After some years of self-observation and reading, I have come to the conclusion that the entity we perceive as "Self" is something comprised of various aspects of the Self. Here, I am not just talking about the conscious/subconscious level that modern science talks about. What I have in mind is much easier to understand according to Hindu thought that includes the notion of Super Self -- a portion of cosmic lifeforce that exists with us all.
We could better understand our Self as an entity comprised of 3 separate parts. This three-sided Self is evident in many different viewpoints:
- the self that I myself perceive, the self that others see, and the one that I actually am (no solid Self).
- the Self existing in the distinction between mind, body and soul.
- the karma-given self (physical self with certain characteristics and predispositions), the inner self (mind, thoughts, beliefs), & the Super Self (God within, wisdom, paramatma, inherent sense of right and wrong).
- the coscious, subcosncious and "Super" conscious minds.
- the 'inherent tendencies' Self, the'work in progress' self, the 'Wisdom' Self.
Identity is everything, nevertheless everyone struggles with it. Losing a strict sense of our identity may be for the better as it leaves up space for interpretation and wisdfom. From what we see through self-observation, there is definitely more than the eye sees. There is an intanglible aspect of the Self, which we cannot pin down or even understand.
I guess that the more important part is to remember when things are not OK (due to who we think we are, how we look, what we think, our inabilities to work in certain ways and just about a million types of guilt complexes) that there is not a specific "I" that is repsonsible for what happens. Difficulties are a part of everyone's life, since we live in the world of maya (illusion) and have this physical body. Sure enough,we are accountable for the karma comes our way and which we have to face (and process in order to grow).
However, there is also a psychological, intanglible self which is moldable and formless, with the ability to think and feel in ways that can prevent bad karma, and can take us to a much desired next level of consciousness. Most of all, we have to know that there is a deeper, greater Self, which is unchanging/all pervading and exists in everyone. This lifeforce exists in every living being, even though it has assimilated a separate identity for each and everyone (known as jiva, the individual soul) guides things, gives a sense of purpose. It is now time to search the depths of our soul and try to come to some sort of communication with the deeper Self hidden within us, so we can make do and mend, and reach higher planes of existence through contact with the Supreme.
"There is no coming to consciousness without pain.
People will do anything, no matter how absurd,
in order to avoid facing their own soul.
One does not become enlightened
by imagining figures of light,
but by making the darkness conscious."