Back to Homepage
Manual of THE NEW YOGA
The New Yoga of The Self
to the self that is awareness
What is ‘self’?
“It is not the physical body, as maintained by the common folk and the materialists, not the vital energy (prana) as maintained by the followers of the Vedas, not the ascertaining power of the mind as maintained by the Yogachara Buddhists, nor the Void, as maintained by the Madhyamika Buddhists, but…the Foundational Awareness.”
Kshemaraja, Commentary on the Shiva Sutras
If somebody asks (or I ask myself): how can you believe in Christ and Shiva at the same time? My answer will be a further question: who is Christ? Who is Shiva? And, who am I? Shiva is not a name or any mythological personality, he is the "gracious one", the great Lord (Parameshvara), the ultimate Reality (anuttara), the most intimate I-consciousness of every conscious being. Christ is not merely the historical personality, otherwise I would not have cared to follow him. He is "the Way, the Life and the Truth" – but not in an exclusive sense; on the contrary. Even beyond that he is essentially the "I am": "Then you will know that ‘I am’." How can one limit the "I am" to only one person? Here I learn from Kashmir Shaivism or Ramana Maharshi that the ultimate "I" of every conscious being is the divine "I". The ultimate realization is not of some "objective" truth: "This is He", but the personal discovery: "I am He". In this way every spiritual practice in the inter-religious context leads to a kind of purification from mere conceptions.
Bettina Bäumer: A Journey with the Unknown
Lord, who are you? Do you exist? I can go no further. Are you other than this brother in whose face my face is reflected? Are you some other ‘thing' than the water, the earth, the fire and everything that is made of ‘them'? The Grund (ground) which is in the depth of myself, in the depth of everything - is it a face, is it a Thou that sees itself as myself, and I who makes me to be in addressing me? Are you other than this mystery, this Brahman, in the depth of myself, of everything? I mean, are you other than a sheer mystery that cannot be named? This I, this You, is it a projection of myself, a final effort to preserve myself over against you? Are you Isvara (Lord)? Are you Purusha? Are you Krishna? Are you Jesus? Are you something other, other than myself? In that light which is beyond the darkness, do you still appear? Or else have you disappeared in the light? Or are you the very light that surrounds me, that permeates me, that absorbs me? The Logos appears only long enough to light up the descent into the cave: guha. Then there exists only the one who is within (guhantara) and who is the within itself... In the depth of the inner cave (guha) there is no name and equally no non-name, neither Shiva nor Jesus!
Abhishiktananda: Ascent to the Depth of the Heart.
…identity is not an ‘it’ but an ‘ing’, it is what is happening, which includes many reoccurring states along with rapidly changing states, where the reoccurring states themselves can change over longer periods of time, and the rapidly changing states could display intricate patterns of change that are in fact quite repetitious.
Michael Kosok: The Singularity of Awareness
Behind your thoughts and feelings, my brother, there stands a mighty ruler, an unknown sage - whose name is Self. In your body he dwells. He is your body.
All consciousness is interrelated. It flows together in currents, rises and falls, eddies and breaks, mixes and merges. Your own purposes, intents, and desires, attract to you those other ‘fragments’ of consciousness that mix and match to form your psychological being, as, for example, atoms and molecules mix and merge to form your physical being.
Seth, in The Afterlife Journal of an American Philosopher by Jane Roberts
You tie yourself in knots, so to speak. You think so rigidly of concerns that are primarily insignificant to you, as a whole self, and make a fetish of them. You identify, despite your knowledge, mainly with the ego.
The ego, whilst always changing, is one of the most rigid aspects of identity. To the inner self, neither house nor walls exist. They are perceived only as vague, self-limiting ideas on the ego’s part.
The ego is the only part of the self that regards physical objects as anything but symbols. Death simply does not exist to the whole personality. Only the physically-oriented portions of the self accept this as a finality.
Communication exists between all portions of the self, and all parts of the personality, or all parts of the whole self, rather, operate as what you might call a supraself.
An awareness of the existence of the supraself is in itself of great benefit.
There is an inherent knowledge within each individual of the supraself’s existence, and its image is indelibly imprinted. It is the desired and sought-after model against which you psychically measure your present self.
Whenever you use abilities that to you seem supernormal, you are drawing upon the ability of the supraself. It is the whole ‘I’ as yet more than the sum of it parts.
It is action, highly aware, and quite able to change its components.
