How do you get started seeing the selves? By recognizing that you have already started. If you step back from the concept of a spiritual path and spiritual teachers, one might say that you really cannot teach anybody anything.
The selves form a filter that colors how you see everything, as if you were wearing colored glasses. One could also say that the material universe is a “device” for giving you a certain type of experiences, it is an experience machine. It is the selves that define what kind of life experience you are having and it is the selves that make these experiences seem real and important.
Selves set people apart from others
For example, many groups of people identify themselves by having certain characteristics and they feel those traits set them apart from, often in opposition to, other groups of people. The consciousness of higher awareness is designed to ensure oneness between Creator and creation and between all self-aware co-creators. When you see yourself as an extension of higher awareness, you see that the characteristics on Earth are ultimately not real and thus should not be a source of conflict between people. Jews are not truly Jews and Arabs are not truly Arabs. They are both co-creators, as are all other people.
As long as people look at life through the filter of the sense of identity based on separation, they will be completely identified with the characteristics that define their group here on Earth. One can say that the Jews will never make peace with the Arabs. Peace will only be possible when both sides begin to look beyond the characteristics that spring from separation and instead start identifying themselves based on their spiritual identities. Human beings can never make peace with human beings; only spiritual beings can make peace with spiritual beings.
When you truly understand the Earth as an experience machine, you realize that it is, from a certain perspective, meaningless to say that there should be peace between Jews and Arabs. One of the types of experiences that the Earth is designed to facilitate is precisely that you are in opposition to other people. From the overall perspective of free will, one can say that Jews and Arabs are having the exact experience they want to have, and from this overall perspective there is nothing wrong with them having that experience. The labels “Jews” and Arabs” are simply man-made labels that justify people having the experience of being against someone.
The Jews have taken the consciousness of separation very far towards one extreme by defining themselves as being fundamentally different from any other group of people, even as being God’s chosen people. The Arabs have defined themselves in opposition to this view, which means there will be a struggle between them. This struggle will make the lives of all who are enveloped in the conflict more difficult. Given that the consciousness of humankind is rising, the struggle will become gradually more pronounced, as you see not only in the Middle East but around the planet.
What enables people to identify themselves with these earthly characteristics and divisions is the selves. It is the perception filter of the selves that makes it seem real that you are not a universal spiritual being but a human being who is defined by the characteristics of a group on Earth.
From the overall perspective of free will, lifestreams are meant to take embodiment on Earth in order to have a certain type of experience. It is not necessary for a lifestream to go into the duality consciousness and fall. A lifestream can embody on Earth without losing its sense of connection to something beyond the Earth. There is nothing inherently wrong in a lifestream going into separation and having the kind of experiences you have as a separate being—by feeling you are in opposition to or competition with other separate beings.
However, when you do go into separation, it is inevitable that you come to identify yourself fully with certain earthly characteristics. You are, so to speak, completely immersed in a human identity. You might think God created you as a Jew and that there are only Jews in heaven. You are so identified with earthly conditions that you think they can even define what heaven is like. In reality, of course, heaven is completely beyond earthly conditions, but only higher awareness can show you this.
The safety mechanism that prevents a lifestream from being lost in separation for an indefinite future is that when you define yourself as a separate being, you will inevitably do this based on the duality consciousness, and it always has two opposing polarities. A separate being will always be in opposition to something or someone, which makes your life a struggle.
Over many lifetimes, some lifestreams will have enough of this experience and want something more. Some will want a life on Earth without a struggle, but given that this is difficult to attain, most will eventually begin to realize that there must be something beyond the consciousness of the struggle.
It is when lifestreams realize they want to transcend the struggle that they become open to the real, spiritual path that the ascended masters offer. In the beginning, a lifestream will see this as an outer path, but you will eventually realize that the path really is an inner path because it is up to you to change your consciousness. The simple reason is that the material universe is an experience machine that reflects back what is in your consciousness, and thus your life circumstances cannot change until you change your consciousness.
It is when people reach this point that they become open to seeing the selves. Why can’t you teach anybody anything? Because a lifestream descends to Earth in order to have a certain type of experience. It will continue to have that type of experience for as long as it wants to. Then, and only then, will the lifestream open its mind to the possibility of having a different experience.
