Does it mean that the real self is somehow missing or elusive or that it is in hiding somewhere and invisible or that it has been forgotten? To find something, it needs to have first been lost or buried or forgotten.
In fact one of the meanings associated with the Arabic word for ‘man’ or ‘mankind’, (Insaan) is ‘forgetfulness’. This indicates that our real self exists … it is around somewhere … but that maybe we have forgotten about it and act as if it isn’t here.
So our Real Self may in truth always be present, as many gnostics claim, but it does not necessarily appear in our lives automatically.
In order to find and experience it in any conscious way, we need to find a way to”remember” or become aware. This needs our focused attention, time for quiet reflection, to be still and it requires the ability to differentiate what is real from what is the illusory false self or Ego.
So where better to start than to STOP and pay attention. Whenever we become still and are present and aware in the moment, the Real Self starts to show itself.
Deep down we are naturally drawn to what is real, to pure goodness, to stillness and peace. We get a deep sense of satisfaction when we practice “Letting go and letting God”. In fact when we are not still we experience the opposite. We are agitated and feel driven to look for ways to re-establish a sense of peace, even if only temporarily.This agitation could be seen as a calling from the Real Self to do something about making our way back ‘home’.
Being still, in focused awareness, is the key to allowing ourselves to be guided by the calling from within. This can open the door to deeply listening, to rediscovering our true self, to remembering and ultimately to true peace.
You don’t need to tell that to a child. He is there in full presence and awe.
We have simply covered up this delicious way of being over time as we have grown.
Yet it is right here in the moment, that our real and essential self exists and now it is waiting for the opportunity to reveal itself to us.
We simply need to find a way to calm down the chattering mind, silence the thoughts, the judgements, the analysis, the fears, the incessant wanting … and be right here, right now.
It all sounds very simple and nice and that’s all easy to say – you may say – however sometimes complications can arise!
When the big ‘R’, Resistance is part of the equation, sabotage sets in and the Real Self can be prevented from revealing its wonderful and awe-inspiring brilliant treasures by the covering of layers and layers of frustrating egoic darkness.
We may indeed resist opening to that which is most real in us! Our mind can be our worst jailer. We may have locked ourselves up inside a box of learned and internalised patterns, limitations and judgements. Finding it hard to surrender means the ego is protecting itself and is afraid that it might die and become nothing, of no importance. As long as we continue to hold the belief that we are separate and that we have to struggle and strive to bring about whatever we want in life, to be this or that, to feel fulfilled, we are fighting a one-sided battle with the great non-constructed ‘isness’ of being, our true and complete self , the universal One Adamic Self who sees through many eyes.
The true self needs no protection or defense. So if we make a conscious choice to trust in the process, despite our fears, and to completely submit, even for a moment, there is an opening for our true self to flow forth and transform everything it touches, opening the way to further surrender and alignment with true peace and joy. The real self carries within it the perfect essence of trustworthiness and essential well-being.
“That which is real cannot be threatened, and that which is unreal does not exist.” ~The Course In Miracles
Meditation and mindfulness are two ways by which we can connect with the real self. We can make a conscious intention to silence the mind whenever it starts to drift, gently bringing it back in quiet contemplation of the present moment . It can be quite a good idea to give the mind a ‘job’ so that it can remain satisfied in ‘doing its job’ for you whilst you ‘be’ in the stillness. For example you could direct the mind to take control of the task of simply letting the thoughts, that are drifting by, be like clouds in the sky, leaving you free to imagine yourself in the depths of a vast ocean, deep, silent and very still. Using meditation or relaxation music can really help to take you to a still place as you focus on the sounds and nothing else.
Some people like to focus on a candle flame, or a spot on the wall, or a part of the body. This placing of focus on one thing, putting all of your attention there is often a good way of silencing the mind, enough to allow an opening to the treasures of what the Real Self contains.
When we are coming from fear we are not coming from the real self
When we are not willing or able to identify or connect with the Real Self we tend to fall into a negative rather than positive view of the world and of everything that happens to us or around us in this world. When we are coming from fear we are not coming from the real self. We will tend to see the worst in things and people, rather than the best, to see weakness instead of strength, what separates rather than what unites. We are anchored to fearfulness rather than to openeness, trust and unconditional love. We miss the joys of inner beauty because of our focus on the surface. Life is approached from a mechanistic need to ‘fix’ the problem rather than a holistic and all inclusive harmonious embrace.
Spend time paying attention to your reactions. Ask yourself the question “Who does this belong to?”. Maybe the thought, habit or pattern of behaviour … the energy, isn’t even yours. Being aware gives you the opportunity to acknowledge and release it. We can find and connect to the Real Self by ‘appreciating’ and being in a constant state of gratitude and awe.
Appreciation turns the heart. It turns it towards the Real Self and opens us to the nurturing and nourishment and infinite potential it contains. The more often we practise appreciation, the easier it becomes and the more frequently our heart will open to give and receive pure and unconditional love.
We will see things more positively, we will trust outcomes and let go of attachments and pain. Beneath all the troubles we see on the surface our real self exists as an untouched, untroubled reality. The self who is doing the loving is bigger than the self who is afraid.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation, ‘being in the now’ practices – all support the finding and receiving of the real self, that which we are, this loving, expansive, pure being, which once found, automatically transforms, harmonises and integrates everything in and around us, our interactions and relationships.
“Mindfulness means moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness. It is cultivated by refining our capacity to pay attention, intentionally, in the present moment, and then sustaining that attention over time as best we can. In the process, we become more in touch with our life as it is unfolding.”
Myla & Jon Kabat-Zinn
Such practices provide the doorway to the Soul. They shine a light on the higher, all inclusive energy of the Real Self which then, with even greater brilliance, suffuses us with harmony, balance and peace. We start to operate from a view point that embraces wholeness. We become witnessers, able to detach from the false self of thoughts, conditioned behaviours and emotions that would otherwise be left rampant to recklessly control our lives.
Letting go of the mind’s attempt to control the situation, with all of its opinions, judgments, fears and resistances we are more open to being able to directly experience life as it is, with a clear perception, compared to the veiled or obscured view of how we might (not) like or need it to be.
“The purpose of therapy is not to remove suffering but to move through it to an enlarged consciousness that can sustain the polarity of painful opposites.”
— James Hollis
Detached witnessing gives us the freedom to choose whether or not to act on our thoughts, beliefs and emotions. We develop ‘furqan’ which means the ability to be able to distinguish and differentiate … we can apply this to understand what is objective reality and where the false self projects its many mental and emotional dramas.
Our true power lies within the authentic self, not in our ego identity.
Along with the practice of surrender, our submission to the Divine Essence within, comes the gentle release of the all too often serious Ego self that is not based on reality.
(… E-go … E-going … E-gone …..!)
Surrender is the antidote to suffering and the deeper you let go, the more joyful you will be. Surrendering to God, to the Highest Source of your being essentially means allowing … and opening yourself to being guided and supported by the highest of energies in every act, thought, intention and choice you make.
Surrender has a great effect on the body too as you find yourself deeply relaxing into a gentle wave of peace that suffuses every cell, every molecule and all the spaces in between.
Wishing you love, light, harmony and peace