Grasping the notion of a “higher self” can seem like a tricky exercise, a challenge best suited to meditators and spiritual gurus. But it’s not as esoteric and abstract as it sounds – and the life-changing rewards for those who learn how to access it are countless and priceless.
“You will go through life in a much lighter and more joyful way,” says Scott L. Rogers, the director of the Mindfulness Program in Law at the University of Miami and author of The elements of mindfulness. “You will transform the things that block you in life into avenues of freedom and liberation. You will be able to connect more fully with another human being and learn in the process. When you come to others with your higher self, their higher self will emerge. It allows you to look within yourself for answers and to trust what emerges.
But what exactly is a higher self, and how can we manifest it?
Essentially (literally), your higher self is the part of you that is unencumbered by ego and the divisions it can fuel between you and your fellow human beings. It is the non-material dimension of you (some call it a soul or spirit) that is part of the cosmic or celestial whole.
In religious traditions and ancient wisdom – from Christianity to Hinduism to Sufism – Rogers points out that when you connect to the Divine, of which we are all a part, you connect to your higher self. A formulation in Hinduism posits that the barriers that keep us away from the One dissolve when we connect with our atma (the Sanskirt word for “inner self” or “soul”) and recognize that “all is one”, as Rogers puts it. “The more we can free ourselves from the shackles of this disconnect, the more we can fully inhabit this oneness that we all share.”
The first step to accessing your superior – and you could say, better— yourself to know that the answers to your questions are within you. If you don’t believe in this fundamental truth, Roger says, it will be difficult for you to tap into your transcendent self. A mantra or affirmation you could try, says Roger, is “The answers are within me. We are all part of the whole. We all have access to wisdom and compassion.
As we cultivate this self-understanding, Roger says, we need to hone our capacity for patience. “There is a saying in Taoism, Tao Te Ching (an ancient Chinese text), which goes something like, “Do you have the patience to wait for the mud to settle, the water to become clear, and the answer to arise?” The active (or inorganic) search for the answer will make the waters muddier and the answer more elusive. Use your breath, “the conduit to my higher self”, to harness the power of patience. “In Judaism and the Bible, God breathes life into us, and that is our soul,” he says, emphasizing the connection between our breath and our higher self.
Finally, in order to honor and act on the responses that take shape, Roger says you need to trust yourself, a muscle that you will strengthen the more you hold on to the inner truths that emerge.
Once you begin to nurture these three qualities regularly, you will live your life with your higher self in the driver’s seat and go places you never imagined.
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