download, guru, science, drug etc. helps us move from soul to spirit. Why? Nothing and nobody but God can grant us everlasting life and has power over what keeps us in spiritual bondage.
In the normal state of affairs, our spirit is disconnected from God. Our dead/asleep/fallen spirit is ruled by our body/soul which is, in turn, is enslaved by the fallen spiritual world -- i.e. Satan/Lucifer and the fallen spiritual realm -- a spiritually superior foe.
This foe wants to stop us from personally knowing our creator (which is actually very simple). Satan and his minions do everything to keep us from knowing the supernatural joy, peace and love which comes from God.
There are many ways Satan does this but this article won't cover it. The most relevant thing to know is that we are kept in the SOUL realm or distracted in the false spiritual world. We end up colluding with Satan and agree to our own spiritual deception because to some extent or other, we don't want to face our sins. A hidden spiritual pride also perpetuates incessant Satanic condemnation for our unrepented sins, which keeps us looking for every other solution except the only one that works.
The vast majority of people live in body/soul, even if they are "spiritual". This kind of spirituality is soul-dominated spirituality, rather than actually relating to God, through the Holy Spirit into our spirit. Satan can keep us in intellectual knowledge, following mazes, false spirituality/religious dogma or even soulish "love" and "light".
The body, soul and spirit of humans -- the default state
Watchman Nee describes the state of the fallen spirit in "The Spiritual Man":
Every person in the world still has his spirit. But this spirit is covered up by his sins and cannot fellowship with God.
Although this spirit is dead to God, it still works as actively as the mind and the body. It is indeed dead to God, but it is still active in other areas. Sometimes a fallen one can have a spirit that is stronger than his soul or his body and that can still rule over his whole being.
Most people are soulish or are carnal. But the former kind of people are "spiritual"—their spirits are greater than others’. One can find such cases in those who practice planchette, divination, witchcraft, etc. They communicate with the spiritual realm, not through the Holy Spirit, but rather through the evil spirits. The spirits of sinful men are joined to Satan and the evil spirits. Their spirits are dead to God but alive to Satan and receptive to the operation of the evil spirits within them.
Moving from the soul to the spirit CANNOT happen without Jesus Christ. It cannot happen in any other spirituality, faith, new age system because it HAS to be the LOGOS/the only begotten Son of GOD himself, who died for our sins, who frees our fallen nature by giving us his spirit -- the Holy Spirit. (1)
To repeat -- moving from the soul to the spirit does not work without Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Without him giving us a new spirit and working with our soul, all emotional or spiritual work merely touches our body/soul and NOT our spirit.
Here's what the diagram might look like for Jesus.
Jesus was without sin. His spirit took the lead and body and soul was in complete alignment to God's will. Jesus was both human and God at the same time, being the Son of God. Again, none of it made sense to me until my own spirit was supernaturally quickened by the Creator.
Only Jesus Christ can take on the penalty for our sins (which separates us from our Creator) and only Jesus Christ has the authority to truly deliver us from our inner demons and show us the light. No angel or human can ever do it because they, as created beings, don't have his authority.
So, how does all this apply to us and how can we truly know this??
The start of it is believing in the real Jesus Christ and his salvation, as opposed to a Jesus of our imagination, a new-age/gnostic Christ or an impostor spirit entity. God's salvation is a FREE gift and not based on anything we do or however good we are. Nothing we do would work because we're already spiritually fallen thanks to sin.
We cannot be the source of the spiritual goodness and life our spirit innately seeks because that life only comes from a relationship with God.
When we believe in the real Jesus in our heart, the Holy Spirit lives within us!
As we follow Jesus through faith, God quickens (i.e. experientially brings alive) our spirit and we know Him directly! The God-shaped hole in our soul is filled and now our SOUL knows it! This is totally real as I discovered when I inadvertently received a Baptism of the Holy Spirit -- much to my shock and amazement. I had been a soulish-spiritual person before and helped others in soul-lish ways.
Hebrews 4:12 says:
For the word of God [Jesus Christ] is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.
Out of our free will, we have to CHOOSE to turn away from all sin and not let our body and soul take charge. We put Jesus Christ in the lead and live in faith of what Jesus has done for us as we actively follow him in our day-to-day life. Something happens as we do this but you will have to see this for yourself.
We rely on God wholly -- not ourselves or what we can do -- because nothing apart from God gives us spiritual life -- only a relationship with God does this!
As the Son of God separates our soul from our spirit we can see all this more clearly. We increasinly start living from the Spirit more and more as we continue to "take up our cross".
Holy Spirit sanctification as we turn away from sin and "take up our cross"
Here's the whole thing in one picture. I hope this article helps you to keep your inner "eyes" consistently on our only Lord and Saviour, the biblical Jesus Christ. See what happens :)
(1) God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.