Our Perceptions of Ourselves
Anyone on the inner journey can understand that our perceptions of ourselves vary from circumstance to circumstance. Once you begin to observe yourself in the throes of the actions and reactions and see, without the comforting blinkers that ego provides, the many faces we present to the world, there’s no turning back to the simplified notion of a single identity. Although we might stop short of making the statement, we can see we are the many in the one.
Thrusting ourselves into the busy schedules of daily life we see a body and brain coping with the many angled complexities challenging our ability to cope. We see someone harried and harassed, with a face that’s often as stern as it is smiling. We see the lines of age, the flab no longer held in by muscles, the effects of aches in the joints. We see the clothes that ease our passage in society, we see the personality impressing itself. An individual isolated from other individuals.
When we settle into some form of meditation we see ourselves as detaching from the thoughts and emotions that generally are the drivers of our actions and reactions, we see the body as a vehicle for the psyche and not the actual self, a definition we take for granted whilst on the move. We see a being without seeming boundaries, a being set free from fear and desire, a being carried along by the breath as it moves out from the lungs and back in again. A being borne aloft on the wings of what seems like imagination, a being in free flight, above and beyond structures, landscapes, communities. A being without cares but not compassion.
That meditation can sometimes morph into a projection, where either the astral or mental body becomes conscious as an expression of the meditation, something seemingly independent, taking the meditator along rather than being directed by it. Those projections, perhaps brief and episodic, can reveal places and people not of this plane. If the visits are fleeting, as they often are, they become tantalizing flashes feathering some nest that may someday become our new home away from home.
On these flashes of projection we can often be so fascinated with what we are perceiving we often forget to perceive ourselves, and when we do there is sometimes nothing to see. The mental body can be invisible, unless we drum up an image to please our subconscious expectations, which is easy enough to do once we think of it. The astral body tends to be a radiant glowing version of the physical, but again subject to surprising modifications triggered by subconscious assumptions or desires.
After some, or many, examples of this, we begin to wonder if the astral body has its own mischievous agenda. Is it perhaps playing with us, slipping in bits and pieces of the mystery to either throw us off the scent or shock us out of old habits and into fresh and perhaps unfathomable perceptions? Much like the soul and the higher self it seems to have much greater knowledge of the mystery than ‘we’ do, whoever ‘we’ turns out to be. And when you’ve given yourself to uncovering that mystery the actual role of personal identity becomes vaguer and more ill-defined as you proceed. Every answer or resolution holds at least three more puzzles in its palm. After a while you stop saying things like ‘one down three more to go’ and content yourself with enjoying the mysterious gifts, whatever they may be that day.
Some projections take the form of lucid dreams and when you awaken, that’s you in the bed in the dark, the gift is another world with people, buildings and forms of nature, all functioning quite well, thank you, and requiring no creative input from you. You are welcomed, entertained, ignored and sometimes teased. They know you’re sleeping and easily confused, and rather enjoy the curve balls they toss at you. Mischievous children at some garden party, which is actually not a bad description of some afterlife realms. With practice you can join in the play.
Some have arrived with religion fully installed and functioning, others get it as it can seem like the only appropriate reaction to the joys and wonders of paradise. How marvelous it all is and shouldn’t I be grateful? Not at all what the pious would have you believe, back in the anxieties of Earth. Others just want to party, – picnics, barbecues, beer gardens, dancing, swimming and all the games you weren’t quite supple enough for before. And oh yes, flying. If you didn’t know about it before you’ll soon find out, with the young and carefree flipping about like kites on a windy day.
You gaze at them, amused, amazed, and then that creeping sense of familiarity. Yes, you’ve been here before, you know what this is about. But can you remember how to do it, or does it just take nerve? When the devoted passed you on their way to service you felt their thoughts and believed yourself superior to their deeply felt limitations. Now it’s you, seeing your own. Not so smug now. Suddenly your location is switched without you knowing why or how. Thrilled but confused. Who’s pulling the strings of this puppet? Is it another you, hidden from view? Some tour guide with insider tips?
It’s hard enough to be this feathery light being boosted out of sleep into some far better place where the rituals of life seem not so much reorganized as refreshed, the humans radiant, the plumage beyond beautiful, the flowers whispering, the trees somehow knowing. It’s all too much, but yet easy to handle. Then you disappear to yourself, no questions asked or answers offered, you’ve passed that stage and feel happy to be free of its hold. You seem to be nowhere knowing nothing, with this pose of couldn’t-care-less. And for a pose it feels quite natural. There’s nothing to see or hear, never mind smell or touch. No hands or feet or anything that could pass for a body. Definitely no shadow or source of light. The radiance just is.
You can’t wait to get back and tell yourself this. Seconds later you’re coming to waking, the buzz of excitement arising out of groggy. Sipping water in the bathroom, yes that’s you in the mirror. The you that just rose from the bed and one day will rise from the dead and go on to where you’ve just been. How weird is it? You chuckle as you head to your journal and try to write.