There are Two of You
Your Spiritual Soul is Real,
Your Physical Persona is Imagined

The Core Mystery addressed by the Ageless Wisdom is the relationship of the Spiritual to the Material, energy to mass — the relationship of God to Man. The interface, center, or Soul of that relationship is Consciousness — the Divine Love that unites every separated thing into the One Life that is God.

The meaning of the Divine Trinity known commonly to Christians as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can be more easily understood as:

Know Thyself — Personality and Soul

My principle anguish and source of all my joys and sorrow from my youth onward has been the incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh … and my soul is the arena where these two armies have clashed and met.
— Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957),
The Last Temptation of Christ,
Greek novelist, philosopher.

In time, self-realization expands beyond the personality of the physical human to include an awareness of your “higher self” — your self as a Spiritual Soul. This refinement or redemption becomes self-evident as your personal values, ethics, and belief systems naturally unfold and mature. In other words, the persona (mask) of the physical man and his sense of self as a Spiritual Soul constitute two distinct identities within the Ultimate Unity that is God. These two human identities, material and spiritual, plus the Absolute Unity that is God — comprise the Divine Trinity.

In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle makes this point quite eloquently as he describes his realization, in the midst of a deep depression that, “I can't live with myself like this.” Recognizing the duality of an "I" (Higher Self/Soul) that can no longer tolerate "myself" (the persona/ego) changes his life forever.

During her adventures in Wonderland, Alice experienced a similar dilemma.

“What do you mean by that?” said the Caterpillar, sternly. “Explain yourself!”

I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, Sir,” said Alice, “because I am
not myself, you see.”

In both cases, the "I" is the Higher Self or Soul that incarnates as (animates and illumines) the lower "myself." The Soul is the Consciousness or level of awareness while the persona (egoic "man in the brain") tends to identify with its thoughts, feelings, and apparent circumstances.

Materialism promotes resistance to this personal growth from persona-identified to Soul-identified. But those who seek true Wisdom eventually begin to develop peace of mind, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, generosity, patience, tolerance, empathy, and a quality of Unitive Love that is much more refined than the emotional desires of the separative self. To become more unitive is to become more charitable in the original sense of the word. (Charity — the virtue defined as love directed first toward God, but also toward oneself and one's neighbors as expressions of God's Love. Also known as "agape.")

I Don't Have a Soul, I AM a Soul

Emotional love and caring begins to reveal its Divine Source as you realize, "I don't have a Soul, I am a Soul — a Spiritual Being having a human experience." You begin to see Inner Peace and Spiritual Love as a Sacred Journey rather than a destination — a Spiritual Path leading you from your emotional heart to your Soul and homeward to the Godhead.

The motive to walk the Path begins with a personal desire to escape anxiety and suffering. But soon, you find yourself attracted, instead, to the meaning and fulfillment of Unitive Love — a longing to know God, to return to His Bliss, a craving that has been described as “the Divine Homesickness.”

The Spiritual Path

The first stage of this inner journey — mortal man realizing his identity as immortal Soul — is described by the Chakra system in yoga, the Steps of
The Infinite, in order to express Himself, descends in the multiplicity of the Finite, and the Finite, in order to realize itself, must rise into the unity of the Infinite. Only then is the cycle of truth complete.
Rabindranath Tagore
(1861-1941) Indian mystic, poet
Refinement in Alchemy, and the Grades of Advancement or Initiation in the Western Mystery Schools (Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Templars). Each model depicts exactly seven steps.

In the more complete sense — the Soul's approach to Divine Unity (One God) — it is also called the Mystic's Path, the Hidden Way, the Unitive or Middle Way, the Tree of Life (especially its Middle Pillar), the Ladder of Lights, Jacob's Ladder, the Stairway to Heaven, the Path of Liberation, the Scale of Perfection, the Tao, the Dharma, and "the Way and the Light."

In ritual and ceremony, the Redemptive Path of Spiritual Love is represented by the scepter, crosier, rod of power, wizard's staff, magic wand, and Hermetic caduceus (spine). In fable and myth, the path (teachings or laws) is represented by Christ turning water into wine, the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone for turning lead into gold (or Rumplestiltskin spinning straw into gold), the Ark of the Covenant, the Arthurian Quest for the Holy Grail and Jason's Quest for the Golden Fleece, the Yellow Brick Road in Oz, and the heartfelt wishes of Pinocchio, the Velveteen Rabbit, and Data (Star Trek) to become "real."

Moving Up the Path

In its lowest frequencies, the consciousness of the persona — the egoic man-in-the-brain — is fear-based and separative. Survival and avoidance of pain are its main concerns. As it begins to unfold, it
God turns you from one feeling to another, and teaches by means of opposites, so that you have two wings to fly, not one.
— Rumi
seeks pleasure and power for its separative self — lusting for money and material goods; seeing others as objects to be controlled; feeling victimized by hurt, frustration and anger; and, especially in men, often willing to resort to violence.

The natural evolution of consciousness to ever higher, more refined frequencies of Love expands and uplifts its capacity to understand greater, more holistic concepts. As consciousness begins to identify more with the Soul than the man, it grows less fearful and separative — more Loving and unitive.

Aspiring to greater awareness, you eventually learn to use meditation and prayer as a way to accelerate your progress along the Spiritual Path — further unfolding and uplifting consciousness. Essentially, meditation is the practice of a detached, mindful witnessing of the thoughts, emotions, and behavior of the man-in-the-brain from the Soul's point-of-view. The Sufi phrase "To be in the world, but not of it," is a reference to using the mindful detachment of meditation to view your mortal, physical life (persona) from the elevated point-of-view of your immortal, Spiritual Soul.

Besides becoming more peaceful and loving, your higher, more refined consciousness enables you to recognize the advantages of replacing unconscious, fear-based, knee-jerk reactions with even-tempered, well-reasoned responses. As you substitute ever more conscious choices for unconscious reactions, you also begin to express much more refined and harmonious values in place of the separative, inhumane, and largely archaic values of the typical man-in-the brain.

Development of the Lower and Higher Self

Th1e guidance needed to develop both of your identities — persona and Soul — is provided in Michael Benner's Personal Development and Spiritual Development Training Programs. The Personal Development Training is done in private, confidential sessions of one hour and 45-minutes. These lessons teach emotional maturity as well as mental alertness, concentration, memory, and imagination, plus responsibility for self-esteem, self-motivation, clear goals, and management of emotional hurt, anger, and stress.

Michael's Spiritual Development Training is taught in a classroom setting. Key lessons include the nature of the Soul as Consciousness, learning to embody Love as a Spiritual Ray, and practicing its healing, transmutational, redemptive and unitive benefits.

Where do we look to discover our Spiritual Identity — out there, somewhere; separate and remote — or within ourselves, deeply integrated; already a fundamental part of who we are? Logically, it is impossible to understand God without a devoted attempt to become like Him.

Through a self-realization process of mindfulness, meditation, and the study of those ideas that have stood the test of time, the Unitive Way of Love is found. It is our Soul's inner journey back to the Godhead. It is experienced as the expanding Awareness, Love, Peace and Joy of our personal connection to the Ground of God.

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This page was updated on Saturday, January 10, 2004 11:14 AM