Using the model from post #3, let's address the modern struggle to frame individuality.
Currently, humanity circles menacingly around the concept of selfhood. You’ll hear “enlightened” people say Self is a delusion. A hologram, an illusion, a dream. “It isn’t real.”
They’ll say you can experience peace and joy in all things, knowing you’re part of Source experiencing itself.
It’s perfectly fine for Source to fantasize you exist, but many people think it's somehow misguided for you to have that fantasy… even while they tell you you’re Source. Not only shouldn't you believe in your Self, according to many teachers, but you’re not supposed to really enjoy it, either. It's still a popular message that the Self is a fraudulent ego fantasy, neither desirable nor constructive. So Source chooses to experience itself through you (Source). "But don’t do it wrong, Source." And oh, by the way -- don't forget to love yourself.
Obviously, there are problems with this perspective.
Others will insist "it's all energy." Asked to give a definition of what energy is, it ultimately circles back to "the stuff everything is made of." Which is not very helpful. Personally, I'd throw in "energy = consciousness." So please indulge, for a moment, the idea that a Self could represent a cloudy coagulation or combination or convergence of "energy" that has some sense of its existence. Consider a Self as a personification of energies. In this way, we can grasp a vague model of All That Is composed of persisting and evaporating intelligences. (All interconnected, which is what requires all the computational power to model.)
We can debate which selves persist (if any) and which evaporate...but what would be the point? Lacking a universal, multidimensional time reference we wouldn't know how to measure one versus the other anyway. These words and theories are efforts - possibly misguided altogether - to form some mental handle in the epistemological nightmare called "Reality." Capital R. As if.
I will arbitrarily draw the line at refusing to identify which selves persist and which evaporate in the churning of All That Is. I had a fundamentalist coworker who did that, and apparently I'm no good at it.
Continuing in this playfully assertive voice...
All selves are fragments processing the expansion of All That Is. Each collection of energies would yield a unique sense of Self. Each version of Selfhood provides unique experiential textures and opportunities to fragments of a higher/larger self, aiding its development. These could include the experience of sculpting identity, overcoming personal challenges, and a uniquely rewarding/painful evolutionary path. Personal (individual) growth brings rich tensions, conflicts, and resolutions.
Model all these infinite, overlapping, interconnected existences in perfect unity, and you have Source. "I AM." Fragment it all out as infinite interaction, and you have "All That Is." WE. Internal and collective harmony occurs in an instant, and across billions of years, and across multiple universes. And whatever else we collectively dream up.
A Fusion of I and We
As a unique interaction of energies, Selves are doorways or portals through which We manifests our possibilities. A Self's cumulative experiences shape its own experience of Self. This self-perception configures possibilities it can manifest on behalf of We. As a simplistic example, if you love yourself, you can manifest particular things. If you hate yourself, you will manifest different things. This alters our experiences of that Self, informs our collective choices. For example, We can decides what forms of Self are not viable or desirable.
It may take time/iterations to process a common configuration of self out of the mix. (ex: selves that hate themselves). But the experimentation informs We, and is therefore not wasted. And We may find that along the way We can make use of such selves anyway. And in the choice to allow such experimentation of a self to unfold, we choose how it can aid the whole. We can even use such portals to convey beautiful things into existence. Energetically/metaphysically, a Self is Our experience, our experiment. If you hold a harmonious awareness of individual I and collective We, you experience Self as inextricable from All That Is.
We is grateful for individual service, yet as a part of We, one Self is loved no more or less than another. All is All. Thus the statement among "enlightened" people, "The god in me sees the god in you."...even if they're being an asshole. Even then, thank you for offering my Self opportunity to evolve, which serves the expansion of All That Is. In this view, life itself is a privilege.
Through Attention, Selection, and Expression, experience by experience, the individual I and collective WE choose what We becomes. "I" experiences - and creates - an intimate, personalized engagement with "We's" evolutionary expansion. In this sense, I participates in choosing how Source expands. An introspective Self choosing to experience Self more deeply will consequently produce more impactful changes to Self. Deeper attention and focus direct a greater portion of Source's expansion. For the benefit of all. Such is the nature of consciousness, Source, and All That Is.
