Let us take a step back and look at the big picture, thus giving a clearer explanation of how the selves manage to divert people’s attention from the true road to higher awareness, namely the inner path of self-transcendence.
You were created as a spiritual being, and you were never meant to lose the awareness of your true origin and identity. By using your free will to experiment with the duality consciousness, the conscious self gradually came to see itself as separated from its source, meaning your higher self. This acceptance of separation created your selves, and since then the selves have attempted to create an impenetrable wall between your conscious self and your acceptance of your true identity as a co-creator with higher awareness.
The process of separation took most co-creators into a self-reinforcing downward spiral – or rather, a spiral being reinforced by the selves and the forces of separation – that led them further and further into a sense of alienation from God (however they saw it). This led them to build a sense of identity based on the things of the material world, including their bodies and their selves.
There is theoretically no limit to how far this downward spiral can take you into a sense of being absolutely convinced that you are separated from God, or even that God does not exist. There is a force built into your being that counteracts the downward pull, namely your longing for something more than what the material world can offer.
The further you descend into identification with the material world, the more you will limit your sense of identity. You are, so to speak, building a prison for yourself, and it gradually becomes smaller until you can hardly move.
The smaller your mental prison becomes, the greater the possibility that you will see the emptiness of the things of this world and decide to look for something more. Although there is no guarantee that this will happen, most co-creators will eventually reach a bottom line from which they decide to start going back up towards a more unlimited sense of identity.
The selves would much prefer that this turning point did not take place, but once it has taken place, the selves will not simply give up. They will resist every upward step you take, and their primary weapon is to divert your attention from the inner path itself. The selves want to create the false path, which makes you believe that you can “be saved” without confronting the selves and letting them die.
Not all co-creators descend to the same low level before they turn around. The lowest level to which one can descend on this planet is represented by the life of the cave man or other primitive cultures that had no true spirituality (This is not counting all native cultures as such). They were basically living as animals with their attention was almost entirely focused on physical survival, thus being engaged in an endless struggle against others of their own kind, animals or even Mother Nature.
The fact that the majority of human beings are no longer living this way shows that humankind has progressed to a higher state of consciousness, a higher sense of identity. This proves that most human beings on this planet have turned around and have started the upward climb. Most people are not yet consciously aware of this so they do not understand the process and are thus easily manipulated by their selves and the forces of duality.
Diversionary tactics of the selves
As long as you are in a downward spiral, your selves have managed to make you neutralize or ignore your longing for something more. For most people, the selves cannot do this indefinitely, and they will eventually reach the turning point. Although the selves will try to prevent you from turning around, they are not necessarily unhappy about you striving for a greater sense of identity.
This might sound like a contradiction, and the reason is that the selves are full of contradictions. The selves are one big contradiction,. The selves see only the things of this world, and thus the ultimate triumph of your personal selves would be that you had absolute power in this world.
The selves are driven by contradictory forces. On one hand, they will do anything to prevent you from discovering and following the true spiritual path that leads you to build a sense of identity that does not include the selves. To prevent you from finding the spiritual path, the selves are willing to drive you into a state of consciousness in which you see yourself as – and act as – an animal fighting for the survival of the physical body. They are willing to completely destroy your self-esteem in order to maintain control over you.
This is a very limited sense of identity, and it does not fulfill one of the selves’ essential needs. Because the selves see only this world, they set up relative comparisons between you and other people. When you live a very low existence, such as a cave man or a person on the street, the selves find it hard to maintain the illusion that you are better than others. Both you and your selves will be unhappy with such a state of existence.
Although some selves are afraid of you turning around and walking the path towards a greater sense of existence, other selves actually welcome this—as long as they can maintain control over you and misdirect your longing for something more in a certain direction. To give you a better understanding of this mechanism, let us outline the stages that many people go through as they climb the path towards reclaiming their true identity:
- The lowest stage is where all of your attention and energy is fed into the survival of the physical body. Your life is a constant struggle against others of your own kind, animals, nature and your own karma from past lives. We might say this is the lowest stage of the duality consciousness, the black-and-white thinking, that leads you to think that you – as an individual – are fighting against the whole world. Obviously, this is a very limited sense of existence, and most people will – at least after a few embodiments – reason that there has to be more to life than just surviving. This is often the starting point for people’s upward climb.
- When you are in survival mode, you see the world as a place with lack of resources, and thus you have to fight for everything you get by taking it from someone else or from nature. In reality, this is a perception that comes from the duality consciousness. The higher way out of this state of consciousness is to realize the truth in Jesus’ words that it is the father’s good pleasure to give you his kingdom—the abundant life. By seeking first the kingdom of higher awareness all things will be added onto you.
