Consciousness, Soul and Self-Image

Distinguishing Factors

  • The terms consciousness and soul have been used interchangeably as “…the many accumulated ideas back of his (our) existence.” The Complete Soul applies this definition to the self-image as, all that is contained between our hat and our boots (Whitman). 
  • In contrast, the soul is the immutable core of our being—eternal, unaffected by our changing beliefs.
  • The self-image treats the soul as an abstraction.
  • Without a conscious connection with the soul, our self-image continues to be plagued with the dull but incessant knowledge that something essential to our being is missing.

Understanding Consciousness

  • Much of our spiritual literature treats consciousness as the sum of our beliefs, that if we want to change our life, we change our consciousness. The problem is, we do not hold beliefs randomly. Like planets revolving around the sun, our beliefs revolve around a nucleus, a center of gravity. This can either be the self-image or it can be the soul. The composition of our consciousness reflects this nucleus, this center. You cannot change consciousness without experiencing a change in your center of gravity.
  • Jesus referred to this shift in focus as a new birth. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” 
  • This shift is represented in the ritual of water baptism. One goes in the water as one thing and comes out another. Meditation facilitates this shift. We turn down the intellectual input and open the intuitive portal to the soul.
  • Jesus wasn’t suggesting a long, drawn out process. His approach was to let go, to become as a trusting, open-minded child to the dawning of this new birth.

Who You Think You Are, Who You Think You Can Be

  • The self-image is a composite of who you think you are, who you think you should be and, in your more positive moments, who you think you can be.
  • When we are dissatisfied, we seek a spiritual technique that will move us from who we think we are to who we think we should be. This doesn’t work because we never leave the confinement of the self-image.
  • Real change comes when we move our center of gravity from the self-image to the soul.
  • Common model of the individual: spirit, soul and body. Spirit is changeless center. Soul is evolving. Body is the earthly vehicle.
  • New model: soul, consciousness and body. Soul is changeless center. Consciousness is evolving. Body is the earthly vehicle.

Consciousness Building

  • Learning is the deliberate act of enhancing or changing the ideas that make up our consciousness. In spiritual terminology, we refer to this learning process as consciousness development or consciousness building.
  • Of the two kinds of consciousness building (intellectual and intuitive), the most common is that employed by the self-image (intellectual). This type of learning involves the development of a skill-set through study and practice.
  • Those who receive the spiritual nudge engage in a different kind of learning (intuitive), one that requires an in-depth shift from the self-image to the soul.  With this type of learning, the soul employs introspective meditation as the primary means of opening the intuitive portal.

Particle or Wave

  • Using Einstein’s example, we can think of the intellect as particle-based and the intuition as wave-based.
  • Failure to open the intuitive portal leads to the false conclusion that more particle-based intellectual information will advance them spiritually. What’s needed is not more time and study, but greater intuitive sensitivity.
  • We think of the soul as a wave expressing through a world that thinks and communicates in the language of the particle-based intellect. Failure to open the intuitive portal leads to the false conclusion that more particle-based intellectual information will advance us spiritually.
  • Is being “taught by God” wave-based or particle-based learning? How do these types of learning relate to the two types of water in Jesus’ discourse with the woman at the well?
  • What does our longing to have and be more signify?
  • What is the source of the clamoring distractions that interfere with our experience of the soul? Why don’t the world’s wells contain the thirst-quenching waters we crave?
  • How can the very thing we are seeking be guiding us all along?

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