You can't break anything. Do as you will. Your choices configure Self to manifest different possibilities. WE will see what works, what's desirable, what to keep -- and what to discard. In this respect, all life forms represent experiments. More powerful consciousness will direct greater portions of consciousness, or energy, or All That Is.
As source expands, layers form. Its innermost core remains solid and unyielding. The gravitational center of All That Is, holding fast to the truest truth, the clearest perspective. It is the heart that informs all integration and expansion, all progressive layers. Outward from this core, each layer is increasingly fractured and fragmented by possibility. More possibility at the "outermost" layers, less at the inner. This is "The World Tree" of many traditions.
Elements of All That Is can be viewed as selves. Another way to think of a self is a persisting intelligence. Each self fragments into its own elements, processing and integrating them in pursuit of coherence that produces clarity. The whole pursues coherence, and each distinct element seeks coherence. And so on, at every scale. Source constantly processes and integrates all its selves/fragments. Each of us, at every layer, seeking "authenticity." Mostly failing along the way, forcing adaptation. Change. Growth. Each fragment that grows challenges all other fragments to grow in order to sustain coherence.
As Source expands, Self expands, and vice versa. We (All That Is) grows infinitely with Source.
Macro and Micro Scales
You can visualize a "self" as a strand (or flower petal?) stretching from the core of Source to the outermost edges of reality. The stability of the core Self at its innermost layer cannot be sustained - or experienced perfectly - at an outer layer. Its outer fragments cycle through possibilities. The pointy end of a petal or tree branch shakes in the breeze more than it does at its base.
Likewise, at any layer of reality, a being is more fragmented at the outer edges of reality. More possibility = more variability = less coherence = more fragmentation. Each aspect or fragment of the Self, experiences its own existence and its own developmental opportunities. The farther outward these facets/fragments of Self, the smaller the forms they express through -- such as a humanoid incarnation. They tend to be less defined, more variable. It would seem the Self's perspective becomes more psychedelic/surreal the farther away it individuates from its innermost core.
Not all Selves touch the outermost edge of reality. Note the volume/mass within a sphere is greater than its surface.
Nirvana can be represented as change within a fragment/self from a highly variable state to a more stable/coherent state. This solidification - a collapsing of possibilities into a stable consciousness - reflects re-integration of that fragment into the coherent whole. The solidification of the entire surface creates a structure supporting a new outermost layer of reality. Thus the expansion of All That Is. Like an infinitely expanding tree.
The “higher self” imagined by the New Age communities can be observed as any part of a Self that's larger and closer to Source than the observer's location. At any moment, THE higher self is really ANY version of Self higher on the chain - or strand - relative to Source. If you're at the outermost edge of a flower petal, anything closer to the base is "higher" than you. But it's all "you" ... whatever that means.
Naturally, the outer layers of reality are composed of many fragments of many Selves interacting with one another. These interactions create novel experiences/energies. We're all aiding and demanding novel adaptations of each other. Teaching and learning together. Earth, for example, offers a unique space that facilitates particular kinds of experiences for many fragmented selves to interact. Each fragment's unique consciousness adapts to its local situation/context. These adaptations integrate-into and inform all fragments of the higher Self, updating them.
As a "higher" Self (it's all one self) pursues its own unity/alignment, each fragment below or component of that Self (such as your humanoid incarnation) adapts in its context with that unity/alignment priority and direction. This includes the process of integrating the fragment's (your) own challenging experiences. Typically a fragment (you or I) holds a subconscious priority/bias to adapt/grow in a way that pursues the Higher Self's own wholeness.
Many in modern spiritual circles frame this experience of wholeness as a "process of awakening." Not every fragment is configured for that experience. You're contributing to a collaborative process that gives your own Higher Self wholeness. You are not always the one to experience that wholeness. And in fact, the rational mind doesn't even understand what that would be. Like a jigsaw puzzle piece trying to imagine the whole picture as it stumbles around the table, trying to logic its ideal position.