All the personalities within it are independent and survive as themselves, yet it is only part of a larger identity - which is to say that it itself is within the sphere of another psychological organisation system or gestalt.
The supraself is…a part of a higher gestalt, which is part of yet another higher consciousness-gestalt. It however, retains its identity whilst partaking to the extent of its desire and ability in the superior aspects of this larger gestalt. Even as you, according to your desire and ability, can partake of the superior qualities of your supraself.
You…are not the low man on the totem pole, however. There are lesser, so to speak, personalities, within every dominant physical personality…To these the physical personality would seem like a supraself.
Seth, in The Early Sessions, Book 7
Who am I? Who are You?
How do you experience what and who you are – your ‘identity’?
How do you ‘know’ who you are?
If you do, can you have selves unknown to you?
Does ‘knowing’ who you are mean having a mental idea or image of yourself, or can you feel yourself directly?
If you can sense or experience your ‘self’ directly, who or what is the experiencing self – the self with which you sense yourself?
How can anyone say ‘That’s just who I am’ or alternatively ‘That’s just not me’?
How do you separate your inner experience of self from your experience of the outer world and other people?
Where are the boundaries of the self - of identity?
How can you feel an emotion in another person without feeling it in yourself?
If so, how can we regard feelings – or any types of experience – as the private property of self or other?
Is your identity your ‘private property’? If so what or who is the self of yours that it is the property of?
How can you objectify your subjective experience of yourself, and if so, what is the self that seeks to make yourself into an object?
Who is the self we experience subjectively or are aware of?
Who or what is the self that is aware – that is this awareness?
Whenever your mood changes and you feel different, is the ‘you’ that feels different the same ‘you’ that experiences a previous mood, or is it a different ‘you’ – is the mood not a different feeling of who you are?
How can you separate what you feel from how you feel - from who you feel yourself to be? If you can, what ‘you’ is making the separation?
How do your everyday actions and interactions affect or alter your sense of self?
What does it mean to say something like you’re not ‘feeling yourself’ today’?
What does it mean to act in a way that is ‘like’ or ‘unlike’ yourself?
What does it mean to say ‘You feel split’, if not that you are aware of two ‘yous’?
What does it mean to ‘be’ or ‘become’ who one is?
What shapes your sense of self in the first place?
Is your sense of self something shaped by your childhood, family and social environment, pre-determined by God or fate, pre-programmed in your genes, or pre-wired in your brain?
Do you have something like an enduring deep identity or sense of self?
What does it mean to have no sense of self, or to ‘lose yourself’ in something?
Are we all One? If so, what makes people similar and/or different?
What makes you and others ‘the same’ and/or ‘different’ at different times?
What makes you feel yourself or ‘not yourself’, similar or different to yourself?
What makes you and others seem ‘the same’ at different times, in different situations and with different people?
Is your identity something you were born with, that you are bound to, and that is bounded by your current physical body?
If you have more than one life, more than one body, more than one self, what is the larger self or soul that embraces them all?
And how will you experience this larger soul and its multiple selves - in the afterlife?
Can you experience it in this life, within your current body?
Do all things have a sense of self, not just human beings, but animals, plants and even seemingly inanimate objects?
Is God a being with an identity or sense of self? Are gods beings with their own identities or selves?
What is the relation between human beings’ images, ideas and experience of ‘self’ (and/or different selves), and their images, ideas and experience of ‘God’ (and/or different gods)?
What is the relation between your concepts and experience of self and your concepts and experience (or non-experience) of God?
What is the relation between your experience of your body and your experience of both your self and the world, both God and nature, things and other beings?
What is the relation between ‘mind’ and ‘body’, our
mental identity and our bodily sense of self - and what then is our ‘soul’?
