I am sure through all philosophies and belief systems the idea of the ‘Self’ must be more than a bit confusing. The usage of words can only confound further an easy understanding of what transpires when a small ‘s’ self transforms into the big ‘S’ Self. It comes down to simple identification, but until the experiences associated with being the Self are known, then all the self is left with are concepts describing a state of being that it is not familiar with. The words used to label and define these metaphysical and transpersonal experiences can only be interpreted by the brain – and it likely has multiple words and definitions and meanings that it has in memory whose usage may be quite diverse.
I have attached a lot of words to the pre-awakened Self such as ‘fiction’, ‘dreaming’, ‘unconscious’, ‘sleeping’ and ‘scripted’. These words are of little use however if it is the unawakened self that is reading them. I think also it confuses the reader into believing that perhaps there is a reality prior to and after awakening that is completely different. Reality here is the terrain of the body – the perceptions of this reality are what is dramatically changed.
I am going to attempt to break this part of the ontology down so that there is a better understanding of what you are dealing with before, during, and slightly after awakening happens for you. For lack of a better word or phrase, I am going to use the term ‘historical self’ to give you a point of reference for who and what you are. This term has been used before by others, but it encapsulates nicely that there is a continuum of awareness from birth to liberation should you make it that far. I know much of the information here is repeated in other essays, but that repitition will only serve to penetrate into pre-established beliefs.
Before awakening you are a ‘who’. After awakening you are a ‘what’. You will still be ‘who’ you are to your closest friends and loved ones after awakening, but you will be aware of ‘what’ you are, and will identify with that more and more as you evolve. ‘Who’ you are is still necessary as long as you are interacting with other historical selves not awake. Who you are is the long list of attributes accumulated during this lifetime, such as personal information, beliefs, cultural leanings, societal pressures, etc. It is the historical record of your mundane life – who other people see you, define you, and believe that you are. You may be awake and know that this ‘script’ is a work of ‘fiction’ because you and everyone you know has been ‘asleep’.
It is a ‘script’ because for the most part you had little to no input into your own story. Your name, all of the things in your environment, the majority of your beliefs – all these things and more were given to you, labeled for you, and defined for you by your elders, teachers, society, peers and media. Anyone honest with themselves will admit that original thinking is not the norm for the vast majority of humanity. The script is ‘fictional’ because it is based upon a very limited awareness of what reality is, what you really are, and that both are the perception of the brain that the Self is identified with. As long as you reside in the brain, experiencing the world as the body, then that is your point of reference. You are ‘asleep’ because the brain’s point of reference is fictional. It’s reality is a dream.
Reality is a dream because the brain sees the form and not the substance that animates all forms. We know that forms are an illusion because of modern physics. If you had a big enough microscope, and looked into it turning in a 360 degree circle, all you would see is the building blocks of these forms. Every ‘thing’ is made up of the same particles, which are made up of the same subatomic particles, and finally made up of the same whatever that subatomic particles are made up of. We have not made a microscope big enough yet to see the very smallest base building blocks. This means your body is made of the same thing as any object in your field of vision. Every thing has the same material as its compositional parts.
What is real, or of import is what animates all these building blocks into the various shapes that we perceive. What animates these forms or bodies is so diverse that no two things on this planet are exactly the same. To be exactly the same objects have to occupy the same space. It is so much more than no two snowflakes being exactly alike. No two anything are exactly alike. This should make even the daftest of those amongst us curious as to what this animating force is. And this would be the case if we were taught to be that curious about the world around us…but we are only taught to be model citizens and insatiable consumers. There is no other path to waking up besides a recognition and exploration of that animating force. At its basest level it is religion and philosophy. At its middle level it is mysticism and discipleship. At its advanced level it is Self awareness.
The historical self is present throughout the journey to awakening. In its drowsiest awareness we call it the ‘ego’. In its most advanced state of awareness we call it many different labels such as ‘Self, Witness, ‘I Am’, ‘Christ Consciousness’, ‘Higher Self’, etc. It most usually is capitalized in the advanced state of awareness to represent first person identification. When you are experiencing life as the ego it does not mean that you are unconscious in the brain. You are still the one looking through the eyes, and hearing with the ears, etc. The issue is that you are passively allowing the brain to do the interpreting and perceiving for you – not because you are wrong or being bad – but because you have not evolved to more advanced states of awareness.
The self that I was at 14 years old is the very same Self that I am today. I was a small ‘s’ self at 14 years old because my brain did the interpreting and deciding/creating for me. It was normal and natural for it to do so at that stage of my personal development. The Self that I am today does not identify with the body’s perceptions and interpretations. These functions are still taking place in my brain, but I do not identify with them as being ‘Self’ or me. Waking up does not end the brain’s functioning, or its chemical reaction to the external experiences that it perceives. I still experience the body’s anxieties and fears – but I have the ability to not identify with them being my own reactions to the experiences that I am having. There is no way incarnated to disengage from the body’s reality. All you can do is know what belongs to you, and what belongs to the brain.
What makes awakening so difficult is that transition from asleep to awake. During this stage of development reality splits into two. It can be very chaotic for a Self to keep juxtaposing from Self to self – back to Self into self – you get the idea. It is like the Self is shedding a skin which is the passivity it experienced with before. It enters a phase where both its perceptions and the brain’s are shared within the body. You have to have a brain to actively think, too. Just see if you can imagine both the Self and the self – one actively thinking, the other passively allowing the brain to do its thinking – both present. That is the last and most subtle illusion. Because if the Self is present doing the thinking, then the other thinking is not the self – but the brain. Remember that the self and Self are the exact same animating force in a human body – one is just passive, and one is active.
The space that you sat in within the brain for decades is a very comfortable space, and a resting place that is so familiar to the self that the Self can and will return to it in a moment’s distraction and find itself in comforting passivity. It has billions of years practice being passive. This is why disciplines can be so helpful in giving the Self more experiencial time to create a new state of awareness pattern of being active. Evolution will eventually get you awake – it is the direction it is headed towards. But recognizing as early as possible an ideal in being actively aware can and does speed up the process quite a bit. In the least it makes the terrain much less uneven. The mechanics of this process is not very mysterious at all – the historical self identifies less and less with the brain’s perceptions and more and more the Self makes its debut on the world’s stage. The implications of this some are discovering and exploring right now.
The trick to waking up is to not get too attached to the wording labeling it and defining it. It is a great liberation to see your small ‘s’ self expanded to a big ‘S’ Self. It is amazing to experience and ultimately identify with the animating force behind all of creation rather than the dull interaction with the bodies it enlivens. It is wonderful to set aside everyone else’s definition and interpretation of who you are to become what you have evolved into. It will be a joy to finally be an actual historical Self that has no expiration date or boundaries to what it might explore and discover. The brain can only experience what is in its limited environment. The Self is not limited to how far it might be able to sense and experience and communicate. There really is no comparison between what the brain has to offer and what the Self is once it awakens.
~ DC Vision