Time as a Tool Facilitating Adaptation/Evolution
You might visualize a "higher" Self stepping across the threshold of a planetary context like Earth and instantly fragmenting. In a moment its energy could express through forms spanning a planet's entire evolutionary arc. From a single-celled carbon based life form to a highly intelligent humanoid a million years later, to its most evolved consciousness possible for that planetary context a billion years after that. Through each of these forms, and across all of them, that whole higher Self is now seeking its own unique hemostasis, or balance within the Earth system. This is its effort to realize its "most authentic" Self within that new context.
Each fragment gets pushed and pulled out of authentic alignment. Each has to adapt and evolve toward authenticity despite these local forces. As all a Higher Self's fragments go through this, they all seek alignment and coherence across time and space. They are all interactive, never really separated from one another, all growing together. You can imagine that when that Higher Self returns out of that planetary context, its fragments all recollect and that whole being has expanded consciousness through its collective experiences. Some reach complete coherence among all their fragments, most do not. In either case, just as one might expect going to any school or new travel experience, the consciousness is expanded for having gone through it. And that higher self is again a fragment of a larger Self, and so on.
All things connected and growing together. There is no such thing as "perfectly" or "imperfectly." There's just what IS. What would you compare it with? Any human ideal for how the whole should expand is like your fingernail coming up with a blueprint for Utopian civilization.
When you play with time concepts this way, you recognize that traditional linear "reincarnation" systems address a being's many fragments in a planetary context, but they're likely all happening and interacting at once. Absent time. Just Being here. A (nonphysical) Self participates in the evolution of Earth through these forms, but how do these forms get chosen? Earth demands particular adaptations/evolution in its own expansion. Other consciousness (such as those taking humanoid form) evolve as part of Earth's own evolution. It is a symbiotic, reciprocating process.
As we evolve here, we take in the efforts of Earth to evolve. Its tensions become our personal tensions. We work through them for ourselves and Earth simultaneously. In the process, both your higher self and Earth evolve. Together we're birthing a new part of reality (Earth), just by existing. It requires integration into The Whole. In a larger scale, these fragments of each Self are in a process of integrating novel experiences on behalf of All That Is. All scales of reality are connected. And so, on behalf of All That Is, we represent the volunteers (higher Selves) integrating a degree of Earth-consciousness into our being, which is also Source's being. We feel this more personally at our scale, but at the larger scale we're cells in a body.
The Uselessness of Judgment
Understandably, this current proposed model is simplistic to make it more digestible. It's possible all adaptations and mutations are doorways to infinite potential. And these concepts reflect just one stage, or one aspect, of an infinitely complex process unfolding here through Earth. (mumble mumble multidimensional timelessness).
Taking the validity of infinite paths and possibilities into account, a fragment's adaptations don't necessarily attempt to make everything (self and context) "better." In the immediate, they might even make everything "worse." And their efforts don't necessarily push in the most stereotypically profound or creative direction, either. Sometimes we simply flail. Yet even flailing can open a path of new demands for new adaptations. Infinite doorways of adaptation mean the expansion of All That Is is free to explore as it will. As you will.
Take "alcoholism" for example. Stripped of moralism, and extending our perspective to an entire strand of being, observe influential 20th-century drinker-thinkers as Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Hunter S Thompson, and Alan Watts, and others. Note these are tiny dots of experience within an infinite being's consciousness. The point is not to promote one path or another, but to highlight how all paths inform evolution at larger scales. The many experiences and adaptations across the many fragments of a higher self together pursue collective coherence. No single vantage point allows us to understand another's function in the whole. No one of them is meant to embody the whole.
We awaken to Self, over and over, within and across many kinds of existences. Even experiences taking us in a contextually "wrong" direction inform and deepen the larger self-awareness. This is a big part of what makes Earth such a powerful school. Each novel experience has the potential of bringing the whole closer to harmonious balance. And all units of consciousness in a context (such as Earth) are informed by all others, with more conscious fragments instinctively pursuing collective balance, at every scale.
From an Earth-based perspective, we might say that when a higher Self's fragments come to balanced coherence here, and reintegrate with the higher Self, it has "ascended" from the world, or "beaten the game" if you're into video game metaphors. Thus the concept of Ascended Masters. Even such beings as these are fragments of a larger, higher Self - possibly fragmented across numerous worlds, the entire galaxy, and beyond.