There are individuals in this world - both many and rare - who are aware
that their experience is imbued with far greater dimensions of their identity or
being and far greater dimensions of meaning than they can comprehend or
creatively express in their lives. Being aware of this deeper meaning they
become ‘seekers’ – ever searching for frameworks of comprehension or creative
expression. Alternatively they may use extreme intensities of experience
to give expression to felt meanings they cannot comprehend or creatively
express. Indeed they may devote whole lifetimes to seeking these frameworks of
creativity and comprehension - or to expressing the deeper meaning they feel in
life through ‘extreme’ experiencing. Others, being completely unaware of
these deeper dimensions of meaning - and/or being terrified of the
intensities of experiencing through which they may find expression - may seek to
completely deny and invalidate them. This often leaves those individuals who
hold to their own profound sense of meaning – those who know that there is more
to life than science and society acknowledge - even more overwhelmed by
the experiences through which they seek to give it expression, and even
more isolated by the apparently ‘abnormal’ behaviours that these experiences may
lead to. Yet such socially ‘abnormal’ behaviour is nothing but a desperate
attempt on the part of such individuals to seek recognition or understanding of
the meaning expressed in their experiences. All they tend to get in return
however, is social ostracism or labelling, not least through medicine and
psychiatry – this being society’s primary tool for the social suppression of
felt meaning, achieved through medications designed to dull the
individual’s intensity of experiencing or block its behavioural expression. This
compounds their accompanying sense of never being sure of what and who they
are - for receiving no recognition of the deeper meaning they sense
in their experience neither can they feel their own deeper being or self.
Paradoxically however, individuals aware that there is deeper meaning to
all that they experience are often not aware that the meaning they seek
can be found in that very awareness. Not being aware that their
innermost being is that very awareness of meaning – as it is felt in an
immediate bodily way - their only way of holding on to meaning in their lives
and to a sense of their inner being or identity is to continue to
identify with their intense emotional experiencing and the behaviours they
act it out through.
Modern ‘scientific’ psychology of personal identity has no concept of the
subjectively sensed self. Instead it seeks to reduce identity to a set of
objectifiable ‘traits’ or behaviours ultimately rooted in our genes. At the
same time modern social culture reduces the subjective self to the individual’s
mental ‘self-image’. As a result individuals seek to turn themselves into an
image of this image – an image of how they are or wish to be seen by
others from the outside - objectively. The question of how they wish to feel
themselves and their bodies from within – subjectively - simply does not come
into play, but is instead made dependent on the external image of themselves and
of their bodies that they can mentally construct or cosmetically shape.
Our sense of the inner human being is made into something entirely
dependent on our image of the outer human being. The possibility of
gaining a direct inner sense of the outer human being – let alone the
inner human being – is quite simply excluded. Hence people’s overriding concern
of how they are seen by others - a concern that evaporates the moment
they choose to really see the other – not simply as they present
themselves on the outside but in a feeling way - as they sense themselves
from within. As long as we focus on our own feelings and are concerned as to
how others see us, we cannot truly see the other in a feeling way.
Relating is reduced to reacting to the external image others have of
us, using a counter-image either of ourselves or of the other. This purely
external and reactive mode of relating ends up depriving both self and
other of any sense of inner contact with either themselves or one
another. And yet this is precisely what both seek in their innermost psyche or
soul - a word that, paradoxically, no longer has any place in the
so-called ‘psychology’ of self or of personal identity, simply because it is
nothing we can objectify, measure or reduce to a labelled set of ‘individual
differences’. Subjectively however, our inner experience of
another person – in contrast to the outer image we have of them - is
nothing neatly separable from our inner experience of ourselves. Nor is it
reducible to an experience of similarities and/or differences. Instead every
experience of others is one of similarity-in-difference or simference.
What we like to see simply as another person’s sameness or difference is
the meaningful awareness of a certain sameness being expressed in a
different way. It is this that subverts our fixed sense of ego-identity –
our idea of identity as the private property of a self entirely separate
The problem is basically that the state of awareness one is experiencing takes on the form of “ownership” of that awareness. The experience of awareness “is mine” one tends to say, and not someone else’s because my individual personal self is somehow unique as a separate state only through all kinds of sharing.
Michael Kosok, The Singularity of Awareness
You are all that you experience, and nothing that you experience. For all experiencing emerges from and within an abiding and unbounded space or field of awareness that cannot be reduced to anything experienced within it – even your experienced ‘self’. The true Self is the experiencing self. That self does not possess awareness. It is awareness. For the Self that is awareness however, all experiencing is both an expression and experience of itself and something intrinsically distinct from it – something fundamentally other. If we experience awareness as “mine” however - as the private property of our own experienced self - we immediately lose contact with this experiencing self, the Self that does not possess but is awareness.
Feelings of loss of identity and of
alienation from all that we experience are but the flip side of the
recognition that all experiencing is something quite other than this
experiencing Self. Suddenly everything, including our experienced self,
appears other or ‘alien’ to what we essentially are. And yet we still do not
know who we are, for we continue to seek a sense of identity only through
identification with an old or new experience of ourselves, with a part
self rather than our self as a whole – our soul. We still have not found that
Self whose nature is nothing but awareness itself. The greater our
identification with any experienced self therefore - and the more we
experience awareness as the private property of our experienced self - the
greater the degree of personality ‘breakdown’ and loss of identity that
is felt when this identification breaks down. Awareness of experiencing
is the key to gaining an entirely new sense of identity, one in which we no
longer experience awareness as something that is “mine” or “yours”, but
instead recognise everything we experience as something fundamentally other
than the trans-personal awareness that is our divine awareness self.
