Dying to the true self
By Shelli Stanger Nelson, Founder and President
As in physical death, a process wherein the spirit is liberated from the constraints of humanrestrictions and it’s limitations, during our spiritual awakening on earth, certain parts of what we identify as “self” must die in order that the true self can be realized. This process of self-realization can often times feel like a literal death because we have attached the definition of ourselves to our personality, and beyond that, to our social status, to our attainment of belongings (or lack of such), to our knowledge, and to so many other things that are ridiculously limiting to the truth of who we are.
Our spiritual evolvement is directly related to the human bio-energy field (HBF) because it is here, within the HBF, that our spiritual self co-exists with the physical self and all of the aspects of both that defines us at any given stage of spiritual maturation. Our needs, emotions, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and our relationship to Divine source resides not in our brain, but inn our human bio-energy system.
We begin the process of spiritual evolution like a baby, a newborn. We start with the belief that my body is who I am. Of course, this is obviously extremely limiting and is completely contradictory to the truth taught in all spiritual texts and across all religions; that we are not purely a physical vessel, here only to endure life on earth, toiling for years simply to expire without meaning to our experience, but rather, that we are in this earth school by a specific design specifically chosen in union with The Creator.
In this early infancy stage of our spiritual development, we are faced with having to let all of our past pain and suffering and unmet child needs die. We must let go of the need to remain identified with the painful experiences we’ve all endured throughout life and let go of the demand that the world fix it, or at least recognize it. If we wish to expand our identity beyond this infantile consciousness, we must let the recycling stories of all the ways we were abandoned, betrayed, rejected and misused die.
As we mature beyond babyhood and childhood, we begin to question life and attempt to find meaning and purpose. We begin to think and form opinions and beliefs. Sometimes our forward motion gets stuck right here. There are people who are too afraid to move beyond the false safety provided by being right, having the answers, knowing the rules and remaining indignant in the idea that our experience and opinions are the only possibilities.
To move beyond this narrow self-identity requires the ability to allow our self-righteous arrogance within our psyche to develop courage
Movement beyond this level of spiritual consciousness requires the courage to die to, to surrender to, the idea that we are greater than who we thought we were.
This is a difficult stage because, in many ways, we feel an actual threat to our identity. Our limited ego is being pursued by a great light whose ambition is to remove the barriers of safety we have created through our skilled means of self-preservation.
These skills of self-preservation might be constant worrying, which protects us from having to take risks and embrace change. Our self-preservation tactic might be a persistent attitude of blaming others, which protects us from having to admit to our own inadequacies and from self-responsibility. Or it might be avoiding difficult conversations, which protects us from having to tolerate our own or another’s difficult emotions. In any case, to move beyond this stage of consciousness requires that we allow these protective maneuvers to die to the greater truth of who we are. The idea of actually embodying the thought of, “I am greater than who I thought I was”, is reason enough for many of us to be paralyzed by resistant fear. Mary Ann Williamson taught us this concept years ago when she showed us that our greatest fear is not inadequacy, it’s knowing that we are powerful and glorious beyond description.
Eventually, if we are truly interested in embracing the self as more than a physical vessel with a limited ego that needs constant protection, we choose to move into mature, adult-ego consciousness, or spiritual wisdom. Not a lot of people want to go here. If we think about it, we see many people in the world today still behaving like children; demanding their needs come first, insisting that everyone in the room agree with their opinions, or staying small and quiet and silent, hoping that no one asks them to contribute to life in a way that is impactful and necessary and to face the necessary pain and struggles with life on one’s feet rather than from collapse. .
In these final stages of human-spiritual consciousness, we must die to the truth that we are, indeed, united with one another on every level. It requires that we identify the self as being part of the whole of life, including all living things. Here it is necessary that we recognize that even if my own family and my own home and my own community are safe, healthy, well-fed and happy, so long as there are others in the world who suffer, we, too, suffer. In this stage of inter-relatedness, we are required to look outside of this very limited and out-dated view of the boundary of “self” and reach into the truth that we are responsible not only for the self, but for our brothers and sisters and everything living because it is all a part of us. In this stage, the illusion of separation dies to the truth of unity.
Once we die to the truth that we are connected on every level of our being, we recognize that there is no dogma that can separate the slave from the master, the enlightened from the unaware, the blessed from the impoverished. At this level of consciousness we finally realize that anyone or anything claiming to be the truth and holding the keys to eternal freedom is hopelessly shipwrecked by their own fear of dying to the ultimate spiritual self. Once at this stage, we are honestly able to experience heaven on earth, not as an intellectual concept, but as a reality moment-to-moment, breath-by-breath. In this abiding stage, we cease to be identified with our flesh, our thoughts, our emotions, our life experiences, our beliefs. Instead we experience the self as an eternal presence that does not die; a being without limitation and with no use for a graveyard.