So you see, you don't have to get anything right. Just seeking authentic being serves the birth of this planet and its integration into All That Is. And wherever you land has just as much potential as anywhere else. The question is "What feels right to you, through and through?"
Your choices and actions resolve possibilities, yielding manifestation. They also influence what's possible in the future. You find this looking at children and the transfer of energy along lineages. You also find it within the many interactions of your life's meandering. Each touch is consequential force, influencing the paths of photons and electrons.
Our passage spins eddies in the ether, alters trajectories by partial degrees. Downstream in time, our minuscule effects shift reality by miles, months, and momentous convergences. Like bumping a cannon before it fires. Oh, how our effects combine! Entire populations sway to an unconscious beat, and we marvel at a dance we've all created with the energies passed on from long ago.
Perhaps you were once a Queen, or her stable boy. Perhaps the stable boy's kindness toward the prince saved the kingdom. Perhaps the Queen hid the stable boy's secret right to the throne. Fragments making ripples. Changing worlds.
What beautiful energies do you cultivate within, and send onward to all yesterdays and tomorrows? Our effects are certainly larger than anything we observe in our immediate human moments. Our current collective struggles show us that the choices of any prior Self meant far more than it understood in its day. More than it could ever hope to understand.
Yet such linear story-making contradicts timelessness. Time is a perceptual game offering another way to experience what we are. Reasoning its machinations is a distraction, like playing a video game while trying to do its math. Embrace the now as you can, and see it all converge within. Recognize your Self and your influence there - across all times - as timeless.
The Earth Is. I AM. You are. We exist. And the effects of being transcend time and space. Weaving unseen mathematical webs, creating organizing principles within organizing principles.
Let go this preoccupation with past identities and reincarnation chains, and instead recognize each particle of us influences all Earth's possibilities. Right now, forever. Then we see that our consciousness, as devil or saint, sends ripples contributing to all that happens anywhere. To all that's inherited, and to all we'll do with it there.
Historically, the spiritually-minded have fixated on their concrete forms moving on to other dimensions, or reincarnating in this familiar world. They've even begun exploring the idea of parallel or alternate realities, timelines in which numerous versions of Self work through other possibilities. All our alternate selves, together, perhaps resolving the most accurate sense of what we are, and establishing the most clear and accurate picture of Earth.
Rather than focus on your specific form and its fate, perhaps it's more helpful to recognize your choices and actions are metaphysically active and influential. All your thinking, all your struggles, do not merely resolve within yourself, but contribute to manifesting possibilities across Earth's timeline. They make particular insights and changes more likely in the future of our collective human race.
Alone in your room, thinking your thoughts, confronting your demons, and expressing creativity. Silent or loud, private or public, proud or ashamed, what you’re doing is affecting us all - and beyond us.
Your mind is a window. Your inner dynamics are tiny observable reflections of a grand order, the vast collective intelligence we all contribute to. Physicality being like the small tip of an infinite iceberg. Meanwhile your nonphysical consciousness, dwelling beyond the apparent world, participates in the evolution of humankind in far more consequential ways than physical eyes can see. Your personal development is unlocking potentials, creating future paths beyond today's dominant paradigms.
Events affecting large populations seem random or unlikely, yet they're manifestations of these individual efforts to actualize possibilities within ourselves. These fundamentals are why I write this blog. The conventional network technology on Earth (ex: internet), amplifies what we each do organically. Accelerates catalytic reactions.
If we instead neglect ourselves, and internalize restrictive beliefs as part of our timeless consciousness, we forfeit unique contributions to collective evolution. Luckily, the creatives and subversives are always whispering new doorways to the collective. Eventually more and more of us become ready to hear it, the potential becomes manifest. Not unlike neurons accumulating an electrical potential, releasing its contribution to the inevitable cascade. And we watch reality change before our eyes.
It's within you all along, masked as your own struggle To Be.
MattSeven is a name I intuitively connected with in the early 2000's, using my legal name Matt. In 2013 I learned "Seven" represented the extradimensional collective from which it seems my individuality originates. MattSeven represents an effort to integrate the individual, collective, lower, and higher as one coherent consciousness.