Awareness belongs to none of us. Instead we all belong to It. Yet this
‘It’ is nothing impersonal but the very source of our personhood in all its
The Shiva Sutras are the foundational ‘scripture’ or treatise of tantric
religious and metaphysical psychology. Its first line or sutra is a
single word in Sanksrit – but a word that in itself makes a quite extraordinary
statement - an infinite statement. The word is Caitanyamatma.
What this one compound word says is that the
awareness (caitanya) of a being with awareness (cetana) is the
very self (atman) of that being. Caitanyamatma
(‘being-awareness-self’) can therefore be translated as ‘being awareness’ or
‘awareness self’. Its profound message is - ‘being a self’ means ‘being
aware’. True selfhood means being awareness - identifying with awareness
as one’s very being or self. Yet ‘being awareness’ is not a static mode of
being, and nor is the ‘awareness self’ any sort of fixed identity. For as
our very awareness of all that we experience, the awareness self
is what allows us to “become our feelings” without either being
overwhelmed by those feelings or losing ourselves in them.
Caitanyamatma - ‘being awareness’ - means that no matter how many
selves we experience through becoming our feelings, we never lose a sense of
that Self that is the awareness of those feelings, that is the
awareness of those selves and of the very activity of becoming them.
Caitanyamatma – the awareness self - is that ‘Self’ which, paradoxically, is
continuously ‘Becoming Other’, whilst never ceasing to silently abide in
(to ‘Be’) its very Awareness of doing so. This Self, the Awareness Self,
the Self that is Awareness – Caitanyamatma – is also a Self that
can freely choose to identify or dis-identify with any
element of its self-experience. Its freedom of activity is like that of
an actor or actress who can freely choose to act any of countless parts.
Not an actor or actress pretending that their ‘off-stage’ or ‘everyday’
identity is their real identity – rather than another part or set of parts
(part-selves). Nor an actor or actress who no longer knows who they are
outside the parts they choose to act, but one who is able to identify
with the divine actor or agent. That divine agent is the awareness
self – a ‘field identity’ that embraces every single self or ‘unit
identity’ that one is or can become - every self, actual or potential,
that it can freely and creatively act and actualise. In its vast
awareness it embraces not only the self we currently experience in our
immediate present. It embraces also the immediate present experience
of every single self - past and future - that we ever have or could
This macro-meditation re-interprets the ‘Yoga of
Supreme Identity’ (with Shiva or Divine Awareness) associated with Kashmir
Shaivism. It is essentially a ‘Mantra of Supreme Identity’ - expressing a series
of states of consciousness leading from identification of the ‘I’ with
experience to the ‘supreme identification’ – the identification with Divine
Awareness as the Awareness Self (caitanyamatma).
The Mantra of Supreme Identity
1. I am my experience of This.
(…of a particular thought or feeling, of an object or person, of myself or another person).
2. I am aware of experiencing This.
3. I am not my experience of This.
(My awareness of experiencing This is distinct from my experience of it).
4. I am my awareness of experiencing This.
(I experience my awareness as my private property).
5. I am the awareness that experiences This.
(I experience my identity as an awareness that is not my private property).
6. This is part of what It is.
(...one experience and expression of the Divine Awareness).
7. This is part of what I am.
(…one experience and expression of the Awareness Self).
The six-stages can be summed up as a three-stage mantra:
· This is what I am.
· This is not what I am.
· This is a part of what I am.
The awareness self, quite simply, is our soul – understood as our self as a whole. This greater self (Mahatma) or ‘supraself’ is not a fixed identity or ‘it’ but an ever-changing field identity or ‘-ing’, a dynamic field of awareness within which countless sub-selves or ‘unit identities’ are ever forming and re-forming, combining in new patterns and exploring new planes of awareness. We are each a sub-self of our whole self or soul. The aim of The New Yoga is to put and keep us in touch with our self as a whole – our soul – feeling it as a supraself linking us to the Divine. Knowing ourselves as a part of this supraself, we can freely explore all the countless other ‘subselves’ that form a part of it, but only if we recognise that all such part selves, whilst distinct, have no existence separate or apart from the self as a whole – the soul.
