Know Thy Self
Supporting you to Transform at the level of identity
Whether you consciously willed it or not, a spiritual awakening can feel messy, chaotic, even catastrophic. Not only may your external world be falling apart, your sense of identity may be unravelling also. You may be left feeling Who even is this person?? Who Am I??
What is Self? (aka, Who am I?)
There is a simple Yantra (a geometric design that one can meditate on) that offers the cleanest contemplation on this most essential enquiry; who (or what) am I?
I don't know the name of this Yantra, but I call it the Multidimensional Self Yantra.
To look at it, it appears as a blue circle, a white circle and an inner blue dot.
At the level of consciousness...
The White Circle represents all that is known (senses, meaning, intellect, matter, form, judgements, pleasure, pain, aversions, desires, action, time, emotions and anything that has an opposite), which, by its nature, is all that which changes. All the known world.
The Blue Circle represents the Knower (Awareness) of all that is (the formless, Space, Life, Silence, Unconditional Love) which, by its nature, is all that which is unchanging - the field that can not be disturbed by any apparent phenomena.
If we focus on the White Circle, then the Blue Dot at the center has the appearance of being separate from the Blue Circle.
This is the key to the Yantra.
The appearance of separation.
How does this translate to knowing our Self?
At the level of Self...
The White Circle represents all that we identify with as who I am. For example; I am a teacher. I am a mum. I am inflexible. I'm pretty average at sports. I am depressed. I am enthusiastic. I am an introvert. I am ugly, I am beautiful today, and so it goes.
If we continue to reference our Self from the orientation of the White Circle, then we are colluding with this realm of consciousness and reinforcing its validity on what is true in every moment.
Our thoughts, words, actions and behaviours are aligning to meet the collectively agreed upon beliefs that this (limited) consciousness can grasp.
The Blue Circle of Self can not be adequately expressed with English words. The Ancients of India for example, had the consciousness to see, perceive and articulate this realm of the unformed, unchanging quantum field of Self and developed words (mantra) that reinforced and validated THIS level of consciousness. In fact, the mantra re-creates this perception of Self that is not separate from the whole.
How does turning inwards help?
Heading to your Core...
It is an essential first step. At a certain point in our lives, the White Circle of our "I am"-identify, and how the world ought to be in relation to that, doesn't stack up. In fact, sometimes it completely falls apart.
It can arrive as a generic felt sense of unworthiness, incompleteness, imperfectness; a gnawing discontent that we will never be satisfied or satiated; or it can be the heavy hammer of fate driving us out of our normal confines (accidents, health crisis, separation, loss).
What we have turned to in the past for comfort, security or distraction, no longer aids us, and very commonly, causes further distress (this is when we typically turn to psychotherapy to help us get our wheels back on).
While this falling apart can feel distressing and even traumatic, there is a blessing to be found, if we are willing to do the work and confront our limited perception of Self.
We have the opportunity to orientate towards the field of awareness (Blue Circle) with Curiosity and Compassion (the essential ingredients of Mindfulness).
In a Hakomi session, we bring our attention inwards, towards our internal present moment experience, and start finding ways of resourcing our Self that brings resilience and growth and new opportunities.
More essentially, we are aligning with what's here now and learning to be with what ever arises. Rather than resisting (or actively fighting against) reality as it is showing up in the moment, we are allowing this moment to reveal itself, just as it is, no matter what!
The Blue Dot of this Yantra is being attended to. We are moving towards a sense of Self that is individuated and is able to start embodying her sense of purpose and authentic expression in the world.
Mindful, body-based psychotherapy can bring us into coherence with our Essential Self. We are able to feel the expansive qualities of compassion, curiosity, clarity, creativity, calm, confidence, courage, and connectedness.
But for all its benefits, psychotherapy traditionally stops here. At the Blue Dot.
While we may feel more resourced, resilient and competent, there may still be the echos of a Separate Self psyche in the quiet moments longing for connection and peace with something more enduring and an embodied sense of 'I am whole'.
