Overcoming the selves is not a mechanical process but a more creative or conscious process. The selves always have two opposing tendencies. There are always two extreme reactions to any spiritual teaching.
In this case, one extreme reaction is to want a precise, mechanical formula: “Show me a mathematical formula I can apply so that when I have taken a certain amount of steps, I am guaranteed to have overcome my selves.” You will see this throughout history. Mainstream Christianity was taken over by this mindset. People believe that by belonging to the only true Christian church and following a set of outer rules and doctrines, it is guaranteed that Jesus will appear and save them when they leave the physical body behind.
For some people it is a very rude awakening when they have spent an entire lifetime striving to be “good Christians,” leave the body and then find out that they have not qualified to enter heaven but have to reembody. That is why you see many people in today’s world who are very angry with the Christian religion. Of course, their anger shows they have not taken responsibility for themselves.
Before the Catholic Church suppressed them, a number of religions offered people a path of initiation where people were taken through a series of initiations aimed at purifying and raising their consciousness. This is a valid approach, but it can never guarantee that you actually raise your consciousness.
It is completely possible to become a 33rd degree Master Mason, for example, without having overcome the selves. It is indeed possible to go through the process and only build the sense of superiority of the selves. This doesn’t mean such initiations are useless. They work for some people but it is inevitable that others will use them to reinforce the selves’ sense of superiority rather than overcoming it.
The other extreme reaction is to demand total freedom from any spiritual teacher. There are many people who gradually become ensnared by a very clever ruse, namely that you should be able to free yourself from your selves entirely on your own without needing anything from outside yourself.
The selves’ perception filter forms a closed loop, a self-reinforcing spiral. It will even seem as if the material universe itself validates the selves’ perception that you really are a separate being and that you can make it to heaven by becoming so sophisticated as a separate being that God simply has to accept you.
Another variation of this is that you think that because you chose to enter duality, you have to correct your own mistakes. In a sense, you have to correct your own mistakes by undoing the choices you made, but the fact is that no one can ever undo the choice to enter duality without having help from something outside duality. Unless you have some connection to higher awareness, which gives you a frame of reference, you will never escape the dualistic logic, only reinforce it.
Cleaning up your own mess
It is possible to accept responsibility for your own growth but then decide that you want to clean up your own mess before going back to your spiritual teacher. The selves are indeed subtle, and the higher you climb on the path, the more subtle they become. Although the selves becomes more subtle, you also have more experience with seeing through the selves’ illusions. The higher you go on the path, the better will be your connection to your higher self and spiritual teachers.
Until you have established a firm, conscious connection to your higher self and spiritual teachers, you will be in a precarious condition. There are many people who have found a spiritual teaching, even one talking about the selves, and have followed it for a time while making actual progress. Then they come to a point where their selves manage to take them into a blind alley.
One of these blind alleys is the belief that you don’t need a spiritual teacher and that you can figure it out on your own. You even see in India the concept that a person goes into a cave in the Himalayas and spends many years dealing only with his own thoughts, then to emerge enlightened.
It is another seeming contradiction that while a teacher cannot learn a lesson for you, you cannot make it out of the duality consciousness without a teacher who can give you a frame of reference. If you have grown up in a dark cave, how will you even know there is something outside the cave? Once you see a light, you will know there is an alternative to the darkness.
This is a point many beginning students misunderstand. They think a spiritual guru should be able to do something for them, even that they cannot make it on their own. That is why over a billion Christians believe they need an external savior. There comes a point on the path where you need to recognize that the selves will always seek to pull you into one of two extremes and that only higher awareness can take you beyond the scale with two extremes and a middle.
A guru cannot do anything for you, but the guru can give you a frame of reference from outside your selves’ perception filter. This is what can enable the conscious self to see that a certain pattern is simply coming from selves. I is not real, it is not who you are. This is the foundation for you making the conscious, creative decision that you no longer want to experience life through this filter.
There comes a point on your path when you need to begin identifying the two extremes, namely black-and-white thinking. These extremes are the easiest to see because they will, by their very nature, become more and more extreme in order to differentiate from their opposite. It is not difficult for the more aware people to begin to identify that when it comes to any issue, there will be two polarized viewpoints and that both of them will be influenced by the selves.
The next step is to recognize that the two extremes can be put on a scale or line where they form the outer points. This does not mean that the midpoint on the line is not affected by the duality consciousness. Every single point on the line springs from duality, and the failure to see this is what causes many more mature seekers to be trapped in gray thinking.
You need to recognize that the only way to escape duality is to reach for something that is completely beyond the scale, something that is not found on any point of the line. That something is higher awareness or the Christ consciousness.
