THE I & THE NOT-I
A Unique Spiritual Perspective
Although God is Spirit, God has a consciousness of self, and a beingness or Divine nature; this union of identity and beingness is the personal consciousness of Divine Life in Itself. The union between identity and beingness is proper to both the Divine Spirit and the human spirit, although there are distinguishing differences between the two. In God, there is a trihypostatic spirit or personality; from the dictionary – “hypostasis” means the substance or essential nature of an individual. A trihypostatic spirit means the union of three distinct personalities in one person. In the Holy Trinity, there are three distinct personalities which are expressed as one Divine Person. Humans are created in the image and likeness of God as the Holy Trinity, but rather than a trihypostatic spirit, humans have a unihypostatic spirit meaning we have a triune spirit, that is, three distinct expressions of consciousness in one personality – our spiritual or divine self, our holy self, and our human self. Our triune spirit reflects the Holy Trinity’s trihypostatic spirit. (See: Diagram at bottom) (Also, see Divine Human in Diagrams)
Although humans are configured as triune spirits, there is a significant, yet revealing difference, between the Divine Trinity and the human person in regard to the personal principles existing in both. In the Divine Person, there is nothing which exists in an unrealized state as everything is totally and completely transparent to Itself and within Itself. Thus, there is no space in the life of Divinity for unconsciousness or even super-consciousness. God’s nature is a personal trihypostatic Self-Realization which is one nature of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, with each hypostasis having divinity in its own way, for itself and for the other hypostases within the Trinity. That being said, the principle nature of Divinity in the Holy Trinity is God, the Father; He has His own nature, and His possession of His nature expresses as a hypostatic, co-hypostatic, and interhypostatic union. In the trihypostatic spirit of the Trinity, all the modes of the personal principles are united within the one Divine Person: I, thou, he, we, and you.
The distinguishing characteristic in the life experience of the human person is that all the modes of the personal principles, except the I, exist outside of themselves, in other personalities. This reality of life for humanity means we unconsciously project onto other personalities our psychic energies as individual perceptions and biases, creating limitations and boundaries in the life experience. When we interact with others, we recreate those perceptions and biases thus generating reciprocating states, feelings, and conditions from the other not-I personalities which favorably or adversely affect our own being. The differences in not-I personalities calls us out of our ego-persona, luring us and confronting us with new perspectives from which unity can be realized: unity within our self, with others, and with the divine.
The Ego-Persona & Duality
In contrast to the spiritual essence of our Divine-Self, which is transparent and not connected to the world, our human creaturely-I, the ego-persona, is totally identified with the instinctual impulses and desires of the creaturely body and is seamlessly connected to the worldly illusion. In adolescence, upon awakening to self-awareness, the ego-persona immediately forms a perception of the physical body as being separate from all other bodies, that is, the ego-persona is inside the bodily form and the not-I is everyone outside. From this perception of separation a boundary is created which distinguishes the I from all the people who are not-I and the I from all objects in the world. Thus, we are trapped in the experience of duality as a result of the boundaries we create between ourselves and others in the world.
What this means is that we are never aware of people, events, or objects without having a contrasting relational perception, like a bright star on a dark night. In regard to the personal self-consciousness of I and not-I, boundary awareness means we must have two correlative aspects in order to discern reality, such as between good and evil. Usually, people will draw a boundary-line which defines where they currently stand regarding a particular reality, i.e., does our good outweigh the evil or vice versa, and where will we take a moral stand and establish a boundary line between these opposing principles? Remember, a boundary line is also a battle line. The tendency of humans is to separate the opposites and then cling to the positive aspects while rejecting the negative; but the reality is, we can’t have one exclusively without the other. It is the interplay of the opposites within a reality or perception which reveals the truth of who we really are and where we stand. Naturally, trying to reconcile the dualities in life becomes very frustrating for anyone who is asking the question, “Who am I?”
In an effort to grasp a sense of identity, wholeness and peace within, we humans consciously and unconsciously establish boundaries between our ego-centric creaturely-I and all the people and things in the world which we deem as not-I. This psychological separation pushes all the not-I’s away from our conscious self because we are unable to understand and integrate all that comprises the worldly not-I; thus, we often feel alienated from people in the world. In the daily interplay with not-I personalities, our ego-persona accumulates and reacts to all these new experiences of being. Many of these interactions and experiences with others are confusing, incomplete or hurtful; thus, we push this content into unconsciousness or our personal not-I. The personal unconscious is active content from which possibilities are ceaselessly becoming actualities; that is, our personal unconscious emotions or not-I experiences continuously generate new realities in life whether we realize it or not. The ego-persona bears the not-I experiences which are not transparent to itself and not fully knowable because they are mostly unconscious.
In its daily interactions with the not-I people of the world, the ego-persona experiences personal perceptions, feelings, desires and emotions. This action of the ego-persona creates personal content, some of which the conscious-self does not want to deal with. These emotionally charged issues and unresolved experiences, like: hurt feelings, grudges, childhood trauma, inadequacies, guilt, shame, fear and anger get stuffed down and repressed in the personal unconscious to be dealt with later; this is the personal not-I, the shadow. (See: The Shadow) The majority of the content in the unconscious shadow is from people projecting unrealistic expectations onto the worldly others and experiencing disappointment, anger and hurt feelings, like when our parents, siblings, friends, lovers, co-workers, and situations do not live up to our expectations. The ego-persona is not only revealed through the not-I but is also limited by it. In this sense, the personal unconscious remains hidden and unknown regarding itself; it does not exhaust itself but is in the process of becoming itself. Thus, the personal unconscious or shadow self is the obstacle which hinders the human triune spirit from being transparent and divine like the Holy Trinity. The troubling issues in the unconscious shadow can be made conscious and systematically resolved and dissolved through the stages of meditation presented on this site. (See: A Brief Overview of Meditation)
“You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know”
The worldly not-I illusion requires its own section because of the threat it poses to our life, especially to our spiritual life. To understand the nature of this threat, one must first understand why we are in this life. Following the baptism, Jesus Christ ventured into the desert to fast for 40 days. It was there that Satan tried to tempt Christ by offering Him all the kingdoms of the world, which he refused by saying, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” And neither is our kingdom of this world. The real reason we are in the world is to awaken to our spiritual nature within, to purify and fortify our spirit/soul by living our life in the Light, and to realize our Divine-Self within so we can emulate Christ and experience the peace, inspiration and joy of life as God intended.
The major obstacle preventing the ego-persona from awakening to our Divine-I is a combination of the worldly not-I illusion and the fact that the ego-persona in many people does not believe there is anything higher or smarter than itself. The vast majority of the people in the world spend their entire life in the worldly not-I illusion communicating with not-I people. In other words, people spend all their time looking outward into the not-I world and seldom, if ever, do they stop to consider who they are. They are more concerned about what is going on in the world, what other people think about them, and trying their best to be cool so they feel acceptable and accepted. Under these circumstances, it is safe to assume that most people have never had an experience of their spiritual Self, because their personal ego-identity is locked into the illusion of the worldly not-I. To me, this is the most unrecognized and profound tragedy existing in humanity today, and what is so troubling regarding this situation, is people do not even feel or recognize the forces which are keeping them enslaved in this worldly illusion.
This spiritual tragedy in humanity will be resolved when people awaken and realize how empty, sad and meaningless their lives really are in the worldly not-I. When there is sufficient pain and sorrow from the neglect of their true Self, they will realize the importance of spiritual nourishment and crave the internal peace and happiness it brings. Hopefully, at some point, they will realize that spirit is life and the worldly not-I, the realm of the Luciferic and Satanic forces, deplete and exhaust one’s life-force, and lead people astray. The material realm is a sensually enticing, illusory field in which the luciferic forces work through seduction and entrapment. The strongest of the seductive forces is sexuality which, in reality, is spiritual energy directed downward into the body; excessive sexual activity depletes one’s life-force and dulls the mind making one more susceptible to the animal impulses and urges of the body. The seductive, adversarial forces of Lucifer include: personal power, especially the kind in which people believe they are God-like; a godless life of comfort and ease in material luxury; drugs and alcohol; self-centered fame, greed and arrogance. The problem here is that people become so enthralled and entranced with these seductive worldly experiences they never turn their attention away from the not-I worldly illusion. These pleasant and sensuous sensations are empty and illusory experiences of non-being; they add nothing of value to the beingness of our self and soul.
Everyone knows the devil’s greatest trick is to make people believe he doesn’t exist; this is the primary objective of Satan. Satan’s greatest fear is for humanity to awaken to the internal joys and insights of spiritual experience through the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit; such an awakening will end the reign of the satanic forces. At present, these adversarial forces are utilizing the marvels and advancements of modern technology as a way to not only embed the human mind into the worldly illusion, but also to push it even deeper into unconsciousness through the entertaining enticements of virtual reality. The greatest danger is to young people and young adults who experience the material world primarily through the virtual world without actually making “conscious contact” with life or people. For these young people, this isolation of their minds from real life experiences and real people presents a distorted perception of life which is causing their psychological nature to atrophy rather than to develop in the way life intended.
True self-conscious awareness comes from real life experiences with other human beings who have different perspectives, insights and knowledge; processing this information changes our psychology and broadens our worldview. It also comes from spending quiet time in our purified and enlightened psycho/spiritual nature reflecting upon our conscious self, our personal capabilities, and the meaning and purpose of our life. Consider for a moment how much of one’s daily life is spent in the worldly not-I, such as: time on a Smart phone; time on social media; time gaming; time watching TV; and time surfing the internet. Most of this spent time is from trying to avoid boredom; boredom is practically non-existent in creative activities, real life experiences and adventures. With the exception of work and school – what is actually being accomplished or what real value is added to one’s life with all this spent time? Technology is meant to be used as a tool to benefit humanity in productivity, communications, and health. Technology is not meant to be an addictive tool used for behavioral modification for commercial purposes, mass surveillance, or for the suppression of free speech and control of the masses to achieve nefarious political agendas.
People are in the worldly not-I illusion for the majority of their waking hours; they do not realize their Divine-Self is withering on the vine for lack of attention. This is exactly what the adversarial forces want – for people to remain asleep, unconscious, and unconcerned. The so-called masters of the universe, who are only manipulators of materiality, know they have captivated people’s attention as well as their personal data, but they don’t care. Their only interest is acquiring power and money from the data and controlling people like sheep through the content of their devices. This action corresponds with the luciferic and satanic forces which want everyone to remain passive, unconscious and in the darkness of the world so they can add more clueless souls to their ranks. Personal salvation can only come from making a disciplined effort to disengage from the worldly not-I, at least until you become conscious of its seductive and brain-deadening dangers. Escaping this enticing and deceptive illusion is what the movie The Matrix was about! Awaken and Save your life and soul.
Creaturely-I & the Divine-I
The life, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, the God-man, clearly demonstrated that humans are both creaturely and divine. The human creaturely body is an instinctual animal body created to function like all other instinctual animals in the world. But, what distinguishes the human from the animal is the uncreated divine essence the Creator Himself instilled into the image/likeness matrix of the divine-human form. In the dualities of Creation, this spiritual essence is our spiritual light, and is active consciousness as Self-Knowledge which is the knowledge and presence of our divine light, and it is passive consciousness as Self-Identity which is the knowledge and presence of our true Identity, the Divine-Self. In reality, this Divine Self-Knowing/Identity is our true Self, our God-Self, which is ever-present in the center of our head. In a fully conscious, Self-realized and enlightened being, like Jesus Christ and Mother Mary, this is the center from which the Light of God radiates as a halo.
Freedom or self-realization for the ego-persona requires the play of light and shadow; the rays of reality must be reflected from a fixed position which is its boundary. In the boundary reality of the world, the ego-persona requires the reality of the not-I in order to realize itself as the I. Only the Divine Person, the Holy Trinity, is free and absolute so the I and Thou are contained in one Trinitarian Person, Jesus Christ. This Person has itself wholly in itself, and it does not require a co-I outside itself to realize Itself. Therefore, its autonomous being, or freedom, is sufficient unto itself.
The diagram below of the human triune spirit also represents the image and likeness of the Divine Trinity; and this triune spirit can also become whole, autonomous, and sufficient unto itself. When the fragments of the personal unconscious are liberated from the darkness of non-being and brought into the light, they can then be integrated back into the personal triune spirit in a process of incrementally becoming whole. The most proficient method of achieving wholeness is through the systematic stages of meditation explained on this site. In particular, Stage 2 Meditation specifically explains how to redeem the shadow and achieve wholeness of being by making the unconscious not-I (shadow) conscious and by purifying the psychological nature through focused meditation.
The triune self-consciousness of humans is not meant to remain separate and isolated in itself, and neither is it meant to remain unconsciously projected onto others and the world. Like the verses of this poem state, “The soul redeemed by obedience to the Divine Will, withdraws itself, and aspires evermore to its center, until absorbed therein, it becomes like unto God, wholy spiritual.” As we progress to our center we rise above the struggle of dualities and experience the union of life; this is an important step in the spiritual quest. Statically, the human triune self is ego-centric, that is, it is the center of self-affirmation and of self-repulsion; this is the reason we experience dualities. However, in order to reorient itself, the triune spirit must begin a process of dynamic self-realization. What this means is the triune self, through consistent and successful meditation practice, will be still, focused and centered, and will begin to recognize the I from the not-I. When the fragments of the unconscious not-I are recognized, they become conscious, and can be integrated and internalized into the I of the triune self. As this process continues, one can eventually integrate the unconscious fragments of the personal consciousness so these modes of the personal principle become internalized and one becomes whole just like the Trihypostatic Personality of God. The Holy Trinity as a personality is precisely such a dynamic personal principle, thus, one can say, the Divine Spirit does not formally differ from the human spirit. “I have said, Ye
are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” (Psalm 82:6)
THIS VERY DAY
I reach through the darkness to offer an effervescent spark,
My burning hands pouring out the sun of my heart;
That you might turn to the crossroads, and walk in my way,
And then, "...rejoice with me in heaven this very day."
For when you remember me, paradise will open to you,
And you will walk in my garden, where the sky is always blue.
Then, you will eat of the fruit, hanging on every bough,
And you will truly know me, as I know you even now.
Painting by: Laura McCullough (Open Heaven)