- For most people, the selves manage to convince them that they should focus their attention and energy on accumulating the things of this world. Seeking material possessions becomes the goal of life, and people can spend many lifetimes seeking some state of ultimate riches that will – supposedly – satisfy their longing for something more. The selves are happy with this because they can now pursue the sense that if you have more possessions than other people, you are better than them.
- While having possessions can satisfy your longing for something more for a long time, it will eventually come to seem like an empty promise. You will realize that no matter how much you have, you still do not feel completely fulfilled. There is also the fact that the more you accumulate, the more time and energy you must spend defending it from the forces seeking to take it away. Finally, no matter how much you own, you still cannot avoid death, which inevitably means losing it all. But what if you could free yourself from the fear of loss?
- The higher way to do this is to seek the true non-attachment to the things of this world. This comes from realizing there is a higher goal to life, namely the growth in consciousness. Once you overcome the selves and attain higher awareness, you will allow your higher self to be in control of your life, and with higher awareness all things are possible. You realize that you, of your selves, can do nothing, but that higher awareness within you, your own higher self, is the true doer. With higher awareness all things are possible.
- For most people, the selves manages to divert their attention from the true path. When people become aware that having material possessions will not fulfill them, the selves manage to convince them that what they really need is the power to control their destiny. Some people engage in a quest to seek ultimate power on this Earth so that they can control every aspect of their lives. This inevitably locks them in a struggle against other people with the same approach. Such people are often polarized into two opposing camps, and they can spend many lifetimes fighting for their cause, even the “ultimate” cause of the epic fight between what people have defined as good and evil.
- Again, people can spend lifetimes on this quest, until they finally realize one of two things, namely that it is impossible to gain ultimate power and control or that having such power still would not satisfy their longing for something more. This realization can cause people to move to an entirely new level.
Beyond the material world
When you compare the stages outlined above, you will see that they are all based on the same characteristics:
- You are focused on your own – separate – self, centered around the physical body and the selves.
- You are focused on a sense of lack, meaning that you are incomplete in yourself and need something from outside yourself.
- You are focused on getting what you need from the material world.
- You are focused on comparing yourself to others, thinking you are better than others if you have more possessions or power than they do.
As a co-creator matures, he or she gradually begins to realize that the material world cannot be all there is to life. This is when a person becomes open to the possibility that there could be a world beyond the material world and that you might have some form of continued existence in that world after the body dies. It becomes possible that your conduct in this world might have an impact on what happens to you in the afterlife. This is usually when a person is awakened or converted to a religious or spiritual approach.
The selves that are afraid of losing control would rather that this conversion did not happen and that you remained focused on the material world. A religious conversion is always a blow to the selves. Other selves take the approach that: “If you can’t beat-em, join’em,” and they will seek to use your religious conversion to keep you under their control.
We might say that the stages outlined above were the material stages of your growth, and we can now outline some of the religious stages:
- The lowest stage is represented by the black-and-white thinking, which makes people believe there is only one true religion. Only members of that religion will be saved, which means that by the mere act of being a member of that religion and following its outer requirements, your salvation is guaranteed. When a lifestream is first awakened to something beyond the material world, it often believes in the claims made by one of the so-called mainstream or orthodox religions, and it believes it is better than non-members. This can lock people in a religious version of the struggle between relative good and relative evil, and this is a dangerous trap because the selves make people think they are doing God’s work, and thus they can deny the need for self-transcendence.
- Such people go through the death of the body with the firm belief that they will immediately enter Heaven. It is therefore quite a shock to the lifestream when it is confronted with the reality of reincarnation. Some lifestreams refuse to let go of the dream, and in their next embodiment they fall right back into following an orthodox religion. Some go to the same religion while others believe there must be another one that can fulfill the promise that membership guarantees salvation. Some lifestreams have to be reborn into a great number of different religions before they finally accept that there is no automatic salvation.
- The lifestream now realizes that it is not enough to simply be a member of an outer organization but that you have to meet a set of individual requirements. The highest outcome of this process is that you realize that salvation is determined by your state of consciousness.
- The selves often manage to make a lifestream believe that if only it meets certain outer requirements, it will qualify for salvation. This causes many people to focus on doing good works, seeking to buy their way into heaven by doing what their religion prescribes. Some seek status or position in a religious organization as a way to buy their salvation. Some even go into the blind alley of seeking to fulfill the selves’ need for power through a religious organization. After all, if you are the highest representative of God on Earth, the selves can feel it has near absolute power on Earth.
- People play these games with a keen sense of comparison, thinking that if they do more good works than others, their salvation will be guaranteed. Eventually, a lifestream will have had so many experiences of having to re-embody despite its good works that it lets go of even this dream.