Many people completely close their minds to higher awareness because they are so focused on defending and validating one of the dualistic extremes (or destroying the opposite extreme). Becoming less aggressive in defending your viewpoints does not mean you have transcended duality. You do this only when you see that every point on the line between the extremes is also in duality.
You can teach yourself to first identify the extremes and then identify the compromise. You can open your mind and ask your higher self and spiritual teachers for the higher awareness perspective. When you are truly open to seeing something beyond the dualistic scale, you will indeed get this direction.
As long as your mind is not open, your selves will so easily cover over this direction or justify why you should not heed it. This is the essential dilemma faced by the spiritual teachers of humankind. People simply cannot hear our directions until they are open to it. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
The challenge of seeing the teacher
Many spiritual people don’t actually believe this is true. Some will say that they have been open but a spiritual teacher has not appeared to them.
This is because when you first find the path there is a genuine experience where you make contact with your higher self. You experience something that is outside the perception filter of your selves. This gives you a frame of reference, but the experience may just be enough to help you, for example, recognize an outer spiritual teaching.
You are still so identified with the perception filter of the selves that you see even the outer teaching through the filter. For example, when people first hear about ascended masters, they take their perception filter and project it onto them, wanting them to conform. In many cases people’s filter has been based on the ancient view of the angry and judgmental god in the sky and people want spiritual teachers to be like that.
This remote god is a complete projection of the extremes of the selves. Just look at how this god is portrayed in the Old Testament. In some cases, he is an angry and judgmental god that tells the Israelites to smite their enemies, in other cases he is the personal magician that solves their problems or validates them as being his chosen people. It is a complete illusion to think that the real God would conform to such a dualistic view.
When people first hear about ascended masters, they think we will fill the role they have assigned to God. Many students diligently study teachings and give decrees and invocations, and they pray to the masters for some kind of guidance or direction. The way they look at the masters and the way they expect them to respond to their prayer is completely colored by the selves.
What would happen if an ascended master appeared to a person exactly as he expects based on his selves’ perception filter? Would the master not thereby validate that perception filter? Would not the person be likely to reason that this is not a filter but that the selves show him absolute reality?
Would this not make it much harder for the person to ever become free of the selves? None are more trapped by the selves than those who think they have no selves—with the possible exception of those who think the ascended masters have validated their selves’ perception.
As an ascended master you are completely dedicated to bringing people to higher awareness, the consciousness of oneness. When the masters look at a particular person, they clearly see the dualistic illusions that must be overcome. They will – if the person is open to it – challenge those illusions. But they will not validate the illusions by conforming to them. If a person is completely identified with the image of, for example, the angry god in the sky, the masters cannot appear to such a person.
If people want to have a more direct relationship with the masters, they need to look at their motivation. If they are motivated by the selves’ desire for validation or justification, they simply will not make contact with the masters. The option is to look at the selves’ illusions and question them. You can question your image of God and of ascended masters.
The masters are not seeking to hide from people. They will work with anyone who has enough of an openness in their minds that they can work with them without reinforcing their illusions. But if appearing to someone would trap them even more firmly behind the veil of illusions, they obviously will not appear. If you do not “see” them, it is not because they are hiding from you but because you are not sufficiently open that you can perceive the masters as they really are.
We have all been programmed to think that God is a remote being up there who is only speaking to or through very special people. The masters would gladly work with any person on Earth. Again, the more mature students need to begin to grasp the basic modus operandi of the selves.
There are always two extreme viewpoints in the duality consciousness. Even the extreme viewpoints of black-and-white thinking can form one polarity and the opposite will be gray thinking. Again, the selves can distort any teaching and this presents a true spiritual teacher with a certain dilemma, which basically is that any teaching given can be perverted by the selves and thereby become even more of a prison.
The ascended masters have the task of helping people rise beyond the consciousness of separation and attain the consciousness of oneness, the Christ consciousness. A lifestream needs to have a certain amount of experiences with the duality consciousness before it becomes open to instructions. That is why you have the saying that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. This also means that until the student is ready, the ascended teacher simply is not allowed – by the Law of Free Will – to appear to a student.
The situation of the masters
The ascended masters are far beyond the traditional image of the remote God and even traditional images of spiritual teachers. The masters have ascended by becoming one with higher awareness, which means we know the Creator’s purpose and the importance of free will.
When the masters see a lifestream who has gone into duality, they accept this as a choice made by that lifestream. They also realize that they are not assigned to do anything for such a lifestream. The material universe is designed so ingeniously that the cosmic mirror will send back to people whatever they are sending out, and as long as people are below a certain level of consciousness, this is the only way they can learn. They must experience so much struggle that they themselves come to the inner resolution that they have had enough and want something more.
