What is Higher self?
The word “higher self” is used in a variety of belief systems, but its core assumption is that it refers to an everlasting, omnipotent, aware, and intellectual entity who is one’s true self. The higher self was explicitly described by Blavatsky as “Atma is one self and an inseparable beam of the Universe. More than inside ourselves, it is the God above us “.. Every single person has a Higher Self.
The concept of the higher self is prevalent in many belief systems. The basic presumption is that of an omnipotent, eternal consciousness that is the individual’s authentic self. The higher self is generally recognized in cognizance of the divine being. In other words, when one’s consciousness or being is in union with God or the Divine, it is said that the individual is in their higher self. The idea of the higher self has been conceptualized in various religions, spiritual faiths and various theories of philosophy. In contemporary culture, the higher self is sometimes understood as part of an individual’s metaphysical identity and is similar to the understanding of the soul.
The Higher Self in Yoga
The higher self is also called the transcendental self. In Sanskrit, the higher self is called Purusha and is considered part of the cosmic consciousness in alignment with the Divine Self. Yogis, or those who practice Yoga, aim to unite their lower selves (the ego in Freudian understanding) with their higher selves through Yoga or spiritual practice by creating a sense of balance and oneness with the Divine Being. Yoga is considered a means to achieve this more profound awareness of the self. This sense of oneness is achieved through the practice of asanas and pranayama, or meditation. In Yoga, the actualization of the higher self is seen as part of the process of spiritual liberation or moksha. Spiritual liberation is achieved through yogic practice, discipline and meditation.
The Higher Self in Hinduism
Hinduism has most prominently delineated the concept of the higher self in its various scriptures and texts. In Hinduism, the Jiva or the individual self is one and the same as the higher self. Seen through the teachings of the Advaita Vedanta, which is a Hindu sadhana, or a form of textual interpretation through spiritual discipline and experience, the Atman or the individual soul and the Brahman or the Oversoul (the highest principle of reality or the ultimate reality) are the same. Hindu teachings emphasize that through examining self-knowledge, that is, “atman jnana,” one can comprehend one’s true self and attain salvation or liberation. The understanding of the higher self in Hinduism is influenced by its conception in Hindu yogic philosophy and spirituality.
The Higher Self in Christianity
While the concept of the higher self is not explicitly mentioned in Christian doctrines, the idea of the “new spirit” is present in the Evangelical Christian tradition. According to the conservative evangelical Christian sect, only they receive a new spirit who are born again, as cited in Ezekiel 36:26 and John 3:1-7. This idea of the ‘new spirit’ is similar to the concept of the higher self. Only those born again and receive these new spirits are in communion with the Holy Spirit, that is, are in the personal presence of God. While this is different from the understanding of the higher self in the mystical Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedanta, which proposes the concepts of Atman and Brahman, the Evangelical understanding of the new spirit can be seen as the Christian counterpart of it.
The Higher Self in Islam
In Islam, the idea of the higher self is prominent, especially in Sufism and some esoteric Shia sects. In these traditions, the concept of the higher self is connected to the idea of al-Insan-al-Kamil or the person who has reached perfection, that is, the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Insan-al-Kamil can also be translated as ‘the complete person’. The concept of al-Insan-al-Kamil is vital in Islamic theology. It contrasts the pure consciousness, which is supposed to be an individual’s true identity, with the material human being constrained by their body and senses.
The Higher Self in Spirituality
The spiritual concept of the higher self is similar to the idea in Yoga. It refers to a more general understanding. It simply means mindfulness and awareness of one’s higher self. Through meditation, one can reach their higher self and achieve enlightenment. The higher self is the self which is introspective and is capable of positive contemplation of the meaning of the purpose of existence and other such metaphysical questions. Through meditation, one channels their higher self and achieves a state of peace and tranquility with oneself.