It would do no good for a spiritual teacher to try to teach a lifestream who is not ready. There is no point in teaching a lifestream about the selves as long as it is fully immersed in having the experience that it is against others. This lifestream is having the experience it wants and it is the selves that make the experience seem real. Until the lifestream has had enough of this experience and opens its mind – based on experience not intellectual understanding and theory – it simply will not be receptive to teachings about the selves.
Today, millions and millions of people have come to the point of having had enough of suffering and conflict, and they are somewhat open to a way beyond this. Many spiritual teachers plus people in the fields of psychology and self-help are increasing their awareness of the selves.
The people who are open can begin by recognizing that they are open because they have already started to see the limitations of their selves. They have already gotten started seeing some characteristics of their selves.
The way to move forward is to recognize that the central element of the path is self-observation. You make progress by becoming more aware and by applying this awareness to your outer situation and to your inner situation. Many people have asked themselves: “Why does this keep happening to me,” and they have then realized they are attracting certain situations to themselves because of their state of consciousness. Many people have experienced that by overcoming a certain limiting attitude in themselves, they no longer attract a certain type of people.
The next step is to look at your inner situation and ask yourself why you continually feel a certain way, why you think certain thoughts. You can also try to step back and consider what is your general approach to life. For example, do you have a sense that this world is limited, that there are forces trying to take something away from you or that God does not want to give you what you want? This is what we might call a deficit approach and it is a hallmark of the consciousness of separation.
This is not talking about intellectual knowledge. It is good to start by acquiring intellectual knowledge about the selves, but nothing will change until you actually see the selves in yourself. Nothing will change until you have an Aha experience where the conscious self suddenly experiences that: “Oh, this is a self, but I am more than this aspect of the self.”
Seeing the selves of other people
When you first start learning about the concept of the selves, it is easy to understand this intellectually and it is easy to see how other people are blinded by their selves. For example, you might look at some of the prominent figures of history and see how they made dualistic decisions that led to disastrous results.
Seeing other people’s selves really doesn’t do anything to change your own consciousness. It is only when you see something in yourself that you actually shift to a higher state. Seeing the selves of other people might help you see the patterns of the selves, but it also might serve to take your attention away from yourself.
Again you have to allow yourself and others to go through the phases of the path. You can’t immediately let go of the selves because it would be such an abrupt change that you simply can’t handle it. You have to start somewhere, and becoming able to intellectually grasp the selves is a first step. Some people can indeed use a teaching about the selves to go around identifying the selves in other people, but again this is a phase.
Your personal selves is what defines the life experience you are having. As long as your life experience is defined by the selves, you will experience some form of struggle. It is just a matter of time – sometimes lifetimes – until a lifestream has had enough of pointing the finger at others and begins to wonder why its own life is not changing. This will eventually lead to the experiential realization that: “My life is not changing because my consciousness is not changing.”
The selves are always seeking to build a sense of superiority and in doing so they often put others down. It is impossible for higher awareness to give a teaching that the selves cannot distort. It is perfectly possible for people to take the teachings about the selves and use them to build their sense of superiority because they are able to grasp these sophisticated teachings intellectually. It is possible for people to use the teachings to put other people down in order to make themselves feel superior.
You simply cannot give a teaching that cannot be used this way. Look at how Jesus gave a completely non-violent teaching and how people have twisted it into justifying all kinds of violence. How can you be following the commandment to turn the other cheek and at the same time condemn a fellow Christian to be burned at the stake? The selves can accomplish this easily.
People can get started on seeing their own selves by becoming aware that they already have some momentum on seeing the selves. If you are open to a spiritual teaching, it is because you have some contact with your higher self. If you will make an effort to become more conscious of this contact, you can quickly get a sense that it is never right or justified by higher awareness to put down another human being. You can come to sense that these attempts to raise yourself up by putting others down are simply not coming from higher awareness, and this means you can now begin to identify them as coming from the selves.
Higher awareness is meant to ensure oneness. When you recognize that all human beings come from the same source, you realize that if all are part of the “body of God,” then if you put down one person, you are putting down the whole, which means you are putting down yourself. This will never raise your own consciousness.