Now we are getting into the territory of recognising our True Self, and this next step requires at the very least, an enquiry into our collective human condition and experience.
It can be extremely beneficial to cultivate a Spiritual Practice (Sadhana), an orientation to Ultimate Truth Teachings (the Blue Circle), and a burning (intense) desire to truly Know Thy Self.
If your life as you knew it is being burnt to ashes, or the subtle incoherences are knocking you sideways, you may want to consider the more vast enquiry of Who am I? rather than Why is this happening to me??!! The former enquiry is likely to be more fruitful and ultimately more satisfying (and may inadvertently answer the later in time also).
So Who Am I??
Where is the True Self located?
As the great mystic poets point out, there is field beyond ideas of right and wrong, where Silence can never be disturbed by sound; where the Still Point can never be disturbed by movement; where Life can never be disturbed by death, where Love can never be disturbed by fear and where the Knower can never be disturbed by the known or the unknown.
The great sages teach us that our sense of Self can be located here.
But it requires a great undoing to perceive this. Not surprisingly, trauma often brings us here; where the catastrophe of life burns all that we identified with and was attached to, and somehow (otherwise known as Grace) we gain the humility to open to something (sometimes referred to as God/dess) larger and more expansive than our limited individuated Self.
From this perspective, the only suffering is because our limited and skewed perspective of reality is not in alignment with the actual nature of reality. For instance, believing that we are imperfect and separate from God (Great Spirit, Source) is, as the Nondual Śaiva Tantric Scholar Christopher Wallis puts it; "the most untrue thing we could possibly believe and will cause us terrible suffering precisely for that reason; it does not allow us to experience reality, that is, to access the universal Consciousness that is always already flowing in us and in all things and whose nature is freedom and bliss"*
* (c)2013 "Tantra Illuminated; The Philosophy, History and Practice of a Timeless Tradition".
Am I a Separate Self?
It's all a matter of perspective and belief!
Can we pierce the veil of consciousness and know the Knower? Can we allow our thoughts to be noticed and questioned? Can we stop believing that the "White Circle" False Self is True Self?
Remember the Yantra? If we focus on the White Circle, then the Blue Dot has the appearance of being separate from the Blue Circle. But it is not.
This individuated separate Self is an illusion!
As we cultivate a spiritual practice that allows us to discover what is arising in the present moment, and with humility, allow this to drop us out of our known sure-footed beliefs, our mind can become accustomed with residing in this unknown territory, where our long-held markers of self-worth can no longer prop us up.
By being open and curious about what seemed like essential truths of our identity and our existence, the White Circle begins to thin out. The whole Blue Circle becomes more apparent.
Cultivating these qualities of curiosity and compassion will help us to be open to discover that there is no Separate Self (or to say it another way; to see there is only an apparent Separate Self).
We are not without personality and preferences, but we can come to discover that we are not bound by these. True Self uniquely expresses itself through the body-mind matrix of each human in any given moment, but Awareness rests in a greater more vast field of "I am".
Our mind will not solve this riddle for the mind is a mechanism to enable us to discern reality, not to dictate reality.
If you wish to be supported in your spiritual awakening, I am very happy to put you in touch with souls I trust and who support me in this process also.
I can offer Hakomi sessions which help to cultivate our innate sense of curiosity and compassion for Self - the foundational qualities of that more vast and spacious awareness of True Self.
The multidimensional Self
Gratitude to my teachers Shikhaa and Mayank who provide regular Satsang and who introduced me to this Yantra. The overlaying of the psychological components are my own interpretations and where this map falls down will be from my ignorance rather than the incredible wisdom these two impart.
Every human is born into a separate sense of Self. Our life journey is to find that connection, that spark with Source, and cultivate THAT.
What my Clients say
Thank you Ahly for holding space for me, I needed that reminder that I can find peace, even during these troubling times.