Chapter 3: The Higher-Self
Seeker: “I’ve been looking for my true self but I can’t find it, can you tell me where it is?”
Master: “That which you are seeking is the part of you looking for it.”
The Basic Question: Who Am I?
Spiritual masters over the ages have stated that the most important question we can ask is, “Who Am I?” I agree this is the most important question because our unseen aspect of self is revealed by using our ability to reflect about ourselves. Most people do not use their mind to query themselves, rather they mainly use it to query objects in the outer world.
This is understandable, as when we were first born, that is how we learned about the world, through our capability to self-reflect with mirror neurons in the brain. Since we were born, we identified with the reflection that comes back to us from the outside. We learned to get our identification from the reaction of the other in the outside world to what we did. From that, we inherently assume that we are the formed and visible part of ourselves, as this is what we can see. However, this visible aspect of ourselves, that we see is a reflection in the mind, it is not physical. It seems physical due to how the mirror neurons work, and how we process external images internally with our mind. In short, we are identified with our reflection.
Because of this identification, we get our satisfaction from things we can obtain from the outside world for our reflection, which includes properties and validation for our self-image. It is a normal human activity to attain many properties for the self-image. While we are identified with the physical world, we always have a goal to get something believing it will make us feel complete and happy when we get it. However, we are never happy with what we attain, and set the next goal to get the next thing we desire. The quest for material assets for our self-image will go on until the material assets no long make us happy.
Near the same time the material acquisition game is worn out, we will feel a large hole inside, a dullness of living is prevalent, and signs something is seriously wrong may manifest. There can be disease, mental illness, addiction to substances, divorce, loss of job, thoughts of suicide, intense desire to find our soul mate and many things like this.
At first the difficulties that plague us, are blamed on the world and we feel like a victim. The world, the cancer, the drugs, or people cause our problems. We can put up a valiant fight against the outside, to try to prove our problem has an external cause. Eventually, we will lose this fight because the cause is not external. The cause of our problems is due to focusing our attention in our ability to reflect and thereby animate the personality. When we focus our energy in the mind to animate the personality, we lose energy, which could be used to attain higher levels of self-realization and to heal. The longer we play this game and avoid taking responsibly for our problem, the sicker and more depleted we become. When we stop blaming others for our problems, then we are ready to take responsibility for and ask, "What part am I playing in this?" We are empty inside and we have no idea how to fill this void. Now we are open to try something different. When there is enough pain and difficulty in life, it is exactly the moment we ask, “Who Am I” or “What is God”. When we ask these questions, it is an important turning point in our life. We no longer solely use our mind to validate our self-image through the outside world; we now use our ability of mind to query the source.
At the point we turn our focus away from the world of created objects and turn it toward our source, we gain self-knowledge. Self-knowledge can easily be misunderstood. Self-knowledge is not about textbook learning, and memorization of rote terms, and regurgitating information that has been read off pages. Self-knowledge is learning firsthand about how we physically work and when we gain that knowledge, we can sort the fake from the real and locate the higher-self that is hidden within. The true nature of higher-self is rarely revealed right away; it takes time for our ‘light’ to be revealed. This is because there are many layers of materialistic forms laid on top of the higher-self that hide our core. To reveal the higher-self, we must unpeel the layers covering it up. These layers exist as conditioned patterns of behaving, and are difficult to uncover because they feel part of ourselves so that we cannot easily see them.
At this point, we no longer desire material things, we declare a new goal to become spiritual and connect with The Creator. We are interested in healing and becoming a better person. The spiritual path has begun and we will read books, join groups, go to therapy, and do daily spiritual practice and healing regimes. At this point, we still desire to attain properties for our self-image; we have merely substituted a materialistic goal with a spiritual goal. We are doing this because we have not changed enough to act different, we still favor processing of information through our mind’s eye. Going after a spiritual goal is a materialistic pursuit. However, there is no other place to start from except this point, as this is our current capability.