You could take some time to sit down in a quiet place and ponder the following question: “Where do I really want to go in life?” What do you actually want to attain as a spiritual student? Or more specifically: “Do I want to continue to struggle or do I truly want to get beyond the consciousness of the struggle?”
The simple fact is that it is perfectly possible to use a spiritual teaching to intensify the struggle. Just look at what some people have done with the teachings Jesus gave 2,000 years ago. You can have an inner sense of what is from oneness and what is not. All people actually have this sense, although many clothe it in the dualistic terms of right and wrong.
A central characteristic of the selves is that they can use relative logic to justify anything you want to do. For example, all human beings – even psychopaths – have some inner recognition that killing another human being is not acceptable according to a higher standard. In order to kill another human being, you have to have some justification, either before you do it or afterwards. It is always the selves that deliver this justification, and even the teachings of Christ have been used to justify killing others.
Now take this and turn it to your own inner situation. If you want to continue to struggle, then you can rest assured that your selves will deliver all of the reasons you could ever need for remaining in the struggle. Then you really don’t need higher awareness. It can’t help you to struggle; it can help you transcend the struggle.
The devil doesn’t care about winning the struggle – for the devil actually realizes it is unreal – but only wants to keep you in the struggle indefinitely. Higher awareness will never justify you struggling against or putting other people down. This kind of justification can only come from the selves.
You can use this as a guideline for exposing your selves—unless you want to continue the struggle, in which case higher awareness will simply wait until you have had enough of it, and then offer you assistance again.
Now go one step further. When you are trying to raise yourself and put others down, what do you do? You judge based on appearances. You have accepted a standard based on the unreality of the duality consciousness and the conditions in this world. Your selves have given you the justification that this standard has some absolute authority and thus even God judges the way you do.
There is no way higher awareness could present you with an argument that would disprove your selves’ reasoning. That is why you cannot teach people anything. They will have to have a certain amount of experiences before they have had enough and are ready to go higher.
It is possible to become aware of this tendency to judge everything and it is possible to ask yourself what this actually does for your state of mind. As long as you feel you have to judge other people, you are constantly in a state of tension. You are constantly struggling to make sure that no one can be superior to you and that you are never proven wrong. This is a constant struggle, and it means you can never, ever have peace of mind.
Now ask yourself what you really want. Do you want to continue to experience this struggle? If you do, go in peace (or rather un-peace) and know that higher awareness does not judge you. If you do not want to struggle, then realize that it is precisely the selves that take away your peace. The only way to peace is to come to see through the selves’ illusions and dismiss them as no longer relevant to the kind of life experience you want to have.
The selves form a perception filter. Once you step into it, you experience life through the filter. That means you are trapped in the selves’ filter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The selves form a state of consciousness, and it will determine how you experience life. If you have had enough of that life experience, you need to change your own consciousness, not that of other people. You do that only by looking at yourself and coming to see a pattern, then deciding: “I no longer want to experience life through that pattern.”
Again, take the example of a person wearing yellow glasses. When you put on the glasses, everything you see has a yellow tint. You could compensate for that by physically changing the things you look at. For example, you could paint everything inside your house in different colors so they looked the way you want even though you are wearing yellow glasses.
Now imagine that all people are wearing yellow glasses, and they get tired of seeing the ocean as being green. They decide to produce vast amounts of dye to change the color of the ocean. Theoretically, this might be possible, but now how do you change the color of the sky? Again, in some areas people have produced so much air pollution that they have changed the color of the sky. Wouldn’t doing this require a constant struggle to control the environment?
Wouldn’t this constant struggle to change something outside yourself keep your attention away from asking the question of why everything looks yellow, discovering that you are wearing colored glasses and then deciding to just take off the glasses? Overcoming the selves really is a matter of coming to see how the selves color your perception, seeing that there is a higher way to perceive the world and then consciously deciding to take off the glasses of the selves, or at least one aspect of it.
This is the full power of the teachings about the conscious self. Once you see a pattern, identify it as coming from the selves and make the decision that this is not who you are, at that moment you are free from that aspect of the selves. You don’t need to spend years or lifetimes doing penance or even invoking spiritual light. You simply need to clearly see the pattern and distance yourself from it.
