Who doesn't want—and need—to perceive themselves as holistically as possible? After all, much of life involves unfolding what lies inside of us to create a full understanding of who we really are.
Once we've a sense of this essential or true self, decision making becomes easier. We can select jobs that align with our purpose, choose relationships that are really fun, and joyfully plant our place in the universe. Drilling down—or getting broad enough—to say, "This is me!" isn't so simple though, is it? We're complicated and sometimes inconsistent. As soon as we become predictable, we react to the same old, same old weirdly.
Like, imagine that you are a vegan. Along comes a street vendor who offers you a hot dog—and you scarf it down. WHAT?
Try a different scenario if you're sure that whatever eating habits are solidly ingrained.
Pretend that you make your living as an accountant. One day, you pull out canvas and paints and decide to switch up your career, despite there is that can't-overlook phenomenon called needing to make a living.
Even when we catch ourselves by surprise, we are the same person acting in new ways. Our basic nature never changes, but our viewpoints of self certainly can. Our ideas about ourselvdes can be explained by that old adage about the elephant, which I'll update for contemporary readers.
Disperse four people with cell phones and tell them to snap a selfie of themselves with an elephant. Each takes a picture from different vantage points and posts their results to Facebook.
Trunk. Tail. Side. Spine.
Even if viewers hit "like" to each image, they won't be able to visualize the entire beast based on any one angle. If they put them together, however, they can come close.
In this article, I intend to assist you with two activities. The first is to perceive yourself from four different angles, which are actually related to four different and co-existing levels of reality. The second is to help you assemble these portraitures into one painting, so you can better comprehend your true and essential self, and receive the benefits afforded that self-awareness.
What are these four layers of reality—and the four main aspects of yourself that dwell amongst them? I explore them in my newest book, Advanced Chakra Healing: Four Pathways to Energetic Wellness and Transformation. These layers or pathways of existence are independent and yet they intersect, as do the aspects of our true self which is spread out amongst them. Succinctly, these four pathways govern the following parts of reality.
On the first level, the elemental pathway, lives your material self. This is your everyday self, who relates to thoughts, feelings, foods, and that all-encompassing drive to keep the house clean and the money flowing. Too often religious or spiritual journey-ways negate this routine self, labeling it as too commonplace and or mundane to be important. Ah, but not so fast. If in fact we are spirits here to engage in a physical existence, the elemental self is as indispensable to the essential self as are our loftier and grander aspects of being.
Now imagine a barren space, nearly devoid of the ordinary. Wait! There is something of substance in here. There are forces everywhere: immense swaths, beams, and streams of sound and light. This is the power pathway, and you inhabit it as assuredly as you do the banal plane of the elemental.
Your task on this pathway is to learn how to grasp and command supernatural forces. Here, everyone is Marvel action figure, complete with a cape and superpower. Use your X-ray vision and you can direct forces and dissipate anything from money problems to a tumor. Flick your wrist (or wand) and call forward the force needed for a new job.
What about your magical self? We all have an "inner shaman," priest-healer that negotiates unlimited dimensions and universes with great ease. Your shamanic abode is the imaginal pathway, upon which you journey through a series of mirror-like doors that serve as portals between realms. Basically, your imaginal self supports the transfer of energies between dimensions. The goal? Out with the bad and in with the good!
The divine pathway is the space in which your own essence or spirit connects with the divinity in others, as well directly to the Divine. On this pathway, energies are ruled by spiritual laws, and these dissolve negativity by meeting unmet needs in a new way. Here it is recognized that there is never anything wrong with you. With guidance, you can make more healthier choices, and let go of the options causing pain.
Want to use these pathways to construct a truly creative depiction of your true self? Simply respond to the following four sets of reflections. Each is based on one of the pathways. You'll then put all the musings together.
Before beginning, gather a paper and pen and ensconce yourself in a quiet area. You can sit inside or outside, just establish a few boundaries so that you won't be disturbed for several minutes. Then allow yourself to deeply relax.
Affirm that you'll undertake these four explorations from the viewpoint of your essence, or true self. It is easiest to do that when centered within the middle of your chest. From this space you'll naturally know the responses to the following questions and can record your reactions.
Elemental Pathway Self
Let your own essence link you in the best way possible with your elemental self. This self expresses your higher nature through your body and the natural world.
Request that your true self provide you an image, insight, or other type of description of this elemental self. How does your own essence best understand and appreciate your body? What foods, colors, and types of clothing or environments uphold your essence in the physical realm?
What beliefs serve you best? How about feelings? For the fun of it, consider which building blocks of the material world best symbolize you, or make you feel at home in the physical world. Take your time with this question. You can list flowers, trees, friends, pets, environmental terrains, and just about anything else. Maybe even a few television shows!
When finished with these musings, write down a few words that summarize what you've arrived at.
These phrases describe your elemental personality.
Power Pathway Self
You're ready to connect with your most commanding personae. This self can be loud or quiet, bold or shy. The reason to evaluate and encircle your power pathway self is that all too often, we're raised to repress our inner clout or believe that only external forms of power matter.
Through the lens of your essential self, get in touch with this, your most empowered of personalities.
First, picture your power pathway self. How are you clothed? What type of muscles can you flex? What tools or capabilities are available within you, and what can you do with these?
If there are colors to associate with your powers and abilities, what might these be? How about sounds and words? Select as many superlatives as you want!
Think of phrases that might depict your ways of—and reasons for being—authoritative. Maybe even list out what "mountains" you would move if you were all powerful and omniscient.
Now put together all the thoughts, concepts, and ideas that you've come up with in a few words. You've met your power pathway self.
Imaginal Pathway Self
It's time to meet your inner Alice in Wonderland.
Alice's experiences through the looking glass were all conducted by her magical and imaginal self. How marvelous, to connect with an equally adventurous inner self.
To recognize and more fully activate your imaginal self, read through the next instructions, and then close your eyes.
Pretend that you are inside of a mirror-like lake that lies in the center of the universe. Here you can become anything you desire. Within here, in fact, you are everything you've ever imagined your wonderful self to be.
Simply drift in this state and let words—or poetry, lyrics, songs, movements, or other forms of expression—organize within you. Then synthesize what you're aware of in whatever way you desire and record your reflections.
Self, meet Alice.
Divine Pathway Self
Your divine self knows that all of life—and the Great Beyond—is a sanctuary. Every event that occurs can be transformed into a blessing and every pain can be consoled by the Divine.
Still associating with your essential self, and based in your heart, let yourself consider the fact that all other aspects of you—the elemental, power, and imaginal—are as divine as is your essence. Then write down ways to describe your actual divine pathway self in response to this statement:
Because I am eternally divine, I am this:___
Putting It All Together
It's time! Take a few more minutes and put together your puzzle pieces. Don't hurry or worry about getting your personality profile perfect. In fact, you can take as much time as you want, even the rest of the day or week, to assemble the images, sensations, knowings, and words into a complete assessment.
When you feel like you're intuitively and lovingly able to embrace the fullness that you are, celebrate! Give yourself permission to go out there and express your full self in every way desired.