Now that our focus is turned inward for self-discovery, we will observe and learn about ourselves, gaining self-knowledge from those observations. By meditating regularly, we get skillful at observing our thoughts and response to events and learn more. Once we are skilled at querying the reaction people have to our expression, then we can determine the cause of our reaction. A good question is, “Why did that person respond that way to me”? It can be insightful to ask friends and family to tell us about our good and bad characteristics. Continuing with questions like this and observing our reactions to life events, we get insights about how our personality operates. We notice that we respond in autopilot ways, we see how we rarely reflect before responding, we see the world differently. With each new insight, we have directly received self-knowledge that we never would have understood from reading in a book.
Each insight changes our perspective and we review all information we hold true. It is normal that we drop limiting beliefs we had about the world, societies, governments, religions and many other things. Dropping beliefs itself, can open an entirely new worldview. After a large insight, our spirit soars. After we experience our spirit soaring, we feel lighter and joyous and have a reason to go on living and it motivates us to continue self-realization.
After this event, some people will believe they are enlightened. Then they will attach to that accomplishment as a materialistic gain, which stalls their enlightenment process. It does not matter if this happens; eventually the growing weight of the personality will become unbearable and will motivate us to return to our source. If we understand this, we can take a shortcut and not quit before the transformation has finished. It is very easy to fool ourselves into believing we are enlightened while we are still identified with our self-image. Do not be fooled, by the great pretender!
To gain self-knowledge we are going to have to ask some difficult questions where we will not want to hear the answer. It is not easy to get to the truth about our personality and to give up old habits. It is difficult when we see how we have been hurting others and causing pain with our unconscious responses. It is difficult to see how we have been hurting ourselves. It hurts to heal on all levels, mental, emotional and physical. It hurts to discover that everything we thought we were turns out to be a big empty lie. It takes strong desire to get to the truth of the matter, but persistence pays off in the end. Once we start asking questions such as these, the answer will always come. We can trust in that, that we are supported in this effort, because the most important thing for us to attain in our life is enlightenment.
Transforming The Personality & Free Will
One of the most important tools we have is our ability to decide and move ourselves in the world, with our attention set on the focus of the decision. In this way, we manifest what we focus on. Activated personality happens due to our habit of focusing in thinking and responding to life events from the story, we are weaving there. When we are as the personality, then our motivation is purely materialistic and everything we do has the motive to build our self-image. When we focus in reactive mind, all our conscious capability and energy is used to keep the pretending game going.
Once we realize there is another aspect of our being, then we have the choice to divert energy from the old habit of animating the personality and set our focus to another point. This point is away from use of mind to simple gazing, which is the meditative state. The more we do that, the more we grow spiritually. We manifest what we focus on. There is a counter-part to this truth, and that is what we do not focus on will decrease. Each time we divert energy from animating the personality, personality will diminish in influence and higher-self will increase in influence. This happens slowly over time, but if we keep at it, we will continue to change. In our growing process of diminishing personality and increasing higher-self, insights will continue to be received and each will give us more self-knowledge and move us to the next level.
Surrendering To Higher-Self
Surrender as used in this context means to practice diverting our energy from the old habit of activation of our personality, which primarily is driven by the phenomena of mind-chatter. Surrender practice is normally done using meditation techniques to quiet the mind-voice, by setting our focus on an object of attention that does not require use of our mind. Meditation at first feels strange and is hard, because there is nothing to do or think about. We are so used to constantly chattering, that it is difficult to stop it. It is difficult to do nothing except sit for an hour; we want to rise and do something material. To meditate we put our focus on an object that does not need the help of our thinking, such as observing your breathing that happens automatically. This is all the information you need to do meditation. The mind-doer of course wants to make it into something, so even simple meditation instructions will be embellished by the mediator still identified with the personality. Anyway, all mediators and those new on the spiritual path, can know they are not alone. We all start here. With diligence and continued patience, we will achieve seconds of quiet mind, and over time, these spaces will get longer. It only needs a few seconds for a profound change to be made in your mind, every second counts here! Each change to our mind makes us stronger.