Until you do see the pattern, no amount of penance or invoking light will do it automatically. Of course, invoking light can remove the energy that blocks your vision and thus make it easier for you to see the pattern. But you still need to have that moment of conscious recognition and decision.
Again, this is not something you can be taught intellectually. The danger of any teaching is that you can turn it into an intellectual pursuit of judging what is “out there” without seeing what is “in here.” For those who are honest about their path, they will have these real-life experiences where they suddenly feel the contrast between a certain pattern of actions, feelings or thoughts and the higher awareness within. This is when you can see that a pattern is from the selves and it is not real, and that is when you can separate yourself from it.
Most seekers who are ready for these teachings have already had such awakening experiences, it is simply a matter of becoming more conscious of this. The more you raise your awareness, the more you will pay attention to your Christ self and the more experiences you will have.
Self-observation is necessary, but it can be a tricky thing. You can find a spiritual teaching and then become almost frantic in constantly looking at yourselt and trying to live up to the outer demands of the teaching. Many spiritual people are so self-conscious, so on edge, that they seem to get no enjoyment out of life.
Certainly, they can’t see the path as an enjoyable process. They are running with their tongues sticking out, always trying to catch up to this goal, and it feels like life and the path are just something you have to get through in order to reach this elevated state of consciousness.
You can balance this by recognizing that a main characteristic of the selves is that they will attempt to take anything towards one or the other extreme. If you look at people in the world, you will see that in some areas people live almost the same way today as their ancestors did several thousands of years ago. There are literally people on Earth who have not had enough of their experience, and thus they are not open to any kind of change. This is perfectly acceptable based on the Law of Free Will. In contrast, people who are open to the path are somewhat open to change.
The next step is to become aware of what it means to change. Many people are in the mindset that their outer circumstances are the product of factors outside their control, such as God’s will. They think change can come about only by them praying to God and God performing some kind of miracle. In contrast, when you grasp the concept that the selves keep you trapped in limitations, you see that the only way to truly change your life is to change yourself.
What does it take to change your consciousness—what does it take to produce any kind of change? It takes that you mentally step back, look at your situation and then acknowledge that you do not want to continue to live this way, you want something better. This is the essence of self-observation. You acknowledge that there is a limitation and you acknowledge that you can overcome it by you doing something.
A baby comes to a point where it observes that the adults are walking and can move much more freely than it can do by crawling. It then acknowledges how limited it feels by not being able to walk and then it decides to try to walk. It makes its first attempts without in any way condemning itself for not being perfect on the first try. It simply keeps trying until it gets it. This is the frame of mind that all seekers need to cultivate, which is why Jesus said that unless you become as a little child you cannot enter the kingdom.
Of course, the selves cannot make this neutral self-observation because they see everything through a dualistic filter with two opposites that are defined by a value judgment. When the conscious self makes a neutral self-observation and sets a goal for itself, the selves will immediately try to pervert your quest by imposing a value judgment.
For example, your selves would rather that you never even came across the concept that there is such a thing as the selves and that you need to overcome them in order to ascend or have peace of mind. If your selves cannot prevent you from accepting this, they will try to make you feel that you are bad or deficient as long as you have any selves.
This causes all of us to go into a phase where we have consciously become aware of the need to change. We become aware of this through a moment of neutral self-observation. The selves will then pervert this so we go from being self-aware to being self-conscious.
What does it mean to be self-aware? It means you acknowledge a limitation, define a goal for where you want to go and then – as the baby – keep trying until you get there. What does it mean to be self-conscious? It means you take the limitation and make it seem like you are bad or deficient for having that limitation.
You then take the goal and make it seem like you are bad or deficient for not yet being there. Self-awareness is a constructive approach because you are starting where you are and striving to grow—knowing it is good that you are growing. Self-consciousness is a deficit approach because you define that you are not good enough and will remain so until you attain the goal.
The selves will try to use your spiritual teaching to abort your growth. One way is to make you so afraid of violating the outer rules that you can never relax and enjoy life. Ideally, the spiritual path should be a process of becoming gradually more free, which naturally leads to greater enjoyment of life and the path. The selves try to induce an element of risk. If you fail to live up to the standard, you are a bad student or have failed your initiations. This is not coming from higher awareness but from the selves and the false teachers.
