Thursday, January 24, 2013

Big “Self” and little “self"


It’s often said, “Be true to yourself.” Easy to say. But, what is the “self”. It’s not an object. And, there are different notions of “self” floating around. Often you’ll see a distinction between the little “self” and the big “Self”. If I go back to India and the Vadas, I find that the word Atman corresponds to the big self, the Self with the capital “S”. This Atman is related to the Brahman (what may be called the Oversoul, or field of infinite potential actualizing as all that is). 

But, for us, the self is the ego – that sense of being separate from those around us. That sense of separation, the self as ego, is most useful for survival in the worlds of society and nature. Yet, it can cause isolation and puzzlement about the meaning of our lives. The self-ego knows that it's existence is tentative and always at risk. This is hard. Hence, our need for transcendence beyond the little self to the Big self. 

2 comments:

Golden Rules said...

The Isha Upanishad says:

Auṃ - That supreme Brahman is infinite, and this conditioned Brahman is infinite. The infinite proceeds from infinite. If you subtract the infinite from the infinite, the infinite remains alone.

If atman is brahman in a pot (the body), then one need merely break the pot to fully realize the primordial unity of the individual soul with the plentitude of Being that was the Absolute.

Americ Azevedo said...

But while we live, it's our work and joy to intuit unity with the Absolute.