“Higher Self” is becoming an increasingly used term online as the concepts of spirituality have begun making their way into mainstream media. But what exactly does it mean? How does it affect you right now and every second of every day?
Your Higher Self is quite literally the you-est version of you. It sees out of your eyes and listens through your ears, but it carries a deep connection to the Universe and subtle energies that surround you. In Hindu philosophy, they call it Ātman or Atma; a Sanskrit word that translates to inner self, spirit, or soul. As Wikipedia puts it, “in Hindu philosophy, Ātman is the first principle, the true self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, the essence of an individual.”
Inner self, true self, spirit, soul, essence: whichever word resonates most with you, these are the ways you can describe your Higher Self. But why do we have trouble identifying this amazing part of ourselves? Our ego gets in the way.
Your ego is the part of you that tells you that you aren’t attractive because you have a pimple, or that you need to have a Gucci belt to fit in, or that you need 100k followers on Instagram to validate your self-worth. Your ego is great at making you feel like crap about yourself, and it’s also great at convincing you that you need certain objects or certain peoples’ approval to be happy. The catch-22, though, is that your ego will ALWAYS find reasons to convince you that you aren’t good enough or that you need more. Your ego is a mean, insecure, and spiteful little gremlin.
Your Higher Self, on the other hand, knows that at the core we are all made of the same stuff. We’re all energy; bundled into atoms and lumped into cells in such a way that makes us human. Your Higher Self has no ego and holds no judgment, resentment, anger, hatred, or jealousy. Instead, your higher self holds emotions of joy, love, acceptance, and contentment. It knows that you are capable of whatever you put your mind to, it knows that you can find happiness and harmony with the world, it knows what your soul wants and is meant to do with this lifetime.
At one point or another, we’ve all wondered things like ‘why am I here?’ and ‘what is the meaning of life?’. Well, these questions have a different answer for all of us. If you remember from history class in school, it’s kind of like Adam Smith’s concept of the ‘invisible hand’ way back from 1759. It’s the idea that self-interested actions can ultimately help society benefit as a whole. It’s why people are driven towards different passions that lead them to either being an accountant, a teacher, a chef, a coach, etc. You’re able to go to the doctor because someone was drawn to medicine, you can take a yoga class because someone was drawn to open a studio, you can visit the bank because someone was drawn to finance, the list goes on!
Take this historical concept and expand it, you’ve got the reason why it’s so crucial to connect to your Higher Self. When you begin living in alignment with your soul’s true purpose, you will naturally and powerfully help the progression of society – all while having a life that you love waking up to.
Your Higher Self will help you learn to enjoy life and become unshakable in situations that would normally set your stress response off. You’ll learn to appreciate people and understand their point of view – even if they’re treating you less than ideal. When your friend, family member, or coworker snaps at you, it won’t derail your day. Instead, the calm and collected part of your Higher Self will be able to consider that maybe they have some stuff going on in their personal life that’s making them tense.
Likewise, you’ll have a better understanding of what you genuinely want out of your life. You’ll learn to peel away the layers of your mind that have been heavily influenced by society; the layers that falsely tell you that you need certain material wealth and social status to be successful. Many of us know this as the ‘rat race’, and it’s hard not to get sucked into it.
There’s no downside to letting go of stress and getting on a life path that will make you genuinely happy, no matter what stage of life you’re in.
So how do you connect to your higher self?
Check out part two – coming soon!