Overself and Ego
There is a deeper level of every man’s mind which is not subject to his passions, not moved by his desires, not affected by his senses.
He has a double existence, with the frontal part of his consciousness in time and the real part out of it. All the miseries and misfortunes which may enter into the one part will make no difference to the blessed tranquillity which permanently reigns in the other.
It would be wrong to believe that there are two separate minds, two independent consciousnesses within us–one the lower ego-mind, and the other, the higher Overself-mind–with one, itself unwatched, watching the other. There is but one independent illuminating mind and everything else is only a limited and reflected image within it. The ego is a thought-series dependent on it.
It is not that there are different minds in man, but different qualities of one and the same mind in each.
What we commonly think of as constituting the ”I” is an idea which changes from year to year. This is the personal ”I.” But what we feel most intimately as being always present in all these different ideas of the ”I,” that is, the sense of being, of existence, never changes at all. It is this which is our true enduring ”I.”
As egos they are certainly individual lives and beings. Their separateness is unquestionable. But as manifestations of the One Infinite Life-Power, their separateness from It is a great illusion.
All these little minds which people the universe and are active in Nature’s kingdoms could not have come into being unless there were a universal originating Mind. They point to its existence, silently speak of their divine Source. The materialistic notion that individual centres of intelligent life could have been produced by non-intelligent ”matter” is an utter absurdity.
Because I am a conscious being I am aware of physical sensations and mental thoughts; but the consciousness which enables such awareness to exist itself existed before sensation and before thought, and this is as true of newborn babies as it is of dying men. This is what the materialistic anatomist dissecting the body fails to perceive…
That Consciousness which men seek so variously in ecstasy or despair is already there but covered up, suffocated by their own little self-consciousness…
His ”I,” hemmed in by its ignorance and limitations, is a small affair compared with the ”I” which is drawing him onward and upward through the quest and which he must one day become. His personal self, controlled and purified, kept in its place, humbly prostrating itself before the Overself, can gratefully receive even now glimpses of that day, momentary revelations that bless the mind and put intense peace in the heart…
The body’s surface organs explain the nature and reveal the qualities of things in our environment. But without the mind such explanation and such revelation could never be possible. This is easily proven. When we withdraw the mind from the sense-organs, as in deep thinking or profound remembrance, we alienate the environment and hardly observe the things in it. In other words, we sense ultimately only what the mind senses.
Consciousness is the unique element in every experience…
Why is it that so many people are so unaware of their own higher existence? The answer is that their faculty of awareness itself is that spiritual existence. Whatever they know, people know through the consciousness within them. That in them which knows anything is their divine element…
He identifies himself with all the movements of thought, emotion, or passion–and thus misses his real being.
For the intellectual type, the essence of his need is to see that he is not his thoughts, that they are but projections thrown up out of consciousness. He is that consciousness, the very knowing principle itself.
The Overself is a living reality. Nobody would waste his years, his endeavours, and his energies in its quest if it were merely an intellectual concept or an emotional fancy.
The intellect cannot know itself; it must have an object; but that which is behind it does know it. That Overself is the only entity which can know itself, which fuses subject and object into one.
… The idea that he has a higher self, the conviction that he has a soul, breaks in upon his little existence with great revelatory force, and he feels he is emerging into glorious light after a dreary journey through a long dark tunnel…
From childhood through adulthood, man passes from one change to another in himself–his body, feelings, and thoughts. The idea of himself, his personality, changes with it. Where and what is the I if it has no unbroken integrity?
The lower nature is incurably hostile to the higher one. It prefers its fleeting joys with their attendant miseries, its ugly sins with their painful consequences, because this spells life to it.
We may well wonder how animal lust, human cunning, and angelic nobility can come to be mingled in a single entity. That indeed is the mystery of man.
Keep on thinking about the difference between the personal ego and the impersonal Overself until you become thoroughly familiar with them.
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