In Diagram 1 ‘self’ is the dimension of unit awareness and identity represented by the red circles, and circles within circles. ‘Soul’ is the field dimension of awareness and identity represented by the white spaces of awareness within and around each self. The diagram shows three selves (for example three incarnations) as subselves within the larger soul or awareness space (‘suprasoul’) of a larger identity (‘supraself’). Any given ‘self’ is both a ‘subself’ of its own larger identity or supraself and a ‘supraself’ with its own sub-selves. All selves at all levels take shape continuously and simultaneously as clusters or family groupings (kula) of subselves within the souls of their supraselves. For a supraself, all its sub-selves are co-present elements or parts of its own spacious soul or awareness space - even though the subselves may appear to one another as each other’s ‘past’ or ‘future’ identities or incarnations. The soul or awareness of our own supraself embraces what appear to us as our ‘past’ and ‘future’ incarnations. It also embraces parallel incarnations living in what we take as our own present. All that we take as ‘our’ past and future identities or incarnation, are in essence parallel and simultaneous identities or incarnations of our own supraself. Ultimately no self or identity ‘reincarnates’ in time. Instead all are co-present or parallel incarnations of their own supraself, born within the field awareness of their own suprasoul.
Diagram 1 ‘Soul’– white space (field identity) ‘Selves’ – red circles (unit identities)
The whole self or soul, like space itself, is the field dimension of both our awareness and our identity (akula). The soul is a ‘field self’ that embraces entire groups or families (kula) of bounded or ‘unit selves’. Unit selves form themselves in awareness in the same way that words do - each letter of the word corresponding to a unique field-quality of awareness, and each self, like a word, being a uniquely patterned group or kula of such qualities - one that can be arranged, sounded or ‘pronounced’ in countless different ways. Just as we could all rearrange or include new letters in our name, so we can all rearrange or include new letters in the alphabet of soul-qualities that makes up our current sense of self or personal identity. What is uniquely ‘new’ about The New Yoga is its recognition that soul or awareness has its own innate sensual qualities of tone, shape, colour and texture, and that these sensual soul qualities are the very stuff of which both our bodies and our very self or identity are essentially composed. “We are such stuff as dreams are made on”. All the manifold sensual soul qualities that combine to make up different conscious and subconscious aspects of our worldly self find expression in the sensory world of our dreams. Similarly, all the countless selves that form part of our larger soul entity each take on their own manifold shapes and forms in that larger world of soul of which our physical reality, physical planet and physical self are just expressions.
Entering the soul world takes us beyond the self we know into an infinite realm of other selves – inhabiting not only other times and places (reincarnational selves), but countless non-physical planes of awareness. There, those qualities of awareness that make up the very soul-stuff of our identity at all levels can take on bodily forms quite impossible to imagine on the earthly plane – except perhaps through the fantastic shapes and colours of deep sea organisms. Our larger soul is like an ocean replete with the countless life forms that arise from it - but with no fixed forms of its own.
The divine awareness field has often been compared to an ocean of awareness. Indeed, the root meaning of the word ‘soul’ (German Seele) is ‘those who come from the sea’. But the ocean of awareness is not one in which individuality is dissolved, and in which we are each but one indistinguishable ‘drop in the ocean’. For by its very nature awareness individualises itself - giving rise to countless individual selves in the same way that an ocean gives rise to all the countless fish and life forms within it. Our human ego-identity can be compared to an individual fish’s awareness of itself as a being separate and apart from the ocean as a whole and the other life forms within it. Our body identity is comparable to a fish’s awareness of itself as a part of the ocean as a whole, inseparable from it and connected to other life forms through it. Our innermost self, on the other hand, is comparable only to the ocean’s own awareness of itself in the form of each and every individual life form within it.