- The highest potential for the next stage is that the lifestream takes full responsibility for its own salvation and recognizes that higher awareness requires one to discern between the relative “truth” of the selves and the non-dual truth of higher awareness.
- Most lifestreams are not quite ready to take full responsibility. They let their selves talk them into going into the gray thinking described in a previous discourse. This causes some people to deny the validity of all religion, which leaves them in a kind of no-gods land, often for several lifetimes. Others go into one of the many variations of a teaching that does not require you to discern. One example is that if you are gentle and kind, you will be doing the right thing and will be saved.
- While this is different from seeking to buy salvation through good works, it is a similar mechanism of thinking that by not being judgmental or by cultivating a certain approach to life, one will be saved. The problem is that this “higher” state of consciousness is defined by the selves – meaning the mind of separation – and not by higher awareness. It can never lead you to Heaven, no matter how adept you become at pretending to be a good or spiritual person. It is simply the selves’ judgment after appearances, appearances that are defined by their own relative definition. The selves have now defined what it means to be a spiritual person, and this definition can never lead you to higher awareness. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult for sincere spiritual seekers to admit this fact and admit that their spiritual quest has been misguided.
This stage is a very critical stage on the spiritual path, precisely because a lifestream can stay stuck here for many, many lifetimes. Such lifestreams will often go through the death of the body being firmly convinced that they will be saved. They are severely disappointed, but if they are not willing to take responsibility for their salvation and discern between the relative truth of the selves and higher awareness, they cannot move on.
Some come to believe that it is okay for them to re-embody on an indefinite basis, and thus they are no longer disappointed by not being saved. Some believe that they voluntarily return to Earth to hold a spiritual balance and bring spiritual gifts, and this makes them even more convinced that they don’t need to change their approach to the path.
People at this stage are so very close but yet they remain completely unreachable to a spiritual teacher. If only they would turn the dial of consciousness a little bit, they would see the greater truth, but the selves have managed to make them firmly convinced that they are so spiritual that they don’t need to change their perspective. They are often as unreachable as a cave man, yet they are firmly convinced that they are far above the cave man and everyone else.
From fear to pride
When you compare the religious stages, you see that they actually share some characteristics with the material stages:
- They are still very much focused on the selves, and we might even say that at each stage people are seeking to use their religion to “save” their selves. The difference between this and the material stages is that people now have a sense that there is something outside the selves, namely God or Spirit. They still see that God as being outside themselves, and thus they are outside his kingdom. As a result, they are vulnerable to the selves’ claim that they have to meet certain outer requirements in order to enter the external kingdom.
- People are still focused on a sense of lack, meaning that they believe they are spiritually incomplete in themselves and need a savior from outside themselves.
- The difference is that they now realize they need something from the spiritual realm rather than something from the material realm. While this realization represents progress, the problem is that if you think the “something” from the spiritual realm can only come to you from outside yourself, you are really no closer to receiving it.
- Many spiritual people are still focused on comparing themselves to others, thinking they are better than others if they appear to be more spiritual according to the definition of their church and selves. While it is better to strive for spiritual qualities than for material possessions, it is only a marginal improvement. If you seek spiritual qualities for the sake of making the selves appear acceptable to God or better than other people, you are still engaged in an impossible quest. No matter how spiritual you might appear according to an earthly standard, you are no closer to entering the actual kingdom of higher awareness.
When people are stuck in the material stages, they are often primarily motivated by fear. When they move into the religious stages, they begin to be more motivated by pride. This does not mean that these people have not made progress. Having overcome fear is an accomplishment and does take you to a higher level of the path. Rising above fear does not mean that you are home free—as many spiritual seekers believe.
As you rise above fear, the chameleon of the selves will change color and will now stop trying to control you through fear-based means. Instead, they will become much more subtle and seek to divert you through pride-based means. The more immature seekers often fall headlong for this manipulation and eagerly embrace some kind of belief system that makes them seem better than others. The more mature spiritual seekers can see that it is essential to be on guard against pride. Pride will remain a temptation as long as you are in embodiment on Earth.
There is only one way to avoid the subtle traps of pride, namely to increase your alertness and your ability to see through the games played by the selves. No one can do this for you, not even the best guru. It is an ability that you must cultivate on your own, for only you can counteract the subtle games that your personal selves play in the deepest recesses of your mind.
An essential key to unmasking pride is to realize that all pride is based on a comparison that leads to a value judgment. Neither the comparison nor the value judgment can take place in the mind of higher awareness. A comparison is always a relative measure, meaning that it takes place in the realm of duality that sets up a scale between two relative extremes. This is the judgment after appearances, meaning conditions defined by the dualistic mind.
