On average, day-to-day living, if one is caught up in it in a very personal way, can be considered a life lived in the lower self, unconsciously. In the lower self there is a deep sense of separation between a person and everything else in their experience, often felt as a kind of loneliness and a kind of longing. The higher self points to our greater connection to all that exists, and works with a more universal and symbolic language. Experiencing the higher self requires greater awareness, greater consciousness, and is the territory of almost all spiritual pursuits. Dreams can often contain elements from both the lower-self experience (a dream that perhaps seems like a very real situation in one’s life), and the higher self as a guiding influence, a reflection on the lower-self reality. In the multi-part discussion that follows, a dream that is incomplete in its details but clear in its resonances unfolds the entire process of the journey toward the higher self. It outlines the process of “dreaming into knowing,” and offers insight into what that experience might entail.
John: At two in the morning I was trying to write down a dream, trying to pull out the threads. I wasn’t able to draw out much; I could really only recall a sense of the images themselves, but not the specifics. But I could understand the differences in the images and could correlate them. The best way I know how to say this is that the overall feeling is that of a contrary indicator; in other words some images portrayed a feeling contrary to what ordinary physical existence is like when you’re operating in the lower self. With the contrary indicator, I am able to notice the presence of a particular image that either doesn’t belong and/or it’s an image that did not seem relevant to the situation or it’s not relevant to the external, physical situation the way one might normally perceive it. It’s a presence or image that sits above all of that. How the image is construed determines whether we are relating to life in the personal side, i.e., the lower self, or from a connection to the overall, from the higher self. For me it correlates as a symbolic image that I have a sense of seeing.
Others may experience this as impulses or reflections of some sort, intuitions, maybe a sense of a guidance from somewhere within, or a certain calling of the heart that reverberates a bit. I believe we’re all subject to the same dynamics, but how we relate to them is different. For those who are largely unconscious, i.e., living mostly in the lower self, they are not aware of the higher influence and tend to believe that thoughts they have are their own. The lower self-awareness is still powered by the will of the creator even under such conditions, but the filters of the ego and the lower self present so many veils of separation that one is left largely unaware of the message.
The lower self will never admit that it is not individual and separate (it operates from the ego). For that reason, the lower self can’t directly see or even acknowledge that there is an external presence being exerted upon it. A person’s thoughts actually derive out from that external presence, but when viewed through the lower self, the ego claims those thoughts as its own. Gaining awareness that something behind the scenes is exerting a subtle influence is the beginning of the return journey of the soul.
To begin with, one doesn’t have such awareness. One can go through life having to make all these choices and deal with all this stuff as if it’s a maze. But then, slowly, one starts to acknowledge that there is a subtle influence at play. And that can begin the journey of awareness, of seeking answers, and it’s a journey back toward the soul.