Each life form in the ocean experiences both the ocean as a whole and all the other life forms within it in its own unique way. A shark’s perception of other sharks, of the ocean as a whole and other life forms such as a squid is in no way the same as that of a squid, or human diver. What human beings perceive as the shape and body of a shark is in no way the same as what a squid - or another shark itself - perceives. Similarly, none of us perceive other human beings and the physical environment we seem to share in the same way. Each of us dwells in our own unique field-self, soul or ‘ocean’ of awareness – our ‘great soul’ or Mahatma. The ultimate or divine awareness field therefore, is not merely one great ocean of awareness but an ocean of oceans – of souls great and small. Individual identities can never be lost in any ocean of awareness. Instead they are its very life, constantly formed and reformed within it. The divine awareness field (Shiva) individualises itself as the soul of each and every being and in this way says ‘I’ to itself. Conversely, the individual soul (jiva), recognising its own ‘great soul’ as a self-expression of the divine, knows its own essential self or ‘I’ as identical with Shiva. The divine awareness field itself transcends the duality of divine and individual awareness, Shiva and jiva - which are neither ‘dual’ nor ‘non-dual’, but distinct and inseparable – neither separate identities nor merged into one ‘oceanic’ identity lacking all internal distinction.
The awareness self is not a thing but an ‘-ing’. It is be-ing awareness - a seamless movement through oceans of awareness. Those oceans are the source of all the countless qualities and intensities of awareness that can shape and colour our experienced self. The Awareness Self is the sustained awareness of experiencing that makes this seamless movement or Being Awareness possible - freeing us from identification with any particular experience of self and thus making space for an infinite richness of self-experience, coloured by ever-new qualities of awareness.
“The soul is not a unit that is definable. Instead it is an undefinable quality.”
“Behind your thoughts and feelings, my brother, there stands a mighty ruler, an
unknown sage - whose name is Self.
In your body he dwells. He is your body.”
Awareness alone allows us to feel every localised action or sensation, thought or emotion that we are aware of as a non-local or ‘field’ quality of awareness – as a soul quality that permeates and transforms our entire bodily sense of self.
When people ask themselves ‘who am I?’, or even ‘how do I feel?’, they generally attend to everything except their immediate bodily sense of self – their immediate sensuous experience of themselves as opposed to their mental or emotional self-experience. They experience themselves as ‘having’ certain feelings and reflecting on those feelings, but rarely do they focus on feeling those feelings in a bodily way. To feel our feelings in a bodily way means asking ourselves where and how we feel those feelings in our body, how they in turn make our bodies feel, and how they make us feel – how they alter our bodily sense of self. Our bodily sense of self or body self is the link between how we feel and how we feel, between ‘what’ we feel and who we feel ourselves to be. The way we feel our body and the way we feel our self go hand in hand. To ‘be a self’ is to be some-body in the most literal sense – to experience a definite body identity or bodily sense of self. Our bodily sense of self is therefore the most basic element of our self-experience as a whole. That is why, when we begin to feel unwell, the first sign of this ill-being or ‘dis-ease’ is an overall bodily sense of ‘not feeling oneself’. The sense of ill-being or dis-ease associated with ‘not feeling oneself’ can be the first stage in the development of a full blown physical illness or disease or it can lead to ‘mental’ illness of a sort rooted in losing one’s bodily sense of self to the extent of ‘feeling no self’. Alternatively, the dis-ease of ‘not feeling oneself’ can be the prelude to ‘feeling a different self’. Healing, from this point of view, does not consist in finding the physical causes or curing the physical symptoms of dis-ease. Instead the essence of healing lies in passing from simply ‘not feeling oneself’ to ‘feeling another self’ and finding ways to actively affirm, express and embody that self.
Our body identity or body self is one of the two main elements of our experienced self - the other being our mental self or identity. Our mental identity is the mental idea or ‘image’ we form of ourselves – of who we are or should be. Even a person’s bodily self-image, by virtue of being a mental image, is part of their mental identity. It is the association of a person’s ‘identity’ with their mental identity or self-image that leads people to attempt to turn themselves into an image of this image – in particular some ideal image of how they ‘should’ feel, or what image they ‘should’ present to others. If this mental image or identity conflicts with their bodily sense of self they are unhappy, they nevertheless do everything possible to live up to it – even if this involves cosmetically or surgically altering their bodies, starving them (anorexia), or deadening their bodily sense of self through the use of psychiatric medications. If all else fails they may engage in bodily self-harm or seek to ‘kill themselves’ – which is to say that they seek to kill their physical bodies. The problem is that the self is nothing that can die or be killed, for its essence is awareness and awareness is not a product of the physical body or brain.
