The vast majority of all psychopathology and human suffering occurring in the West is due to alienation from a full experience of one’s own self.
Exceptions to this rule are victims of severe physical or mental trauma, debilitating disease, head trauma, starvation, and living in high risk environments. However, even in these latter cases, suffering would be much relieved through a process of self-recovery leading to total Self-Realization.
There are many levels of self that must be fully experienced in the process of increasing self-knowledge leading to control and removal of inappropriate anxiety, sadness, depression, grief and fear.
The most important level of self that has to be experienced for people in the West, is a full experience of one’s emotionality. EVERYONE has degrees of emotional blindness due to upbringing, environment and emotional trauma suffered in childhood through early adulthood. The effects of these traumas have to be worked through and the resistances to full emotional awareness and expression themselves have to experienced and integrated. Once the resistances, for example, to feeling love for another, or feeling sexual attraction for another, or feeling depression or grief, are fully experienced through practical and easy-to-learn methods, then the underlying impulse or emotion can be fully experienced and the energy of that full emotion experience is added to the self.
The self becomes more integrated, larger, more capable of enduring negativity and using it to find and reown deeper and deeper layers of self, adding increasing areas of self-awareness and growth, and most of all, self-knowing. The ability to be self-aware increases and one finds one’s own self-experience to be as interesting, exciting, and energizing as any external experience.
As we progressively reown our emotionality, we become more centered and powerful, more certain of oneself during every moment of daily existence, and also more creative. Increasing familiarity of who you really are as opposed to your ideas of who you are, or your ideals of who you think you should be, make you less divided to yourself, and an integrated self—a full experience of who you are as a human being within a family and societal matrix—just makes you more powerful, increasingly powerful and integrated, and this integration leads to increased creativity. Just as a master chess player or professional tennis play can tell you, the more you know of the subject of chess or tennis, the more powerful, accurate, and creative your game will become. Just so with self-knowledge: The more you know yourself, the greater your personal power and creativity.
Self-knowing after the emotional body level has been thoroughly explored and known is much, much easier. You can more easily master your body by truly knowing it and its limits. You can master and destroy addictions. You will be many, many, levels more powerful and sure of yourself in dealing with the opposite sex, your boss and coworkers, and to them, you will seem to “glow” with an energy, an outgoingness of personal honesty and deep self-disclosure. You will have no fear of personal disclosure on any level and no longer have any need to hide anything from any other person, unless a situation absolutely requires it.
FROM THIS LEVEL OF SELF-REALIZATION WE CAN TURN MORE DEEPLY INWARDS TO DISCOVER AN UNSEEN WORLD OF THE DEEPSELF, INCLUDING YOUR INNER VISUAL SENSE, THE SO-CALLED THIRD EYE CHAKRA REVEALING YOUR INNER EMPTINESS OR VOID, THE LIGHT OF CONSCIOUSNESS, THE ABILITY TO WITNESS THOUGHTS, FEELING INTERNAL ENERGIES CALLED CHI, KUNDALINI, SHAKTI, AND THE BEGINNING OF FEELING ONGOING BLISS STATES, EXPERIENCING YOUR OWN AURA AS WELL AS THOSE OF OTHERS.
This level of self-exploration is not for everyone, but it is essential for anyone who wants to know his or herself at every level of complete self knowing. Here the seeker will be taught appropriate meditations, methods of self-inquiry, self-visualization, different levels of no-awareness and no self-experience underlying one’s experience of the world and oneself as a human in that world.
In a sense, most who enter this world will consider it to be one of magic, exhilaration, energy healing, flows of prana, awareness of flowing Shakti and the Life Force.
This is an immense region of self, and not necessary for exploration for most, but only for those who love self-exploration.
Lastly, there are the deepest levels of self, which at this level deserve the use of a capitalized Self instead of “self,” denoting the human and personal self.
These two deepest levels of Self have various names. The first is called Self-Realization, or realization of the Manifest Self, the self of the Life Force itself, the raw experience of sentience, of being alive. This is the I Am state of Abraham’s God, and of Jesus. This is the state of identify with your Life Force itself, the divine in you. This is the realization that God and you are like two peas in a pod—identical, just the form varies depending on your body and its tiny separation from God: you are in a manifest form of a body and God is not except as He/She is experienced in you, in your heart of hearts. You and God are one. Hindu’s call this Krishna Consciousness or realization of the Atman. Christians call it Christ Consciousness, or God realization.
This is the layer of Self that gives full knowledge of your existence, your power, and the experience of ecstatic love, both for others and for yourself. It includes the basic experience of Knowledge itself and culminates in what Hindus call SatChitAnanda, or Knowledge of one’s own existence, experienced in deep bliss.
Existence/Knowlede/Bliss. If you have been a seeker all your life, it is this you have sought: the full experience of the Manifest Self as Knowledge, of unbounded existence, Self-knowing the fullness, joy, and bliss of your existence.
Again, there are appropriate types of meditation and external modalities used to explore this divine-in-you level of Self.
Lastly, as one grows older and physical and mental powers decline, one my wish to fathom the last layer of Self: the Unmanifest Self or Witness. This Self is the non-existing Non-Consciousness side of the Manifest Self. It is this level of Self that is aware of the world and your Manifest Self within the world. Hindus call this paraBrahman, and it is entirely beyond Consciousness or human existence, and as such, it is not touched by life or death, by sword, fire or water, and not touched even by Consciousness.
You can never know it as an object of your knowledge, because the witness lies before knowing. The witness principal lies before knowledge itself. The Witness is that which knows, feels, experiences, loves, and gives life its awareness. This is the ultimate state, the final state.
Yet one also learns that both of these True Selves, the Manifest Self and the Unmanifest Self or Witness, are one. They are flip sides of the dichotomy of knowing and unknowing, and together make up the Alpha and Omega of existence, experience, and life both human and divine.
However, I teach all my students not to yearn for the final state of the Unborn Witness too soon. And instead, if so motivated to go deeply into self-searching, to stop and spend a lot of time at the level of the Manifest Self of God realization, for at this level life is happiest, the most exhilarating, and you are at your most powerful and can really make an impact on the world if you so choose. And, at this level you have already mastered mastered and integrated the level of human emotions, suffering, and desires, and there is immense power in you that prevents a knee-jerk running from suffering or any kind of distress. From this place of power you could say the world is at your feet because the world and what it has to offer is rather trivial compared to your own experience of the divine within.
All this will be taught to you step by step, if you so desire and you persist. This is not instant enlightenment. It is a recognition that your Self is enormously complex, deep, and mysterious, and an effort to fully discover and become your fullness of Self requires time, perseverance, and discipline. Few are expected to even want to go all the way. That is why I emphasize the level of exploring one’s emotional body, as mastery of this level alone brings more peace than you thought possible, more power to live fully and openly as a human, and an easy mastery of anxiety, fear, and sadness/depression as these are the first emotions/moods that most people describe having difficulty with. Depending on your own level of psychological damage you have already experienced that has led to symptoms and dysfunctions in this area, it can take months to several years to reach a good level of integration on this level alone.
But not even one minute of such self-exploratory self-investigation is wasted. Every minute adds to your ability to draw closer to yourself and to your Self, which is the Self of all.