The True Self

John Van Mater, Jr.

Where is a great deal yet to understand and explore about how the human mind works, this self-reflective intelligence. I ask myself, Where in us does it originate? As marvelous as the operations of the physical brain are, with its trillions of neurons interacting, is this all there is to my mind? From deep within an intuition from the heart and soul tells me, No!

There must be a center of consciousness — a true self — out of which spring love, inspiration, compassion, conscience, even illumination. These are far beyond mere cellular activity! The mind in this context can be seen as incorporeal, working through the body and brain as imperfect instruments but independent of them. We can conceive of more profound levels of awareness and oneness connected to this center, and many modes of thinking — including the arts, science, and religion — which can also lead to direct experience.

This inner knower or spirit is the source of all our qualities, including self-conscious intellect. The intellect, conditioned by earthly attachments and desires, thinks it knows and exists as a separate entity. We use it as a tool — to learn, remember facts, calculate equations, plan activities. But can it truly understand the essence of things or be illuminated without this true self, the part of us that retains all growth and wisdom gleaned from countless past lives? When we unite our human consciousness with our inner center, there is instant insight. We can experience the heart of unending nature directly, and our higher consciousness flows into and becomes one with the same essence in all things. —

(From Sunrise magazine, June/July 2006; copyright © 2006 Theosophical University Press)

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