Only when you have a relative comparison, is it possible to add a value judgment and say that one of the relative appearances is better than another relative appearance. Only then is it possible for your selves to create the belief that because you fulfill certain worldly requirements, you are better than other people and your salvation is guaranteed.
In higher awareness there are no relative comparisons. There is only one evaluation: Do you live up to your highest potential as a co-creator, or do you fall short of the mark? If you do live up to your potential, you are being the unique individual you were created to be, and there can be no comparisons or value judgments in uniqueness. If you do not live up to that potential, higher awareness does not judge you. It does everything it can to help you fulfill that potential as quickly as possible.
Higher awareness is not blind, but it never seeks to make an imperfect condition permanent. In contrast, the mind of separation seeks to create imperfect conditions by setting up its own relative standard. Once it has defined itself as being better than others, it wants to sustain their imperfections in order to maintain its own sense of superiority. The selves seek to raise up themselves by putting other people down.
This game has been played by many people for countless lifetimes. It is quite possible for the selves to use a religious or spiritual teaching to play this game. Some of the people who think they are the most religious or spiritual are caught in this game and are simply using their spiritual teaching – and especially their status in an outer organization – to build the belief that they are better – meaning more spiritual – than others..
The strait gate and the narrow way
Consider a statement made by Jesus:
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew, Chapter 7)
We have now looked at the true meaning of the wide gate and the broad way that leads to destruction. It is the way of the selves. What is the strait gate and the narrow way that only few people find? It is the true way of self-transcendence whereby you follow another of Jesus’ mystical statements:
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John, Chapter 3)
Being born again means that you are reborn into a new sense of identity. Instead of identifying yourself based on the duality consciousness, you now accept your true identity in higher awareness. This new sense of identity will be completely unfathomable to the selves, as Nicodemus’ question demonstrates.
The selves will seek to interpret it literally so the only solution is that the conscious self realizes we are talking about a spiritual rebirth that requires the death of the selves and a departure from their dualistic reasoning. Being born of water means that you attain mastery over your emotions – the water element of your being – and therefore master fear. Being born of the spirit means that you attain mastery over your thoughts – even going up to your identity body – and thus master pride. Only then can you enter the kingdom of higher awareness.
That which is born of the flesh – meaning that it springs from the duality consciousness – can never inherit the kingdom. Only that which is born of the Spirit can enter the kingdom, and that means the conscious self—when you identify yourself as a co-creator with higher awareness.
The wind blowing where it listeth symbolizes that when you attain the mind of Christ, you no longer follow the “logic” and “rationality” of the mind of separation. Neither your selves nor the forces of this world can predict – and thus cannot control – what you will do. You will be following the higher logic and rationality of the Christ mind, which is utterly unfathomable to the dualistic mind.
Many spiritual seekers on this planet have already begun this process of spiritual rebirth. The process will become so much easier when you realize that the core of your being is the conscious self, which has the ability to identify itself as anything it chooses. If you walk the spiritual path while still identifying with the selves, you will find it very difficult to let go of the selves’ illusions. You will be fighting a constant battle because you will be thinking that if one of your selves dies, you will die.
When you consciously step outside the selves’ mental prison, the path takes on an entirely new dimension. You now realize you are much more than the selves, and thus you can let one of the selves die without feeling that you are dying or even losing anything. You can quickly come to realize that the selves – and their dualistic beliefs – are limiting your true being. Letting one of the selves die is a liberation and being reborn into a new identity is the ultimate liberation.
For you to step on to this higher level of the path – which we might call the spiritual level – you will have to deeply contemplate the meaning of Jesus’ statement that the kingdom of God is within you. You must come to see the fallacy of the selves’ claim that any conditions in this world can guarantee – or prevent – your salvation.
You must take full and final responsibility for your own growth by realizing that the only factor that determines your salvation is whether you have the Christ consciousness or whether you still have elements of the duality consciousness in your container of self.
You will need to contemplate the very fact that salvation is not an outer condition bestowed upon you by an external God or an external savior. No one can save you for you. Salvation is an inner condition whereby you attain a sense of oneness with your higher self.
How can you be in the kingdom of God while maintaining the selves’ sense of separation from God? It simply is not possible, thus only when you attain the Christ mind’s sense of oneness can you be in the kingdom.
Of course, this sense of oneness with has an Omega aspect, namely the sense of oneness with all life so that you no longer seek to raise up yourself in comparison to others. Instead, you have attained the total selflessness – or perhaps we might say the total selfishness – of knowing you are one with all life. You only truly raise up yourself in seeking to raise up all life.