What is your Higher Self?
When you notice you are operating as your Higher Self, as opposed to your usual mode of operation as your ego, you’d feel so different that you won’t miss it. It’s like a layer of a veil is lifted. Things become so clear and brilliant.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the method that hopefully lead you to this experience. But first, please know methods are just methods.
You may not need a method to experience something. And trying a handful of different methods may not get you to the experience.
The standard approach is higher self meditation. I do believe meditation is the best way to this experience.
The trouble is, sometimes you feel so troubled that meditation is the last thing you feel like doing.
So what do you do? Just wait until you feel like meditating? Force yourself to meditate?
My new Twelve-Step Program is something that Bridges this Gap.
Notice there is no step that says, “Made a resolution not to drink again.” This is not a program about quitting drinking or correcting an addictive habit; it’s about leaving the ego-centred way of living and realigning to “God” way.
I heard that, in the beginning, there were only two criteria that were asked to those who wished to join the group and start their recovery:
- Can you not drink for one day?
- Do you believe in a power greater than yourself?
In other words, the focus was to stay in the present and to align with a power greater than oneself.
Oneself — the ego-self, that is. All the steps are designed to promote these two points, to help a person leave the past regrets and grievances so that he can start afresh each day and to be more God-centered than ego-centred .
This seemingly roundabout approach has been surprisingly successful. Today, there are many types of twelve-step support groups such as Al-Anon (for families of addicts), Narcotics Anonymous, Nicotine Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous. (Depending on their addiction, they change the words in the bracket in Step 1.)
The program works because all addictions are about the ego.
The Nature of the Ego
The ego is addictive by nature. If nothing else, it is addicted to compulsive thinking, which distracts your attention from the present.
The ego does this because the present, the Now, is when you realize your Higher Self.
When you want to realize your Higher Self, then, you want to keep your attention to the Now.
My new twelve steps are intended to release you from the compulsive thinking of the ego-centred and to stay put in the Now.
The New 12 Steps
Step 1: I admit that the “I” as I think I am, my ego, is unreasonable and has turned my life full of suffering.
Step 2: I believe that a power greater than my ego can restore me to sanity. This power is beyond me and yet within me, my Higher Self, which is one with the loving God.
Step 3: I have made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand it.
Step 4: I observe my thoughts and feelings, knowing most of them are about my ego and therefore disbelieving them.
Step 5: I admit I acted in ways that caused pain to myself and to the world. I didn’t intend to cause pain, I was only seeking love and comfort. Nonetheless, my actions were conditioned and reactive.
Step 6: I am entirely ready to live as my Higher Self, forgiving all I have done.
Step 7: I humbly ask for divine grace so I may stay aware.
Step 8: I acknowledge I am withholding love from myself and others because of my judgments.
Step 9: I accept the limitations of myself and others, and also the divinity in us all.
Step 10: I choose to live in the Now, and when my ego rises to wander, promptly arrest it.
Step 11: Through yoga and Higher Self meditation, I tune up the connection of my body, mind and spirit, so I may act as my Higher Self, guided by its brilliance.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual remembering as the result of these steps, I live in childlike ease and joy, and I carry this message to others when appropriate.
Now let’s Study each Step in Details.
Most of us live as the ego. In fact, the first “I” that is admitting the ego-centred is unreasonable is still just one aspect of the ego.
But we must start somewhere, and acknowledging the ego’s unreasonable, crazy nature is the first step.
Our strategy is to give the ego something specific to work on rather than let it work on random problems as it usually does.
If you don’t think the ego is unreasonable, perhaps you haven’t suffered enough. Most of us live in denial.
That’s okay — take your time. Watch how your ego creates a problem by thinking and judging and then how it turns around to solve that problem.
If you set a fire and then go around screaming “Fire!”, isn’t that crazy and unreasonable?
When you are ready, you might want to make a list of all the craziness in your life. This is admittedly a very painful step.
Many big well-established men and women break into tears when they do the first step. This is actually good — the denial is finally giving way to your desire for recovery — in this case, your desire to live as your Higher Self.
Again, it’s still an aspect of ego talking, and “believing” is a far cry from really “knowing,” but we need to start somewhere.
If you have done step 1, the first sentence of Step 2 comes easily. The second sentence — well, for now, please just take it as it is written.
This is basically the same as the original step. It’s about surrendering. And it’s a very scary step because, at this point, you are probably still operating as your ego, and the last thing ego wants to do is to give up any of its power (even though that is only a fake power).
If the resistance is too strong and you cannot do step 3, please go back to Step 1.
You might also want to review your concept of God. Do you really see God as the source of all life, love and intelligence? (If you are allergic to the word “God,” please replace it with the word of your choice, such as Source or Universe.)
