It’s been said before, from time to time, that each of us are different people. That our true self is a combination of the various people we are. The thinker. The worker. The husband, wife, brother, sister. The day-to-day superficial us. The deeper, mostly hidden us. All these and more combine to make the whole person that each of us is.
One of the questions I’ve been returning to from time to time is, “what is the difference between having an ordinary experience and having a spiritual one?” What is the quality that being moved to tears by grief, love, or joy has that simply enjoying a party, a nice glass of wine, or a back rub, doesn’t?
I don’t think we can isolate and capture the answer to that question – this isn’t science. I’m not asking a psychological or neurological question here, I’m asking a spiritual one. And while we’re on that subject, while the scientific answer to that question may be absolutely correct in its own way and worth knowing, you can’t answer a spiritual question with a scientific answer, or vice versa. It’s really about whether we’re looking for the “external” answer or the “internal” one. Since it’s the “internal” answers I seek, we will leave the external one for someone else for now.
I think the spiritual answer that makes sense to me to this question of the difference between the profound and the ordinary comes down to the people that we are. I think that there is a deep self within all of us – perhaps even a deepest self. Though a rare few live with that self on top – people like perhaps the Dalai Lama – most of us live with our deep self buried deep under all the other people we think we are.
Yet in special moments our other selves move aside and our deep self is brought up into us. Moments of clarity and moments of resonance. Our joyous moments, loving moments, even our despairing moments. Times when we don’t just feel, we feel. When we are pierced through, whether we are lifted or broken by the experience.
So maybe that’s the answer – or at least all the answer that we need. There may be many selves within us, but it’s our deep self that is the core of our heart and spirit. The rest of the cacophony in our heads may be useful or an obstacle, depending on the voice and the occasion.
But I’d wager that recognizing and embracing our deep self is the first step in “getting right” with the cosmos – and with ourselves. And that in so doing, we put our foot firmly on our spiritual path.
I look forward to embracing the idea of the deep self further, and I am excited to see where it takes us.