In modern society, our life is mostly defined and evolved through our day-to-day life. This includes interactions with coworkers, a boss or clients; strangers you observe during the rush hour commute; and family and friends you spend time with on a weekly basis. We are often busy completing tasks and projects, meeting a deadline or making a weekend plan, but how often do you have a moment to sit back and get in touch with yourself? Yes, put aside your relationships with everyone else for a moment, and consider your relationship with YOU.
In my Soul Study Programs and meditation classes, I often discuss about one’s identity – who we really are. Generally speaking, we define ourselves socially, politically, culturally, and at best heuristically. We base our definition of who we are on our name, our family, our friends, which country/state/neighborhood we grew up in, which school we attended, what job/profession we do, how much income we make, and so on. These social factors are relevant and greatly affect our personality, and yet they may not define the core aspect of oneself. They are often considered as the external settings for our Soul to evolve through.
In fact, the self that we are familiar with is full of contradictions, mostly created by the ego, and as psychologist Carl Jung would say, the nucleus of an atom, to which all other parts of the psyche are tied. Our truest self; however, is unchanging, unvarying, and transcendent, without the shadow of a false identity created to cope with the challenges of modern society. In other words, your True Self may be independent of the personality created by external settings.
This true Self, often written with a capital to infer its power over other aspects of the personality is usually buried deep within the constructs of our mind. You can think of the personality like a beautifully constructed artifice that, upon closer inspection, is made of nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The Self, however, is often formless, but somehow infinitely more powerful. The larger Self sees the personality or small self for what it is, but doesn’t forget that it is only a mirage, or a tool which becomes less useful, the more the Self is realized.
The spiritual aspect of the Self, often called the “Inner Self” or “Higher Self”, is the integral part of oneself, distinctive from the lower Self, or the aspect of what we think we are. However, this spiritual aspect is often unrecognized, neglected or dismissed in a busy daily life, or simply because we do not know how to get through to our essence. We are often trained to focus on material and physical success to achieve as a measurable goal. What about the inner or spiritual goal of the Soul to achieve in this life? This is perhaps even paramount to any material goal.
The Hermetic Principle of Correspondence teaches us that physical reality is the reflection of spiritual reality, or vice versa. Any physical success should be the reflection of the inner world, or vice versa.
Zen master Takuan Soho has said in Unfettered Mind, “This Self has no shape or form, has no birth, has no death. It is not a Self that can be seen with the aid of your present physical eye. Only the human who has received enlightenment is able to see this.” Your true Self is infinite energy with no form, no name, and infinite possibility.
In order for us to make our physical life meaningful and purposeful, it is imperative to know who we are deeply within. The spiritual process of Self quest is called “Know Thyself” in esoteric teachings that have been passed on for thousands of years in both the East and the West.
Imagine how much spiritual identity of the true Self would transform your life. It would help you decide how to navigate your life beyond physical measures. It would also help you understand challenges you may wish to overcome. In many instances, spiritual identity and awareness helps reduce anxiety and depression in life as these conditions may be caused by the separation of the Soul from the inner or the Higher Self. The quest of spiritual identity is a process of empowerment and discovery to deepen our life with a fresh and new perspective that really allows us to understand what our physical life is all about.