Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 35: Managing the Lower Self on the Spiritual Journey

Welcome to Day 35 of our 40 Days Meditation Retreat 2010. We have spoken about the lower self, understanding the lower self. Let us go into a little more detail. We are a spiritual being; we have made this case that there is more in the human experience. We are defining ourselves as spiritual beings in a human experience, but in ignorance we think we are human beings having a spiritual experience. Even though we may understand it in the mind - that we are spiritual beings having a human experience - we may not know it in the experience. We may have an understanding in the mind of this possibility but in reality we may be still acting from body consciousness. It is important to understand the influence of body consciousness.

Having come into a body, being integrated in a body as a spiritual being, we experience the body in ignorance as being us, having little or no awareness of any other identity. This is us. Even though we may have some idea that we can be different, and sometimes [we may have] a little experience that we are different, we can still be held strongly in body awareness. How does that influence us? Observe the physical body, it has basic instincts; survival instinct, sexual instinct; it is a physical creature. It needs to reproduce. It needs to survive. Physical creature. But I am a spiritual being in this physical creature. So my consciousness as a spiritual being in this physical creature, can become limited to physical awareness, and I completely think that “I” need to reproduce, though my body needs to reproduce, I think “I” need to reproduce. I need to survive, though my body needs to survive, I think “I” need to survive. My consciousness has become limited and that limited self, we call “Lower Self.”

Moving between basic and spiritual instincts

When we become spiritual aware, spiritually awakened – and I have spoken about the Shaktipat Impulse, the Shaktipat Experience – we begin to experience a rebirth and a new identity comes in. We begin to think that we are more than the physical being. We begin to develop a spiritual identity and then we move between the two from time to time. The spiritual identity also has spiritual instincts: the instinct for freedom, that drive for freedom; that drive for unconditional love; that drive for peace, love and harmony. These are spiritual instincts. Caught into the lower body, into this body consciousness, we are driven by basic instincts; sexual consciousness, survival consciousness, need for food and shelter and comfort in the human experience, the need to propagate the species, to reproduce.

We are driven by spiritual drives of a Higher Self, of a spiritual identity, and lower drives of a lower self. When we are caught in the body consciousness, we become caught in lower drives. When we are caught in the lower basic instincts, that is the breeding ground for hate, lust, greed, attachment. These influence us even as spiritual consciousness emerges, when they are very strong instincts, not managed.

On the spiritual journey, we can be caught up in two worlds, driven by spiritual instincts and striving for freedom, for the unconditional loving and for peace, love and harmony, and driven by body instincts, to survive, to mate. You see how nature produces that strong instinct; nature captures our spiritual being; hormones drive us in the body and we think that we need to survive, to reproduce, so we are driven by nature and its chemistry. The spiritual being becomes lost, thinking that it is hungry; it needs to reproduce, though spiritual being has a different identity, it does not need to reproduce, it is not hungry when the body is hungry.

Spiritualising the drives of the lower self

What happens on the spiritual journey when we become caught up in the spiritual drive, the basic instincts are not managed, there is a tendency for suppression when these come up in the spiritual consciousness if we do not understand it and we begin to think that these do not belong there, we need to fight with it. There is suppression, there is stress and a lot of seekers go through that stress. It is important to understand how to deal with that, how to manage the lower self, because the lower self has drives, energies, physical energy, physical might, sexual energy.

What is most important in this experience as you begin to become spiritually aware is to accept your lower self, not to deny it, not to fight with it, to accept it. It is of the human body. It is the body that you carry. Instead of fighting with it, accept it as part of your own being and try to bring the spiritual consciousness into it. Stop the fight! When you see these drives within you, begin to think, “They belong to the body consciousness, they belong to the lower self.” Have compassion on them, the body needs these drives to survive. Have compassion on your poor body! Begin to understand it. Begin to see it as lower self drives. Give attention to the higher ones and bring that unconditional loving to the body. Bring that compassion to the body.

When you begin to see the body as having its own identity that drives you through the nature qualities, then you learn to accept it and you learn to hold it in your greatest spiritual awareness. That is when you learn to manage these. You do not deny them but you try to bring the spirituality into them. Into the sexual consciousness, you try to bring the spirituality; you begin to bring true love into it. In the survival instincts, the need to eat, the need for shelter, you begin to see those as needs for the body and you begin to move away from the lust and the greed and the attachment to those, but learn to offer the body the best that it needs; satisfy its needs and learn to hold it in the spirituality of your Inner Being. When you begin to do that, you will realise that your body is really your friend and the lower self is really your friend, when you begin to try to spiritualise it. You need to stop the fight.

This is what happened to me as a young man, the fight. I did not want to have these survival needs inside of me. I did not want to be driven by this sexuality. I want my higher drives to come into me, I want to embrace those. When I got into the spiritual awareness and I could see my body as being different to me and I could understand its drives, then I began to spiritualise my body. I began to change my whole way of dealing with it and I began to influence it from my spiritual being. I used the energy of vitality that I could feel in my spiritual being. I used my emotional energy to comfort the body from my spiritual being. I used my mental energy from my spiritual being to try to understand the difference between lower self and Higher Self, and to have compassion for my lower self. I learnt to drive the lower self with management. My vitality was able to manage my lower self drives.

We do not live in two worlds

As I began to open up my consciousness to understand and to accept the lower self and to see it as part of my being, then my whole appreciation for my world became different. The appreciation of food and the gift that it is, to feed my body; the appreciation of the air that I breathe and how nature supports it; and the appreciation of those around me who bring advice and comfort, I began to appreciate my world in a different way by appreciating my whole body. I began to see how in the world, we need to support the bodies, keep them healthy, use them in the light of spiritual consciousness. My whole awareness changed.

I began to realise that in truth, we do not live in two worlds; but we actually live in one world that has everything. When I thought that this is the physical world and this is the spiritual world, I began to realise it is one; it is one world that holds everything in its being. Everything became spiritual. The whole world became spiritual. That is my consciousness now. I can accept everything in my world as being spiritual and I do not fight with my world, I accept my world for what it is. I accept my body for what it is. I treat my world in such a different way now, understanding my own Self.

If we are going to co-create a world of peace, love and harmony, a world of enlightened living, then we need to open up the awareness to accept our lower self, not to fight with it, and to spiritualise it, bring the higher energies into it. When we do, we will find that managing the lower self becomes much easier. It is our lower self.

This is the talk of today: learning to embrace your lower self, to spiritualise it, to bring light to its being and to understand its purpose is really to serve us in the human experience as we seek freedom. It is to serve us through the human experience.

Have a blessed day everyone.

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