Conceptualizations are mental models of reality. Conceptualizations are not absolute truth; rather, they are like stepping stones on a path to a destination not yet visited. The following are conceptualizations of certain aspects of human life as it stands at the nexus of matter and spirit.
How to Become the True Self
The true self is the complete person expressing in action, thought, feeling, and memory the best character of oneself. The true self is a conceptualization of an individual’s reality as a living being. It is a conceptualization because one’s understanding of his or her true self evolves over time, especially as one matures while in a particular embodiment and through subsequent embodiments as the soul evolves in its spiritual environment. For an individual in embodiment, being one’s true self is being the best person one can be given the circumstances of one’s life and one’s level of self-understanding.
As the soul matures while in embodiment, the person’s consciousness gradually expands to include the multidimensional nature of material and spiritual existence. In its existence in matter, that is, as a person in embodiment, the soul is learning how to use free will properly in time and space, including physically, mentally, emotionally, and at all levels of accessible consciousness. The levels of consciousness accessible to an individual varies, depending upon many factors, such as the maturity of the soul, life’s experiences, education and training, the health of the physical, emotional, mental, and etheric bodies at a given time, and other material and spiritual factors.
To become one’s true self requires an act of free will on the part of the soul in embodiment. Generally, when an individual desires to become the true self and to more fully express the goodness within one’s heart, a certain pathway in consciousness opens so that the individual senses intuitively how to take the next step. There are many steps in becoming one’s true self, and even after a person has achieved that goal while in embodiment, there are further steps in spiritual dimensions that can be taken before the fullness of God’s plan for the soul is known and expressed.
For an individual seeking to become the true self, both patience and courage are required. Patience is needed because it takes time for an individual to change his or her habits into a consistently positive direction. Courage is required because the individual in embodiment must not only explore new ways of looking at things but also to be resilient in the overcoming of impediments that stand in the way of the person achieving his or her goal.
Mankind’s Nature Is to Use Creative Free Will
All things appear to have a certain nature, or characteristic, that distinguishes them one from another. For human beings, one of our distinguishing characteristics is creative free will. Nearly everyone possess free will, and nearly everyone can create something. Whether it be playthings created by a child or outer space probes created by scientists — much of our entire life is spent in creative activity freely chosen.
Freely chosen creative activity can occur in almost any dimension of human existence, material or spiritual, and from almost any level of human consciousness. Because people are multidimensional and function from multiple levels of consciousness, there can be connections between creative activity: a yogi can use his physical body to achieve a high level of spiritual awareness, a mother can use her evolutionary instincts to know what her child needs. People are complicated and very talented, traits reflected all around in every culture and civilization.
From the perspective of the soul, one of its main purposes for being embodied on earth is to learn how properly to use creative free will to express the character of goodness given to the soul by God. When this is achieved through the integration of the spiritual and material sides of man — that is, the alignment of the consciousness of the person in embodiment with the consciousness of his or her soul — then the true self comes into being: the person in embodiment becomes the instrument of the soul.
In this ideal condition, the creative free will of the true self is used in the dimensions of time and space to express the God-given character of the soul. This is how mankind contributes goodness to the world; it is how God’s will is expanded into the material universe occupied by mankind; it is how God’s plan for the earth is fulfilled through the creative free will of human beings; it is how the soul accomplishes one of its purposes for existing.
Knowing and Doing God’s Will
It is natural for mankind to know and do God’s will. Each person has a soul; that soul was created by God for a purpose; that purpose is embedded in the character of the soul. When an individual in embodiment seeks to express the character of his or her soul in free will decisions, the individual is fulfilling the purpose of the soul on earth and thereby following God’s will.
The processes of spiritual maturity of the person and the evolution of the soul are continuous, so that, over time, the person refines his or her understanding of the soul’s character and the soul learns to make better decisions with the opportunity, energy, and talents made available to it by the Creator. Because these processes of maturation and evolution are natural, individuals have only to seek to become their true self to know and do the will of God on earth.
For those in embodiment, there are two main challenges to following the natural processes of maturation and evolution in becoming the true self. First, there is the challenge of knowing the character of one’s soul; second, there is the challenge of becoming sufficiently determined to express that character. Both of these challenges have as their root cause an excessive attachment to the lesser human ego and its limited perception of reality.
