I do not like to prescribed to the notion of beliefs because beliefs lock you into a pattern of dogma which is the foundation of our religions. Dogma does not require you to understand through experience, it only requires you to follow the pattern of someone else's experience. There is nothing that inhibits the evolution of our mind like beliefs. What I prescribe to is understanding based on experience. As my experience evolves, so does my understanding.
Meditation has been a useful tool for clarifying my understanding. The greatest clarity comes when the mind is silenced. Our wonderful logical tool (our brain) must be silenced or ignored in order for our true self to be recognized. What I have experienced is that the seat of the soul is within the heart. The essence of who and what we are is pure love. Conscious love. There is nothing else.
Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is within. It is not out there somewhere. One of the great ironies of humanity is that we are the God that we so desperately seek. Each of us have a spark of the divine consciousness within us and the only way to find it is to look within.
Love is the key to understanding who we are. Once we understand who we are, why we are here begins to be revealed.