Consciousness, awareness, self and ego. Soul and Spirit. These terms are often used in the many spiritual communities around the world. They dont always refer to the same meaning though. I thing it only fair, that I do my bedst to clarify how I use the different terms.
What is consciousness? What is self ?
Self is consciousness. Consciousness is self. Different word, same phenomenon. Weather we are talking about lower self (ego) or higher self (pure self). Spirit is another ord for consciousness and self . Soul is the deepest part of the psychic/mind. The part that is obscure for the waking mind. The part that may surfes in nightly dreams, in meditation or on psychedelics. Soul is that part of the mind that surfes when the waking mind relaxes its default mode, so to speak. Soul is only spirit in the sense that everting comes out of spirit or consciousness. Much the same way a wave, in the ocean, is still the ocean even though it temporally appears as the form of an individual wave. So far so good.
Self or consciousness is really, a medium, in which our senses and our individual relative mind, thoughts and feelings, seem to appear. Everyone have a conscious experience of “I exits”. Everyone have the knowing, ” I am” and the feeling of “me”. This is consciousness experiencing itself.
What do I mean by ” Self is a medium”? When we look closely enough we find that consciousness is really a movement, a loop. In this movement the creator gets to experience itself or the created. The loop creates the object/subject experience or duality.
When we experience unity with the divine we experience pure consciousness. Pure spirit. Spirit or consciousness experiences itself without the contraction of the localized, finite or so-called default mode of the waking state of the mind.
The experience of unity with the divine can be experienced sporadically and for longer periods of time. Eventually it can stabilize and be the default mode of existence.
When the unitive state is stabilized, the Divine, Oneness, is our experienced center of being. “I am divinity.” or ” I am Truth.” sometimes experienced and expressed as “I am God”.
This is not the end of road. It is not the state of no-self (which can not really be called a state).
No-self is a phenomenon beyond my ability to describe. No-self is, I believe, best described in Bernadette Roberts books What is Self? and The experience of No-Self. A writer and former Carmelite none and contemplative in the catholic tradition. She lived in California, The USA from 1931-1917.
” As it turns out, self is first and formeost, an unconscious experience and only secondarily a conscious experience. “
” Self or consciousness, is a passage through human existence. Consciousness is the human experience. In essence, self is what it means to be human.”
As mentioned above, our center of being is experienced as Divine, in the unitive state. In the unitive state Me, myself and I, refers to consciousness itself. Infinity, oneness, love, beauty, wisdom is either felt and/ or known to be what we are.
As an ego, me, myself and I, refers to our thoughts, feelings and sensations. We experience our self as a a separate being. Ego is the interior movement of wanting and not wanting and the frustration or ecstasy when getting for oneself or not getting. ” I think, therefor I am” or ” I feel, therefore I am.” Ego is not something to get rid of. Rather ego, is best lived, in service of the search for, who and what we really are. A healthy ego development, is the egos movement towards, what is good for self; respectful boundaries and understanding and living in accordance with ones basic needs and hopes and dreams.