Of course, the selves will also seek to define the goal in such a way that it is impossible to reach it. One example is that for the past 2,000 years people blinded by duality have created an idolatrous cult around Jesus, and for that matter all other true spiritual teachers. Jesus came to be an example for all people to follow, yet by elevating him to be so above human beings, the false teachers have made it inconceivable for people to follow in his footsteps.
The selves put you down for not being perfect and make you feel like you will be at a deficit as long as you are in embodiment. This is an unbearable frame of mind, but the selves do offer you some relief. They use the teachings to define an outer path so that if you do this and don’t do that, you will be a good student and can now push back the sense of inadequacy.
Of course, the price you pay is that you must constantly be alert so you follow all of the prescripts on the outer path, and this is what causes people to lose their joy. You are constantly judging yourself, and also judging others because you get relief by seeing other people as being worse than you are. How can you enjoy life if you constantly have to watch your every action, feeling and thought and compare it to some superhuman standard of perfection?
This is what causes so many sincere and well-meaning students to start taking themselves and their path so seriously that they lose their joy. This makes their selves feel secure because as long as you are seeking to live up to a standard defined by the selves, you obviously will not separate yourself from the selves. We can say that when you begin to acknowledge the existence of the selves, the selves will seek to make you follow a path that promises to lead you beyond the selves but will never do so because every step you take is still within the parameters defined by the selves.
It will take time to overcome the selves
When you first hear about the concept of the selves, you might think it is possible to become free of selves while still in embodiment. Yet you will never fully overcome the selves while on Earth. It will help you to accept this and make peace with the process.
The selves love to take you on a wild goose chase where you think you are moving towards a valid goal, but in reality you are simply running on a treadmill that keeps you trapped in the selves’ illusions. One way the selves seek to pervert your path is to give you the impression that you can one day overcome the selves and that you will be imperfect until you do.
They then give you an outer path where it seems like if you do all these outer things right – and never look at the beam in your own eye – you will one day magically be free of selves. You will be free of selves without separating yourself from them through neutral self-awareness.
Consider what happens to a person who accepts a spiritual teaching about the selves and then follows an outer path until the person comes to believe that it is now free of selves. What could be harder than to show an aspect of the selves to a person who is firmly convinced that it no longer has an selves?
The person would have the perfect excuse for ignoring what a spiritual teacher would say or for explaining away certain behavior as not coming from the selves. None are more blind than those who are looking through colored glasses but think they see reality as it is. That is why it is prudent to never allow yourself to believe that you are free of selves while still being in embodiment.
We can talk about the selves dying. Here is where more mature students need to grasp a delicate consideration. It is perfectly true that you can come to a point where you separate yourself from a particular self and then that self literally dies. At that point, you are free from that self.
You cannot free yourself from the selves in one giant move because it would destroy your sense of continuity. You walk the path to higher awareness by letting selves die, one at a time. As Paul said: “I die daily.” There is a reality to the fact that the selves can die, but it is only one self that dies.
This is where it gets even more subtle because the selves are masters of twisting words. The duality consciousness is relative so it can always impose an interpretation upon words that obscures the higher reality behind the words. It is a matter of how you define the selves.
Many people have the sense that the selves are what makes them obviously selfish and self-centered. Certain world leaders were willing to kill millions of people in order to maintain their power, and most spiritual seekers have overcome this frame of mind.
There are certain selves that you can overcome. Many seekers are indeed free of the lowest selves. Does that mean they are free from all selves? Not if they are still in physical embodiment!
One important aspect of the teachings on the conscious self is that it is pure awareness, it is a limitless, unbound spiritual being. How does an infinite being fit itself into a physical body and outer mind that is so limited? It does so by accepting that there is a higher purpose for doing so. That purpose is a growth in consciousness, but once you go into embodiment, you forget this. Instead, you come to think that you are here to do something, to accomplish something, to change something on Earth. You are here to make a positive difference.
What now happens is that when a lifestream enters the consciousness of separation and creates the selves, then the selves will pervert the very drive that causes your higher self to send the conscious self into embodiment. They will pervert this by defining specific changes that you need to accomplish before you can leave the Earth behind. As long as you believe this, you will not be able to leave the Earth behind until you have either accomplished those changes (which will never happen) or see them as illusions.