Most of the world’s great religions and spiritual teachings can help the soul in embodiment to meet these challenges and thereby free the individual to use higher levels of consciousness as tools to make more rapid progress towards becoming the true self.
The Dharma and Karma of Duty
Becoming one’s true self is the process of becoming whole, that is, integrating into one’s consciousness the material and spiritual aspects of a complete human being. A complete human being includes not just the human self in a physical body but also the soul which is the spirit of self within the human body. To be an integrated person requires conscious coordination between the physical body and the spiritual self. The spiritual self — the soul — is the guiding consciousness operating through the physical form on earth. This is how the soul learns to properly use free will in the planes of matter, time, and space. Learning this lesson is one of the main purposes of the soul being embodied.
Using free will on earth is a creative process. For the soul, using free will on earth means expressing its God-given character through the actions, thoughts, and feelings of its human embodiment. This is what people do when they recognize their true self as being a son or daughter of God: they seek to express the goodness of God within their soul through how they live their lives on earth.
How they actually do this is strongly influenced by the individual’s dharma and karma in a particular lifetime. Dharma is the expression of the soul’s character in a specific situation. Karma influences the circumstances within which one’s dharma is carried out, circumstances usually resulting from good or bad decisions previously made by the soul in this or earlier embodiments.
Duty from the perspective of the true self is multidimensional. First, there is the duty of the soul to expand throughout cosmos the goodness of the character given to the soul by God. Second, there is the duty of the soul to learn how to use free will in matter through its embodied self to express the soul’s special character. Third, there is the duty of the embodied soul to perform some task during the span of its lifetime; often this is called one’s mission in life and it can be a great or small task. Fourth, there is the duty of the embodied soul to accomplish a specific activity within a very limited condition of time and space; this is often felt as an inspired moment or some intuitive inclination to act in this way or that.
One of the interesting things about the inspired-moment kinds of duty is that sometimes its guidance contradicts what the embodied self has defined as its moral standards or proper behavior. This occurs because the level of soul consciousness or higher levels of spiritual consciousness have a broader perspective on what needs to be done to advance God’s will than does the consciousness of an individual living in the planes of matter. Although it can be difficult to do so, it usually is better over the longer-term in these instances to follow the higher guidance than to follow one’s own moral standards, feelings, or rationalities. It is sometimes easier to do this if one has an understandable conceptualization of God and the heavenly hosts and thereby can feel free to draw upon their assistance as needed.
A word of caution is in order, however. Make sure, if you seem to be inspired to set aside your moral standards, that the spiritual inspiration is indeed genuine. The human mind and emotions can generate powerful justification for almost anything, and our moral imperatives sometimes are our greatest protection from unintended misdeeds. We ought not to ignore our moral codes easily, although at times it may be the right thing to do.
God as Father, Mother, Son, and Holy Spirit
There are many conceptualizations of God, because God — if you accept His reality — is the First Cause of all that exists, has existed, or ever will exist. One conceptualization that has been found useful over the centuries for individuals seeking to become their true self is to envision God in terms of Father, Mother, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In this conceptualization, God as Father is the First Cause of creation, the law giver of principles and standards that hold the universe together in a singularity comprised of infinite parts. God the Father is impersonal and functions at the highest spiritual level of existence. Mankind can turn to and interact with God the Father when he needs the strong guidance of law, the understanding of basic principles, and the strength to do great things in fulfillment of his or her duty as a son or daughter of God.
God as Mother functions and exists in the material dimensions of the universe, giving birth to and nourishing all things in life, nature, and the physical universe. God as Mother is highly personal and accessible to all living things. God as Mother is the practical teacher of how to live and the interpreter of the Father’s universal laws and principles. Mankind can turn to God as Mother when he needs comfort, compassion, practical wisdom, and the gentle yet firm hand of encouragement in learning the proper use of free will.
God as Son is the personification of spirit in matter, such as found in the souls of man embodied on earth and in other lifeforms. God the Son is the progeny of God the Father and God the Mother, and their heir as co-creator. God the Son uses free will and God’s qualities of goodness to populate the worlds and to materialize God’s plan and will in all domains accessible to the Son. Mankind as a species and as an individual are manifestations of God as Son. As sons and daughters of God, all human beings can freely communicate with our spiritual parents and seek their guidance and assistance at any time.