You might say that the masters are like instructors standing along a gigantic pool where a group of children are playing in the water. They all have a breathing apparatus so they can breathe under water and many of the children spend all of their time exploring what is beneath the surface and even building elaborate structures. The masters are simply watching this.
Once in a while, a child will stick its head above the surface of the water, look around and discover the masters standing there. At that moment they are allowed to offer this student something that can help it step onto the path that will lead it out of the pool. The masters cannot and will not force a student to take the lifeline. Some children look at the lifeline and decide they are not ready. The masters then let them dive back under water and simply wait for the next time they stick their heads above the surface.
Other children take the lifeline and promptly pull it under water. They might play all kinds of games with it. For example, they might brag to other children that they are special because they have this lifeline. They might try to use it to tie other children to themselves. Or they might pull on the line and demand that the masters come down to them under the surface. None of these games will have any effect on the masters. They will simply stand by and wait until a student once again comes to them and is open to what they actually have to offer.
The masters do not judge anyone
We have all been given the image that God is judgmental, and as a result many people feel that if we do something to offend God or God’s representatives, we will be condemned forever. This is another example of the selves’ dualistic reasoning. If the masters really condemned us, who would they be condemning? The masters are in the consciousness of oneness so they see that we are one with them, meaning they would be condemning themselves.
God has given you self-awareness and free will. God is not in any way threatened by anything you can do with your free will in the material universe. The masters are not threatened by anything you can do.
By the Law of Free Will, the masters can only help us as we ask. The masters simply stand by the pool and wait until you stick your head above the water. They then offer you a lifeline, but if you decide to take it back under water, they simply let you do this and wait until the next time you surface.
Why do they allow this? Because for each time someone pulls a lifeline under water, that lifeline is now visible to those beneath the surface. What does a lifeline hanging down say? It says: “There is something up there.” Sooner or later someone will find a lifeline – an outer teaching – and decide to follow it to see what is actually up there. That is when they make direct, inner contact with the masters instead of following an outer teaching or guru.
Many people will think the ascended masters make very strict demands of their students and that if we fail an initiation they will be angry and judge us. Again, this is the dualistic reasoning of the selves being projected at those who are above the selves. The masters see every human being as part of the Body of God out of which they are a part.
The ascended masters love every human being, but their love is not human love. It is a love that is beyond conditions. The masters are here only to support us on our way to oneness, and if we decide to temporarily turn away from them, they simply wait until we come back.
A typical effect of the selves is that people project their own feelings onto God and the ascended masters. That is why the image of an angry and judgmental God was created in the first place. The masters look at you as an evolving lifestream on your way to oneness. They do not create some kind of predefined plan for how you should follow your very personal path to oneness.
When you are open to help, the masters gladly give that help for as long as you are open. If you decide to dive back under water, they have no judgment or opinion about this. You obviously need to go back because you need additional experiences with duality before you have had enough and are ready to transcend it permanently. The masters simply allow you to have those experiences and wait until you are again open to their help.
The masters even see that your experiences under the water are part of your path. In the long run they do serve to bring you closer to oneness—at least they bring you closer to oneness when you realize you have had enough of duality. Sometimes the people who truly immerse themselves in duality are the first ones to have had enough. Why would the masters bother judging that?
Some people will say it sounds like the masters really don’t care about us or that they are saying we can do whatever we want. No matter what the masters could possibly say, some people will interpret it through the perception filter of the selves. They will project their own perception onto the words and make them say what they think they should be saying. They will then either accept them blindly or denounce them as false.
This is the very definition of students who are not ready for a teacher who is beyond duality. As long as you think you can project what the teacher should be telling you, you are not ready for the ascended masters. They simply let you have more experiences in the ongoing struggle and wait until you stick your head above the water and decide you are willing to listen to what the masters are truly saying, not what your selves wants them to be saying.
For more mature students, one guideline is to observe their reaction to the teachings of the ascended masters. The ideal reaction is that you study the words and allow them to open your mind and heart to an experience of oneness with the masters. The ideal state for any student is oneness – gnosis – with the teacher. If you discover a reaction that is not bringing you to oneness with the teacher, you know that reaction is coming from your selves. You can then begin to observe it more closely and pick apart the dualistic viewpoints of the selves.
In some cases your selves will be arguing from one dualistic extreme, in other cases they will be arguing from a gray point in the middle. But in any case, the selves will be arguing with the words of the masters, trying to make them say something that validates a dualistic viewpoint. When you see this, you can then decide to look beyond this and look for some perspective that brings you closer to oneness.