You want to make it a habit to observe your thoughts in the same way you observe passing thoughts in Higher Self meditation.
No push, no pull, no reacting, just observing. Feel the existence of the “you” who is observing your thoughts. That is not your thinking ego.
In the beginning, you probably slip often and react to your thoughts and feelings. This is why Step 4 is an ongoing step.
This step pairs with Step 4. As you observe so many thoughts and notice how you tend to react to them, you might feel bad about yourself.
You’ve already done Step 1, and know-how crazy things can get when you act on your ego’s cues.
It’s critical at this point to understand that you, like everyone, acted and reacted not because you wanted to cause pain but because you didn’t know better.
Yes, your ego drove you crazy and you did some really stupid things. But at the time of acting it, you thought your action would bring some comfort or at least some relief.
No one does anything with the pure intention to cause pain. Even murderers have a reason — at least at the very moment of their action, they thought the action would bring some comfort or relief. Perhaps a stupid reason, but still a reason.
The real problem is we, as egos, are conditioned to think and act in certain ways and we react to our thoughts and feelings.
In order words, the real problem is a lack of awareness. (By the way, this step is not about defending murderers but does mean having compassion to all beings.)
So we get to the point of really wanting to have this awareness or to live as our Higher Selves. In order to get there, we need to release the baggage from the past by forgiving ourselves.
This is another painful step. Your ego will resist the idea of forgiving yourself — your ego would insist on punishing yourself for all the wrongs you’ve made.
And as long as you listen to your ego’s resistance, you are not quite ready yet.
The awareness comes by divine grace. It’s not something you can work on or create. That’s just your ego talking, again — the ego loves doing something. And the ego judges if you deserve it or not.
No, at this point, you simply ask or pray so that you can have this awareness. If you really have done Step 6, Step 7 comes naturally.
The nature of your Higher Self is the same quality love of God. While the ego makes judgements about people, things, and events, your Higher Self is waiting to just love. Let’s notice that.
For me, this is an ever-fresh step. There is more, more, and more love, and even after doing the steps many times, I still notice I am withholding some love, so I do the next step to open up further.
This is another way to say, love. As humans, we have limitations. We also have innate divinity. Accepting both aspects means living as your Higher Self in this physical world.
Both aspects. If you find yourself focusing on either one of the aspects, you haven’t got it yet. Step 5 prepares you to accept the limitations in us. Step 2 and 7 prepare you to accept the divinity in us.
The “I” is now shifting to realize your Higher Self. The “I” who can accept the egos and the Higher Selves in oneself and others is not your ego, it’s your Higher Self. You might take Step 8 and 9 awareness back and forth to really get it.
As I explained earlier, the ego doesn’t like the Now and wants to distract you to the past or the future. When this happens, simply notice and get back to the present.
What’s good with yoga (or other body-mind-spirit work of your choice) is you intend to move your body in a certain way using your mind, and then you observe your body movement as you observe your thoughts and feelings in Step 4.
So it links the body, mind and your Higher Self awareness.
Higher Self Meditation
Body awareness is key. I wrote yoga because I like it, but as long as you use your body, mind, and awareness, you can do the movement of your choices such as tai chi or martial arts. (I’m not interested in the kind of yoga that just does the poses — that is more like aerobics with yoga poses.)
Higher self meditation is also helpful. Hopefully, by the time you get to this step, you are ready to meditate. This is another ongoing maintenance step so you stay in your Higher Self awareness.
We are our Higher Selves. This is about remembering this original state, not achieving something new. As your ego created problems decrease, you get to live in childlike ease and joy.
(By joy, I don’t mean the temporary jolted feeling you have when you get what you wanted.) This doesn’t mean you are now always your Higher Self. The ego is canny and it will be back. (When it does, it seems to attack with vengeance.)
At this point, you are probably just living your life with the simplicity and audacity of a child, and the people around you may notice.
I am not big on marketing, but when someone asks, it may be appropriate to talk about it.
How to work the steps
If you want to practice the 12 steps, this is how:
- Read the 12 steps aloud a couple of times a day, like a morning and evening. Soon, you will memorize them. Posting the printout may be helpful, too.
- Do the steps one by one.
- When you feel troubled, emotionally disturbed, stressed, or whenever you can, recite the 12 steps and see where you are. For example: Have I realized how unreasonable my ego is? If not, is what I am going through enough to take Step 1? Or: Am I observing my thoughts and feelings? Oh, I guess I am reacting to them. Let’s do Step 4.
- When you are down to Step 12, start over from Step 1 again. Often, it takes multiple rounds to really get it.