God as Holy Spirit is the all-pervasive, binding force that links the creation together through love, wisdom, power, life, consciousness, energy, and evolution. The Holy Spirit is the great communicator and deliverer of inspiration and other blessings from the highest levels of spirituality to the simplest lifeforms scattered throughout cosmos. Mankind are part of the chain of life’s existence and therefore can benefit from and use the Holy Spirit to achieve the goals of God. Freely accessible, the Holy Spirit can inspire and guide the actions of even the most humble of men.
God as Father, Mother, Son, and Holy Spirit means that God is all-inclusive and everywhere to be found. There is no such thing as separation between God and man, except within misconceptions of the human mind.
The Spiritual Hierarchy
The conceptualization of a spiritual hierarchy is based on many considerations. First, there are the thousands of recorded incidents in human history of visitations from heavenly beings, including ones highly spiritual such as angels and saints. Second, there is the observable evidence of spiritual evolution within mankind himself; many individuals throughout history have been transformed in character from highly materialistic to great holiness. Third, there are many religious and spiritual teachings from all known cultures which attest to the existence of a spiritual hierarchy in heaven who serve as God’s helpers in assisting mankind. Fourth, there is the logic of a spiritual and material side of mankind, with a soul and a physical body that interact with each other and which exist separately in their own domains but also act interdependently. Fifth, there are instances in every known culture where people in embodiment have been visited by the departed souls of those with whom they were close, or by some spiritual teacher or friend with whom they have formed a special bond. And sixth, there is the reasonable assumption that God, the Creator of all things and everywhere present, all-knowing, and all-powerful, would populate the Creation with different lifeforms on different systems of worlds and within different dimensions of existence — all of which are evolving and serving some purpose referred to as God’s plan.
Many other considerations pointing to the existence of a spiritual hierarchy could be listed. However, the most important of these from a human perspective is that people throughout history have been visited and aided by spiritual beings who appeared to be representatives of God. These visitations have usually occurred in the context of the culture of the person receiving the visitation. Cultural relatively in itself does not diminish the validity of these visitations; it only strengthens the concept that God is universal, multicultural, and able to interact with anyone at anytime in a form and fashion most familiar and hence acceptable to the person being visited.
The frequency and universality of these visits and the numerous blessings that reportedly flow from these spiritual beings would seem to override the logic of arguments that these visits are figments of imagination and therefore ought to be dismissed in their entity.
From the point of view of someone seeking to become the true self, the search for and the acceptance of assistance from the spiritual hierarchy ought to be part of a daily ritual like prayer and meditation. Those who have received such blessings in the past often remark that it seems best to ask for something specific from an identified spiritual being, such as Jesus, the Buddha, Mother Mary, and Kwan Yin. Most religions and spiritual teachings have identified spiritual beings who can provide assistance to individuals who earnestly request such assistance. The assistance is not automatic, however; sometimes it requires a change in the behavior of the requesting person and sometimes it does not come at all for karmic or other reasons known only to God and His spiritual hierarchy. Nonetheless, it does not hurt the person or the soul to reach out to heaven in times of need; such outreach only strengthens the ties between God and man.
Overcoming Opposition to Becoming One’s True Self
The conceptualization here is that there are internal and external factors which can stand in the way of a person becoming his or her true self. One key to remember is that, to become one’s true self, a person in embodiment needs to express through free will the character of his or her soul through a process of gradual improvement. Becoming one’s true self does not occur overnight. The improvement of a person’s character takes time, and the factors in opposition to the expression of that character need to be addressed incrementally as they are identified by the outer consciousness.
The most important internal factors opposing one’s expression of the true self can be categorized as thoughts, imaginations, memories, emotions, and physical activities that are not in harmony with the character of one’s soul. If you identify any of these factors that stand in opposition to the character of your soul, then you need to make a determined effort to remove that opposing factor to the best of your ability. Often this takes repeated effort, so don’t be discouraged. Remember that human beings have free will and that, therefore, their thoughts, imaginings, memories, emotions, and physical activities are their responsibility. There are numerous spiritual and secular tools available to people to help in the task of gaining greater self-discipline and self-control to properly fulfill that responsibility.