It is only through our soul identity or awareness self however, that we can experience any such thing as either a ‘mind’ or ‘body’, a mental identity or bodily identity. For whereas our mental self and body self form part of our experienced self and in turn colour our experience of the world and other people, our soul identity or awareness self is the ultimate ‘witness’ to all that we experience that constitutes the divine essence of our experiencing self. Our soul identity or awareness self is also our whole self opposed to any sub-self of that whole. Our soul identity or awareness self is also our body as a whole – our soul body or awareness body. The essential unity of our ‘body identity’ and ‘soul identity’ lies in the fact that there are no aspects of our larger soul identity – whether ‘supraselves’ or ‘subselves’ – that do not have their own distinct bodily shape and feeling tone.
Just as our awareness self is a whole self composed of countless identities - sub-selves and supraselves - so is our body self as a whole composed of countless body selves each corresponding to the different sub- and supraselves that make up our self as a whole – our soul. Any self as a whole is more than the sum of its parts. It is the space of awareness within which these parts emerge and take shape as sub-selves. As a whole, the self is the unity of its parts – its sub-selves or ‘part-selves’. Yet any sub-self or unit identity is also a part of more than one whole – more than one ‘supraself’. As a subself or ‘part self’ it is therefore also the unity of all the wholes or supraselves of which it forms a part – up to and including the absolute whole, the divine awareness soul. And just as the ‘whole’ self or soul is more than the sum of its parts, so is each ‘part’ self more than a mere subordinate element of this whole. As the self-expression of every whole of which it forms a part – up to and including the absolute whole – it is that whole. Every element of the absolute whole is itself an absolute part. It is the divine – ‘God’ - by whatever name. For the absolute whole is its very source and soul.
Both our mental and body identity, our mental self-images and body selves are expressions of that larger soul identity that is the awareness self. Our mental and body identities, both multiple, form part of a triune self that includes our soul identity or awareness self – a self that embraces all our mental and body identities.
This Self is the very soul of all that we experience as ‘mind’ and ‘body’. The aim of the Old Yoga was the realisation of a state of ultimate and complete identification with this Self. In The New Yoga however, ‘Self-Realisation’ is not an ultimate state of being but the gateway to a greater life – to the experience of infinite worlds of soul and to infinite identities - an infinite process of ‘Becoming Other’. For identification with our awareness self is what allows us also to explore our own soul identity in all its multiple aspects – learning to feel these aspects in a bodily way and to embody them in our everyday lives. Identifying with our soul or awareness self therefore brings us to the threshold of many important new yogas of the soul body or awareness body. Through these yogas we can learn to freely alter both our mental and our body identity – to quite literally ‘shape-shift’ our soul body in resonance with each and any of countless soul qualities or ‘spirits’ that make up our soul identity.
Our basic threefold self – made up of our mental, bodily and soul identity – is at the same time a singular multiplicity of selves - each with their own unique mental field-patterns of awareness, each with their own unique bodily form and feeling tone, and each a whole in itself – a unique composite of soul qualities. Your body self is how you feel yourself in your body and how your body feels to you. To be who you are is to body who you are. For the body is not a ‘thing’ but an ‘-ing’, a continuous process of body-ing our innermost self - the awareness self. For that self “every body is my body” (Martin Heidegger), for the awareness self is our link to that divine bodiless awareness that shapes itself into each and every body – that actively bodies.
Imagine a consciousness so vast that
its awareness simultaneously embraces every aspect of every
being’s experience, not just in their present but at every moment in
time, and in every dimension of reality in which they exist.
this consciousness as a vast space, and this space as a time-space embracing the
entirety of all past and future experiencing, actual and possible.
Know your entire experience of
yourself, present and past, to be but one expression of that vast consciousness
in its vast awareness space.
· Be aware of any feelings you are currently experiencing.
Be aware of how and where you feel
these feelings in your body and of how they make your body feel as
· Be aware of how you feel your body alters how you feel – your sense of self.
· Whatever you may be thinking or feeling, focus your awareness on your direct bodily feeling of yourself – your body identity.
· Be aware of how your bodily sense of self is made up of particular bodily tones and textures of awareness.
· Throughout the day, be aware of how your bodily identity changes as you move from doing one thing to doing another, being in one place or situation and another, and/or from being with one person or group of people to another.
· Attend to all the sensuous qualities that make up your immediate bodily identity or sense of self – such as feelings of lightness or heaviness, brightness or dullness, opaqueness or clear translucency, rigidity or fluidity, solidity or airiness, expansiveness or contractedness, boundedness or unboundedness etc.
· Now attend to how you mentally interpret and thus actually experience these purely sensuous qualities in an emotional way (for example experiencing a sensuous feeling of weight or heaviness as ‘sadness’ or ‘being depressed’), or a sense of lightness and airiness as ‘being cheerful’ or ‘having your spirits up’.
