Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 11: Our Higher and Lower Self

Welcome to Day 11 of our 40 Days Meditation Retreat 2010. Today our topic is Our Higher and Lower Self.  The self within us expresses many qualities – qualities of a lower nature and qualities of a higher nature. We have a very expressive self, a very expansive self that can move from one extreme in consciousness to another, but it is our self. We need to own the self. It is our self’s Self. We need to really understand how this self operates in its expressions and the opportunities that it presents for us in the human experience. If we look into the brain in the human body we also see a lower brain and an upper brain which allows for this kind of expression too in the human form.

Expressions of the Lower Self

Let me begin with the lower self, that is the one which is familiar to us because it is where we first begin. The lower self expresses limited consciousness. It makes us think in human terms, in terms of physical consciousness, and also limited mental and emotional expressions that can be more than physical consciousness but very selfish expressions. In these expressions we feel a sense of separateness and there is a great sense of selfishness. We want to explore our power, our passion, our physical desires for our joy and pleasure.

Sometimes we do so at the expense of others, not respecting people’s rights around us. We may act in many inappropriate ways when we think in terms of society where we transgress. This is the lower nature. It can also express fear, loneliness, sadness - all strong signs of separation and contracted consciousness. These are ours; we need to own these. This is what we express in terms of the lower brain, which is the brain that we get from the lower animal part of us that we carry. And that gives very selfish emotions for self preservation and survival – pleasure driven, survival driven.

Expressions of the Higher Self

Then we have a Higher Self expression where we begin to feel deeper levels of love, compassion, kindness and our consciousness expands. We call this our spiritual journey when the Spirit opens up to express a Higher Consciousness, and this is part of us too. This one takes us into more fearless consciousness, more inclusive consciousness where we begin to think of “we” instead of just “I”. It brings many beautiful selfless expressions: compassion, kindness, charity, tolerance, patience, understanding, and these promote welfare and wellbeing in our world. All these exist within us, and we can express them.

In our ignorance we tend to express our lower self very strongly. And going through pain and suffering from a limited consciousness, then we may begin to want to explore higher levels of consciousness as we begin to search for something deeper. As grace comes in spiritual awakening to our higher levels, we begin to experience another self inside – another way of expressing ourselves, a more expansive way.

Danger of Moving from One Self to Another

That does not mean that the lower consciousness vanished as we begin to go into higher consciousness. The lower consciousness is there; it has been with us for so long. As we begin to express a higher consciousness and we begin to enjoy this state of consciousness, we want to explore that more and more. It is more expansive. The energies are nicer, and the responses from our Universe are nicer so we begin to enjoy that.

However, sometimes the pleasure of the lower self or some of the selfish expressions of the lower self may still be there to tempt us to a want to go back mode. So, we may move from one self to another especially when we are not stable in Higher Self expression. We may go back to our lower self. For those of us who are involved in spirituality, for example, we get a great surge of desire to become spiritual because we have many friends who are spiritual. Then our friends move away, or circumstances change and there are people of lower self expressions around us. Pretty soon we go back to that level, although we have been involved in spirituality. But the lower self now tends to predominate and we go back into lower self expressions because some of these are pleasurable.

We can move from one self to another when the Higher Self is not stable. Then that can be a very dangerous place because as we go into the Higher Self levels and experience higher consciousness, we learn some new skills. If by chance we begin to go back to the lower level, we may take some of those skills with us to use in our manipulation of others and our selfish pursuit of pleasure and self gratification. You see how we can move from one self to another.

When we go into Higher Self expression and we begin to enjoy this, as we go back into lower self, we can see this as a weakness. Some do not see it as a weakness; some see it as being able to justify thinking:

(lower self)
"Well, I can use these abilities here; so I am expressing them."

(Higher Self)
"But what are you expressing it for?"

(lower self)
"But I am hurting no one."

(Higher Self)
"Yes, but you become caught. You become attached in a lower level expression."

Be Aware of Temptation

When we begin to move between these two and we prefer the higher level expression but we feel weak in the lower level expression, we need to learn how to protect ourselves from going back to the lower level. That Is why we hear a lot about temptation, and lead us not into temptation as we see in the prayer of the Christ, because we can be tempted to go back into the lower level consciousness, the lower Self. As we go constantly into the Higher Self expression and we feel drawn back to lower self, we need to learn how to protect ourselves, otherwise we will be moving from one self to another, and from pain to joy, and joy to pain. Lower self expressions, though they may be pleasurable for a time, can end up in pain and suffering because they are lower expressions.

Think Protection; Stabilize the Higher Self

Higher Self expressions promote more harmony, goodness and peace. Sometimes we know that but the selfish part of us tempts us and pulls us back. So we need to protect the Higher Self in its expression because it is our Higher Self that can lead us to freedom, ultimately. That is where self-discipline comes in, self-observation comes in, good company and good thoughts come in. This is what we need to think about when we are not stable in our Higher Self and our lower self can pull us down.

We need to think protection, what protects us from the lower self that is still so much alive and not completely conquered. When we have the discipline and the grace to become stable in the Higher Self then the lower self, though it exists, it has no more power upon us. That is when the freedom comes, when the lower self exists but it has no more power upon us. So both lie within us. That is why we say, Within every sinner there is a saint, and within every saint there is a sinner. The saint is stable now in that saintly consciousness though the sinner potential is there.

Transcendental Consciousness: Beyond Saint and Sinner

There are those who have moved beyond saint and sinner. Can you imagine that? There is a state of consciousness where we can transcend the saint and sinner, and these are a group of special beings who are so free that they see no good or bad in the world. They do not consider themselves a saint nor a sinner. They have gone beyond good and bad. This is what the Transcendental Consciousness is. It gives us an awareness beyond good and bad. They are able to embrace evil, even to go in the midst of evil without being tarnished by it, and being able to do so very powerfully without suffering, not seeing suffering as suffering but being able to create change. These are the greatest teachers in the world. They carry the Transcendental Consciousness of being beyond good and bad. They are able to step in the arena of good and bad, being with the righteous also being with those who are not righteous and fearlessly serving and helping. These are the greatest teachers that are on our earth.

Ever Free Souls

There are some who have achieved this Transcendental Consciousness beyond good and bad but they choose not to want to even interfere with things. They may behave in many different ways that may seem to be crazy. In the ancient system in India these are called Avadhuts. They are Great Beings who are completely free. They may be naked; they may pelt stones at you. They do not mean anything bad. They are established in beyond good and bad. They see the world completely different. They may use language that may be distasteful but by no means are they distasteful. Their outer expressions cannot express who they really are. They are free to use anything. So we need to be careful how we judge these Beings because they are ever free. This is the possibility for all of us in the human experience.

In the Guru Gita when we read: Gurureva Para Brahma, Tasmai Sri Gurave namah, here we speak of the highest Gurus. The Para Brahma is the transcendental state beyond good and bad. Indeed that Guru is the Para Brahma beyond good and bad. Again we read: Bhava teetam Triguna rahitam, Sadgurum tam namami. I salute that Guru who is beyond the modifications of body and mind, and above the gunas: Tamo guna, Rajo guna and Satwa guna.

Tamo guna - dullness and inertia

Rajo guna - activity and aggression

Sattwa guna - peacefulness and good nature

We see how great teachers go beyond the good and the bad. These are the possibilities in the human expression.

Let us think about that.

Day 11: Our Higher and Lower Self

1 Comments/Questions:

Yvonne (Uma) said...
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