In addition to internal factors, there are external factors opposing the expression of one’s true self and the character of one’s soul. External factors can be material (such as other people) or spiritual (such as malevolent entities and psychic energy). Material external factors can usually be handled personally by someone working to improve their own character. Spiritual external factors can often be handled by the individual himself through determination to stand his ground; sometimes these factors may require specialized training. In almost all religions and spiritual teachings, there are priests and others who have been trained to help people fend off negative forces from non-physical realms. Training in the use of spiritual tools is freely available. One important key in the overcoming of external factors opposing one’s true self is the power of one’s will. Every person has the right to protect and defend his or her true self. Like Gautama, touch the ground to affirm your right to be your true self. God, the spiritual hierarchy, and all of nature will stand beside you as you assert your authority and destiny to be a son or daughter of God.
Love God with All Your Heart
The greatest secret in becoming one’s true self is to love God with all your heart. There is something magic about the love that flows between the Almighty and His children. No matter how we have sinned or how many failures we have encountered in life, the love of God and His children is a constant we can count on.
The love we have for God is like an anchor that ties us forever to our Father and Mother in heaven. To strengthen that anchor, we can ask the assistance of the heavenly hierarchy to help us love God more. This can become a daily ritual, or even a constant prayer we give several times a day. The sincerity in our hearts compels a response from heaven, because the love of God — and the love for God — is the binding force that ties God together with the children of His creation.
Since God created our spiritual souls and gave it a special characteristic of His goodness, God wants mankind — individually and collectively — to discover that character within themselves and to express it creatively in their activities in whatever dimensions of existence they inhabit. In other words, God wants us to become our true self. Our reaching out to Him with our love is evidence of our free will decision to seek to do His will in our life. It is that commitment to a singular purpose of goodwill that accelerates our material and spiritual maturity so that becoming one’s true self is attainable no matter our circumstances.
The Need for Self-Control
To become one’s true self requires self-control. Self-control is necessary because every person has conditions in his or her life which stand in the way of that person becoming their true self. Whether it be psychological, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or environmental — no one is born on this planet under perfect conditions and in possession of perfect attributes: body, mind, and soul. To be human on earth necessitates the ability to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of one’s higher expectations in life. The more one is able to overcome these obstacles, the better the person’s chances of becoming the true self he or she desires to be.
But what is the common character of these obstacles? Some obstacles, like a lack of education, can be remedied by hard and consistent study. Other obstacles, like a severe handicap, may not be possible to fully repair. Other obstacles, like a terminal disease, may be incurable and will lead to a shortened lifespan.
It should be remembered that the purpose of overcoming obstacles, from the perspective of one’s soul, is not to become perfect in the material world: a perfect body, mind, emotions, and living environment. Rather, the purpose of overcoming obstacles is to train the soul in embodiment to make proper decisions under all conditions and circumstances, internal and external. This level of self-mastery enables the soul to use free will to expand God’s goodness in all planes of existence.
We Are Part of God
Every atom of our physical body, every level of our consciousness, every component of our being is comprised of the elements of God’s creation. The same seeds of life and chemical elements that evolved over billions of years on this planet to become ourselves and all other forms of life that have appeared, are now seen, or will emerge in the future are spread across the cosmos.
In a very real sense, then, we are a part of God because there is nothing that we have created that is solely the product of our own. The energy we use, the chemical elements that comprise the physical part of our creations, the consciousness, mental efforts, and imaginings, and emotions that are part of the creative process — all have their existence in God. We merely use the material at our disposal to create both things that are internal and external to ourselves.
What this means, to me at least, is that we are really extensions of God that have certain free will parameters within which we can live our lives and create things within our domains of existence. In other words, we are part of God: individually, as a species, as a manifestation of life in the universe.
Our sense of self-awareness, therefore, ought to not only be of the uniqueness we enjoy as an individual soul, but also be of a leaf on a twig, on a branch of a truck of a tree in a huge forest existing on a speck of a planet within the vastness of cosmos. When we see ourselves as a part of God, then we can more easily accept the idea that we ought not only to do God’s will but also to become God’s will. In other words, since we are part of God, we are in reality an extension of God and the alignment of our consciousness with that of the Creator is both possible and natural for us. It only requires a shift in our perception of self to see this.