If we take a comprehensive look at human beings, we’ll see there’s way more to us than our physical bodies. There are also various un-seeable subtle bodies that are each quite different from one another. And then there are forms such as thoughts and feelings, which are again different from each other. Although feelings could be described as unthought thoughts that just haven’t fully surfaced into our conscious minds.

The mask self is like the word we use to describe bad art: kitsch.
The mask self is like the word we use to describe bad art: kitsch.

And all of these bodies and forms each have their own auras made up of the vibrations and emanations they give off. These are visible to the Spirit World, even the aspects we can’t see, and are perpetually changing. Health and sickness show up in the aura of the physical body. Likewise, intellectual and emotional reactions appear in the aura of the respective subtle body.

One of the subtle bodies that every living being has is called the Higher Self, or divine spark. The frequency of the vibrations of this body are the quickest, as this is the finest and most radiant of all the subtle bodies; the higher one’s spiritual development, the faster these vibrations will be.

Ever since the Fall of the Angels, our Higher Self has gradually wrapped itself in various invisible layers of more dense matter. That density falls somewhere in between the density of the physical body and the Higher Self. Say “hello” to the Lower Self. The whole goal of spiritual development is to eliminate the Lower Self so the Higher Self can shine through these self-acquired layers.

We can look around and see where, in ourselves and others, the Higher Self already peaks through the clouds; we can also see the areas where it clearly does not. The amount of freedom of the Higher Self depends on the overall development of the person.

The Lower Self, on the other hand, which also varies from soul to soul, is made up of our faults and weakness, along with laziness and ignorance. The last thing it wants to do is change and rise above itself. It has a super-strong will—which it sometimes turns outward and sometimes more inward—and it always wants to have its own way. Without, of course, having to pay any price for this.

The Lower Self is selfish and proud, so it moves through life with a huge heaping of personal vanity. It includes the ego with all its self-centered maneuvers. No matter what additional faults an individual has, these are part of the basic Lower Self package. But there are lots of shades of gray—lots of ways to wreak havoc—which are hopefully tamped down and redirected by the ever-present Higher Self, assuming it can get through.

When a thought or intention emanates from the Higher Self, it often gets polluted by tendencies from the Lower Self, coloring it and making the original shade dirty or twisted. Such tainting of Higher-Self messages with Lower-Self motives creates a disorder in the soul that makes one emotionally sick. For example, we might want something in a selfish way. But we don’t want to admit that we’re selfish, so we rationalize our behavior and fool ourselves about it. Self-deception is one of the hallmarks of being a human.

The forms of the Higher Self have a whole different mojo than the forms of the Lower Self. For beings in the Spirit World, some of whom can actually see these things, the various tendencies have different colors associated with them, along with scents and tones. When they approach our planet, for instance, they can actually hear our souls shrieking, which is not at all lovely. Thankfully, they still come and help us out.

Bones: A Building-Block Collection of 19 Fundamental Spiritual Teachings

There is another layer that is quite significant but often overlooked, that we could call the Mask Self. We create this false covering because we realize we’ll likely bump into trouble with our surroundings if and when we give in to our Lower Self. Typically, we’re just not yet ready to the pay the price needed to eliminate our Lower Self.

Doing so would entail facing our Lower Self as it really and truly is, with all its nefarious drives and intentions, for we can’t conquer something we aren’t even aware of. This would mean following the narrow path—the spiritual path. But most of us don’t want to work that hard. We’d rather continue reacting emotionally instead of thinking about addressing the Lower Self.

Unconsciously, we feel it’s necessary to cloak ourselves—to paint a different picture of ourselves—that will avoid certain disadvantages and difficulties caused by our Lower Self. Hence we pull on this mask layer that has nothing to do with reality. It’s not our Higher Self, although we’re hoping others will believe that it is. And it’s not our Lower Self, although we’re hoping it will work to cover up our shadow side. It’s phony. It’s fake. It is not real.

Going back to the example about having a selfish desire, the self-will of the Lower Self will dictate that we should be ruthless in getting our way. We don’t need to be a genius to see that giving in to this desire will cause others to not like us. And no one wants to be ostracized. Instead of looking at what our selfishness is about—which would be taking the painstaking route of self-development—we skip ahead and just act like we are no longer selfish.

But hang on. The problem is that we are still selfish; we still feel the selfishness. The Higher Self creates a pressure to straighten up and fly right, compelling us to put on an act since our Lower Self is still ruling the roost. With all this going, we can’t find peace. And with all this going on, any giving or generosity will be a sham.

Whenever the right act is not supported by purified feelings, there is a war going on within. Then we do the right thing but in a compulsive way, out of necessity—often to prove how “good” we are—instead of as an act of free choice. We might give something while at the same time hating the idea of it. We actually convince ourselves that we need to be selfish, which is not in alignment with our true nature. So we’re living a lie.

Sometimes we just turn the other way and completely give in to our Lower Self. That’s not the answer either. We have to fight for enlightenment. We have to work to develop our own souls, purifying our desires and our feelings—for real. If we’re not willing to do this, let’s at least not deceive ourselves. If there is a discrepancy between our feelings and actions, let’s at least admit it. Then we won’t be hiding behind a mask.

Bones: A Building-Block Collection of 19 Fundamental Spiritual Teachings

What happens is that we believe our own stories. We convince ourselves that we’re not really selfish, fooling ourselves about what we really feel and our twisted motives, not wanting to see what’s what. After a while, this mess sinks down, out of our awareness, and starts to ferment. It creates smelly, rotten forms that are actually quite powerful—and that have the power to create.

So now these wrong ideas are creating life experiences that stink, but we can’t eliminate them because we’re not aware of them. Being selfish is just one example on a long, long list of the many ways we make life difficult for ourselves.

When we are in disharmony in our emotions—in any way emotionally ill—it’s a sure sign we have created a Mask Self. But we don’t know we’re living a lie, and that we have built a layer of unreality all around us. We are alienated from ourselves—we’ve lost our connection to the truth of who we are.

Being true to ourselves, though, doesn’t mean we give in to our Lower Self. Rather, we need to become aware of it. If we find we still need to pretend as a way to protect ourselves, we can start to notice this; we can become aware of the unpurified feelings inside us.

It will be far easier to face our Lower Self if we realize that underneath it lives our Higher Self. That’s the absolute reality of who we truly are and ultimately we are going to reach this part of ourselves. If we want to be happy, healthy and at peace, we must be in contact with the Godself within.

But to get there, we’re going to have to face our Lower Self; this is our current temporary reality, and covering it up adds even more distance between us and the ultimate truth of our divine self. But no other way around it, to get at our Lower Self—so we can transform it—we must dismantle the Mask Self. We can train our inner eyes to see ourselves and others from this point of view. The more we wake up, the more we will perceive.

To spirits in the Spirit World who can see all these layers, the Mask Self is a particularly ugly color. It’s not dark or black or sinister, which are characteristics of the Lower Self. No, the Mask Self is sickeningly sweet. For an artist, it would be the difference between a good, genuine color and artificial coloring. It’s like the word we use to describe bad art: kitsch. Plus there are tones and odors of the Mask Self that are similarly nauseating. The Lower Self, by comparison, is a breath of fresh air. It might also be unpleasant, but at least it’s honest.

Bones: A Building-Block Collection of 19 Fundamental Spiritual Teachings

Next Chapter

Return to Bones Contents

Read an overview of each layer of the self in Meeting the Selves, from Spilling the Script

Read Original Pathwork® Lecture: #14 The Higher Self, the Lower Self, and the Mask