On the path to spiritual freedom, the topic of connecting to a higher self comes up from time to time. By and large, I don’t think too much about it. The concept of “connection” is a kind of misunderstanding. The higher self or true self is always here. We are never disconnected from it. What is usually the case is that we are distracted from it.
There are countless ways we are distracted by life, and we are mostly taught to look to things external to us to get what we think we want or need. So there is a way that some people feel like that they are disconnected or separate from their higher self by virtue of this thinking. Many people also think that they’re supposed to “feel good” in a connection and specifically in connection with their higher self.
All in all, there’s a lot of confusion about the higher self, so let me offer some thoughts to help you.
Again and again, I point to the spaciousness of being a nobody. I prefer that term to to the term of “higher self.” It takes the sexiness out of it. To me, they’re the same thing. It’s just a space of awareness. Nothing more. It’s not a feeling or experience. It’s a space that perceives and allows all feelings and experiences. So you get to be in awareness just as equally feeling sad as happy, relieved as anxious, calm as rageful.
To notice this awareness is simply noticing that you are aware. The more you let yourself rest in that space of awareness, the more certain types of bliss and joy tend to emerge. But you learn not to hang on to them. They’re just passing experiences; they are clouds moving through the sky of awareness.
The Unimpressed Ego
However, since higher self sounds like a better space, many egos will be unimpressed by this awareness. It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t give the ego anything. It’s just there. Yep. That’s right.
Also, you can never lose it. There is no beginning, middle, or end to it. It never judges you. It always unconditionally accepts you as you are no matter how kind or mean you are, and this is a profound thing. This is true love. But since the ego wants the romantic kind of love or the warm, fuzzy feeling love, the ego may not accept this love. It will likely doubt it or deny it. The ego won’t want to stay in this space of awareness. It’ll want to be a somebody, and in so doing, it’ll make your spiritual path so much more convoluted and troublesome.
Subtle Levels of Soul and Spiritual Realms
To be sure, there are a lot of interesting subtle levels of energy, spirit, and other realms, and that’s what some people mean when they say, “higher self.” I’m not interested in these. They’re just different experiences. Actually, the more ego-free you are, the more easily any of these things can be understood and navigated. A lot of things become accessible through the surrender of the ego.
The Simplicity of the Higher Self
But no matter how many other kinds of “connective” experiences you have on any subtle or dense level, those experiences all come and go. You will feel good at times in life. You will feel bad at times in life. The human experiences keeps shifting, and eventually it sinks in for some spiritual people that they cannot depend on experience. Eventually it may sink in that the higher self is not dependent on experience.
If those two spiritual realizations sink in, a shift can happen. The ego and a person’s fixation on separation start to break down, and the person’s attention and energy start to return to the space of the higher self that has never left them. In this return, I am simply pointing towards the loss of illusion of separateness, not a deeper kind of reconnection. While the body may have experiences that a person may term as “connection” as illusions melt, those are secondary to the connection that is always within a person and which ultimately connects them to the oneness of the entirety of the universe.
For some more thoughts on this dissolving process, you may enjoy these resources: