10 – The Self
How the Natural State develops an operating centre
‘No matter where you go, there you are.’ – Confucius
Jez: Now that we’ve talked about the Group Personality, the family and gender, we can look more closely at what happens when a baby is born and all these influences meet. First, let’s remind ourselves of what we covered in our discussion of Duality: From the Absolute Level, Love manifests in the Relative Level (the world) in the form of a body.
Imagine a newborn baby girl: Her body, being physical matter, is immediately tuned to the Relative Level. It has a relationship to it from birth, through breath, and the need to eat and drink. But at this stage our baby is more attuned to the Absolute Level from which she has arisen, so there’s a meeting of two different realities: the Absolute Level of our baby and the Relative Level of the World.
Through her senses, the baby has awareness of the Separate World. The Relative reality appears to her as light, sound and form. At this stage, she’s mostly aware of the form of the parents and family she’s been born into. The family is where the Natural State of our baby opens like a flower in the world of man – a place where the Original Relationship to Life has been forgotten and the original state of Being has been lost. As I said, it’s the meeting of two different realities.
Matthew: How do the two Realities relate to each other?
Jez: In a sense, they don’t, because they don’t share the same experience of being human: Our baby, in the Natural State, rests in Stillness and thoughtlessness; the parents are mostly located in the Personality through mind. Our baby has hardly developed one of those yet!
Matthew: But there’s some communication…
Jez: Yes. We look at a newborn baby in wonder: It’s a human just like us but it hasn’t yet learned to be like us; babies have qualities we no longer have or understand. This evokes Love in us because we’re looking at a state of Being we’ve once known but have forgotten. So Love creates a bridge between these two realties through which they can communicate. Love, in the broadest sense of the word, is a language babies understand because it doesn’t come from the mind, it comes from the heart.
Matthew: I see what you mean about babies being the same species as us but living a very different experience of being human. As you said, it’s like two different worlds meeting.
Jez: There’s a fundamental reason why these two worlds are so different: Our baby exists only in the present, that’s her world. She has no conception of something called ‘the past’. The world of the parents, as seen through Personality, is of course hugely informed by their minds: their beliefs, their identity, their history.
Matthew: But our baby may have a genetic condition passed down to her; that’s from the past.
Jez: Yes, as we’ve talked about, the physical body comes from the past, from the union of the ovum and sperm, and that can have consequences in the present, such as genetically inherited conditions. But I’m talking about our baby’s state of Being.
You might notice that all the factors we discussed that inform the Group Personality of the family come from the past, from social history, religion and family history. The Natural State is totally beyond all of that ancestry because it comes only from the present; it’s forever fresh and untouched by what has come before. The past comes in through the mind. Our baby has no developed mind yet; she’s just a clear mirror to the present moment.
Matthew: What does that actually mean?
Jez: For our baby, the present moment simply involves living the Natural State. So she’s simply Being, experiencing Stillness, primal Joy and feeling. Part of this will be expressing her physical needs, which she can make known through crying or agitation.
As time goes on and she gradually tunes in more to the Relative Level, she starts mirroring back whatever’s going on around her. She becomes like a clear lake reflecting the sky above it: If the weather is sunny, or cloudy, that’s what will be reflected in the lake.
Matthew: You mean our baby starts to take on attributes or idiosyncrasies the parents and siblings display?
Jez: Yes, and the longer she’s is in their world, the more that Group Personality starts to influence and shape her experience of life. Her primary identification to the Absolute Level gradually lessens and she starts to express her family’s energy. She’s no longer an outsider: She becomes an insider, a member of the Group Personality.
Matthew: That seems like a big transition. How does it actually happen?
Jez: It happens through the development of the self. (I mean ‘self’ in the sense of ‘being a separate identity’ rather than the capitalised Eastern religious use of the word that relates to the ‘Atman’, to Universal Consciousness.) Before we get into that, let’s look at the context for that development: the physical life of our baby before the development of the self.
As we’ve said, energy is ‘matter in movement’ and in our baby, that movement and change is rapid: Cells are dividing and growing at an incredible rate as her embodiment progresses. On the physical level she interacts with, and explores, the world through her body and its senses. During these explorations her developing mind learns to divide the world into differences of shape, colour, sound, smell and taste. She perceives the softness of the bed, the warmth of the food, the brightness of light, through feeling. You could say that Love (our baby) is exploring itself in other forms, and it’s through this exploration that she develops. But the development isn’t just physical and mental; on the level of Being there’s the development of the self. How does the dictionary define the self?
Matthew: It says here: ‘A person’s essential being which distinguishes them from others.’
Jez: You can see how the self is very much part of the Relative Level, because it’s all about interacting with the separateness of the world. The self is basically a vehicle through which Oneness, in the form of a baby, can interact with the World of Separation.