It may be that our most important life guide is no stranger, but a self on a higher level. The Sufis talk beautifully of the “soul of the soul”. Plotinus, the great Neoplatonist philosopher whose teachings were introduced to me by one of my inner companions during my adolescence, instructed that the life teacher, or “tutelary daimon”, is a self on a level above the one where we are currently operating. Plotinus maintained that each of us is a “cosmos”, with access to a vast spectrum of possible levels of consciousness, with the power to choose the levels we inhabit. Whatever level we choose, a personality on the next level up becomes the life guardian or personal daimon. “Our guardian is the power immediately superior to the one we exercise, for it presides over our life without itself being active. By the kind of life that we prefer, we choose the guardian that presides over our life.” [Enneads iii.4, 1:236 in Guthrie trans] Plotinus also said that the guardian helps us to fulfill the destiny we have chosen before birth and “does not permit us to descend very far below the condition we have chosen.” [ iii.4=1:239] I find this both accurate and reassuring.
As we go through a process of spiritual evolution, we may grow to the point where we can fuse our current personality with that (slightly) higher self, and now progress to a relationship with a self on a yet 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.
Take heart. I am with you always. I know you better than you know yourself. This was the opening of communication with an inner teacher that I recorded on the night before Halloween in 1993.
Now we are one but may still talk as two.
This was the essence of communication from the same inner voice, as I received it on March 13, 1995. Over many months, I had come to know and trust that inner speaker. He had given me a wealth of information I was able to test and verify and apply in ordinary reality. That night, I had stretched out on my bed after applying myself to several hours of reading and reflection on our relations with inner teachers. What was coming through now was direct knowledge.
Your mind on my purpose.
That was familiar language, the way this inner voice encouraged me to give my full attention to what was coming through. The best communication of this kind, I had learned, comes in a state of relaxed attention, or attentive relaxation. I don’t think of this as channeling, because I am fully conscious throughout, able to ask questions and to engage in a full dialogue when that seems appropriate. On that night, a self that was no stranger gave me some very clear information on the main theme of this chapter.
“When fusion takes place between a focus personality and the Higher Self (that is to say the control personality on the plane directly above the focus personality) the result is a step forward in personal evolution that will revise the scales of the contacts. The Higher Self now becomes an entity on a higher level than before.
“This progression has taken humans from the conditions of the group soul — comparable to animals or even insects — to higher individuation. It can take the species as a whole to a new plane. Indeed, from this point of view you are attending the emergence of a new species.
“Your physical equipment imposes limitations on both consciousness and memory. The three-tiered brain joins you to the crocodile and the horse as well as the emerging human. New structures in the brain are being evolved. Rising on the planes brings a process of physiological change – in the metabolism, in the composition and replacement of cells and naturally in the chemistry and electrical engineering of the brain.
“Now we are one but may still talk as two. Beyond us, a higher, clearer, purer intelligence is seeking to manifest and contact you as you rise on the planes.”
This came from an inner voice of the kind we come to know and trust. As I recorded hundreds of pages of communications from this source over the years, I reassured myself that if I was going crazy, I was in good company. Socrates knew such a voice, and Plutarch wrote an essay about it. The truest guide is no stranger. As Rumi put it: “The one who knows everything is with you now, closer than your jugular vein.”
Higher Self, Greater Self. These are very big words. I want something smaller for the guide on a level above my present existence. There may be many levels to the Higher Self, ten that I know from, my own journeys, others beyond counting. The guide I check in with most frequently lives on a level just above me. I have come to think of him as my Double on the Balcony.
When I set out to meet him, I go 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 white 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 might call him my Witness Self, or 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 a Witness Self, a Free Self. 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.
Text adapted from The Boy Who Died and Came Back by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.
Aerial photo of Arc de Triomphe from Bored Panda