· Aware of both your immediate feeling of your self and the way this is interpreted through your emotional experience and mental identity – what you feel and think about yourself or others, identify with your awareness self – the self that is this awareness of both your experienced body identity and its mental-emotional interpretation.
The ultimate answer to the question
‘Who are you?’ is
You are God.
For just as God gave birth to human beings in His dreaming awareness,
So are human beings destined to give rebirth to Him in theirs.
God dreams Himself anew through all the gods, old and new
That are ever dreamt up within the human soul.
The gods are the dreamings of human beings
Through which God Himself is
Destined to recreate Himself
Through each and all of us,
Within each and all of us,
As each and all of us.
Your destiny therefore, is not to
Become ‘One’ with God but to become God.
For that is what every being most essentially is,
Being composed of the stuff of which dreams are made,
That God-stuff of awareness that is
The divine light of Lord Shiva.
In its infinite shapes, tones and colours.
Yet for us to be able to recreate God through
Our human experiences of the divine awareness,
Through the divine dreamings of our human souls,
He Himself had once to become flesh.
That is the deepest meaning of
The Christian ‘Son of God’.
The one who declared
I am the light, born
‘I am Shiva’
…from awareness of self to the self that is awareness
Questions to ask oneself:
What does it mean to feel oneself as opposed
to having thoughts and feelings about oneself?
Can I allow what I feel and experience to affect my sense of self – of who I am?
Can I stay with my awareness of my immediate, bodily feeling of myself
- rather than interpreting and experiencing this in emotional terms?
Summary of Principles:
We are aware of both a body self or identity and a mental self.
Both our mental and body identity are aspects of our experienced self.
Through awareness of our experienced self, we can come to experience our larger self – our awareness self as such.
The awareness self is our self as a whole – our soul.
All experienced selves are ‘subselves’ of this ‘supraself’ as a whole.
Summary of Practices:
Not identifying with one’s mental self.
Being aware of one’s immediate bodily sense of self.
Identifying with one’s awareness self.
“I am not what I think or feel about myself – my self-image.”
“I am the awareness of experiencing myself in a particular bodily way.”
In The New Yoga, as in the old, being guru has many dimensions - guru being both a person or persons, a practice exercised through spiritual powers, a relational principle and a responsibility exercised with a definite purpose. As a person, the guru is a human embodiment of the awareness self. The guru is not simply another person however, but one who can also fully see and feel, receive and reflect all that you are or could become – your being. For the practice of guru – that of being, embodying and emanating awareness - is one that leads to a supranormal capacity for becoming other – for aware bodily identification with the souls of others. The guru is one who has the necessary powers or siddhis to shape-shift their soul body in resonance with anything and anyone, and to merge their soul body with that of others. Through this practice guru can both feel your soul in their body and also fill your body with the awareness that is their soul. The principle that defines guru identity therefore, is that of educating people in awareness through mutual devotion and meditation – the guru devoting him- or herself to meditating each disciple’s experience with awareness, and the disciples in turn meditating the guru as an embodiment of their true identity - the divine awareness self within us all. Just as it is the responsibility of the parent to cultivate the healthy development of the child’s potentialities and of the adult self latent within the child, so it is the responsibility of the guru to cultivate the disciple’s potentialities of awareness and their own awareness self. To do so requires that the guru possess powers of initiation (diksha) through which they can both destroy the disciple’s accumulation of unaware identifications (karma) and endow the disciple with a new and aware experience of self - one based on identification with the divine awareness self. The purpose of guru and of diksha however, is definitely not to either annihilate their own ego-identity, to inflate it and impose it on others – or to encourage others to surrender it to them. Instead the guru is one whose own ego identity and body identity have both become an expression and embodiment of their deeper spiritual identity – the divine awareness self. This unity of outer and inner identities is what they seek for their disciples. Finally, guru can be man or woman, but guru identity is neither male nor female – and both. Similarly, the gods which the guru names, invokes and honours through mantra may be either male, female or both – for both male and female gods are understood as inseparable aspects of the divine.
AGAMA – sacred scripture.
ATMAN – self.
CAITANYAMATMA – awareness self/being awareness.
GURU – a teacher who is a human embodiment of the awareness self.
MAHATMA – ‘great self’ or ‘great soul’ (supraself or suprasoul).
SHIVA SUTRAS – foundational scripture of Kashmir Shaivism.