Saturday, January 30, 2021

Encounters with a Greater Self

 Ultimately we make peace between the many aspects of our selves by rising to a conscious connection with the Self on a higher level, a Self that is no stranger. There are many ways of perceiving and receiving the knowledge and power of a Greater Self. In practical terms, your most important life teacher may be the aspect of the Greater Self whose home base is the level of consciousness and reality immediately above the one where you spend most of your time...

This was the wisdom of the Neoplatonist philosopher Plotinus. He taught that every human soul is a spectrum of possible levels of consciousness. Each of us is a cosmos, and we choose the level on which we live. Whatever level we choose, our spiritual guardian or daimon is on the level just above. Live well and evolve, and you may rise to a higher level with a daimon on a higher level again.

Plotinus offered one of the most rousing statements from the real philosophy of the ancient world: “The soul has the power to conform to her character the destiny allotted to her.” 

When I lay down for some horizontal meditation on the afternoon of October 14, 1993, I had mental contact with an intelligence that told me that “dreams are the primary dimension of being” and that the most important thing to teach people is that “Dreaming and waking are the same”.

 I felt within the larger presence – and its presence within me – throughout the day. I came to understand that he is with me, and has been with me, even in situations from which I have fancied that the Higher Self absents itself out of discretion or disgust. 

Your life partner, the soul pal who will never leave you, is your higher self, the soul of your soul, on the level where you can engage with each other. To open fully to this engagement requires a surrender of ego agendas and what don Miguel Ruiz calls the four agreements, self-limiting beliefs and accommodations that bind the soul. It may take desperate circumstances to bring this about, or a desperate state of mind. What follows the surrender is not a master-servant relationship but an active engagement, a blissful friendship in which you are never alone.

  I like to call my slightly higher self, Plotinus’ guardian, my Double on the Balcony. 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. He is a 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 my Double on the Balcony. 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.

As we go through a process of spiritual evolution, we may grow to the point where we can fuse our current personality with that a slightly higher self and progress to a relationship with a self on yet a higher level, and so on up the scale. Through successive transformations, we may reach a level where we are able to survey — on a continuing or even constant basis — our relations with many aspects of our multidimensional self, including personalities living in other places and times, without losing our ability to navigate in our present bodies.

Text adapted from Growing Big Dreams by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.

Photo: "Kildare Window" by RM

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