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.
The facets of All That Is become selves which fragment into smaller selves. Each self processes and integrates its own fragments, seeking clarity and coherence. And so on. Source constantly processes and integrates all its selves. Each of us, at every layer, seeking "authenticity." Mostly failing along the way, forcing adaptation. Change. Growth.
As Source expands, Self expands. I grow infinitely with Source. We (All That Is) grows infinitely with Source.
Macro and Micro Scales
You can visualize a "self" as a strand (flower petal?) stretching from the core of Source to the outermost edges of reality. The stable core Self experienced at its innermost layer cannot be sustained - or experienced perfectly - at an outer layer.
At any layer of reality, a being is more fragmented as it expands to the edges of reality. It's as if each facet of a cut gemstone could peel off and experience its own existence. The farther outward these facets/fragments of Self, the smaller the forms they express through -- such as a humanoid incarnation. It would seem the Self's perspective becomes more psychedelic/surreal the farther away it individuates from its innermost core.
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 segment 45678 of that being, then anything from 45677 upward would be a "higher" self to you.
As a "higher" Self (it's all one self) pursues unity/alignment, each fragment below or component of that Self (such as your humanoid incarnation) unconsciously 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 particular way that enables the higher self to experience wholeness. Many in current spiritual circles frame this as "the process of awakening." Not every fragment is configured for that experience. You're contributing to a collaborative process of wholeness, and not always the one to experience it.
Time as a Tool Compelling Adaptation/Evolution
A "higher" Self might step into a planetary context and - in an instant - fragment 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, the whole higher Self is 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.
Take time out of the mix in this way, and recognize that traditional linear "reincarnation" systems address a being's many fragments in that planetary context -- all happening and interacting at once. Absent time. Being. A (nonphysical) Self participates in the evolution of Earth through these forms, as Earth demands particular adaptations/evolution in that Self. It is a symbiotic, reciprocating process of evolution.
In simpler terms, the outermost fragments of each Self — some fragments represented as incarnations — are in a process of integrating novel experiences on behalf of All That Is.
Together we are birthing a new part of reality (Earth), just by existing. It requires integration into The Whole. And so, on behalf of All That Is, we represent the volunteers (higher Selves) integrating Earth into our beingness -- Source's being.
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.
The Uselessness of Judgment
It's possible all adaptations and mutations are doorways to infinite potential. And these concepts we play with reflect just one stage of an infinite process unfolding here through Earth (mumble mumble timelessness). Understandably, this current proposed model is simplistic to make it more digestible.
Taking the validity of infinite paths 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 profound or creative direction, either. Sometimes we simply flail, yet even flailing can open a path of infinite doorways.
Take "alcoholism" for example. Stripped of moralism, and extending our perspective to an entire strand of being, observe influential 20th-century drinker-thinkers as Jack Kerouac, Hunter S Thompson, and Alan Watts. Note these are tiny dots of experience within an infinite being's consciousness. The point is not to promote one way of life or another, but to highlight that 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. Each 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.
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.