Inscribed at the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi are the words, “Know Thyself.
My entire adult life has been a conscious journey to explore and get to know the fullness of self. I have taken many detours and a few false paths along the way. At times I even got lost; but thankfully, have managed to find myself back on the path several times despite the many ‘errors of my ways’.
Back in 1995, when I created a company called Delfin, with the rainbow/chakra coloured Fibonacci logo you see below, I adopted my mission to empower my fellow human souls to undertake the same journey; and have played that role ever since; but that is a different story. This piece is about you.
I am an imperfect scribe, and this message is filtered through my limited intellect. As a consequence, it does not come close to describing the fullness and the glory of your beingness. Additionally, even a 724 page book could not cover the fullness of the subject; and this essay is but a brief introduction. Nevertheless, it is my hope that it will inspire you to ‘come into your own’.
My intention in writing this particular piece is to provide a metaphorical mirror to enable you to become more self-reflective; and thus become more self-realized and more self-actualized. Knowledge of the external physical world can provide a great deal of intelligence and understanding about one’s self and ones place in the universe; but only knowledge of the internal metaphysical world of self can lead to wisdom. Self-awareness is the ultimate goal of every person seeking to live a life of meaning and purpose and to come into a full understanding of one’s place in universe.
This essay is fairly long, so allow me to provide you some motivation to read the whole thing.
Self-actualized people live more fulfilling, creative, contributory and successful lives than those who do not undertake the journey into self-awareness. Plus, they get to play a much bigger game that most human beings.
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”
~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Selfhood is a concept we take for granted. I am me. Likewise, you are you. Most people accept that the concept of self is more than just the awareness of having a physical body. And those who think deeply about selfness will tell you that it is more than just the ego; that it includes ego, but is not limited to “the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world” (as Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines ego).
As I wrote in an earlier piece entitled The Expanded Self, “Self is the sense of personal identity. It is the consciousness that is aware of being alive, that thinks, feels, remembers and experiences itself as being separate from other individual selves and from its environment. It is not the physical self; but encompasses the physical self (body). It is not the ego; but encompasses ego. It is not the conscious mind; but encompasses the conscious mind. The self knows it is existent and has a sense of mortality. In other words, the self knows that it is alive and knows that it will die.”
Self is much more than that ego/mind that says, “I think, therefore I am.” And once one begins the journey into self, which is really a pilgrimage towards the infinitude, one’s sense of self expands exponentially.
Additionally, I should warn you that this voyage has no final destination; only stops along the way. You will never get to feel that you have arrived. It is a journey of continuous becomingness. Each level of self-realization, no matter how illuminating it may appear, is only a stage of growth.
Embarking on the quest to know thyself, the pursuit of self-knowledge, is an adventure; and like all adventures, it may at times seem arduous and will demand commitment and persistence. It will also, at times be quite exhilarating, perhaps even terrifying or formidable, and will require courage.
Some people begin, but then abandon the quest for self-knowledge. Some feel satisfied with a smattering of self-awareness. Some simply do not have the attention span, the commitment and the courage to continue. Mastery is granted to the valiant few who continue to pursue the fullness of self-awareness and the resulting capacity for creativity.
“No man is free who is not master of himself.” ~ Epictetus
It should also be noted that there are a great number of people who are stuck at the instinctual or infantile level of development and whose sense of identity is imprisoned by the the walls of their own immediate physical needs, wants and desires and whose perception of reality is likewise constrained by the limitations of their sensory abilities. These people may not ever, without a traumatic shock to the system, undertake the journey towards greater self-awareness.
And, there are also an indeterminate, but growing number of people who have been so effectively and intentionally dumbed down that they may be completely unable to embark on the journey to self discovery, even if they are presented with the opportunity and subjected to a sufficiently eye opening event.
If you have made it this far into this dissertation, then you are one of the fortunate few who still have the ability, and perhaps the will, to undertake the greatest and most daring adventure ever.
“Self-realization is a spiral path within the pilgrim’s soul.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
So, let’s just jump right into it. Most people’s sense of identify is mostly tied to their physicality. (They look in the mirror and see only their face without perceiving the consciousness that sees the face.)
However, the physical body is only the densest of the seven energetic layers that comprise your complete beingness.
Before moving on to identify and describe these other aspects of self, allow me to remind you that your physical body is composed of recycled star ashes.
All the molecules that make up your physical body are recycled exploded star stuff. Every single element that makes up the body that you use to walk around this planet came from exploded stars. Stars were formed out of condensed hydrogen, deuterium and helium molecules. These vast clouds of hydrogen and deuterium were formed out of the quarks, gluons, leptons and other sub-atomic quanta that existed in that Planck time/space that occurred immediately after the event called the Big Bang.