The changes defined by the selves will always involve changing other people, which then runs into the consideration of their free will and their right to have the experience they want until they have had enough of it. This will only happen when people have had enough experiences and come to an inner resolution that they want something more than this.
The selves will make you believe that what these other people are doing is wrong and thus you need to get them to change. What has now happened is that your exit from this planet depends on the choices of other people, meaning you are not in control—which is exactly what your selves want. In reality, nothing can keep you from exiting this planet except your own choices. Until you see through the selves’ illusions, you will not be free to ascend.
That is why Jesus, even as he was hanging on the cross, had to come to an inner resolution where he saw the futility of this. Throughout his mission he still had selves that caused him to think he was here to change the minds of other people. He expected that he would be proven right in a way all could see. It was only when he gave up that ghost, and allowed his body to die, that he earned his freedom to ascend. He earned it by overcoming the sense that he had to change the minds of other people against their own choosing.
Is the desire to improve Earth driven by selves?
Because you have created the selves, you will actually have a self with you until we are ready to leave the Earth behind permanently and unconditionally give up the need to change anything. This is subtle because for many people a major driving force for their personal striving on the path is to help improve things on Earth. This seems like a paradox, an enigma.
Let us talk about Alpha and Omega. The Alpha is that the conscious self was created by the higher self to descend into embodiment and accomplish two things. One is to experience the material world from the inside and the other is to co-create the kingdom of higher awareness on Earth from the inside. The Alpha aspect of your mission is that you are here to produce positive change. This is the “what” aspect of your mission.
The Omega aspect is the “how” aspect, meaning how you produce positive change. You do so by being an open door for higher awareness and being completely non-attached to how other people respond or do not respond to the light streaming through you. This is the difficult part and this is where the selves have managed to pervert the quest for all of us.
When you become aware of the spiritual path, you reconnect to your deep inner desire to see positive change on Earth. This is valid. Your higher self, the ascended masters and higher awareness do want to see positive change, but they do not want to see changes that force the free will of anyone.
The selves pervert the how aspect of your mission by setting up a value judgment that specific conditions are wrong and others are right. They then make you think that you are here to bring about the right conditions and destroy the wrong conditions. They furthermore make you believe that in doing this important work, it is acceptable to force the free will of other people, rather than simply demonstrating that there is a higher way.
Once you have come to believe in this illusion, you will be pursuing specific changes on Earth instead of simply being an open door for the light. You will be attached to seeing these changes come about, as many people are indeed attached to seeing their religion, spiritual teaching or political philosophy be accepted by all.
You cannot give up this illusion all at once. You give it up in bits and pieces until you finally see the futility of it and give up the last element. There will be an element of the selves that remains with you. When you give up the last ghost of the selves, the conscious self simply will not be able to fit itself into a physical body and you will ascend. You will leave behind the Earth and any desire to produce any specific results on this planet.
It is possible to be in embodiment and give up the vast majority of the selves so that you are almost fully focused on being the open door for your higher self. This will take a lot of introspection and surrender because you will have to learn to see through the most subtle selves. You can quickly come to grasp this intellectually, and it is valuable to understand it. It will take time to actually see it and separate yourself from the very subtle selves, which are personal to each one.
It can indeed be helpful to accept that you will have selves with you until you ascend. This can help you overcome the illusion that you are meant to become the perfect spiritual student according to an outer standard. It can also help you avoid taking the path so seriously that you lose all joy.
Instead, you can come to see the path as an ongoing process and you can enjoy each step of the process instead of always waiting for an ultimate outcome. Of course, the selves always have two extremes. You can also use this teaching to reason that you can now take your time and not be so concerned about the selves. You can be running too fast but you can also be running too slow. The Buddha talked about the Middle Way where you are constantly observing yourself but without going into the extreme of dualistic self-consciousness.
There is a risk in giving a direct teaching on the selves. The selves will seek to use it to get you to judge both yourself and others. The more aware people can free themselves from this tendency and come to accept that as long as you are sincerely striving to transcend one self at a time, you can allow yourself to feel that you are doing the best you can. You can then accept the message behind the saying: “Well done, though good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things and I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter ye into the joy of the Lord.”