The Science of the Self – Three Levels
The whole experience of life, the experience of our life, is referenced from, back and to the self – our self.
It is well worth, wondering, what is this reference point, what is the form and function of this phenomena that we call the self – ATTA?
Accommodating a scientific, psychological and spiritual perspective; a personal and trans-personal appreciation; the self maybe seen to find form and function on three interrelated levels.
These Three Levels of the Self are:
- The ‘Psychological Self’
- The ‘Soul Self’
- The ‘Spirit Self’
‘The Psychological Self’, is the upfront appearance of the apparent self, occurring on face level. This level of the self is both conditional and conditioned by ongoing life experience. The result of many factors that continually create and condition, mould and modify, manipulate and stipulate the resultant ‘Psychological Self’ through a lifetime. Whilst the resultant ‘Psychological Self’ can appear complex, complicated and even confusing with regards to the various layering of information and issues, it is however still shallow compared to further levels of the manifesting Self. Technologically speaking, this level of self is likened to the mobile phone, with its particular appearance and displays and collection of apps and stored information – all relatively available to be displayed for the purpose of connecting – sending and receiving information and making life function easier.
The ‘Soul Self’, is the underlying energetic vibration or resultant energetic residue of the ‘Psychological Self’. The ‘Soul Self’ is the collected substrata frequency of the experiences of life and may even be appreciated as the KARMIC result and potential for further life. Here we can appreciate the ‘Soul Self’ as the energetic DNA that manifests as the ‘Psychological Self’ from a previous life. While the energetic potential is vibrating at a frequency for wanting and becoming, existing and being; life energy continues to carry on from this life to the next. Considering the metaphor of the mobile phone, the ‘Soul Self’ is the SIM CARD, that can be moved from phone to phone containing and carrying fundamental information that can then be made manifest through the mobile phones displays and functions, the ‘person’ or ‘persona’ which is Greek for the actors theatrical ‘mask’ or related to the Latin verb per-sonare, literally: sounding through, which links back to the idea of the theatrical mask.
The ‘Spirit Self’, is the underlying basic energy or life Current or force that is the foundation for the Soul Self to be laid into or programmed. Given that everything is energy, the energy of the universe; the ‘Spirit Self’ is this energy manifesting as aliveness potential and as life as a being, a human being. This energy remains separate and individual while the levels of ‘Psychological Self’ and ‘Soul Self’ operate, cause and condition the idea or need to be a separate, individual entity continuing to exist in this way. Like the previous levels even the energetic frequency of the ‘Spirit Self’, can be modified through the course of a lifetime. With both Psychological and Spiritual development the fundamental energy of the self becomes modulated and modified into a more harmonic frequency with less static and disruption. We could say that Spiritual Enlightenment is the fundamental life energy manifesting in a universally harmonious way, not caught into self-centred energy of Greed, Anger or Confusion.
The ‘Spirit Self’ is like the electrical current that fires up the mobile phone at a certain voltage, even though we know that this energy is fundamentally the energy of the universe – just harnessed, even trapped and used in a particular way as electricity and current.
At the physical death of a Fully Enlighted person or mind, the universal cosmic energy that has been manifesting through the Spirit, Soul and Psychological Self, dissipates and disperses into the everything!
Thus the self, our self, the idea of a someone, person, individual – you, me, us them, they, all of us together is a helpful construct or phenomena for basic universal, cosmic energy manifesting as life to find its way from Spirit to Soul to Psychological Self and then ultimately return back to what it fundamentally always was and is; not you- not yours, just what is!.
A further refection on the above Three Levels of the Self, is to see how they relate to different (Spiritual) Traditions.
Much of current contemporary focus in Psychology, Science and popular sentiment, is on the personal subjective ‘Psychological Self’. We have had a whole era of ‘self help’, with people looking into self development, creating a better personality. This non spiritual perspective continues in westernised society as an increasingly growing focus on personal self-interest.
Traditions like Christianity have tended to emphasise the ‘Soul Self’, with the focus on the individual, personal soul. Here the appreciation is that after the death of the body the soul will return to a relationship with its maker – God the Father.
Traditions like Hinduism and Advaita (more recently Neo Non Dualism), place emphasis on the Spirit Self. This level of the self is seen to be part of the whole or Great Spirit. Such sayings as “you are not a drop in the ocean, but you are the ocean in a drop” speak to this continuance of you as a something during life and beyond death.
The Buddha’s Teachings – the Buddha Dhamma, while appreciating the manifesting self on these three levels is focused on Ultimate Freedom. This is about the self not occurring in any form at all, the ending of Samsara. The Nirvana or Nibanic focus of no domain of being. The Nirodha – Extinction of the cycle of Samsara. This is the only Real Freedom and Greatest Happiness.