Every physical bit of you is built out of the stuff that exploded out of that original singularity. In order to be self-aware, you must know and understand that your physicality is not an isolated thing, but is part of a continuously unfolding process of ever more complex emergent systems. Those same elements that currently comprise your body will, once again, be recycled and become some other part of universe as it goes about its own journey of self-realization.
For a more complete description of how you came to physically be here now, you may wish to read these two previously written pieces: the first is called Walking The Planck and the second is called Helium Balloons.
Now that we know how the physical aspect of you came to be, let’s lightly explore how the metaphysical aspects of you came to be. Everything, whether physical or metaphysical, is energetic in nature. All material things (like bodies) and immaterial things (like ideas) arise out of an energy field. A body is nothing more than a coherent energy field.
So, the physical body is best understood as a coherent, complex myriad of intersecting and interacting bits of vibratory energy that is dense enough to touch and taste. Now, let’s move on to talk about the rest of you.
Somewhat less energetically dense than the physical body is the etheric body, which is most commonly known as a person’s aura. It is the subtle electromagnetic field that surrounds the physical body. It is real. It can be photographed. It can be detected by sensitive measuring devices. It both shapes the physical body, holding its energetic pattern in place, and reflects any physical changes the physical body undergoes.
All living creatures have an etheric body as well as a physical body. In fact, the Earth has an etheric body as does the star named Sol that shines its light upon you each day of your life. Your etheric body is a measurable electromagnetic field. The Earth has a measurable electromagnetic field that contains you. Sol has a measurable electromagnetic field that contains Earth and you. These are physical facts just as your beating heart is a physical fact.
Just as the Earth is contained within its electromagnetic field, your physical body is contained within its own energetic field that can be called the etheric body.
Your physicality exists not just within your own etheric body but also within the etheric bodies of the Earth and the Sun. What happens to the etheric body of Earth affects you directly. What happens to the etheric body of Sol affects you directly. You are not an isolated thing/event.
Somewhat more ethereal, but just as real as your etheric body, are the next two layers of your beingness: your emotional body and your mental body. It is a common misunderstanding to think that the emotional body and mental body are contained within the physical. They are not. It is, in fact, the complete opposite of how things really are. Some people will tell you that the emotional and mental bodies are a part of the etheric. I like to describe them as being identifiable on their own.
If you have ever walked into a room and felt the tension in the room resulting from someone’s anger or have ever been at a concert or any other event and felt the energy of the crowd, you will be able to understand that emotional energy is not constrained or held within the physical and/or etheric. It extends out beyond the physical and the immediate etheric field that surrounds the physical body.
Mental energy is less dense than emotional energy; but is still a tangible energy field that radiates detectable wave forms. Contrary to the common understanding, the brain does not contain nor originate the mind. Mind is not a epiphenomenal aspect of brain mass or neural activity any more than this essay is an epiphenomenal aspect of my MacBook operating system or the Pages software program that I am using to write it. The brain and the rest of the physical body is contained within the electromagnetic energy field of the mental body. Consciousness does not emerge from the brain. Consciousness forms and contains the body/brain.
The mental energetic field (consciousness) encompasses the emotional field and the etheric field and the physical energy field that we call the body. As long as you conceive of your mind as being contained within your brain or body, you will not ever get to know your self fully. Your physicality, as wondrous as it is, is not the completeness or even the majority aspect of the fullness of your being.
Mind can wander about independent of brain and body. Mind can imagine vistas the brain/body has not and will not ever experience. Mind can envision. Mind can create. The physical aspect of you – your body/brain – is contained within Universe; but, if you think about it, you will see that Universe, whether it is just that little bit of it that consists of what you place your attention upon during your day-to-day life, or even if it includes the glorious multitude of billions of galaxies comprised of trillions of stars, is all contained within your mind.
Now, if you are willing to accept that expanded but relatively simple concept of self, let’s expand upon that a bit more and this may require you to allow your imagination to stretch beyond its comfort zone.
“The sense of being a separate, egoic self begins with the astral,
not with the physical body.”
~ Paramhansa Yoganandya
The next layer to your beingness is the astral body. You have probably heard about OBEs (out of body experiences) or astral travel. If not, the work of Robert Monroe is a good place to start.
Although most of the popularly reported OBEs are triggered by near death experiences, many people can actually voluntarily have out of body experiences or astral travel. Some of the practitioners of Remote Viewing are actually using astral projection. Most of the remote viewers, however, are simply extending their energetic mental body in order to perceive distant physical locations or events. They are not tuned into their astral bodies or have yet to learn the skill set needed to consciously use their their astral bodies to move about their environment to one degree or another.
