Thursday, February 15, 2018

Conversations with a Free Self on a terrace above the world


Higher Self, Greater Self. These are very big words. I want something smaller for him. There may be many levels to the Higher Self, ten that I know, others beyond counting. He lives on a level just above the level I am on.
    When I set out to meet him, I follow the road of dreams to a terrace above the world. Sometimes it is the rooftop of a tall building, twenty stories up, or more. Often the terrace has the air of a civilized café, operating just for us. I find him seated at a table, perhaps with a glass of wine the color of moonlight. He is usually impeccably dressed, in a perfectly tailored white suit or a dinner jacket. Occasionally I have the impression that he has a female companion; once she seemed to be an opera singer. But she is never part of our conversation.
    He is impossibly beautiful. He looks like a man in the prime of life, maybe thirty years old, yet carrying the knowledge of millennia. He does not judge me. He is my witness. He knows all of my life. It is as open to him as the contents of a doll house when you remove the back and the roof. More than this, he remembers my other lives.
    I should say, rather, our other lives. Something I have remembered, through our conversations, is that we have a twining relationship across time. When I am in the body, in a life on Earth, he is up here, on his balcony above the world. He still enjoys pleasures and creature comforts, but he is not enmeshed in the confusion and clutter of the physical world. He can sample delights that we associate with a physical body without being confined to one. The babalawo in me, the African diviner he calls my witchdoctor, says it has always been like this. While one of us is down in the marketplace of the world, the other observes as a “double in heaven”.
     I like that phrase, but his is a near heaven, rather than a remote one. So how shall I describe him? I have decided I will call him my Free Self. He is not bound by the conditions of physical life. From his terrace, he can see the big picture. When I join him up there, I can see the crossroads and forking paths of my life from an aerial perspective.
    He shows me some navigational challenges that lie ahead. There’s a spaghetti junction with whirling stands of traffic going off in all direction like an exploding bowl of pasta. It’s dizzying to look at. Inspecting this with his mildly humorous detachment, I see the scene lift to reveal a manageable locale, the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Now I can survey, one by one, the possible roads I can take from that place of decision. He reminds me that when life on the ground poses difficult choices – when I run into blockages or risk making a turn without reflecting on where that direction will take me – I should come up here, look at things from the higher perspective, and freeze the action while I observe myself traveling more than one of the possible roads in order to clarify and compare the probable outcomes.
    From such encounters comes daily practice, one I can share with others. I picture myself in the thick of a situation where I am facing a choice or conflict or dilemma. I see myself pausing from acting or worrying, placing myself in a quiet mental space whatever is going on around me. I feel light coming down around me, until I am within a column or pillar of light. This brings the sense of blessing and protection. I sense benign energies and intelligence reaching down to me within the pillar of light. Then there is the sense of traction, of being carried up within the pillar. I could be carried up many levels, as if on an elevator. But it is sufficient, for everyday navigation, to go up just one level, to that terrace above the world.
     Here I find again the Free Self, my wiser twin. From his table, I can see a relief map of my life, and of other lives and situations that will concern me. When the traffic patterns are hard to read, I can have everything slow down or stop so I can study it at my leisure.


Graphic: "The Art of Conversation" by René Magritte (1963)

2 comments:

Carol McGrath said...

I know I have a more balanced, knowledgable self that I can access at times. She is intuitive to a high degree and always has been. Regardless of my advancing years (70 now) , I feel like her much younger sister as I struggle with the day to day issues. Is this because i actually do have 6 older sisters and in my family of 11 I am the 9th? I've always had a plentitude of female role models, each of whom lived lives very different than mine. I would love to be able to have conversation with my Higher Self in the easy, seemingly comfortable way that you describe here, Robert. Now that I'm finally pulling myself free of ADD and getting things done as I look to the future (I see myself living to 95 and am working on my Bucket List) I have been practicing meditation daily for months and have added in doing a half hour physical workout every morning, I think I can use the model of meditation to "visit" this Higher Self regularly as you've described.

Carole Fults said...

Beautiful and very thought-provoking and helpful. Thank you for this!