Self (spirituality)

Self (spirituality)

The Self is a complex and core subject in many forms of spirituality. Two types of self are commonly considered - the self that is the ego, also called the learned, superficial self of mind and body, an egoic creation, and the self which is sometimes called the "True Self", the "I" (or "I AM"), the "Atman" (as in Hinduism), the "Observing Self", or the "Witness". [Hall, Manly P. "Self Unfoldment by Disciplines of Realization". Los Angeles, California: The Philosophical Research Society, Inc. 1942. page 115 "On rare occasions we glimpse for an instant the tremendous implication of the Self, and we become aware that the persoanlity is indeed merely a shadow of the real."]


Traditions such as Buddhism see the apparent self (our identification as souls, minds, bodies and egos) as a "grasping-after" self -- i.e., inasmuch as one has a "self," one has it only through a deluded attempt to shore it up.

Descriptions of the Witnessing Self

Ken Wilber describes the Witnessing (or Observing) Self in the following terms: :"This observing Self is usually called the Self with a capital "S", or the Witness, or pure Presence, or pure Awareness, or Consciousness as such, and this Self as transparent Witness is a direct ray of the living Divine. The ultimate "I AM" is Christ, is Buddha, is Emptiness itself: such is the startling testimony of the world's great mystics and sages." Ken Wilber, "A Brief History of Everything", ch. 12, p.197-199] He adds that the Self is not an Emergent, but an aspect present from the start as the basic form of awareness, but which becomes increasingly obvious and self aware "as growth and transcendence matures." As Depth increases, consciousness shines forth more noticeably, until::"shed [ding] its lesser identification with both the body and the mind ... in each case from matter to body to mind to Spirit... conciousness or the observing Self sheds an exclusive identity with a lesser and shallower dimension, and opens up to deeper and higher and wider occasions, until it opens up to its own ultimate ground in Spirit itself. And the stages of transpersonal growth and development are basically the stages of following this Observing Self to its ultimate abode, which is pure Spirit or pure Emptiness, the ground, path and fruition of the entire display."

In a similar vein, Evelyn UnderhillEvelyn Underhill, "Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness, Section III, P. 55.] states:

"It is clear that under ordinary conditions, and save for sudden gusts of "Transcendental Feeling" induced by some saving madness such as Religion, Art, or Love, the superficial self knows nothing of the attitude of this silent watcher—this "Dweller in the Innermost"—towards the incoming messages of the external world: nor of the activities which they awake in it. Concentrated on the sense-world, and the messages she receives from it, she knows nothing of the relations which exist between this subject and the unattainable Object of all thought. But by a deliberate inattention to the messages of the senses, such as that which is induced by contemplation, the mystic can bring the ground of the soul, the seat of "Transcendental Feeling," within the area of consciousness: making it amenable to the activity of the will. Thus becoming unaware of his usual and largely fictitious "external world," another and more substantial set of perceptions, which never have their chance under normal conditions, rise to the surface. Sometimes these unite with the normal reasoning faculties. More often, they supersede them. Some such exchange, such "losing to find," appears to be necessary, if man's transcendental powers are to have their full chance."

Other views

(Note: this is a blatant plug for this organization, not factual content)The new scientific approach to spirituality, "Self-realization Akram Vignan," makes a clear distinction between the self, known to the world as 'I am George or Mary', and the eternal Self Atman (the knower and seer of all experiences through thoughts, speech and acts), and grants one the indelible experience of this state of the Self through the direct approach called the Gnan Vidhi of [ Gnani Purush Dadashri] . This direct approach is called the Akram approach and because it is scientific in nature it is called Vignan.Shuddha of Dadashri states that the experience Self in all its pristine state is now available through the new approach of Akram Vignan of Gnani Purush Dadashri. See [ the dadashri website] for more information.

ee also

* Spirituality
* Ego (spirituality)
* Nondual
* Maya (illusion)
* Samsara

Similar concepts to the Observing Self:
* Soul
* Atman (Buddhism)
* Atman (Hinduism)
* Holy Guardian Angel (Thelema)


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Self (philosophy) — Self is broadly defined as the essential qualities that make a person distinct from all others. The task in philosophy is defining what these qualities are, and there have been a number of different approaches. The self is the idea of a unified… …   Wikipedia

  • Self-esteem — In psychology, self esteem reflects a person s overall evaluation or appraisal of her or his own worth.Self esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, I am competent/incompetent ) and emotions (for example, triumph/, pride/shame). Behavior may… …   Wikipedia

  • Spirituality — Spirituality, in a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters of the spirit, a concept closely tied to religious belief and faith, a transcendent reality, or one or more deities.Spiritual matters are thus those matters regarding humankind s… …   Wikipedia

  • Ego (spirituality) — In spirituality, and especially nondual, mystical and eastern meditative traditions, the human being is often conceived as being in the illusion of individual existence, and separated from other aspects of creation. This sense of doership or… …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of self — The Self is the individual person, from his or her own perspective. To you, Self is you. To a different person, Self is that person. The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the self: Contents 1 Essence of oneself… …   Wikipedia

  • True Self — Infobox Album Name = True Self Type = album Artist = SOiL Released = March 27, 2006 (UK) May 2, 2006 (US) Recorded = June 14th, 2006 Genre = Hard rock Length = 43:29 Label = DRT Entertainment Producer = Ulrich Wild Reviews = *Allmusic… …   Wikipedia

  • Glossary of spirituality-related terms (S) — This glossary of spirituality related terms is based on how they commonly are used in Wikipedia articles. This page contains terms starting with S. Select a letter from the table of contents to find terms on other pages. NOTOC MediaWiki:Toc: Top… …   Wikipedia

  • Workplace spirituality — IntroductionWorkplace Spirituality or Spirituality in the Workplace is movement that began in the early 1990s. It emerged as a grassroots movement with individuals seeking to live their faith and/or spiritual values in the workplace. One of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Glossary of spirituality-related terms (M-O) — This glossary of spirituality related terms is based on how they commonly are used in Wikipedia articles. This page contains terms starting with M – O. Select a letter from the table of contents to find terms on other pages. NOTOC MediaWiki:Toc:… …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of spirituality — The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to spirituality: Spirituality – can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality;[1] an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.