I had the question for over a year, “What does it mean to surrender?”, and finally I found out, you do it every night right in the moment when you fall to sleep. When you divert energy from mind-chatter then ‘lower-self’ falls asleep. When your lower-self falls asleep, your higher-self arises and goes to work changing and healing your body.
Higher-self is the same as our internal healer. The body is a reflection of the brain organization. To change something in the body or to heal it, a change must first be done on the energetic level, which happens in the brain. If we are using our brain to think and emote, then higher-self cannot arise, because we are busy using our attention in another way. A change can only be made to the mind when we are not using it! In truth, there is only one real self, it is the higher-self and the other one is fake.
The statements such as “you can observe your thinking”, or “I can multitask”, is not true if you are using your mind. It has recently been shown by scientists that the mind cannot multitask. We only have the ability to set focus on one thing at a time. Many teachings that discuss meditation say, "You observe your thinking." or "You see your thoughts like clouds in the sky”. It is not possible to observe our thinking real time. If we are thinking then we are not aware. It is one state or the other. When we are immersed in thinking, we are essentially blinded. What is true is we can REMEMBER that we were thinking, or realize we were lost in thought, and this happens by reflected thought. The higher our self-realization, the easier we can detect when thinking starts and have more control to stop it. When we recognize we were lost, we shake out of it and reset our focus to gazing on the object of our meditation. In meditation, we do no more than this simple gazing. Any use of mind, takes us out of the meditative state. Meditation techniques, which use visualization techniques or constant mantra repetition the entire session, do not allow the practitioner to reach deeper states of meditation because the mind never settles.
Kundalini transformation and all healing happen when there is a rise in energetic vibration. A rise in energy often creates a better opportunity for higher-self to take over; because it shakes us out of the conditioned energetic loop, we are stuck in with the activity of engaging with our reflection. The rise in energy shakes us out of our mesmerized state of daydreaming. Surrender practice, inherently has the side effect to raise our energetic vibration, so is another good reason to do it.
What Is The Higher-Self
This is a question where the answer cannot be understood by the mind and by a person identified with their mind. The answer to this question is hinted at all over this book and if you are ready to hear this answer, you will receive it. However, the true answer to this question WILL NOT come from the words, as the answer is never found in a formed object. However, it is possible that reading these words can trigger the realization within you. This answer is only received experientially. In the moment recognition comes, higher-self will arise and we will KNOW the answer.
The higher-self is the real self, it is our soul, and it is our non-formed energetic aspect. The higher-self is not visible, has no shape, and is the source of everything that is us. The higher-self does not experience pain or fear and does not think, our higher-self is pure love. Our higher-self is vastly intelligent, can connect with other conscious intelligence, and thus is a vast reservoir of information. Our higher-self, contains memories of everything that has happened for all our lifetimes. Our higher-self is composed of material from the stars, and we come from the stars. Our higher-self is eternal and non-destructible and lives forever. There is no end to this journey.
Prior to enlightenment, we always are and always have been here. There are no long periods in Earth history where we have not been present to experience it. Our higher-self is constant, it is always with us, and it is our essence. Higher-self never dies we only change form from one shape to another. Look back as far as you can in your memory to a time before your birth and you will discover you can remember before your birth! Then you may realize you are here ‘right now’ and searching a vast memory bank. You realize you have no memory of being dead because you are here to review whatever has happened. Recalling a death from a previous lifetime drives this point home.
The higher-self is the driver of energy, the questioner and the receiver of information and the ultimate decision maker. Higher-self has created the lower-self, that I call the structure of personality. Higher-self had the reason to do that, so we can recognize the creator who made that structure. Higher-self is evolving through successive lifetimes on Earth, because through experience of living in the material world we eventually discover that we are not material, but are the energy behind the material. We understand that we are a creator, and it is as if we are in kindergarten, where Earth is our playground, and our most important task is learning to transform and recreate ourselves. After we have learned how to transform ourselves, then we are no longer dependent on physical earthly forms and enter another dimension of existence. We have learned all the lessons of the physical realm, and have no need to come back here again.