I’ll confess. When Dawnrose sent me the topic  “Higher Self” and invited me to
write something for this month’s column I chuckled over several possible
approaches. As a child of the fifties and sixties, the word “high” conjured up a
concept that I was sure she didn’t have in mind but invited some entertaining
thoughts. Entertainer Steve Allen used to say, “All seriousness aside…”
As a student of human potential, I also instinctively thought of “self
actualization” and an opportunity to write about Maslow and the hierarchy of
needs. I chuckled at the notion I could probably bore Dawnrose’s readers to
death with a treatise on that one. I don’t think that’s what she had in mind
either. So instead I decided to see what might leak out of my brain if I just
played with these concepts and kept it simple.
Maslow describes human needs as a pyramid and suggests that one’s lower
needs (these include physiological, security, acceptance) must be met before
one self-actualizes. The concept of self-actualization can be thought of as a
state of “Wow! I’m actually who I want to be!” (In the sixties vernacular, “Far
out!”) For those who are students of motivational psychology (there must be
one here!), I think it makes sense to view Maslow’s Pyramid as a dynamic
model—not in a linear fashion. Thus our aspirations (whether to self-actualize
or achieve a higher self) are greatly influenced by our needs. If we are not
self-aware can we ever self-actualize? We’re not free; we’re limited by our
own lack of self-awareness. How can we find a higher self if we aren’t aware
of our “lower” self? And the dynamic model suggests we are free to move
about—we don’t for once achieve a state of “higher self” and stay there.
If your eyes haven’t glazed over yet, here’s a wonderful example of how the
mind works when we allow it to work. I was going to keep this simple, right?
The irony here is just too good. I think I figured out a lot of this stuff while
“getting high” some years ago. No, I wasn’t smoking snorting or sniffing
anything, I was climbing a mountain. It was “…no great journey--a mile and a
half if I did the whole thing. An hour or two at the most. And yet like a lifetime
in miniature.”
The very search for higher self can actually prevent us from achieving it. You’
re invited to discover my “Lesson on the Mountain” by reading the short
journal I wrote of those few hours that represented “a lifetime in miniature.”


          “Men stumble over pebbles, never over mountains.”
                                            -Emilie Cady
Brain Leaks and Leaps on the topic of “Higher Self.”
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