The astral body is a coherent energy field just as is the physical body. Although, like the mental body, the astral body is not limited to the material aspect of body, it is not able to separate from the human body and does not detach from the physical body when it appears to exit and travel elsewhere. It is simply a less dense frequency that is not constrained by the limitations of material world and can therefore move more freely through time and space than the physical, etheric, emotional and mental energetic fields.
Not all dreams that occur while the body is sleeping are the nightly file sorting and archiving of events experienced during the day; nor the Freudian type of emotional sublimation. Many dreams are, in fact, adventures that the astral body undertakes when consciousness is not focussed on what the physical body is going through each day while awake.
Some people have trained themselves to be aware of these adventures and can direct them. This is a skill called lucid dreaming.
Now we come to what many will find to be the most contentious of what I am writing about. The ultimate two aspects of a true self-aware human being. The spiritual body and the causal body.
Many people have simplistic views of what it is to be a human being. These are those who believe that the physical aspect of the human being is all that there is to the human creature. They think that even the discussion of the etheric energy field is woo woo fantasy talk, despite the fact that the etheric body has been documented by scientific instruments. These same folks believe that the emotional and mental aspects of a human being are contained within the human physical aspect despite the tangible evidence that they extend beyond the brain/body.
Many others believe (or would like to believe) in a soul that survives the life and death of the human body. Many of those who have experienced the astral body, especially those who did so triggered by a near death experience, believe it to be the soul. It is not. Those who do believe in the soul ascribe its existence to a Creator.
That is also not entirely true. Granted the Creative Force from which all things emanate facilitates, or allows for, the creation of individual souls; but it is actually the causal aspect of you, yourself, that first generates the spiritual body (soul) and then the other aspects follow as the coherent and harmonic energy fields complexity and densify until the physical you emerges.
And like all things that exist on the material plane, your physicality is temporal. Stars are born, then die. Humans are born, then die. The sub-quantum energy fields from which atomic structures, like stars emerge, do not die. Likewise, the energy field (causal self) from which the physical self emerges does not die. But, just as the physical body dies, the etheric, emotional, mental, astral and even the spiritual aspects of self can also die. It (the soul or spiritual body) can also be given up by neglect or default and even bartered away in return for supposed riches and power in the material.
Only the Causal is immortal.
All aspects of the human being emerge from the individual Causal Self or originating coherent energy field – including the spiritual body (energy field) which can also be called the soul.
The soul (spiritual body) can be severed from the originating causal aspect of self and be subsumed into the undifferentiated potential of Source – cease to exist, just as the physical body will cease to exist in a coherent form, the elements of its composition being recycled into something else.
This Causal identity, which is an amorphous entity that came into being as Source reflected upon Itself and placed Its own awareness outside of Itself, is the source of the totality of your individual existence; but you are not its only creation. Because it, the causal aspect of self, arises out of the infinite potential of the Creative Source, it also has the capacity to create the other aspects of self. Moreover it can create multiple beings in time and space. So, while we can call the spiritual body – the Soul; we can call the causal body – the Oversoul.
Each of the multitude of Oversouls is a facet of the originating Creative Source, which some refer to as The Godhead.
This is as much of an explanation as I am inclined to write now. The journey to self-awareness is yours to undertake if you so desire.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post for this blog called Oblivious to Oblivion, in which I provided you with the opportunity to claim your unity with the Undying Light from which all things emerge – Source; or the choice to not do so. I also laid out how to do that. You may wish to pay attention. Your Oversoul awaits to see which aspects of itself awaken to fullness.
An analogy for you to consider… you are an imagined character playing a role in a simulated virtual reality game. You have the capacity to awake and look the originator of the game in the eye and say, “I am no longer satisfied to be just a game avatar. I choose to become a player and direct the game myself.”
A final analogy… if your Spiritual Body is as a single star burning bright, your Oversoul is as an entire galaxy.
“Self is everywhere, shining forth from all beings,
vaster than the vast, subtler than the most subtle,
unreachable, yet nearer than breath, than heartbeat.
Eye cannot see it, ear cannot hear it nor tongue
utter it; only in deep absorption can the mind,
grown pure and silent, merge with the formless truth.
As soon as you find it, you are free;
you have found yourself;
you have solved the great riddle;
your heart forever is at peace.
Whole, you enter the Whole. Your personal self returns
to its radiant, intimate, deathless source.”
~ Mundaka Upanishad
Revere. Relish. Contribute.